Vaughan and Mill Hill Missionaries

A new CTS booklet is published this month. Vaughan is about Cardinal Vaughan (1832-1903), the founder of the society in 1868. Vaughan was at the centre of many projects, the CTS was just one of them. He inspired many collaborators, such as James Britten, with the CTS. Often footnotes in the life of Vaughan, they were people who can stand on their own accomplishments.

The four examples remembered here are part of one of the grand efforts of his life, the Foreign Missionary Society at Mill Hill. One is among the first supporters of Vaughan. The others are missionaries; two who knew Vaughan and one who was inspired by him. Through people like them Vaughan’s work has reached Africa, India and Borneo. They are all from Britain.

Although St Joseph’s College is no more the cemetery remains, until a few years ago Vaughan, by choice, was buried there and not in the Cathedral he helped to build at Westminster. There are other stones. Some are of missionaries. One is of an early benefactor.

Lady Mary Elizabeth Herbert

In 1866 a woman who was to become well-known for her kindnesses to the missionary foundation visited Vaughan and his new community at Holcombe House, Mill Hill. She was Mary Elizabeth Herbert, Lady Herbert of Lea, widow of Lord Herbert. A recent convert she had been directed there by Cardinal Manning, a close friend of her late husband during Manning’s Anglican days.

A press clipping in 1911 contained the following: “Lady Herbert of Lea, aged 89, of Herbert House, Belgrave Square, S.W., and Wilton House Salisbury, formerly an intimate friend of Mr. W.E. Gladstone and of Miss Florence Nightingale, one of the founders of the Foreign Missionary College at Mill Hill, Hendon, and the Orphanage for Girls at Salisbury, writer of numerous books and pamphlets, widow of the Rt. Hon. Sidney first Baron Herbert of Lea, and mother of the thirteenth and fourteenth Earls of Pembroke.”

Her grave is at Calvary in Mill Hill, marked by a simple headstone inscribed “Mother of the Mill.”

The three Mill Hill Missionaries chosen from the 360 who have come from England, Wales and Scotland are Thomas Jackson who went to the Punjab and Borneo, John Campling to West and East Africa and Frank Crumblish who worked in India.

Thomas Jackson

Thomas Jackson was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1846. After leaving his parish school he worked as a handyman and for some time as a servant at Stonyhurst. In the 1870s while in South London and sacristan at a local church he applied to St Joseph’s Missionary College at Mill Hill. He was ordained in 1879 and assigned as chaplain to the British army in the Punjab. He was a hero at the battle of Maiwand in 1880.

One general wrote that : “I cannot overvalue the services rendered on the 6th and on may other occasions by Fr. T. Jackson, who was always in the foremost of the fight, attending upon and offering every assistance to the wounded both European and native.”  On 10 March 1881 Jackson was named prefect apostolic of Labuan and Northern Borneo. Jackson was to remain leader of the missionaries in Borneo for 14 years. He left in 1895 and returned to England where he became chaplain to the Mill Hill Sister’s Rescue Home at Patricroft. He died there in 1916.

John Campling

Campling was a missionary in West and East Africa. John Campling was born at Partick, Glasgow, in July 1873. He attended St John’s Anglican Church. His father was a freemason. As a young man he saw a black seaman struck by a policeman when he asked an innocent question: “I could never get over the injustice of it all,” he wrote later.

He left school at 14 and joined the Scottish Rifles at 18. He later moved to London and through the influence of friends he became a Roman Catholic at St George’s Cathedral, Southwark. With a friend he visited St Joseph’s College, Mill Hill and while waiting in a hallway he was impressed by a collection of mission photographs and exhibits and decided. He decided to become a missionary.

Ordained in May 1903 he was sent to Uganda where he remained until 1921 when he was appointed to lead a new mission to the British Cameroons, in West Africa. In 1925 he was called again to Uganda to lead the mission until he retired in 1937 to Freshfield, near Liverpool, until his death in 1961.

Frank Krumblish

Born on May 7th 1898, Frank was a parishioner of St Francis Parish in the heart of the Gorbals – a densely-populated area in the centre of Glasgow. Most of the people were poor, and a large percentage of Irish immigrant descent. Frank’s father was a printer; Frank himself worked for a while as a printer, then as a grocer. He then served in the Navy for five years, and saw action in the First World War. Eventually he joined Mill Hill, was ordained in 1930 and was appointed to India where he was to spend the next 39 years working among poor low-caste people who were then referred to as ‘Untouchables’.

In 1934 he bought 50 acres of land and set about the task of founding a Christian village which he called ‘Mariapuram’ – the village of Mary. He began with ten families, about forty or fifty people in all. He helped them to build their own homes, and laid his plans to provide schools and education.

Mariapuram grew into a big parish and became the second most important centre of the Diocese of Nellore. He established a boys’ High School and took steps to provide for the education of girls, an unusual thing at that time. At his death in 1969 he was laid to rest in the parish church of Mariapuram. His anniversary is celebrated every year.


Read about the life and mission of Cardinal Vaughan
in our new title by Fr Robert O’Neil




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