'TIRUCHI DISTRICT Largely from the Hubday Family'

Scope and Content

Information relating to or garnered from the Hobday family. Comprises notes on the development of Wesleyan Methodist missions in south India with particular reference to the contributions of the Revs James and George Hobday. Also contains photocopies of letters written by them in India to the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society in England between 1855 and 1890.

Administrative / Biographical History

Rev James Hobday was born on 28 January 1829 to English parents in Bangalore, India. After studying at the Free Church of Scotland Institution in Madras [Chennai] and a brief spell as a Sunday school teacher for the Wesleyan Methodists he joined the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society in 1852. Initially he served as assistant to the Rev E E Jenkins at the High School in Royapettah but in 1853 he was ordained in Madras [Chennai]. In 1855 he married Miss P C Grant. An evangelist in both English and Tamil Hobday spent his career working in the WMMS District of Madras at Negapatam, Mannargudi, Trivellore [Tiruvallur], Karur, Trichinopoly and Madras [Chennai] itself (including periods as headmaster of schools in Royapettah, Negapatam and Mannargudi). In 1882, due to ill health, he became a supernumerary and in 1883 he opened an English school in Pondicherry. By 1886 he had returned to Madras [Chennai] (St Thomas's Mount) where he remained there until his death on 5 May 1889.

Rev George Hobday (younger brother of James) was born to English parents in south India in 1830 (spending most of his childhood in Madras [Chennai]). He studied at the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel's Sullivan's College in Madras [Chennai] and after a brief tenure in their mission offered his services to the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society. He was ordained in Madras [Chennai] in 1857 and was initially posted to Negapatam where, excluding a brief period in Trichinopoly, he remained until 1861. For the next 27 years he served, preaching in both English and Tamil, in the WMMS Madras District working at Tiruvallur, Karur, Aravakurizh [Aravakurichi], Dharapuram (for nine years) and Madras [Chennai] itself. In 1888 he transferred to the newly created WMMS District of Negapatam (in part formed from some of the Madras District) and worked in Mannargudi then Melnatham [Melanatham], returning to Mannargudi as a supernumerary in 1893. In 1900 he relocated to Ootacamund [Udhagamandalam] in the WMMS Mysore district where he remained until his death on 16 December 1912.

Further Reading,

Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society, Reports of the Madras Auxiliary.

Conditions Governing Access


Archivist's Note


Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, please contact Archives & Special Collections, SOAS Library in the first instance

Copyright principally held by Trustees for Methodist Church Purposes

Related Material

Also within the records of the (Wesleyan) Methodist Missionary Society is the official correspondence for James Hobday (MMS/India/Correspondence/Madras/FBN 23-25) although there appears to be no correspondence by his brother, George. Further information on the brothers work, as well as the work of their colleagues, should be contained in the relevant Synod Minutes (MMS/India/Synod Minutes/FBN 1-4).