A Missionary

James, his wife, nanny and one of their boys

 

Rev JAMES UPTON, BA, MA, was born the 17th July 1872. His parents were the Rev Duke Yonge and Charlotte Cordelia nee Pode. The Christian name Upton was the surname of the last owners of Puslinch before the Yonge’s acquired the property by marriage into the Upton family.

 

He joined the Royal Navy as a cadet in 1885. He was educated at, Dartmouth on the hulk. HMS Britannia, a vessel moored at Dartmouth which was used for the preliminary education of naval officers from 1859 to 1905. Cadets joining the Royal Navy were entered into a "term" in Britannia, in which they remained for two years of instruction. The number of terms started each year varied, ranging from two to four before normalising at three per annum. If cadets gained enough time through scholarly aptitude and good behaviour, upon leaving for the fleet they were rated Midshipmen; if not then they left as Naval Cadets and had to pass further examinations to become Midshipmen.

 

Dartmouth's isolation provided an ideal spot to prepare young men for naval service without the temptations of naval ports like Portsmouth and Plymouth. Having decided to abandon the hulks for reasons of overcrowding, health and sanitation, a purpose-built school ashore was opened in 1904

 

He passed out of the College in July 1887 as a midshipman. His exam results as recorded in ADM 6/470 at National Archives, were:

 

 

Arithmetic and Algebra 170

Geography 217

Trigonometry 176

Practical Navigation 128

Theoretical Navigation 132

Charts 51

Instruments 88

French 107

Essay 66

Physics 92

Drawing 47

 

Total 1279

 

He was 11th out of 26. A respectable result.

 

 

On leaving Dartmouth he served as a midshipman from 9th August 1887 to June 1889 on H.M.S. Alexandra, a twin screw, twelve gun, armour plated iron ship or 9490 tons and 11 guns, which at that time was the flag ship, Mediterranean Fleet. It seems he was to be transferred to another vessel but came back home on health grounds

 

Then he served on the newly commissioned armoured cruiser H.M.S. Undaunted from July 1889 to September 1889. when she was still being fitted out.

 

On the 7th November 1889 he was posted to H.M.S. Iron Duke, which formed part of the Channel Squadron. She was a twin screw, second class coal fired, armour plated battle cruiser built in 1874.

 

From 9th of May 1890 when she was commissioned, to August 1890 he was on H.M.S. Howe, a ten gun twin screw battleship, first class, or the Channel Squadron.

 

From August 1890 to August 1891 he was posted to H.M.S. Ruby, a screw driven 3rd class armoured cruiser of 2120 tons which formed part of a training squadron based at Sheerness.

 

His last recorded posting was from August to November 1891when he was appointed, still a midshipman, to the sailing brig the Sealark, which had been captured from the French in 1812, when she was known as the Ville De Caen. She was used as a tender to H.M.S. Lion at Devonport. Not much of an appointment. Maybe he felt his naval carer was getting nowhere.

 

His service record Shows “yes” for temperate habit, normally “very good” for conduct and ordinarily “fair” but “improving” at the end for professional knowledge. Two general remarks are “good but poor physique and “moderately zealous”. Damming with feint praise!

 

In November 1891 he resigned from the Royal Navy “at his request” and had no further connection with it. His name does not appear in the Royal Naval Reserve or the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve.

 

It suggested in the family, but his naval record does not support this, that at some point in his naval career he had visited Madagascar and whilst ashore, had been so affected by the lack of Christian knowledge of the locals, that he resolved that one day he would come back there and preach the gospel. More likely is that the naval life did not appeal to him and with his family background of a long line of Anglican ministers in the family, including his father, that the Church seemed an obvious choice for a career as it was for so many younger sons of the gentry.

 

After leaving the Navy, he went first to the Royal Grammar School, Sheffield, for a short time where he was privately tutored (he probably had some catching up to do after his period in the Navy) before applying on June 1st 1893 to enter Keble College, Oxford, which he entered in October 1893. which was a bit older than normal.

 

Keble was established in 1870, having been built as a monument to John Keble, who had been a leading member of the Oxford Movement which sought to stress the Catholic nature of the Church of England. Consequently, the college's original teaching focus was primarily theological

 

His tutors reports at Keble were mixed “was quite regular” “Have seen nothing of him” “I do not think he has “come in” as he should. I should like to see a little more go and initiative” “Can do better than he imagines but shrinks a little from hard work, I fancy” “Satisfactory as far as I can judge” “A very nice fellow with a good deal to say for himself than the ordinary undergraduate” “Has worked but is a weak candidate” and at the end of his time “has not come out much in College life but has quite pulled himself together again”. However he obtained his BA in 1897 and MA in 1901.

