|Administrative History||Roland Potter Butterfield (b c 1875) of Burgh-next-Aylsham of Norfolk, a gardener, was accepted for the CMS Preparatory Institution in 1896 and the Church Missionary College in 1897. He passed his 2nd Class Preliminary Theological Examination in 1900 in the same year that he was accepted as a missionary. He was ordained as deacon by the Bishop of London in 1900 and as priest by the Bishop of Colombo in 1901. He also studied at University College, Durham and was awarded a BA in 1909 and a BD in 1925.|
He served mostly, although not continuously, with Ceylon Mission from 1900 up to his retirement from service with the CMS in 1931. Before leaving for Ceylon, he was curate of Christ Church, Warley in 1900. He served as acting Chaplain to the Forces at Diyatalawa, Ceylon, 1900-02 and then was with the Tinnevelly Mission for language study in 1903. He then served with the 'Tamil Coolie Mission', at Kandy, 1904-08, Hatton, 1910-14, Haputale, 1916-23 and then becoming Secretary and Superintendent of the Tamil Coolie Mission, Colombo and Chaplain at Dimbula. He was temporary Chaplain to the Forces in Ceylon, 1918-32 and also Rural Dean of Nuwara Eliya, 1929-32. He was on furlough in England in 1908-10 and in 1914-16 and was given permission to officiate at Aylsham during the latter one. He was also curate at Liskeard, 1924-26.
After retirement from the CMS, he served as Vicar of Crondall, 1932-51. In 1952 he was given permission to officiate in the Diocese of Guildford.
He was author of a number of books including 'Padre Rowlands of Ceylon' (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, published in 1930), a biography of William Edward Rowlands (1837-1927), a missionary in Ceylon; 'Monastery and manor: the history of Crondall (Farnham: E.W. Langham, 1948); and an edition of the journal of Parson White of Crondall, 1816-56 under the title 'Ordained in Power' (Farnham : Herald Press, 1966.
He married Clara Herbert in 1904 and they had five children, Ronald, Martin, Elinor, Cicely and Geneste.
Sources: Crockford's Clerical Directory, 1965/66; Register of missionaries (clerical, lay & female) and native clergy from 1804 to 1904 (Church Missionary Society, 1905); CMS archives