A List of Chaplains at St.Luke’s Church, Abbottabad, and for the Hazara region, NWFP, Pakistan, in general, c. 1859-1947; Excepting Nathiagali-Dungagali-Kalabagh in the Galiyat Hill Tracts
St. Luke’s Church1 and the Old Christian Cemetery (OCC), Abbottabad2, in the Hazara region of the NWFP3, Pakistan, holds special interests for historians of the British colonial period; especially because of the military-historical connections of Abbottabad’s old cantonment to the British Indian Army of yore, the predecessor of the present Pakistani and Indian armies.
Abbottabad itself was founded in early 1853 by James Abbott, the first Deputy Commissioner of the Hazara region after the British annexation of the Punjab (1849), on a specially selected site; and the town was meant from the first to be both civilian administrative headquarters of the region/district as well as a central military garrison and cantonment4, and the place continued to grow and flourish as a number of military units were posted there. Soon enough, a sizeable garrison came to exist here, and since it was a family station, proper domestic lodgings in addition to army barracks also came into being, as well as a small family park, a bazaar and many other facilities. Since a permanent Christian community was now to be found here all year round, it became imperative to have a church for services and as early as 1854, plans were laid out for one and a central area demarcated for the site of its construction. It was envisaged in the ‘Gothic’ style. Since funds were a problem, the Anglican church in India set up a subscription and also launched a fund-raising campaign which appealed to people in India and back home in Britain; and by 1856, sufficient funds were available to start work—however, an interruption occurred in 1857 due to the Indian Mutiny/Rebellion; and it was not until late-1858 that work commenced in earnest going on slowly for quite some time. Finally, St. Luke’s was completed and duly consecrated in 1864. As the central church in the Hazara region, St Luke’s territorial jurisdiction extended throughout the district and also included the smaller parishes in the Galiyat tracts (including the smaller seasonal churches of St Matthew’s, Nathiagali and St. Xavier’s in the Wilderness, Thandiani, in due course), the supervision of the OCC, Abbottabad and several other smaller cemeteries in the area, as well as various other duties and responsibilities.
Since BACSA has for quite some time been involved in the task of documenting old cemeteries in South Asia, the preservation of surviving records of old churches and cemeteries are imminently relevant to its objectives. Thus, a listing of the chaplains in Abbottabad/Hazara (excepting the Galiyat tracts), which might be useful for BACSA members and/or researchers, compiled from existing/surviving records in Pakistan5, is given here. The list has been checked and counter-checked as carefully as possible from church records as well as other surviving sources such as journals, diaries, military regimental records, and so on; and although some gaps still remain, it is a reasonably accurate record.
It must also be remembered that most of the military units/battalions that served in, and were posted to Abbottabad, also had their own ‘military chaplains’ attached to each—indeed, St Luke’s church had strong early links to the 5th Gurkhas6 and in its early stages, frequently had recourse to their chaplaincy—but, by and large, the regular records of Births, Baptisms, Marriages and Deaths within Abbottabad/the Hazara were effectively maintained by the gentlemen listed here, over a considerable period of time. Some of them also held charge, or officiated in the hill tracts from time to time; whereas at other times, a separate chaplain was available to maintain records there. A smaller, supplementary list of chaplains in the hill tracts was also made whilst researching this topic, as part of an extended project spread out between 2008-2010; which list is available with the Vicar, at St Luke’s, Abbottabad, for those who are interested in delving deeper into this subject.
List of Chaplains
* Between 1853-1859, St Luke’s church hadn’t been established yet, and generally, army/military chaplains posted in Abbottabad provided various religious services to the community; and no regular, organized records are available for this time.
1.March 13th 1859-April 14th 1859: Robert Clark, Chaplain at Cambellpore/Attock, also officiating at Abbottabad. It is worth noting here, that initially, Abbottabad/Hazara fell under the jurisdiction of the Anglican Church at Rawalpindi, generally via the Chaplain at Campbellpore/Attock, but in due course, came under the Peshawar zone.
- March 19th 1860-April 14th 1861: Edward J.Tandy, Chaplain at Campbellpore/Attock, also officiating Abbottabad.
