Rev. Robert Pickering ASHE
- Born: 29 Nov 1857, Witton, Blackburn, Lancashire, England
- Christened: 29 Dec 1857, St. Mark the Evangelist, Witton, Lancashire, England
- Marriage (1): Emma Lena Edith JACKSON on 15 Mar 1894 in St. Peter's Church, Portishead, Bristol, Somerset, England
- Marriage (2): Edith BLACKLER on 4 Apr 1899 in All Saints Church, Boudja, Smyrna, Turkey
- Died: 25 May 1944, Croydon, Surrey, England aged 86
- Buried: 29 May 1944, Warlingham Churchyard, Croydon, Surrey, England
Extract from Lancashire registry for Births, Marriages and Deaths
Birth: 1857 -- Ashe, Robert Pickering, at Witton, Blackburn (mother's maiden name was Pickering).
Extract from "Baptisms at St. Mark the Evangelist in the District of Witton, Blackburn"
Name: Robert Pickering Ashe
Born: 29 November 1857
Son of: George Alexander Hamilton Ashe and Mary
Father's occupation: Clergyman of the Church of England
Abode: The Parsonage, Witton
Baptised: 29 December 1857 by George H. Ashe
Extract from the "Homeward Mail from India, China and the East" dated Monday, 8 August 1887
Departure of Passengers:
For Aden. - From Brindisi: Rev. R. P. Ashe; Rev. R. H. Walker.
Extract from the "Blackburn Standard" dated Saturday, 7 May 1892
And bycyclists swarm everywhere now-a-days in every village of the land. They are like locusts on the roads and bye-ways. The art is not confined to England, or even to civilised countries, for the Rev. Robert Ashe journeyed the other day from the East Coast to Central Africa on a bicycle, and found it the very thing for the narrow beaten footpaths of that wild country. The journey is five hundred miles, so that the undertaking was no light one in a land where macadam is unknown. Now that bicycles have been consecrated by missionary use, let no one pronounce a malediction ex cathedrá on the cyclist, let his Sabbath predilictions for journeying abroad be what they may.
Extract from England and Wales Marriage Index
Groom: Robert Pickering Ashe
Spouse: Emma Lena E. Jackson
Marriage: registered: 1894 in Bedminster, Somerset, England
Witnesses: Thomas Coles and Florence Wyatt
Born 29 November 1857 in Witton, Blackburn where his father, George Alexander Hamilton Ashe (born 29 May 1812) was Vicar. His father first married Mary Ogle and had three children - Isabella (Woods), Henry and George. After her death, his father married Mary Pickering, and she had five children, Mary, Ellen, Florence, William and Robert. She died in childbirth.
When he was 7 years old, Robert was sent to Ireland for a holiday with his grandparents, Henry and Sophie, in the Vicarage at Acton. His grandmother was delighted with him. It was lovely to have a little boy once more running about the place. For a while, he could do no wrong. "He is a little angel", she said. "He won't be long in this world -- for sure, God will take him young". However, a few days later. she caught him chasing her geese around the Vicarage garden. "The little villain," she said, " Sure he will live to a ripe old age", which he did -- Robert died at the age of 86.
Robert Pickering Ashe was educated at Clitheroe Grammar School, and at Rossall School. In 1874 he went to St. John's College Cambridge. He was ordained Deacon by Bishop Ryle in Liverpool Cathedral in 1880, and served his title at St. Michael's, Liverpool. He was then appointed to a Curacy at St. James' Clarkenwell.
In the UK census of 1871, Robert was recorded as a Scholar at Rossall College. In the U.K. Census of 3 April 1881, Robert was recorded at 28 Great George Street, Liverpool, Lancashire, and is listed as a Boarder, Clerk in Orders B.A.
In 1882 he joined a group of CMS missionaries, and went to Uganda to join Alexander Mackay. (See his two books, Two Kings of Uganda, first published in 1889, and Chronicles of Uganda, first published in 1894). On his first journey to Uganda, the party consisted of the Rev James Hannington (later made Bishop, and murdered on the border of Uganda Oct. 30, 1885), the Rev Cyril Gordon, Rev. Joseph Blackburn, Rev. Walter Edmonds, and Charles Wise, the only lay-man, trained as a tin-smith. The leader of the party was Charles Stokes.