 

According to Crockford's Clerical directory, he was Canon scholar Truro 1897, a deacon 1898 Truro. Priest Crediton 1899. Curate of Torpoint 1898-1900. Curate of Almondsbury, Gloucestershire 1900-04. When he left the parish of Almondsbury he was presented with a grandfather clock by the parishioners. The inscription on the inside of the case reads “James Upton Yonge, given by the parishioners of Almondsbury on his leaving the parish 1904”

 

He was curate in charge of Merifield, Antony, Cornwall 1904-5. The latter was in the gift of the Pole Carew family who had a long connection with the Yonge family.

 

 

He married a local doctors daughter in Yalding Kent on 27th April 1905, (Ethel) Millicent who was baptised 6th Sept 1882, she was the eldest of six children. Her parents Joseph (Joshua) Wood B.A. M.B. and Ethel Vaughan were married Maidstone in 1881. The service was conducted by his brother Charles Burrell Yonge, not the local priest and one of witnesses was another brother Ambrose P Yonge. Her parents lived at what was the doctors residence and surgery at Lees Lodge – below - on the edge of the village of Yalding Kent. How he met his wife living far from Devon or why and how he was to get involved in missionary work is unknown.

 

 

For couple immediately went out to Madagascar and spent ten years in Madagascar, under the auspices of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (S.P.C.K.) The couple wrote accounts of their missionary work which were published in the parish magazine for Yalding. Some examples are at the end of this article.

 

To do missionary work in a French colony may seem odd but there was a long standing British connection with the Island. In 1817, the ruler and the British governor of Mauritius concluded a treaty abolishing the slave trade, which had been important in Madagascar's economy. In return, the island received British military and financial assistance. There was an Anglican presence from early in the 19th century. The Malagasy languagewas reduced to writing with Roman characters, and its orthography was. settled by English missionaries of the London Missionary Society, in 1820 and subsequent years. They translated the Scriptures and other books, and engaged in teaching.

 

The Church of England began work in the coast districts of the island in 1863 through the medium of the Society for the Propogation of the Gospel (S.P.G). and the Church Missionary Society (C.M.S). After some time the latter society withdrew and the field was thus left to the S.P.G. A bishop was stationed at the capital, Antananarivo, with St Paul’s theological college in its neighbourhood. But the chief work of the Anglican Mission has been, and still is, on the east coast. British influence remained strong for several decades, during which the Court was converted to Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, and Anglicanism.

 

 

 

However in 1883, a French warship arrived off the port of Tamatave. A bombardment of the town was followed by the landing of marines. Two years later there was a formal treaty, Madagascar's foreign affairs were from now on to be looked after by France; there was to be a French resident at court; and the region around Diégo-Suarez is to be ceded to France as a naval base. However it was not until 1887 that Madagascar became a French colony. This was only under 10 years when James arrived.

 

The task of the Anglican mission was not easy.. Converts too could be fickle. The comment was made in “Christian Missions in Madascar” written in 1914 , that it was hard to discpline backsiders as the offendors would simply go off to anothe chuch where they would probably be wecomed.

 

By the First World War there were seven foreign missions,French - Protestant and Catholic – English American Norwegian and others The number of missionaries working in Madagascar of all societies, except the Roman Catholic, were 108 men, and forty-six womens, besides the wives, sisters, and daughters of these missionaries; of those seventy-three men, and thirty-one women were engaged on the interior, and thirty-five men and fifteen women on the coast, and among the southern tribes. In the Capital alone there were twenty-three men and ten women but as all the printing and most of the higher educational work is done there, a good many are occupied in that way. Madagascar is a large island which meant that many areas were untouched by missions

 

While at least the non Roman Catholics got on well, the French did not welcome outsiders especially if Protestant. From “Christian Missions in Madagascar” again:

 

WE have seen how readily the Malagasy Government welcomed Missions and the liberty we enjoyed under the native Queens. educational, industrial, and medical as well as our religious work. who cares to study the country, that the Malagasy owe everything by way of progress to the work of the Missions, which spared nothing, so far as their slender resources would allow, to lead the country forward, and the missionaries have not spared them. They really appreciated our It is also self-evident to anyone selves,

But the arrival of the French brought a great change, not indeed in the attitude of the natives, that is not changed or likely to do so, but in the treatment of Missions by the new masters of the country Unfortunately the French do not appreciate Missions
in their Colonies. Perhaps in time they will understand us and give us credit for disinterested motives but up to the present it would be difficult to say they do the one or the other.