- June 4th 1861-July 14th 1863: P.Kellner, Chaplain for Nowshera, Campbellpore/Attock, also officiating at Abbottabad.
- July/August 1863-October 1864 [Interim]; John H.Pratt, Archdeacon, officiating via regular visitations from Rawalpindi, in the absence of a regular chaplain at Abbottabad.
* October 1864: Completion and consecration of St Luke’s church, Abbottabad, by the Bishop of Calcutta, the senior-most Anglican prelate in India.
- November 1864-April 13th 1866: P.Kellner, Chaplain for Abbottabad; hereinafter, for Abbottabad and Hazara generally.
- November 1866-May 1867: J.P. Hughes, officiating chaplain.
- May 24th 1867-Aug. 29th 1872: Rev. Henry Fisher Corbyn, MA. Chaplain
- Sept. 1872-Nov. 1872: J.P.Hughes, officiating.
- Nov. 15th 1872-Aug. 1879: Rev. Henry Fisher Corbyn, Chaplain.
10.Feb/March 1880: C. Swynerton, officiating.
- March 1880-Sept 1880: Rev. Henry Fisher Corbyn, Chaplain
- Sept 29th 1880-Dec 1880: Anthony N. --?—(Not clear), officiating.
- June 1881- Sept 1881: J.P.Hughes, officiating
- Sept 1881- Oct 1881: Walter C. Furneaux (?), officiating
- Oct. 1881- Sept 1883: M.M. Hackett, Chaplain
- Sept 1883- March 1884: H.Montgomery, Chaplain
- March 1884-April 1884: J. Con--?—(Not clear), officiating
- April 1884-May 1886: C.W. Hume, Chaplain
- May 1886-April 1887: John Coulson, Chaplain
- June 1887-July 1887: Charles A. Gillmore, officiating
- Nov 1887-Sept 1889: HW Griffith, Chaplain
- Sept 1889-Feb 1892: Charles Swynerton, Chaplain
- Feb 1892-July 1893: John Coulson, Chaplain
- August 1893-Feb 1895: W. Ellison, Chaplain
- Feb 1895-June 1895: C.W. Hume, officiating
- June 1895-Sept 1897: H. Montgomery, Chaplain
- Sept 1897-April 1898: Jas. G.S. Syme, Chaplain
- April 1898-May 1898: W. Thwaite, Chaplain (?)
- May 1898-Dec 1899: Jas. G.S. Syme, Chaplain
- Dec 1899-Sept 1900: T.Bomford, Chaplain
- Sept 1900-Dec 1900: John Coulson, officiating
- Dec 1900-Sept 1902: T. Bomford, Chaplain
- Nov 1902-Aug 1903: ?
- Aug 1903-Oct 1903: Rev. Henry Fisher Corbyn, Senior Chaplain for Hazara, was re-posted here and died Oct 1903, is buried at the OCC, Abbottabad.
- Aug 1904-Nov 1905: ?
- Nov 26th 1905-March 1906: J. King, officiating
- March 1906- Jan. 1907: G.A. Cam--?—(Not clear)
- Jan 1907-Jan 1908: Jas. G.S. Syme, Chaplain
- Jan 1908-Aug/Sept 1909: A.B.F.Cole, Chaplain
- Nov 1909-Dec 1911: S.E. Hickey, Chaplain
- Jan 1911-July 1912: W.W. Castle, officiating
- July 1912-Aug 1912: E.F.E Wigram, officiating
- Aug 1912-Nov 1913: W.W. Castle, Chaplain
- Nov 1913-Oct 1916: W. --?—Henry, Chaplain
- Nov 1916-Nov 1918: Rev W. Muspratt, Chaplain
- Nov 1918-Oct 1921: A.B.F.Cole, Chaplain
- Oct 1921-March 1922: Reg. C. Bartels, Chaplain
- March 1922-Nov 1924: W. --?—Henry, Chaplain
- Nov 1924-Jan 1926: H.H. Kettlewell, Chaplain
- Jan 1926-Oct/Nov 1926: G. Lawrence, Chaplain at Nowshera, officiating at Abbottabad also
- Oct/Nov 1926-May 1929: H.L.Carden, Chaplain
- May 1929-Oct 1929: M.S. Errs, officiating
- Oct 1929-Dec 1929: C--?—Deveril, officiating
- Dec 1929-Dec 1932: Norman E. Marshall, Chaplain.
