Papers of Rev. Henry Townsend

Reference code(s): GB 0150 CMS/ACC31
Held at: Birmingham - University of, Information Services, Special Collections Department
Title: Papers of Rev. Henry Townsend
Date(s) of contents: 1836-1871
Level of description: Sub-fonds
Extent and medium: 2 files, 12 docs., 2 items


Name of creator(s):

Administrative/Biographical history: Henry Townsend (1815-1886) was accepted as a CMS missionary in 1836 and served the Society for nearly 40 years. He initially went to Sierra Leone but in 1843 he was transferred to the Yoruba mission which he was responsible for founding and from 1846 he was stationed at Abeokuta until 1867 when the missionaries were expelled. He retired in 1876. He wrote several hymns in Yoruba, compiled and printed the first hymn book in Yoruba, compiled the Yoruba primer and edited and printed the Iwe Irohin in English and Yoruba, a fortnightly publication.
Reference: Register of missionaries (clerical, lay & female) and native clergy from 1804 to 1904 (Church Missionary Society, 1905)

Custodial history: Presented to the CMS by R. Wilfred Townsend, 1955; transferred on permanent loan to the Special Collections Department by the CMS in the 1980s

Immediate source of acquisition:


Scope and content/abstract: This collection of personal papers relates to Henry Townsend's service as a CMS missionary with the West Africa and Yoruba Missions. It includes copies of his journal extracts, 1836-1837 and 1843-1847, together with a few miscellaneous letters, an account of a journey he undertook from Abeokuta in 1852 and his official instructions on proceeding to Sierra Leone in 1840 and for his investigative mission to Badagry in 1842. There are also some manuscript notebooks giving an account of the Abeokuta mission, written for children and a manuscript of a part of his autobiography

System of arrangement: This collection forms part of the Church Missionary Society Unofficial Papers. It is arranged into one series: Family Papers


Language: English

Conditions governing access: Open Access to all registered readers

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids: A catalogue of this collection to file and item level is available in electronic format on the University of Birmingham Information Services Online Archive Catalogue. A paper copy of this catalogue is also available for consultation in the Special Collections Department reading room.


Related material: The Special Collections Department holds the Church Missionary Society Archive, the official archive of the society (GB 0150 CMS), which includes papers relating to Townsend's service as a CMS missionary


Date(s) of descriptions: Created 16/08/2001, modified 16/09/2002


Personal names
Townsend | Henry | 1815-1886 | missionary

Corporate names
Church Missionary Society

West Africa