The late Governor-General called us filibusters, but I suppose we may take that
to be the extreme view. I do not think there are many who go as far as that. I suppose there is no place for Missions in their ideas, This has often occurred to me when talking with my French friends. " Ma foi l" they say in astonishment and pity, when one says how many years one has been out; no doubt they wonder what we have done amiss at home to absent ourselves so long. One feels mission work is as strange to them as cricket.

If we were simply philanthropists it is possible that we might have been better understood, but the fact of our being Christian missionaries adds another difficulty. The troubles in France over religious matters have left their mark, so that there is a bias
against anyone connected with any religious society.

 

We have to bear in mind that the missIon work of the Roman Church is carried on by the Propaganda, and is directed from Rome, which may account for the want of interest in such matters outside of the missionary Orders, in the Latin races. Nor have I ever met aFrenchman who understood anything at all about Church matters in England. I spent the best part of a day once with the judge d'instruction verifying
reports on the rebellion in our part of the country, and it took him at least an hour to make up his mind as to who and what I was, and after explaining what the Church of England was till I was tired, I think he wrote me down a Presbyterian.

 

If an exception is necessary to prove the rule, we find it in the French Protestants, to whom none of the above remarks apply. It is not to be presumed that missionaries are always wise men and never cause those responsible for the government of the country trouble or anxiety. The only instances of this in Madagascar that I call to mind are hardly worth mentioning and occurred in the beginning of the French rule. Sometimes a native would go to the missionary he knew, to speak a word for him to an officer he did not know, and to whom he could not make himself understood; this generally resulted in more harm than good, the missionary being told not to interfere.


To show what happened to the work of the Missions after the conquest of the country by the French, I need only quote the statistics of the two largest Missions, The London Missionary Society in 1888 had upwards of ninety thousand scholars, in 1910 they had less than five thousand. The Norwegian Mission had 885 schools, now they have 84. It is the same in our Mission; in all but the central stations the schools have mostly been stopped by order of the Government, and where we are allowed to have schools the number of scholars granted by the Government is generally insignificant. In my own district I had fourteen hundred scholars in regular attendance, now we are limited to four hundred. The children around would like to learn, and their parents are much concerned about their not having a chance of learning..”

 

 

This is exampled when in August 1911 the British Consul wrote to the French Govenor General “It is with extreme reluctance thatI bring forward a complaint against any individual occupying an official position but the conduct of the natives governor Rober towards the English residents of that village has become so unbearable that I am compelledto bring his improper behavour to your notice..........The very hostile attitude of the Governor towards .. English missionaries has caused them endless annoyance and inconvenience..... “

 

Trouble with colonial authorities was not unique to Madaascar.  Tensions often emerged between the missionaries and the colonial officials. The latter feared that missionaries might stir up trouble or encourage the natives to challenge colonial authority.In general, colonial officials were much more comfortable with working with the established local leadership, including the native religions, rather than introducing the divisive force of Christianity.

James went out as principal or warden of St Paul’s and remained there some eleven years, as Madagascarn Diocesan Secretary 1907-10 and Principal of St Pauls College Antananarivo, 1905-15 During this time all their children were born there apart from Philip Yonge who was born at Yalding in 1906. There were also other visits back to England and not all the children spent all their young days in Madagascar.

 

The work “Christian Missions in Madascar” writes of the College, which was founded in 1878.

 

ST. PAU's COLLEGE lies to the north of the Capital. The district churches have grown up since the foundation of the college in 1878 ; these are now thirty-three in number in charge of seven Malagasy priests, under the supervision of the Warden of the College, the Rev. J. U. Yonge, M.A. For our fine Theological College we are indebted to the Rev. F. A. Gregory, now Bishop of Mauritius, from whose untiring efforts for more than twenty years to train men fit for the ministry of the Church we are now reaping, the benefit. Mr. Butterfield supplied the plans for the Church and Lecture Hall, both fine buildings in stone. The college grounds, many acres in extent, are planted with several kinds of trees, so that the Warden's house and the cottages for the students are surrounded with a thick growth; the garden and grounds are an oasis of green among the dry bare hills around. A small village has grown up by the college. Mr. Gregory purposely chose a quiet spot for the college, but it has the disadvantage of a very small congregation in a fairly large church, There is a good school for the children from the villages around, The church is well furnished and contains the only stained glass which the Mission possesses. The college is a large, solid-looking building; its long upper room is now used for the boys' school, as is also one of the classrooms downstairs, as one classroom is sufficient for the number of students in residence at present. We are only preparing as many men as we have need of. Since the foundation of St. Paul's College, 184 students have been trained there; most of these have done, and are doing, good work in the Mission, and twenty-nine are in Holy Orders at the present time, and others preparing for ordination. The course is four years, the subjects taught are much the same as those in an English Theological College, French and English taking the place of Latin and Greek. Most of the students have taken their French Brevit as school teachers, so that tey can take charge of a mission school in the station where they may be appointed.”

