WM missionary in India, born at Exeter of Methodist parents. Educated at Exeter Grammar school, he showed early intellectual promise. He served in India from 1845 to 1863, mainly in the Madras District, where he did educational and evangelistic work among the lower castes and established Royapettah College, the earliest WM educational institution in India. In 1857 he was appointed Chairman of the Madras District and in 1862 instigated the Hyderabad mission.
Back home from 1864 on health grounds, he spent 40 years as a persuasive advocate of the missions and from 1877 to 1888 was a General Secretary of the WMMS. He attended the Evangelical Alliance convention in New York in 1873 and visited China, Japan and India in 1875-1876 and 1884-1885. He was a vigorous defender and advocate of the missionaries in India in the Missionary Controversy of 1889-1890. He was President of the 1880 Conference and lived to be the oldest member of the Legal Hundred. He died in Southport on 19 July 1905.
His second wife, Margaret Heald Wood, daughter of Dr.Peter Wood of Southport, died on 7 March 1875. Their son and his father's biographer, James Heald Jenkins (1875-post 1934), was born at Highbury and educated at The Leys School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He was a local preacher and circuit steward. In 1904 he founded Caldicott Preparatory School, Hitchin, which moved to Farnham Royal in 1938. He married Theodora, the daughter of the Rev. David C. Ingram (e.m. 1860; d.1897). Their daughter, Elizabeth Jenkins (1905-2010), brought up a Methodist, later became an Anglican. She read English and History at Newnham College, Cambridge, taught at King Alfred’s School, Hampstead 1929-1939 and after the war became a full-time novelist and biographer. Her autobiography The View from Downside Hill was published in 2004. She served on the committee of the Jane Austen Society for over 50 years and published Jane Austen: a biography in 1938. Her brother, Romilly James Heald Jenkins (1907-1969), also born at Hitchin, was educated at The Leys School and Emmanuel College. A classicist and archaeologist, connected with the British School at Athens, he later turned to modern Greek, holding a chair at Kings College, University of London, 1946 to 1960, and then at Dunbarton Oaks, USA, where he died on 30 September 1969