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Charles Thomas Studd was born 2 December 1860, Spratton, Northamptonshire, England, and died 16 July 1931, Ibambi, Belgian Congo.

In 1888 he married Priscilla Stewart, and their marriage produced four daughters (Grace, Dorothy, Edith & Pauline) and two sons, who died in infancy.

Studd is remembered both as a cricketer and missionary. As a cricketer he played for England in the famous 1882 match won by Australia which was the origins of Ashes. As a British Protestant Christian missionary to China he was part of the Cambridge Seven, and later was responsible for setting up the Heart of Africa Mission which became the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade (now WEC International).


His faith

Studd's wealthy father Edward Studd became a Christian during a Moody-Sankey campaign in England, and a visiting preacher to the Studd household converted C.T. and his three brothers to the faith while they were students at Eton. According to his conversion narrative, the preacher asked him if he believed God's promises, and as Charles' answer was not convincing enough, the guest pressed the point. Charles later recalled the moment:

"I got down on my knees and I did say 'thank you' to God. And right then and there joy and peace came into my soul. I knew then what it was to be 'born again,' and the Bible which had been so dry to me before, became everything."

The three famous Studd brothers

In 1884 after his brother George was taken seriously ill Charles was confronted by the question, "What is all the fame and flattery worth ... when a man comes to face eternity?" He had to admit that since his conversion six years earlier he had been in "an unhappy backslidden state." As a result of the experience he said, "I know that cricket would not last, and honour would not last, and nothing in this world would last, but it was worth while living for the world to come."

Studd emphasised the life of faith, believing that God would provide for a Christian's needs. His parents died while he was in China, and he gave away his inheritance of £29,000, specifying £5,000 to be used for the Moody Bible Institute, £5,000 for George Muller mission work and his orphans, £5,000 for George Holland's work with England's poor in Whitechapel, and £5,000 to Commissioner Booth Tucker for the Salvation Army in India.

Studd believed that God's purposes could be confirmed through providential coincidences, such as a sum of money being donated spontaneously at just the right moment. He encouraged Christians to take risks in planning missionary ventures, trusting in God to provide. His spirituality was intense, and he mostly read only the Bible. Another work that influenced him was The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life. Although he believed that God sometimes healed physical illnesses through prayer and the anointing of oil, he also accepted that some ailments were chronic, and in his last years he regularly took morphine, causing some controversy. Studd also believed in plain speaking and muscular Christianity, and his call for Christians embrace a "Don't Care a Damn" (DCD) attitude to worldly things caused some scandal. He believed that misionary work was urgent, and that those who were unevangelised would be condemned to hell.

Studd wrote several books, including "The Chocolate Soldier" and "Christ's Etcetera's".


Missionary work

Studd began as an evangelist, and among those he influenced were Wilfred Grenfell and Frederick Brotherton Meyer.

As a result of his brother's illness and the effect it had upon him, he decided to pursue his faith through missionary work in China and was one of the "Cambridge Seven" who offered themselves to Hudson Taylor for missionary service at the China Inland Mission, leaving for there in February 1885. Of his missionary work he said,

Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell.

Priscilla Studd

While in China he married Priscilla, in a ceremony performed by a Chinese pastor, and four daughters were born. Studd believed that God had given him daughters to educate the Chinese about the value of baby girls.

On returning to England he was invited to visit America where his brother Kynaston had recently arranged meetings which had led to the formation of the Student Volunteer Movement. He also here influenced John Mott

Between 1900-1906 Studd was pastor of a church at Ootacamund in Southern India and although it was a different situation to the pioneer missionary work he had undertaken in China, his ministry was marked by numerous conversions amongst the British officials and the local community. However, on his return home Studd met a German missionary named Karl Kumm, and he became concerned about the large parts of Africa that had never been reached with the Gospel. In 1910 he went to the Sudan and was concerned by the lack of Christian faith in central Africa. Out of this concern Studd was led to set up the Heart of Africa Mission. His speaking on the subject inspired Howard Morrill (Bishop of China, and later Archbishop of Sydney), Arthur Pitts-Pitts (of the Church Missionary Society in Kenya), and Graham Brown (Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem). As an HQ for the venture, the Studds chose 17 Highland Road in Upper Norwood, South London. Studd believed that funds for the work should not be directly solicited, so finances were always tenuous. However, he enjoyed the support of Lord Radstock.

Against medical advice, Studd first visited the Belgian Congo in 1913 in the company of Alfred Buxton, and he established four mission stations in an area then inhabited by eight different tribes. Studd returned to England when Priscilla fell ill, but when he returned to the Congo in 1916 she had recovered sufficiently to undertake the expansion of the mission into the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade with workers in South America, Central Asia and the Middle East as well as Africa. Supported by his wife's work at home, Studd built up an extensive missionary outreach based on his centre at Ibambi. Priscilla made a short visit to the Congo in 1928. That was the last time they met; she died the following year. Studd was joined in his work by his daughter Pauline and son-in-law Norman Grubb, and his grandson Noel Grubb, who died on his first birthday, is buried at Nala. Studd's daughter Edith married Buxton.

In 1931, still labouring for the Lord at Ibambi at the age of seventy, Charles Studd died from untreated gallstones, but his vision for China, India and Africa was maintained by Norman Grubb, who took charge of WEC. His last years, however, were marked by controversy; some missionaries dissented from his methods and leadership style, and several either left or were dismissed. Studd's use of morphine - including supplies which may not have been declared at customs - also scandalised some.

In total he spent some fifteen years in China and six in India on his missionary work and then he devoted the rest of his life to spreading the Gospel message in Africa, founding the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade (now WEC International). To this day, his name remains linked with the evangelisation of the Congo Basin, and in 1930 he was made a Chevalier of the Royal Order of the Lion by the King of the Belgians. His biography, by Norman Grubb, was exceptionally popular.


The Cambridge Seven

The Cambridge Seven

The seven Cambridge students who became missionaries (known as the Cambridge Seven) to China were:


Cricketing career

Studd gained fame as a cricketer representing England's Cambridge University as a Gentlemen of India, Middlesex at Cricket. Charles was the youngest and most famous of The Studd Brothers. By the time he was sixteen he had started to excel at cricket and at nineteen was captain of his team at Eton College; after school he went to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was also recognised as an outstanding cricketer.


Studd and the Ashes, 1882

Studd played in the original Test against Australia where the Ashes were first named and was one of the last two batsman in. When Studd went in, England needed a mere ten runs to win. However, an eccentric performance by his batting partner Ted Peate led to the match being lost.

A week later, the relevant edition of the Sporting Times included a mock obituary which has assumed iconic status:


Studd's fame lives on though through the inscription preserved on the Ashes urn to this day, which reads,

When Ivo goes back with the urn, the urn;
Studds, Steel, Read and Tylecote return, return;
The welkin will ring loud,
The great crowd will feel proud,
Seeing Barlow and Bates with the urn, the urn;
And the rest coming home with the urn.

Studd's Daughters

  • Grace Studd married Martin Sutton, and, after his death, David Munro (who converted to Christianity only later)
  • Dorothy Studd married the Rev Gilbert A Barclay
  • Edith Studd married Alfred Buxton
  • Pauline Studd married Norman Grubb

Studd family and related articles


Further reading

See also

External links


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Source: Wikipedia

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