 

This is not the place article to get involved in the question of role and merits and demerits of western Christian activity but a few points can usefully be drawn out..

 

Christianity's expansion as part of British culture and its activities overseas in the nineteenth century were unprecedented in scale. Anglicans, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and other denominations recreated their churches overseas and adapted them to new environments in the process.

 

There was great confidence in the civilizing role performed by Christian advocates and teachers and this is reflected in the correspondence in the appendix Such missionary confidence and efforts, stemmed largely from the idea that locals, in Africa for example, appeared 'primitive', having no written works and little or no morals. There was clearly an element of condescension here even if motives were well intentioned

 

The characteristic form of mission activity, James in Madagascar was typical, was institution-building. regardless of their theological point of view, missionaries built institutions when they arrived overseas: elementary schools for boys and girls, high schools, universities, theological training schools, vocational training schools, clinics, and hospitals, among others. This strategy has been misunderstood because it was heavily criticized from the first. Victorian critics denounced mission institutions for creating dependency, In order to understand mission history, it is necessary to understand why missionaries built institutions for institution-building was seen as an effective if not the only mechanism for spreading and importantly sustaining Christianity, and why thereligious faith of the “dependent” Christians associated with mission institutions should not be denigrated. It was in fact inevitable,

 

Missions were important in twentieth-century Britain. in the early twentieth century the united states surpassed Great Britain as the largest sending nation in Protestant missions. as the British churches declined slowly after 1900, religion dropped out of the historiography of twentieth-century Britain. Missionaries, along with religion generally, were thought by some to be characteristic of the Victorian age but throughout the twentieth century, though, Britain remained the second largest sending nation for Protestant mission, so James going to Madagascar was not at the end of a historical episode

 

The relationship between the British empire and missionary activity was complex. In some cases empire building was the driver and in others missionary activity for European involvement in Africa . In some cases missionary activity encouraged imperial rule and in other cases opposed or subverted it. James going to an established French colony, clearly did not have an imperial agenda

 

Many missionaries were women. This is well established. The problem in mission historiography is to establish the role of the wives of male missionaries, which though often hidden was crucial,. Clearly from the letters of James wife, her role and influence was fundamental not just as a support to James as his wife but in her own right.

 

St Pauls College still exists as an Anglican theological college, training locals for the priesthood.. Christians make up nearly 50 percent of the population, with 7 percent Muslims and 43 percent animists and ancestor worshipers. Protestants of varous demonations, including Anglican, esimated at half a million, just outnumber Roman Catholics. The Anglican Church of Madascar is now part of the Province of the Indian Ocean, a provinceof the Anglican Communion. It covers the islands of Madagascar, Mauritiusand the Seychelles. Sor the hope expressed in the work “Christian Missions in Madascar” that “Fifty years hence will those who keep the second jubilee see a strong and self supporting church of Madagascar in communion with the Church of England” has been at least partly met.

 

 

James came back to England in 1916, with his family, together with their native “nanny”.Why they left Madagascar for a war torn Europe just then is not clear. Correspondence makes it clear they had always intended to return home earlier than this. As there was fear of German submarines they came back overland to Egypt and then by boat to Marseilles. Then they took train to the French Channel coast. His second youngest child, Cyprian recalled that in the Mediterranean the boat ahead of them was torpedoed and that when they reached the French Channel coast they could hear the guns on the Somme. He was only aged about 2 then so he must have been recalling what he had been told. It is not known when the “nanny” returned home. She does not appear in the 1921 England census

 

 

He was vicar of St Goran, Cornwall 1916-1929, Rector of St Mawgan with St Martin in Meneage, Cornwall 1929-1945, Honourary Canon of St Germoe Truro Cathedral 1936-45. Canon Emeritus 1945. Rural dean of Kerrier, near Camborne, Cornwall 1932-6 and 1942-45.

 

Mawgan-in-Meneage is a small village and parish located at the base of the Lizard Peninsula, between the Helford Riverand Gunwalloe. The village and church are named after St Mauganus, a Welsh saint. The church is a fine building that dates back to the fourteenth century. St Mawgan with St Martin in Meneage is in diocese of Truro, from 1929. Patron, Bishop of Truro. Tithe rent £750. Glebe value £47. Queen Anne's Bounty £87. Fees £8. gross income £913, net £776 and house. population 895. Address, The Rectory, Mawgan, Helston, Cornwall. Probably not a very demanding parish but probably a welcome relief from the climate, obstructive French authorities, physical conditions and often shallow converts of Madagascar.

