Percival, Peter
? - 1873; e.m. 1825

A convert from Anglicanism. He served as a WM missionary in North Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) without a break, 1826-1851 (from 1838 as District Chairman), apart from a brief period spent in an abortive mission to Calcutta (1830). In the face of native prejudice and the rival policy of his colleague, Ralph Stott, who favoured more direct evangelism, he and his wife developed educational work, especially for girls, opening schools in Jaffna (including the forerunner of Jaffna Central College) and in a number of villages. An outstanding Tamil scholar, he produced translations of the Bible, hymns, etc. His revision of the Protestant Tamil Bible, the fruit of 15 years' work, was never given the recognition it deserved. On his return to England in 1851, he resigned over differences with the Missionary Committee, on property issues, reconverted to Anglicanism and returned to India as a Professor at Presidency College, Madras. He was in Jaffna at the time of the Hindu Revival and had close contact with one of its leaders, Arumuka Navalar.

  • G.G. Findlay and W.W. Holdsworth, The History of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society (1921-1924), vol. 5 pp.33-7, 348-50
  • W.J.T. Small, A History of the Methodist Church in Ceylon (Colombo, 1964) pp.196-8, 215, 217
  • R.F. Young and S. Jebanesan, The Bible Trembled (Vienna, 1995)

Entry written by: EJH
Category: Person
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