St Julian's Community Papers

Reference code(s): GB 1835 JUL
Held at: Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide (formerly known as the Henry Martyn Centre)
Domain: archival
Title: St Julian's Community Papers
Date(s) of contents: 1921-1986
Level of description: Fonds
Extent and medium: 4 boxes


Name of creator(s): Allshorn | Florence | 1887-1950 | Missionary

Administrative/Biographical history: The community was founded in 1942 by Florence Allshorn who had been a CMS missionary in Uganda but who had been forced to return to England through ill health. She determined to found a community where returning missionaries could find a ‘place of quiet’ in which to adjust, to contemplate and to consider. The community soon outgrew its first house, and in 1943 premises at Barns Green in Sussex were purchased, the community was registered as a charity, and a small body of trustees was formed. Among the earliest supporters were J.H. Oldham and Max Warren.

In 1950 Florence Allshorn died but the continuity of her vision was assured with the purchase of the Old House at Coolham. The house became a haven of quiet rest not only for missionaries but also for others, of different denominations and nationalities, to learn to live and work together. By the mid 1950’s it was in a position to send four people to open a sister community in East Africa where people from all races and religions could meet. This was partly in response to requests from missionaries and others in the region who had known and appreciated the English house. Suitable premises were found at Limuru, 17 miles from Nairobi and in 1956, Dorothy Alton, Mary Phillipson, Dinah Hart and Janet Clarke arrived to establish the community. However they encountered fierce opposition from the white residents of the area who were against the multi-racial nature of the enterprise, which they regarded as an ‘African invasion of the White Highlands’. The community was ridiculed as a naïve group of ‘do-gooders’, or, worse, as supporting the Mau Mau insurgency. However, St. Julian’s gained the support of both Alan Lennox-Boyd, the Colonial Secretary in London and Sir Evelyn Baring, the Governor of Kenya and in 1957 the property was purchased. The house at Limaru fulfilled the vision of its founders: it became a place for all nations and races to meet.

Custodial history: In the care of the Henry Martyn Centre since 2005. Before then, one of the last residents of the community had collected together the papers of the community and stored them in her house at Midhurst, close by to Coolham. In 2004, after consultation with other members, she kindly offered them to the HMC.

Immediate source of acquisition: Alison Day


Scope and content/abstract: The collection includes personal letters, journals, articles, pamphlets, books and photographs documenting the history of the community, its role and impact.

System of arrangement:

JUL 1: The Community in England

JUL 2: The Community in Kenya

JUL 3: Writings of Florence Allshorn

JUL 4: St Julian’s Bible Notes

JUL 5: Papers and photographs in memory of Florence Allshorn


Language: English

Conditions governing access: Refer to the repository

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids: A handlist is available


Related material: Henry Martyn Centre: Leech papers


Date(s) of descriptions: 2008

Colonial administration
Colonial countries
Ecumenical movement
Politics and government
Press cuttings
Religious organizations
Women missionaries

Personal names
Allshorn | Florence | 1887-1950 | Missionary

Corporate names
Church Missionary Society