 

 

His son Cyprian in an account shortly before his death, wrote of life there as a boy, recounted pursuing country pursuits.

 

I was three when I left Madagascar. My mother told me I could speak the language and I couldn't speak English, so when I got home, it was a bit awkward because all I could speak was Malagasy. But when I went back there I could remember a few words, but I can't remember anything about the country or anything - I was too young. So then we went to Gorran.

 

My father was posted to Mawgan-in-Meneage and he had two churches there; Mawgan and

 

St Martin. We loved it there because the local squire, Sir Courtney Vivian of Trelowarren, let us shoot and fish all over his estate, which was vast. He had wonderful shooting there; pheasants, partridges, anything that moved. My younger brother and I lived with a gun in our hands; 12-bore double-barrelled, not a small gun. We used to keep my mother's larder filled with all sorts of game; rabbits and everything.

 

James after his retirement,had a house built at Cross Park which is about a mile from the family home of Puslinch, Newton Ferrers, Devon..

 

James was not the eldest son, being the seventh of ten children and he and Millicent had in turn six children, so must have been relatively hard up.



Of his children, Philip Evelyn was to inherit Puslinch. Three children predeceased him. Two, Roger Upton, who also went to Keble College and Richard Alan, together with their cousin Cyril Price were drowned in 1931 in a sailing accident – there is a memorial to them on a bookcase in the Church Mawgan.



Another son Arthur died on the 23rd of February 1943 WW11 when his convoy rescue vessel “Stockport was sunk.



Millicent died on the 29 July 1957 and James died on the 5th October 1958. They are buried in Newton Ferrers churchyard.



Millicent was an accomplished watercolourist and did a number of paintings of the locality in which she lived in Cornwall

 



 

 

 

The Schedule

 

Extracts from the Yalding Parish Magazine

 

March 1906

 

THE SOCIETY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF THE GOPSEL IN FOREIGN PARTS,

Our Annual Foreign Mission Sunday will be kept on Sunday the 13th There is of course
no need to dwell upon the obvious duty of supporting foreign missions as attaching itself to
church people, it is part of their obligation, a duty of their inheritance. As it is permissible to
earmark" contributions sent to the above Society for any portion of the mission field

 

It is proposed to do this in our case this year, and to send our contributions to support the Theological College in Madagascar, at the head of which, at the present time is the Rev. J. N. Yonge. We shall many of us feel an interest in this part of foreign mission work, from the fact that there is already "a bit of Yalding” identified with it in the person of Mrs. Yonge, whom we remember, and that very affectionately, under her old name of Millicent Wood.

The following account of this particular branch of foreign mission work, with which the S.P.G.
is identified, may perhaps explain what is aimed at, and what it is that we are asked to support-

"It is known to most people that Madagascar is a French colony. The French when they took
the island nine years ago, found our Anglican Church fully established. We have at present,
about 11,000 Christian adherents, of whom 3,000 are Communicants. We have 10 native priests,
and 11 Deacons : clearly this work is one which the S.P.G. could not dream of giving up. Our special task is consolidation; we have so to train our native Anglican Church that it may one day this be able to stand alone in the full enjoyment of the Catholic Faith The key to our present position, and our hope for the future is the Theological College at Ambatoharanna (13 miles from the capital). It was founded twenty years ago by the present Bishop of Mauritius, who
gave the best years of his life to teaching in it. It provides a three years' theological course, for
from 12 to 20 native students, after they have finished their secular education. The Principal
is assisted by capable native tutors, and has a Church and a good elementary School, staffed by
native certificated teachers, under his charge. The S.P.G. has a special fund for this College,
which is unfortunately at a very low ebb, and in consequence the College buildings have been
allowed to get into a very bad state of repair. Mr. Yonge found the students' houses so dilapidated that it was necessary to re-build them to prevent them falling down altogether. They
have been temporarily thatched with rushes, as tiles are expensive, which will last about two
years, Mrs. Yonge writes

 

'The Students are all here now, a very nice set of fellows, they are delighted with their houses which we have practically re-built. They each have a nice strip of garden, next year we hope to have a flower show so as to encourage their interest. Finding books for the Students is a tremendous item, paper is terribly expensive out here. I have undertaken the superintending of the girls' school,
and teach needlework once a week, it is amusing to see their delight when shewn anything new,
they work very nicely, but materials are ruinous, and there isn't a penny to supply them with.
We find this district in a hopeless state, no money has been spent on repairs for ages, the fund has
run dry, and it will be hard to set things straight again. £5 will keep a Student for a year.'

