Culshaw family

Missionary family, several generations of which served in India.

Joseph Culshaw (c.1856-1881; e.m.1877) was born into a Roman Catholic family at Ormskirk on 25 September 1856. He trained at Richmond College and served in Kimberley, South Africa before dying on 11 February 1881 while crossing a flooded river on horseback on his way to Heilbron at Kroonstad in the Orange Free State. His brother William Culshaw, a local preacher for fifty years, was the father and grandfather of missionaries in India.

William's son Joseph Culshaw, born on 16 July 1871, at Ormskirk left school at 12 to become a printer's apprentice and in 1892 responded to a call for 'workers' in India. In 1897 he was ordained into the Methodist Episcopal Church. His oldest son, William Cartland Culshaw, went to America for missionary training, but was killed in World War I. His other three children all became missionaries in India.

Wesley James Culshaw (1904-1975) was born at Howrah, Bengal on 15 January 1904 and educated at University College, London and Richmond College. He served in Bengal from 1927 to 1949, becoming District ChairmanChairman of the District in 1943. His wife Freda (née Cox) had been a Women's Work missionary in Bengal from 1925. He was fluent in Bengali, Hindi and Santali and after eight years in English circuits he became Translations Secretary for the British and Foreign Bible Society from 1957 to 1967, first in Bangalore and then in Canberra. As Translations Co-ordinator to the United Bible Societies 1966-67 he was in close contact with RC scholars. He wrote an anthropological study of the Santal tribe, Tribal Heritage (1949) and a textbook A Missionary Looks at his Job (1937), widely used in missionary training. He died at Storrington on 27 March 1975. His sister Kathleen Culshaw (1906-1986), born in India, graduated from Manchester University and was an accomplished linguist. She spent most of her 30 years of missionary service as a *deaconess in Hyderabad City, where she ministered pastorally to Muslim women in their homes, showing a sensitivity to their traditional religious faith and customs and exercising a wide influence. She was Vice-President of the Wesley Deaconess Order in 1967. Their brother Joseph Clifford Culshaw (1910-1999) was born in Darjeeling on 13 February 1910 and educated at Queen's College, Oxford and Wesley House, Cambridge. He served in Bengal from 1934 to 1948 and then returned home on health grounds. He was a gifted linguist and as a preacher was described as 'dedicated to wrestling with intellectual difficulties'. From 1953 to 1961 he was chaplain at Kingswood School. His wife Helen (died November 1997) was the daughter of Walter J. Noble. He retired to Stratford on Avon in 1975 and died at Dadford, Bucks, on 14 May 1999. Their son, Murray Joseph Culshaw, worked in India as a layman from 1964 to 1972 and returned there in 1989 under the auspices of OXFAM.

  • [Joseph Culshaw:] William Moister, Missionary Worthies 1782-1885 (1885) p.360
  • [Wesley J. Culshaw:] Methodist Recorder, 10 April 1975
  • [J. Clifford Culshaw] Methodist Recorder, 24 June 1999