Bleby, Henry, and family
1809-1882; e.m. 1830

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Henry Bleby, a WM missionary in the West Indies, was born in Winchcombe, Glos, the son of Methodist parents,William Bleby, an ironmonger (died 1820) and his wife Abigail (née Newman; died 1830). They had at least five children, Charles, Mary, Patricia, Eleanor and Henry, all of whom became Sunday School teachers.

Henry, born on 16 March 1809, entered the ministry in 1830. He served in Jamaica 1830-1843, facing fierce persecution on the eve of emancipation. During a second period in the Caribbean, 1853-1878, he founded Queen's College, a secondary school in Nassau in the Bahamas. Among his numerous publications were accounts of his missionary experiences and discussions of the apostolic succession. He died on 22 May 1882.

He founded a missionary dynasty, with four sons, all educated at Kingswood School, Three of them followed him into the West Indian work: John Lucas Bleby (1843-1882; e.m. 1862); Richard Henry Bleby (1845-1891; e.m. 1864) who after service in the West Indies was appointed in 1879 to the English work in Calais, France; and William Henry Farmer Bleby (1856-1939; e.m. 1876), Chairman of the Jamaica District 1889-1893 and of the Bahamas District 1904-1916.

Their older brother, Henry William Bleby, a pupil at Kingswood 1840-46 and a master there in 1852-53, became a barrister and married the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Samuel D. Waddy; they had descendents who were Anglican clergymen and missionaries in Japan and a grandson who was Archdeacon of Adelaide.

In the next two generations, Henry Moore Bleby (1871-1951; e.m. 1895) served in Bengal, India and was instrumental in opening a leprosy settlement and orphanage at Raniganj, and his son Henry Edwin Bleby (1902-1928; e.m. 1923), served in Trichinopoly, extending the Church among the workers on the tea estates in the Anamalai Hills.

Of Henry Bleby's daughters, one was a temperance worker and the other a Head Mistress in Cape Town.

  • William Moister, Missionary Worthies 1782-1885 (1885) pp.386-88, 390-91
  • Methodist Recorder, 3 Jan 1929, 10 & 17 Aug 1939;12 April 1951
  • Henry Bleby, A Missionary Father's Tales (1876)
  • Henry M. Bleby, The Fourth Generation: a Modern Sequel to A Missionary Father's Tales (1935)