Shaw, William (1798-1872)
1798-1872; e.m. 1820

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WM missionary in South Africa, was born in Glasgow on 8 December 1798. He served in South Africa 1820-33 and 1837-56, initially as chaplain to the British settlers. In 1824 he began to open a string of mission stations among the Xhosas. His wife's words as they set out were the theme of South African Methodism's 150th anniversary in 1956: 'Let us go in the name of the Lord.' In his second tour, as General Superintendent for South East Africa, he extended the chain to Natal and Methodism came to have more black members than any other mainline denomination in the country. Back in England he drew up a scheme for a South African Conference which was not realised for 20 years. He wrote The Story of My Mission (1860) and was President of the 1865 Conference. He died at Brixton on 3 December 1872.


' Strong sense, frank, manly, noble, useful,daring, prudent, self-denying, - a fine specimen of the Missionary spirit and character.'

Wesleyan Takings (1840) p.323

  • Robert A. West, Sketches of Wesleyan Preachers (1849) pp.359-69
  • W.B. Boyce (ed.), Memoir of the Rev. William Shaw (1874)
  • William Moister, Missionary Worthies, 1782-1885 (1885) pp.188-90
  • G.J. Stevenson, Methodist Worthies (1884-1886), 3 pp.329-39
  • Horton Davies, Great South African Christians (1951) pp.30-39
  • C. Sadler, Never a Young Man (Cape Town, 1967)

Entry written by: JRP
Category: Person
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