Mackay wrote this verse:
Ashe, Cyril and I
To build houses high
and lay out fine gardens begin;
While Wise, our lay brother
And strengthens the corners with tin.
In 1886 Robert Ashe returned to England to tell the story of the Mission and to ask for reinforcements. He set off on the 800 mile journey to the coast suffering from malaria, and at one point was so weak that he could not walk. They met a party of Arabs going inland who had a fine Muscat donkey. Ashe sent a message to them asking if he could buy the donkey. They wanted the equivalent of £30 in stores, of which they had none. He tore a page out of his notebook and wrote, "To the Bank at Zanzibar, Pay (and the Arab's name) £30", and signed it. One Arab was derisive, and refused the paper, but the other said, "Is he an Englishman?" When he heard that he was, he took the paper. So Robert Ashe got the donkey, and months later the Arabs returned to Zanzibar, and got their £30!
In 1887, he returned to Uganda, and for a time was alone with Mackay. In 1888 he went back to England and arrived on Dec.25. During 1889 he wrote 'Two Kings of Uganda'.
In 1890 came news of Mackay's death, which he took as a summons to return to Uganda. In May 1891 CMS sent him, and a party of five new missionaries, Wright, Greaves (who died of dysentery on the journey), Hubbard, Collins and Roscoe. They reached Uganda on January 13 1892. On his return to England he lived in Portishead, and wrote 'Chronicles of Uganda'.
In 1894, he married (1) Emma Lena Jackson in Portishead, and they had one son, Robert Henry Nicholas Ashe, before her death in childbirth in 1897. R.P. Ashe then took the Chaplaincy in Boudja, Smyrna, Turkey (from 1898 - 1923), where a thriving British Community attended All Saints Church.
In 1899 he married (2) Edith Blackler, the daughter of Francis Blackler (of Marblehead Massachusetts) and Annie (Boucher Routh).
They had five children: Oliver 1900, Mary 1902, William 1903, Ellen 1905 and Francis Patrick Bellesme in 1915.
During the First World War 1914 to 1918 they were interned, and although suffering great privations, they were well treated by the Turks. They were allowed to live in the Parsonage, and in their own Mill during the summer months. Some of the survivors of the Kut-el-Amara disaster in Mesopotamia went through Boudja, and Robert and Edith were able to help them. Robert (Robert Henry Nicholas Ashe) served in the army and became a Lieutenant. The rest of the family was too young.
In 1921, R.P. Ashe exchanged with Rev. Satchell, the Vicar of St. Wurburg's, Bristol for one year, and then returned to Smyrna. In 1922, they were driven out by the Turkish uprising under Kemal Ataturk, and were taken on the Hospital Ship "Maine" to Malta, where they were refugees for many months in the Lazaretto. They returned in 1924 for a short time to Smyrna, where they found all their property had been looted except for a case of silver hidden under the floor boards.
He was then made Chaplain to the British Community in Cartagena, Spain. There his daughter, Mary, married A. Trevor M. Poore.
In 1925, R.P. Ashe retired to Croydon, Surrey, where Patrick went to Whitgift School. Ellen married Winthrop Buckingham, and they went to live in Tangier.
Robert Pickering Ashe died at the age of 86 on 29 May 1944, and is buried in Warlingham Churchyard in the Blackler - Ashe grave.