 

Dec 1909

 


The following Christmas letter from Mrs.-Yonge, of Madagascar, will be very welcome,
and be read with interest :-


Ambatoharanana,
Madagascar, Oct. 13th, 1909.


MY DEAR FRIENDS-Once again it is time to write to wish you all a VERY happy Christmas:
although it is only October, my letter must go now, or you will get our good wishes too late.
This is the fifth Christmas that we shall have spent in Madagascar, when the seventh has sped,
we shall hope to come home, and the eighth (D.V) we shall spend with you all once more.

Our first Christmas at Ambatoharanana was very quiet, but every year since has bought more
bustle and more noise, and this year I expect there will be more noise than ever, for John and
Roger are getting quite big boys now, and are never quiet except when asleep, if they do happen
to be quiet at any other time, it is well to inquire into the silence, as it generally means that they
are in mischief, and may be cutting up one of their nurses dresses, or something else equally
bad—they can both use a pair of scissors now with great effect

I do not think I have told you yet how we spend Christmas out here, and I dare say you will like to hear It always seems very different here because it comes just at the very hottest time of the year, instead of the coldest, in many other ways it is very like an English Christmas however. Christmas Eve for instance is just a busy day here as it is at home, except for one thing, there is no post to catch. Each year direly after our breakfast, on that day, we are called to the kitchen by the servants,
and then they offer us a present, which is always some sort of livestock, last year it was a sheep
then we in our turn call them into the study, and make them a little offering, for which we receive
most profuse thanks, and promises that they will die for us if needs be.

 

After these amusing little scenes we have the choir boys into the study: the boys who have attended well the whole year, get a suit of clothes to wear on Christmas Day: and those who have
not attended so well, only get a shirt : when they first put these clothes on, they are frightfully pleased with themselves, and strut about like little cocks. When the choir boys have been packed off all the poorest people from the villages round, come to the front door to receive odds and ends of clothing, which we collect for them during the year. They are brought by the district visitors, and very necessary it is to have a few respectable people to keep order, for they are a set of miserable
looking ruffians, in their awful rags, poor things. We found last year that some of these ruffians,
who, since they must wear some clothes in these parts, think rags as good as anything else, sold
the clothes we gave them, and then made a big feast, this was not satisfactory, and those who
did it will not receive a garment this year.


Nearly all day long people are coming bringing us presents of geese, turkeys, chickens, ducks,
eggs and fruits, by the end of the day, our poultry yard gets pretty full. You must wonder how these
people can afford to give so much, the reason is, that everybody keeps poultry out here, it
is one way in which they invest their money: if a man has sixpence which he wishes to save, there
is no bank for him to put his sixpence into, but he buys six baby chickens, or perhaps a baby
pig; when the chicks are big enough to make soup of, he gets twopence each for them, if he
fattens therm up for table fowls he gets five pence or sixpence for them, a full grown turkey costs
1/2 or 1/4: so you see fowls are cheap out here, the supply being greater than the demand even.

At eight o'clock in the evening, we light the Church with as many candles as we can invent candle sticks for, then the bell rings, and all people come, some carrying lanterns, and a bringing big sticks, in case they should meet ghosts or witches.

 

The people love the service, and the Church looks so pretty in the pale candle light, partially
lighting up the the decorations, which consist of beautiful flowers and evergreens, but quite
different from the evergreens in England, and there is no holly. It would impress you could
you see the great big Church almost filled with black earnest faces listening intently to the story
of the Saviour Who born on the first Christmas morning.


And then on Christmas Day, we have an early Celebration at 6.30. Matins with Choral Celebration at 9 a.m. Evensong and carols at 3 pm After Evensong, comes the exciting time for the children. Last year all the teachers and their wives and children came to our home, and we started the amusements with a big tea: there was a Christmas cake with candles burning all over it, and every child went home that night, the happy possessor of a little coloured candle. Just as we had finished tea, we heard Mr. Yonge's voice at the top of the stairs, so we all went tearing up to see what was the matter. the children found a big Christmas tree, all lit up, and looking very pretty-none of them had ever seen such a thing before, and they were quite awe-struck at first, the grown-ups as much so a the children, one person whispered "this is like Paradise."


