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Henry Martyn

18 February 1781 - 16 October 1812

Biography

Henry Martyn was an Anglican priest and missionary to the peoples of India and Persia. Born in Truro, Cornwall, he was educated at Truro Grammar School and St John’s College, Cambridge. A chance encounter with Charles Simeon led him to become a missionary. He was ordained a priest in the Church of England and became a chaplain for the British East India Company.

Martyn arrived in India in April 1806, where he preached and occupied himself in the study of linguistics. He translated the whole of the New Testament into Urdu, Persian and Judaeo-Persic. He also translated the Psalms into Persian and the Book of Common Prayer into Urdu. From India, he set out for Bushire, Shiraz, Isfahan, and Tabriz.

Martyn was seized with fever, and, though the plague was raging at Tokat, he was forced to stop there, unable to continue. On 16 October 1812 he died. He was remembered for his courage, selflessness and his religious devotion.

  • Born: 18 February 1781, Truro
  • Died: 16 October 1812, Tokat, Turkey