Carey Mission House

This house in Lower Street was built in 1752. It was during the ownership of Beeby and Martha Wallis, whose home had become known as Gospel Inn due to its use as an inn for travelling evangelists, that this property became famous for the foundation of the Carey Missions and one William Carey, 1761 – 1834.

William Carey was a naturally inquisitive child, teaching himself Latin and Greek. Carey became a dissenter and left the Church of England to form a small Congregational church in nearby Hackleton. He went to work for Thomas Old, a shoemaker whose sister-in-law, Dorothy Plackett he married in 1781. When Old died Carey took over the business. He taught himself Hebrew, Italian, Dutch and French. At Olney William Carey first met Andrew Fuller, a preacher. This was the beginning of a life-long friendship and commitment to world mission.

In 1789 Carey moved to Leicester as minister at Harvey Lane. He continued to campaign for a world mission, and was invited to preach in Nottingham in 1792. He chose Isaiah 54:2,3 as his text and called on the congregation to ‘Expect great things from God: attempt great things for God,’ which is inscribed on the stone outside Carey House. A meeting was held in Widow Wallis’ back parlour and it is as a result of this inaugural meeting that the property is now known as the Carey Mission House. In 1793, Carey sailed to Calcutta and began to learn Bengali, and completed the first revision of his Bengali New Testament. He formulated the principles upon which his missionary community would be formed: communal living, financial self-reliance and the training of indigenous ministers. His wife and son died, and in 1808 Carey remarried; his new wife Charlotte Rhumohr was Danish. From the printing press at the Calcutta mission came translations of the Bible in Bengali, Sanskrit, and other major languages and dialects many of which had never been printed before. Carey began translating literature and sacred writings from the original Sanskrit into English, but in 1812, a fire in the print shop caused major damage and lost work. In Carey’s lifetime, the mission printed and distributed the Bible in whole or part in 44 languages and dialects.

Andrew Fuller, who had been secretary of the Society in England, died in 1815. Differences with Andrew’s successor, John Dyer, caused Carey to severe ties with the missionary society he had founded. He lived a quiet life until his death in 1834.

Researched by Ian Addis

error: Content is protected