Extract from "Alumni cantabrigienses; a biographical list of all known students, graduates and holders of office at the University of Cambridge, from the earliest times to 1900: Part II, Vol. I" by John Venn and J.A. Venn (1940)
ASHE, ROBERT PICKERING. Adm. pens, at St John's, Oct. 12, 1876. S. of George Alexander Hamilton, clerk. B. Nov. 29, 1857, at Witton, Lancs. School, Rossall. Matric. Michs. 1876; B.A. 1880; M.A. 1887. Ord. deacon, 1880; priest (Liverpool) 1881; C. of St Michael's, Liverpool, 1880-2. C.M.S. Missionary in Uganda, 1882-8 and 1891-3. C. of Wareham, 1889-91. C. of Portishead, 1897-8. Chaplain at Boudjah, Turkey-in-Asia, 1898-1922 and 1924-5. Chaplain at Cartagena, 1922-4; retired. Of 65, Birdhurst Rise, South Croydon, Surrey. Author, Two Kings of Uganda; Chronicles of Uganda. Brother of Henry (1864). (Rossall Sch. Reg.; Crockford, 1938.)
Extract from the "Freeman's Journal" dated Thursday, 22 March 1894
Marriage: ASHE and JACKSON - March 15, 1894, at Saint Peter's Church, Portishead, Somerset, the Rev. Robert Pickering Ashe to Emma Lena, the only daughter of Æmelius Jackson, Esq., of Portishead, formerly of Blackburn, Lancashire.
Extract from the Blackburn Standard, dated Saturday, 29 July 1893
The Rev. G. H. Ashe, Vicar of Witton, has sustained a sad bereavement by the death, on Tuesday, of his eldest son, the Rev. Henry Ashe, Vicar of Staveley. The deceased clergyman, who was in middle life, was not robust, and had been ill for some time, we believe. His half-brother, the Rev. Robert Ashe, well known as one of the missionaries attached to the Church Missionary Society's mission-station at Uganda, East Africa, but who is at present in England, has come down from London to be with his venerable father a few days in his bereavement. As a boy and young man, Mr Harry Ashe was known to many of his father's parishioners in Witton, and also had numerous friends in Blackburn.
Extract from The Times Newspaper
25/05/1944. At his home, 65 Birdhurst Rise, Croydon, Robert P. Ashe passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 86. He was a C.M.S. Missionary in Uganda from 1882, and Chaplain in Boudja, Smyrna, Turkey, from 1898.
The Sphere: 5 February 1927
A Veteran Missionary
During last week's jubilee celebration of the mission to Uganda, the Rev. R.P. Ashe was naturally a most interesting figure, for he accompanied Bishop Hannington's first party thither in 1882. The son of a Lancashire vicar, while at St. John's College, Cambridge, he made friends with Archdeacon Walker, afterwards a great Uganda missionary. It was largely through the latter's influence that Mr. Ashe entered the Church, and, after being ordained, became curate of St. Michael's, Liverpool. Preaching a missionary sermon urging men to take up the work, induced him to offer himself to go anywhere, and the Church Missionary Society sent him with Bishop Hannington. When the mission reached Victoria Lake, the bishop fell ill and had to return, but Mr. Ashe went on to Uganda to join Mr. Mackay, whom Stanley called "a second Livingstone", and with whom he remained for four years. During that time, on the bishop's return the King of Uganda caused him to be murdered while Mr. Ashe and Mr. Mackay were sentenced to death and were saved only by the king's change of mood. Coming home for a short time, Mr. Ashe returned to Uganda for another four years. Back in London in 1893 he did much work for the Bible Society and the Church Missionary Society, and in 1898 was appointed Chaplain to the British Community in Smyrna, an office he held for twenty six years before going to Cartagena, Spain, which, like Smyrna, is in the diocese of Gibraltar.
Obituary: 1 June 1944
The Rev. R.P. Ashe: Early Missionary Service in Uganda
THE REV. ROBERT PICKERING ASHE, who died in his sleep last Thursday at his home in Croydon at the age of 86, was one of the earliest missionaries to Uganda.
After leaving St. John's College, Cambridge, he was for two years a curate in Liverpool, which he left in 1882 in response to an appeal by Alexander Mackay for recruits for the new mission field in Uganda. Among the party of seven men sent out at that time by the C.M.S. was Hannington, the future bishop. The story of Mr. Ashe's work in Uganda is told in his books, "Two Kings of Uganda" and "Chronicles of Uganda". He was Mackay's chief helper in translating the Gospels and the Prayer Book in to Luganda.
