Clough, Benjamin
1791-1853; e.m. 1813

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The youngest of the missionaries who accompanied Thomas Coke to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in 1814 was born in Bradford. He was stationed in Galle and Colombo and was Chairman of the South Ceylon District, 1825-1837, a time of critical importance for the consolidation of the Methodist presence there, through the building of churches and the founding of schools. He engaged actively with Buddhism, both in dialogue and confrontation, and became a scholar of Sinhala and Pali, stressing the necessity for missionaries to learn about Buddhism through the original languages. He published Sinhalese dictionaries and a Pali grammar. Returning to serve in English circuits in 1836, he died in Southwark on 13 April 1853.


'Sometimes preached four times a day when abroad, and after returning home in the evening has sat down and wept, because he could not preach oftener… Frank, -generous - useful. - and teeming with interest as an orientalist.'

Wesleyan Takings (1840), p.360

  • W.J.T. Small, A History of the Methodist Church in Ceylon (Colombo, 1964)