When the Christmas tree was over, we went down-stairs again, and played games till it was
time for the children to go to bed. A kind friend in England, had sent us out some air balls,
and one gasy visitor went wild with delight over these, they all thought them quite magical.

I have described to you at some considerable length the way in which we keep this festive
season out here, so that now there is no room to tell you about anything else. I hope I have not
wearied you too much, and that those who may have read a similar account elsewhere will forgive
the repetition. And now, once again, we wish you all the "Good old Wish," " A very Merry
Christmas, and a Happy New Year."


Ever your sincere friend,


E. MILLICENT YONGE.

Dec 1910

 

[Referring to a convert] ….. he is being taught reading, writing and scripture and picks up things
very quickly : his dialect is very curious and his hands and feet are covered with charms which have to be abstracted from him by one, and he absolutely refuses to eat pork or fowl. It will be interesting to see whether le can bring himself to stay and learn long enough to know sufficient to teach his people, I am afraid he will probably get home-sick and go back again too


There are also some people in a village called "at the lake with many eyes," two days to the
north of Ambatoharanana, who begged for a Missionary to visit them, that they might talk
about building a church, which all the people there want to do very much; so in September,
Mr. Yonge went to visit them and found a very warm welcome awaiting him. He stayed in the
house of the man who is the chief instigator in the movement; he is lame on both feet and he
said to Mr. Yonge "God has given me this disease so that I can do no manual labour and I
think that it is in order that I may re-found this Church and work for Him only." He is doing
all he can to encourage the people to build a church; he possesses a Bible, which he sits and
reads every day, and on Sundays he teaches a few people in his house, but he has not yet been
baptised. There are no baptised people out there at all at present, but if the Government will give
authorization to them to build a church, the Mission will send a catechist to teach and pre.
pare them for baptism. The authorization will most probably be given, because a new Governor-
General has been appointed to Madagascar, whom we hear has been advised to treat the Missions
more fairly than his predecessor did. So we hope that these people's wish may be complied with,
and that we shall find funds sufficient to help on their enlightenment.


There are only five students at the College this year, some more will come next. They are
a nice set of boys and give us no trouble at all. On Tuesday evenings they come up to our house
and play games. I made a halmer board and stuck matches in buttons painted different colours
for men, and they like playing that very much. One of them, Jakoba, has become our organist
since the bishop took away the deacon from us for other work; he plays very nicely indeed and
is most diligent in practising every day after lecture hours, and teaching the choir boys.

We have a third son now who was born in June, a fine, fat little fellow, and we have called
him Richard Alan, John and Roger are very fond of him. It will be a great undertaking bringing
all three to England next April, but we shall bring a native nurse with us to help look after
them, so then you will be able to see what a Malagasy looks like in the flesh!

With kind remembrances and best wishes to
you all from myself and Mr. Yonge.

I remain,

Yours very sincerely,
G. MILLICENT YONGE.


Nov 1911

 

FOREIGN MISSIONS. 1.--LECTURE ON WORK IN MADAGASCAR

This lecture, illustrated by lime-light views, was given by the Rev. J. U. Yonge, S.P.G. Missionary in Madagascar, on Monday, October 16th, in Cheveney Institute, and in spite of the short
notice, proved a huge success; in fact, although children with the exception of K.M's were excluded, the room was not large enough for all Who came, many having to stand outside the door.
Mr. Yonge, so closely connected with Yalding. has given us much interesting information on the Church's work is Madagascar, in his sermon on Sunday evening and to this he largely added in his most delightful instructive lecture : and we feel l sure that the work which he and Mrs. Yonge
then engaged in will now be more than ever real and if real then the subject of our prayers and alms giving. Many have asked since the lecture, " What kind of collection did you get?" and it was indeed pleasing to be able to say, "A very good one, and the further remark, "Oh! I am so glad,truly expresses the feelings of those who were present, We were indeed most grateful for this first-hand information; and the expression of thanks and of God-speed to the lecturer and his wife which closed the meeting before the final hymn, was very real.

2.-KING'S MESSENGERS.
During the above lecture, a delightful surprise fell to the lot of K.M's. Mrs. Yonge suddenly
appeared on the platform with a beautifully worked banner,--worked by the children that
she has been teaching in Madagascar, and that explaining the meaning of the design and lettering she presented to Mr Lace for the Yalding and Laddingford KM branch

Jan 1913

 

The following New Year's letter has been sent by Mrs. Yonge and will be read with interest:-

La Mission Anglicane,
Ambatonaranana,
Tananarive,

My dear friends,
I am so sorry my letter will be too late to wish you all a happy Christmas, but I hope you will
have had that and that the New Year may be a . happy and prosperous one for you.

