Maria Dyer

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Maria Tarn
Maria Tarn.jpg
Maria Dyer, née Tarn
Bornc. 1803
London, England
Died21 October 1846
British Straits Settlement of Penang

Maria Dyer (née Tarn) (c. 1803 – 21 October 1846), was a British Protestant Christian missionary to the Chinese in the Congregationalist tradition, who worked among the Chinese in Malaya.


She was born in London in about 1803. She was the eldest daughter of Joseph Tarn, Director of London Missionary Society.

She arrived in Penang in 1827 with her husband, Samuel Dyer. The Dyers lived in Malacca and then finally in Singapore. Maria was known for founding the oldest girls' school in Singapore and East Asia. It was known as the "Chinese Girls' School" when it was founded in 1842 (it still exists called St. Margaret's Secondary School.[1] Her husband died in Macau in 1843 before being able to bring his family to live in China itself at Fuzhou. Maria Tarn was later remarried, to Johann Georg Bausum in 1845, but she died the following year at Penang, at age 43, and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery there. In 1853 the Society for Promotion of Female Education in the East sent Sophia Cooke to Singapore to became the Principal of what was still called the "Chinese Girls' School".[2]

Dyer's orphaned daughter, Maria Jane Dyer, married James Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission.

Samuel and Maria had five children: Maria Dyer (1829–1831), Samuel Dyer Jr. (1833–1898), Burella Hunter Dyer (1835–1858), Maria Jane Dyer (1837–1870), and Ebenezer Dyer (1842 – aft. Oct. 1843).


  1. ^ "Maria Dyer". Singapore Women's Hall of Fame. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  2. ^ "Cooke, Sophia (1814–1895), missionary and schoolmistress". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/49145. Retrieved 15 March 2021.



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