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Rev. Hon. Henry Douglas





Rev. Hon. Henry Douglas Douglas (17 December 1822 - 4 October 1907) was the son of George Sholto Douglas, 17th Earl of Morton and Frances Theodora Rose. He was baptised on 1 January 1823 at Berlin, Brandenburg, Germany.

 He graduated from Durham University, Durham, County Durham, England, with a Master of Arts (M.A.) and also from University of the Southern U.S.A., Sewanee, Tennessee, U.S.A., with a B.L.C.


He was Minister at St John's, Cape Town, and Chaplain to the Bishop of Cape Town, 1847-1854.  He was Rector of Goldsbro' 1854/55


Rev. Mr. H. Douglas sailed for the Cape in the "Persia" with Bishop Gray and his family, arriving on Sunday, 20th February, 1848.

The parish of St. John’s, Cape Town, began with the arrival of Bishop Gray on that memorable Sunday.

With the Bishop were the Rev. and Hon. Henry Douglas who immediately began work in what was called the Rogge Bay area. He was Curate at the Cathedral, but on August 4th, 1848, he was licensed as Priest-in-charge of the district of St. John’s. He began by hiring a store at the corner of Bree Street and Prestwich Street – this was called St. John’s Chapel – and here the work was carried on amongst the fisher folk and others who lived in the area. Bishop Gray appealed to the public and a sum of £350 was collected; some of this was used for the fitting up of the temporary Chapel. Quite a considerable congregation was gathered and a school was carried on.

In this chapel has since been collected a considerable congregation from the neighbourhood, and a large number of children in the schools: and it is to be observed, as an indication of the willingness which exists to contribute to the supply of their own spiritual needs that the current expenses of the Chapel and the schools connected with it, including the rent of the buildings, have been mainly defrayed by the voluntary contributions of the congregation.

The Church now in the course of erection is situated in the midst of that poor and densely peopled district of Cape Town which lies between Strand Street and the Sea. In this neighbourhood, as must be well known by all who are acquainted with the Town, reside most of the persons who are employed on the wharves, the boatmen, and others connected with the shipping of the port, while the lodging-houses to which the sailors usually resort when on shore, are nearby, all of them close at hand. Besides these, of whom the majority is Europeans, the district includes also a large proportion of the coloured, and the heathen, and Mohammedan population of the town.

It is for the benefit of these numerous and much neglected classes that the new Church is specially intended. There is also attached to the Church a spacious schoolroom with ample accommodation for 350 children. It is intended that these schools should be open for the instruction of the children of the neighbourhood during the day, and for adults of all classes on at least three evenings in the week.

The whole building will be of the early English style, according to plans furnished by John Calved, Esq., who has also undertaken the execution of the work. It will, when completed, form a conspicuous object from Table Bay and constitute one of the principal ornaments of Cape Town.

Contributions to the Building Fund will be thankfully received : ... by the Rev. Henry Douglas, Curate of the District. In England ; Hon. and Rev. Arthur Douglas; Kidderminster, Lady Alive (Alice?) Douglas, Dalmahoy; and Lord Aberdour, Saughton, Cramond Bridge, Edinburgh.

The promoters of this work would earnestly desire the prayers of their brethren to Almighty God that His blessing may rest upon it and render their labours effectual for the promotion of His Glory and the extension of His Kingdom upon earth.”

The foundation stone had been laid on the 24th of February, 1853, and the work went slowly on. The spiritual work continued to be carried on from the Chapel in Bree Street; during this year, Henry Douglas was made Dean of Cape Town, and the work continued under a succession of Priests in charge. The Church was occupied in 1856 and consecrated by Bishop Gray on St. John’s Day, 1859, and there is a letter recording the consecration and speaking of St. John’s as the Church so dear to the heart of Bishop Gray.


He was Minister at St John's, Cape Town, and Chaplain to the Bishop of Cape Town, 1847-1854.  He was Rector of Goldsbro' 1854/55

He was Rector between 1855 and 1877 at Hanbury, Worcestershire, England and Vicar between 1877 and 1904 at St. Pauls, Worcester, Worcestershire, England. He held the office of Canon of Worcester.


He married Lady Mary Baillie-Hamilton, daughter of George Baillie-Hamilton, 10th Earl of Haddington and Georgina Markham, on 7 June 1855. Their daughter, Mary, died in 1921.


He died on 4 October 1907 at age 84.




1. In 1885 St. Paul's Church, in Cape Town, was beautified (sic) by the addition of seven stained-glass windows which were dedicated - "in memory of Dean Douglas and the parents, wife and son of Archdeacon Lightfoot”.

2.  On 11 May 1880 he applied for planning for St Pauls Street Stabling, Worcester.


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