- Jan/Feb 1933-March 1934: E. Claydon, Chaplain
- March/April 1934-Aug 1935: Mark Salisbury, officiating
- Aug 1935-April/May 1937: F.G.H. [Jawbling? Tawbling?/Not clear], Chaplain
- May 1937-Aug 1937: R.H. Noble, officiating
59: Aug 1937-April 1939: E. Nicholl, Chaplain
- April 1939-Oct 1940: Basil Morgan, Chaplain
- Nov 1940-Dec 1941: Rev N.Geddes, Chaplain
- Jan 1942-Dec 1944: A.M.Saunders, Chaplain
- Dec 1944/Jan 1945-Nov 1945: -- ?—
- Nov 1945-Aug 1946: L.Gorrie, Chaplain
- Aug 1946-Jan 1947: E. Claydon, Chaplain
- Jan 1947-March 1947: F.Garrett, IA, Chaplain of the 15th Punjab Regt, officiating
- March 1947-May/June 1947: E. Claydon, Chaplain.
* From June 1947 to April 1948, no chaplain or vicar, St Luke’s shut down in the wake of Independence/Partition, 1947. In April 1948, after many complaints and representations by the small/remaining local Christian community in Abbottabad, the church authorities nominated Daniel Rashid, Chaplain at Peshawar, to the additional visiting charge of Abbottabad/Hazara. He also reorganized occasional church services and prayers here under several lay preachers, from time to time. It was not until August 1951 that the Rev J.H. Hewitt, Vicar of Peshawar, also received additional charge of the Hazara region and regular services were once again instituted at St Luke’s. A Curate was then appointed in 1954, to assist here full-time and at last, in 1965, this official, Z.K. Daniels, was appointed permanent Vicar and Chaplain for Hazara.
1 In Abbottabad’s old cantonment near the GPO and the main Saddar Bazaar. It was the main Anglican church in the Hazara region, originally constructed and completed between 1854-1864. It is today part of the Peshawar Diocese of the Church of Pakistan.
2 The old, central Christian cemetery in Abbottabad. For further information about the foundation of Abbottabad town and on the OCC, please see a detailed and comprehensive article by O.Tarin and S.Najmuddin, “ Five Early Military Graves (1853-1888) at the Old Christian (Anglican) Cemetery, Abbottabad, Pakistan”, in The Kipling Journal , UK, Vol 84, No 339, December 2010, pp. 35-52. This article was originally published in serialized form in Durbar: Journal of the Indian Military Historical Society , Autumn and Winter 2009, and later republished in the above journal as a whole.
3 The NWFP (North-West Frontier Province), once a part of the Punjab province of British India and later a separate province from 1902 onwards, has recently been renamed as the ‘Khyber-Pukhtunkhwa’ province, w.e.f; April 2010; however, for historical purposes the old name shall be continued to be used when referring to the period 1902-2010.
4 Tarin and Najmuddin, Ibid, pp. 37-38.
5 I am especially thankful in this regard to Rev. Riaz Mobarek, Vicar of St Luke’s, Abbottabad, for providing continued access to records and archives.
6 The Fifth Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) or ‘Punjab Goorkhas’, or ‘Huzara Goorkha Battalion’, was originally raised at Abbottabad in May 1858, and this was also their home station. In August 1947, they were transferred to the Indian Army and are now designated as the 5th Gorkha Rifles (Frontier Force). For further information about them please see John Gaylor, Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903-1991, orig. published UK, 1992; Indian reprint, New Delhi: Lancer International, 1993, pp. 232-234; and p. 294.
_ This article was published with some few amendments in the FIBIS Journal, UK, No 27, Spring 2012, pp 23-30