James Marshall (colonial judge)
|3rd Chief Justice of the Gold Coast|
|Preceded by||P. A. Smith|
|Succeeded by||N. Lessingham Bailey|
19 December 1829|
|Died||9 August 1889(aged 59)|
|Children||1 son (Bernard), 1 daughter (Mary)|
Sir James Marshall (1829–1889) was a Scottish Anglican clergyman who converted to Roman Catholicism and became Chief Justice of the Gold Coast, now Ghana. He played a significant role in enhancing the growth of the Roman Catholic Church there and also in Nigeria.
The son of a Presbyterian minister, James Marshall, and his wife Catherine Mary Richmond, daughter of Legh Richmond, he was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 19 December 1829. He lost his right arm as the result of an accident at the age of 16.
Anglican ministry and conversion to Catholicism
After taking a degree at Exeter College, Oxford he became a High Church Anglican minister in 1852 and was appointed curate in Trysull, near Wolverhampton. In 1854, he became curate at St. Bartholomew's Church, Moor Lane, in the parish of St. Giles, Cripplegate, London.
Legal practice and judicial service
In 1873 he accepted an appointment in the British Colonial Service as Chief Magistrate and Judicial Assessor to the native chiefs in the Gold Coast, arriving there in July. On the breaking out of the Ashanti War in 1874, he secured the chiefs' assent to the impressment of their tribesmen, and was of great use throughout the campaign in raising levies. He made a good impression on the Ashanti people, who regarded him as a veteran general who had lost his arm in battle.
He served as Chief Justice of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) from 1880 to 1882.
Role in the Catholic Church
Marshall believed that the Gold Coast offered a very favourable environment for the return of Roman Catholic missionaries. In 1879 he asked the Office of the Propagation of Faith in Rome to provide missionaries. This led to the Society of African Missions transferring the pioneer French priests Auguste Moreau and Eugene Murat, both French nationals, from the Island of St. Helene station (South Africa Mission), to establish the Catholic Mission in the Gold Coast at Elmina and the creation of the Roman Catholic Church's Apostolic Prefecture of the Gold Coast.
Marshall played a significant role in enhancing the growth of the Roman Catholic Church in Lagos and was involved in preparations for the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church at Asaba, Nigeria.
He married Alice Young on 25 October 1877. They had a son (Bernard) and a daughter (Mary).
Marshall was awarded the Ashanti Medal by Queen Victoria in 1874 for his leadership role in the Ashanti War, and on his retirement in 1882 was knighted by the Queen as a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George.
Death and legacy
He died on 9 August 1889, aged 60, and was buried in the churchyard cemetery at St Mary Magdalen’s Roman Catholic Church Mortlake. His wife Alice died in 1926 and is also buried in the churchyard. There is a plaque inside the church in their memory. It was unveiled on 11 August 1999, 100 years after his death.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Harris, Charles Alexander (1893). "Marshall, James (1829-1889)". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography. 36. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
- "The Historical sketch of the Knights of Marshall". Knights of Marshall. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- Matthew, H. C. G. "Marshall, James". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/18138. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
- Harris, Charles Alexander (1885–1900). Marshall, James (1829–1889). Dictionary of National Biography. 36.
- Okoledah, Norbert (2005). Problems and Prospects of the Search for a Catholic Spiritual Tradition in the Ghanaian Catholic Pastoral Ministry. Munster, Germany: Lit Verlag. p. 64. ISBN 3-8258-8490-2.
- "Historical notes and important dates in the history of the Catholic Church in Ghana". About Us. Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- "History of the Church". About the Church. St Mary Magdalen Roman Catholic Church Mortlake. Retrieved 2 November 2013.
- MacFarlaine, Iain (20 May 2003). "James Marshall". Find a Grave. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
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