Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)CMS/B/OMS/I2
TitleSouth India Mission
Extent64 vols. of letter-books, mission books and precis books, 418 files (including journals) and 30 boxes of original papers and early correspondence
DescriptionPre-and post 1880 papers of the South India mission to 1934.
Access StatusOpen
Physical DescriptionNames of mission stations have been standardised, but no attempt has been made to modernise any names of the places. The bulk of names in the sub-number references are the spellings used in the documents.

Pre-1880 papers of the South India Mission, Under the Committee of Correspondence [C]. The series of home correspondence was continued for all correspondence received from within the British Isles, including letters written from missionaries on leave [ref. G/AC 3].

The post-1880 papers are each individually marked in red ink, and this number, plus the year, comprises the reference for each item [e.g. G2 I2/1918/44].
Administrative HistoryThe Society's missions in India centred on Calcutta [I1], Madras [I2] and Bombay [I3].
A Corresponding Committee was set up in Calcutta in 1807 and with the renewal of the East India Company's Charter in 1813 when missionaries were allowed into the country it took on the role of a CMS Auxiliary. The first CMS missionaries to North India did not reach Calcutta until 1816.
In Madras a Corresponding Committee was formed in November 1814 and the missionaries arrived the following year. A Corresponding Committee for CMS work in Bombay was formed in June 1818, though the first missionary did not arrive until 1820.

CMS work in South India began in Madras in 1814. It was run by the Madras Corresponding Committee until 1881 when Travancore and Cochin [I5] was set up as an autonomous mission. In 1924 work in the Telegu area [I9] and Tinnevelly [I10] was separated from Madras and made two independent missions. The South India mission changed its name to Madras. The main mission stations were Madras (1814) and Ootacamund (1870).

Mission work in the villages of Tinnevelly was grouped in districts. The first six, organised in 1841 (with an itinerating European missionary in charge of each) were Palamcotta, Satankullam, Suviseshapuram, Mengnanapuram, Dohnavur and the Northern district. In 1844 they added Paneivilei and Nulloor [Nallur] and in 1845 Paneividali, Surandei and Kadatchapuram. Changes continued as missionaries came and went. The Northern District was based on the Tinnevelly Itinerancy Mission and was formed in 1856. The northern parts of the Panikullam (or Paneivadali) district and of the Surandei mission were gradually passed over to the new district while a missionary was stationed at Sivagasi. In 1866 it officially changed its name to Sivagasi.

In 1869 there were ten districts covering more than a thousand villages and a District Church Council was formed for each. These districts were Palamcotta, Dohnavur, Suviseshapuram, Mengnanapuram Paneivilei, Panikullam, Nallur, Surandei and (in North Tinnevelly) Sivagasi and Vageikullam. For a short time in the 1870s there was also a district of Nallammalpuram.
Custodial HistoryPapers catalogued by Rosemary A. Keen, 1985-1986.
CopiesParts are available on microfilm and online. With the exception of the Original Papers (CMS/B/OMS/C/I2 O), the records from the South India mission series held as records of the Committee of Correspondence (CMS/B/OMS C I2) have been microfilmed and are available online. South India mission records held as records of the Group 2 Committee (CMS/B/OMS G2 I2) are not available on microfilm or online.

Church Missionary Society Archive: Section VI: Missions to India, parts 3 and 4.
Publisher: Marlborough: Adam Matthew Publications, 2004.
Location in the Cadbury Research Library: microfilm drawers B5 and B6.

Digital publication: Church Missionary Society Archive: Missions to India: South India Mission, 1815-1884.
Publisher: Adam Matthew Digital.
Access: by institutional subscription: access is free to members of the University of Birmingham and visitors to the Cadbury Research Library and other subscribing institutions.


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