We arrived here on the 17th August, the ship was very slow indeed, partly because she was
reduced to only one engine and partly because we had a scratch crew, with only four real sailors
who know the work. There were strikes gong on at Marseilles and none of the usual crew would
sign on. We had to wait there for three days before the ship could start, and the men who put
our luggage on board, etc., had to be guarded by soldiers. twice there was nearly a fight. The
ship was fairly full to start with, because the P and 0. Steamer, the Persia," went ashore
ten miles from Marseilles the day before we started, and our ship took her passengers along
as far as Port Said, they were a cheerful set of English men and we felt quite dull after they left.
We have now settled down to work with fresh vigour after our delightful holiday in England,
but we miss our little sons very badly.

 

Yours Very sincerely

 

E MILLICENT YONGE



Jan 1915

 

Mrs. Yonge has sent us another letter for the Magazine, which we shall all read with interest.
As a copy of the Magazine will be sent out to her, we add our best wishes for 1915, for herself
and family, in which we know her two "young pickles," John and Roger, heartily join.

AMBATOHASANANA,

9.11.14


My dear Friends,

Christmas has been creeping on this year almost without one realizing its approach, our minds
have been occupied with such serious matters as are laid before all at the present moment, that we
have barely given Father 'Time a thought, and now a rude awakening shows me that it is now
or never, if I am to send our best wishes to you all for Christmas.

I am proud to hear that so many Yalding men have offered themselves to their country : this
will mean much sadness and anxiety for those who are left at home to hope and pray, -but
would you hold your men folk back from fighting in a righteous cause ? Doesn't it make your
blood boil to hear, and perhaps even see, what the Germans have done and are doing to our
brothers and sisters, and even to the little children? and I know there is no Yalding mother would hold back her own from helping to right the wrong. May you all be rewarded for your unselfishness,
and God grant that you may receive your own back safely from the war.

Out here we hear very little of what is happening in Europe until the news is at least a month
old: for instance, we do not yet know for certain whether Antwerp fell to the Germans or not, but
we gather that it did. There are 80 Germans is imprisoned in Tananarive, because they refuse to
give their parole not to run away, otherwise they might be at liberty to go where they like in the
Capital; they also pretend now that they can speak no language but their own. The French
are treating them very well, and they have good food supplied to them from the Hotel at a cost of
four francs per head per diem.


At 12.00 clock every day our Church bell rings, and all the Christians who hear it say a prayer for the soldiers and sailors, and it is quite touching to see the e little children, wherever they are, nelt down to say their prayer: one of the Teacher's children, a little boy of six years, is always playing in the garden with three smaller mites when the bell rings, so they all knelt down and he leads a prayer, and the others say it after him. He always begins “O Lord, hear us”

In a village near here the people are building a new church because the old one is too bad to
be repaired any more. All the villagers have been working at it with great energy, men and
women all taking their share., the women's share. Being to carry water, mix mud, , carry the dry
bricks etc while the mens part is to make the bricks and build. old. Unfortunately, they did not
start building in time and now they are overtaken in the rains before they have got the roof
on so I am afraid a lot their work will be spoilt, and they will have to do it over again
when the rains cease.


Our little class of boarders who came in from the distant parts of the district at the beginning
of the year, to learn in the Ambatohasanana Boys' School, are getting on very well, and one
has been passed on to the High School in Tananarive already, where he will study for his
brevet examination. We provide the boys with a cook and 1/2d. a day each, to buy meat, their
parents have to provide all else that they require. Kind friends in England have subscribed enough
to pay entirely for the cook this year, and for part of the meat, and we are extremely grateful
to them. To be able to train promising boys from all parts of the district at the Mission
station, is worth a great deal to the Mission.


With all good wishes from myself and Mr. Yonge for Christmas and the New Year.


Yours very sincerely,


E. MILLICENT YONGE.













 

 

 

 

 

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Latest comments

20.06 | 14:06

Michael

Thanks. Praise always appreciated! I presume you are a descendant of Peter Herbert. You can email me on iyonge@legalisp.net for fuller reply

Ian

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20.06 | 00:35

I am the Great-Great Grandson of Walter Francis Duke Young. This is such a great website and so interesting to read about the Yonge family history!!

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27.05 | 18:13

Thank you for this account of Charlotte M Yonge. I wouldn't say she was a recluse, however, judging by her letters. https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/yonge/

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12.02 | 16:28

I am current researching the life of Colonel Henry Anderson Morshead R.E. of Widey Court who was married to Elizabeth whose mother was Elizabeth Yonge sister to

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