Not long after the arrival of Mr. Ashe, Mwanga began his persecution of young Christians, and among the Native converts burnt alive was Mr. Ashe's own servant. The British missionaries were themselves in constant danger of death, particularly during the weeks which followed the murder of Bishop Hannington on his way back to Uganda after his consecration, and their lives were probably spared only because Mwanga wanted their medical services, could extract occasional gifts, and was an irresolute man. But at last the situation became so dangerous that Mackay, a gallant leader, decided to withdraw to the south of Lake Nyanza and send Ashe home to tell the story of the mission and ask for reinforcements. His task fulfilled, Ashe returned accompanied by his friend Robert Walker, who was to become the first Archdeacon of Uganda. In 1888, following serious and persisting illness, he was sent back to England, where he became curate of Wareham. but in 1890 the news of the death of Mackay was to him a further summons, and he went back to Uganda -- to find the country in the throes of religious war. It was a very difficult time for the mission (of which he was acting secretary), and after peace had been re-established he resigned.
He was for a time curate in Portishead, and then for 25 years chaplain to the British community in Smyrna, and afterwards chaplain for short periods in Malta and Cartagena. After his retirement from active work he lived in Croydon.
THE ROBERT PICKERING ASHE MEMORIAL
The Rev. R.P. Ashe first went to Uganda as a pioneer Missionary in 1882. His name there is greatly respected as one of God's first messengers of the Good News of Christ.
The Hospital at Mengo, capital of Uganda, is celebrating its Jubilee, and is building new premises at an estimated cost of £30,000.
The Rossall Cot Fund is planning to offer the Hospital the Operation Theatre and Lift as a Memorial to two Old Rossallians whose names are famous in Uganda, the Rev. R.P. Ashe, and Lord Lugard.
The Dedication of the Theatre and Lift will be as follows:
"To the Glory of God and in Memory of The Reverend Robert Pickering Ashe, M.A., F.R.G.S., and Colonel, the Right Honourable Frederick John Dealtry, Baron Lugard, G.C.M.G., C.B, D.S.O., P.C.
This Operation Theatre is erected by past and present Rossallians, Relatives and Friends."
The cost is estimated at £1,500. Contributions may be sent to the Hon. Treasurer:
The Rev. W. Armour
10 Holmfield Ave.
Noted events in his life were:
• Deacon, 1880, St. James, Clerkenwell, London, England.
• 1881 England Census, 3 Apr 1881, Boarder at 28 Great George Square, Liverpool, Lancashire.
• Priest, 1881, St. James, Clerkenwell, London, England.
• Missionary, 1882-1889, Uganda.
• Chaplain to British Community, 1889-1922, Boudjah, Smyrna, Turkey.
• Chaplain, 1922, Cartagena, Spain.
Robert married Emma Lena Edith JACKSON, daughter of Aemilius Irving JACKSON and Sarah Edith GREEN, on 15 Mar 1894 in St. Peter's Church, Portishead, Bristol, Somerset, England. (Emma Lena Edith JACKSON was born on 20 Oct 1867 in Blackburn, Lancashire, England, christened on 5 May 1868 in St. Mary the Virgin, Blackburn, Lancashire, England, died on 23 Oct 1897 in Rose Mount, Portishead, Bristol, England and was buried on 26 Oct 1897 in St. Peter's Churchyard, Portishead, Somerset, England.). The cause of her death was Died in childbirth.
Robert next married Edith BLACKLER, daughter of Francis Chipman BLACKLER and Annie Sophia Boucher ROUTH, on 4 Apr 1899 in All Saints Church, Boudja, Smyrna, Turkey. (Edith BLACKLER was born on 6 Mar 1870 in Smyrna, Turkey, christened on 14 Aug 1870 in All Saints' Church, Boudja, Smyrna, Turkey, died on 12 Mar 1963 in Croydon, Surrey, England and was buried in Warlingham Churchyard, Croydon, Surrey, England.)