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James Hannington

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Collection: 1847 Births, 1885 Crimes, 1885 Deaths, 19Th-Century Anglican Bishops, 19Th-Century Christian Saints, 19Th-Century Executions by Uganda, Alumni of St Mary Hall, Oxford, Anglican Saints, Bishops of Mombasa, British People Murdered Abroad, Christian Missionaries in Kenya, Christian Missionaries in Uganda, English Christian Missionaries, English Saints, Executed People from West Sussex, Murdered Missionaries, People Executed by Buganda, People Executed by Stabbing, People from Hurstpierpoint, People Murdered in Uganda
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James Hannington

James Hannington
former Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa
James Hannington
Church Church of England
Diocese Diocese of Eastern Equatorial Africa
Successor Alfred Tucker
Personal details
Born (1847-09-03)3 September 1847
Hurstpierpoint, Sussex
Died 29 October 1885(1885-10-29) (aged 38)
Busoga, Uganda
Feast day 29 October

James Hannington (3 September 1847 – 29 October 1885) was an English Anglican missionary, saint and martyr. He was the first Anglican bishop of East Africa.


  • Background 1
  • Early life 2
  • Ministry 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


The nineteenth century was a century of missionary expansion. Fired by evangelical zeal, missionaries pushed through African jungles and deserts, learned local languages, and braved pestilential climates to create schools, hospitals, and churches. Some were killed, others contracted debilitating diseases, but by the century's end a global missionary presence was in place. Disease and martyrdom claimed great numbers.[1]

Early life

Hannington was born on 3 September 1847 at

  • , S.W. Partridge, London, 1910James Hannington, bishop and martyr: the story of a noble lifeMichael, Charles D.,
  • Bishop Hannington Memorial Church, Hove, UK
  • Hanningtons Caves. Trentishoe

External links

  • Joyce Reason. Bishop Jim: The story of James Hannington. London, 1955. Reprinted by James Clark Company, 1978. ISBN 0-7188-2387-7 ISBN 978-0-7188-2387-0
  •  Hamilton, Thomas (1890). "Hannington, James". In  

Further reading

  1. ^ a b , Crossroads Publishing Company, New York, New York, 2002African Saints: Saints, Martyrs, and Holy People from the Continent of AfricaQuinn,Frederick,
  2. ^ a b c d , No. 77, pp. 317–318, June 1981The Conchologists' NewsletterVerdcourt, Bernard, "Collectors in East Africa",
  3. ^ Store history
  4. ^ a b c James Hannington CapturedGraves MSL, Dan,
  5. ^ a b c Hansford, F.R.S.A., F.E., "Great Churchmen", Church Society
  6. ^ Brief history
  7. ^ Photo of church
  8. ^ a b c , W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1998Biographical Dictionary of Christian MissionsAnderson, Gerald H.,


See also

Widespread persecution of Christians followed, many being killed or sold to Arab slavers.[1] Joseph Mukasa, a Roman Catholic priest and an official at Mwanga's court, rebuked the king for the deed, and was beheaded for it. Hannington and his companions were among the first Martyrs of Uganda. Hannington's feast day in the Church of England is October 29. A dedication stone, erected in his memory along with the Bishop Hannington Memorial Church, Hove, England in 1938, bears the inscription "Thou hast turned my heaviness into joy".

After eight days of captivity, by order from King Mwanga II, Hannington's porters were killed, and on 29 October 1885, Hannington himself was speared in both sides.[4] As he died, his alleged last words to the soldiers who killed him were: "Go, tell Mwanga I have purchased the road to Uganda with my blood."

Bishop Hannington Church, Hove

After arriving at Freretown, near Mombasa, Kenya he determined to pioneer a shorter and healthier highland road to Buganda, using Christian porters and undercutting the Arab slave route to the south. He was oblivious to the political consequences of traversing Busoga, a strategically sensitive area for the Buganda state. The sudden intrusion of German imperialism at the coast made the Bugandan ruler, Kabaka Mwanga, even more suspicious of Hannington's motives.[8] Together with his team, he safely reached a spot near Victoria Nyanza on 21 October, but his arrival had not gone unnoticed, and under the orders of King Mwanga II of Buganda, the missionaries were imprisoned in Busoga by Basoga chiefs.

In June 1884, having recovered, he was ordained bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa, and in January 1885, at age thirty-seven, Hannington again departed for Africa. His diocese included missions of the CMS at the coast and inland in Buganda.[8] while there Hannington collected a number of shells which were described by E. A. Smith in two papers in the Annals and Magazine of Natural History.[2]

Around 1882, Hannington heard of the murder of two missionaries on the shores of Lake Victoria. This led to him offering himself to the Church Missionary Society and he left England on 17 May, setting sail for Zanzibar on 29 June, as the head of a party of six missionaries. Crippled by fever and dysentery, Hannington was forced to return to England in 1883.[8]

He had by then been married for five years. [4] At twenty-one, Hannington decided to pursue a clerical career, and entered university at [6] In 1867 the chapel which his father had built in the grounds of his property was licensed for Anglican services.


A poor scholar, he left school at fifteen to work in his father's Brighton counting house. The monotony was, however, broken by many a cruise in the family yacht and by extensive European travel. In addition to these activities he obtained a commission in the 1st Sussex Artillery Volunteers and rose to the rank of major.[2] He proved an excellent officer and, under his training and supervision, his detachment won more than one valuable prize at the annual camp competitions.[5]

For James’s early education a tutor had been engaged, but when he was thirteen he was sent to the Temple School at Brighton, where he remained for the next two-and-a-half years. Despite the kindness and sympathy of a discerning headmaster, academic studies did not, at this stage, appeal to him.[5]

[5] The boy was an eager collector, and his cases and cabinets increased in size and number. In these pursuits he was helped and encouraged by his mother—“the gentlest, sweetest, dearest mother that, ever lived”, as he once called her. Her understanding love was the greatest influence in the early life of the excitable, high-spirited and sometimes wayward boy.[4]

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