Papers of Archibald Downes Shaw

Scope and Content

This collection of personal and family papers relates to Archibald Downes Shaw's service as a CMS missionary in East Africa and includes his journal of a trip in Giriama, Kenya, 1882 and a manuscript of his missionary experiences An African Leopard , 1885. Other papers include letters from Shaw to his family and letters to Shaw from his brothers, 1882-1886; some letters from his first wife, Amy to her mother, 1882-1883, and some printed items written by Shaw.

Administrative / Biographical History

Archibald Downes Shaw (1857-1939), Anglican clergyman and missionary of Clifton, Bristol was accepted by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1876 when he was sent to St Paul's College, Hong Kong as a missionary student. He subsequently attended the Church Missionary College in Islington. In 1881 he was ordained deacon and then priest and served briefly as curate of Doddington, Cambridgeshire. Later the same year he went to East Africa as a CMS missionary first at Kisulitini (1881-87) and then at Frere Town (1887-88); and in 1889 he transferred to Mauritius where he was appointed as chaplain of Vacoas and Black River. In 1890 he was invalided back to England and his connection with the CMS then ceased. His subsequent career involved many moves: Curate, Littleton, Middlesex, 1890-93; Organising Secretary, Church Army, 1893-1894; Chaplain, Dr Barnardo's Homes, 1894-1898; Vicar, Church of King Charles the Martyr, Tunbridge Wells, 1898-1902; Rector of Kettlestone, Norfolk, 1902-11 ; Vicar, Great Horton, Bradford, 1911-15; and Rector, Scotton, Lincolnshire, 1915-24. He then retired to Cornwall. He was married firstly in 1882 to Amy Havergal (niece of Frances Ridley Havergal) who died in Mauritius in 1890 and secondly Alice Montagu in 1893.

Reference: Register of missionaries (clerical, lay & female) and native clergy from 1804 to 1904 ( Church Missionary Society, 1905 ).


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

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

Presented to the CMS per CMS Regional Administrative Secretary, Nairobi 1962; transferred on permanent loan to the Special Collections Department by the CMS in the 1980s.

Other Finding Aids

Please see online catalogue for further details.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.

Related Material

The Special Collections Department holds the Church Missionary Society Archive, the official archive of the society, (GB 150 CMS) which includes papers relating to Shaw's service as a CMS missionary. It also holds an account of a journey made by Archibald Downes Shaw in 1877, with associated papers (GB 150 MS12).