Barnabas Shaw

Barnabas Shaw was accepted as a candidate for the ministry in 1810 and spent four years before full connexion in home circuits (Lincolnshire and Yorkshire). He married Jane Butler on July 24, 1814.

In 1815 Barnabas entered missionary service and was destined to serve in Ceylon [Sri Lanka] but was instead sent to South Africa to replace Rev M'Kenny (he went to Ceylon instead). Barnabas and Jane departed England onboard the Eclipse on December 20, 1815 and arrived in Cape Town on April 14, 1816. Having travelled over 6,000 miles to preach in South Africa, he felt he should concentrate on slaves and indigenous peoples, rather than European settlers and soldiers.

Meeting with the Rev Schmelen of the London Missionary Society he was intrigued by his work in Greater Namaqualand and petitioned the authorities to permit him to accompany Schmelen. On September 6, 1816 Barnabas and Jane left Cape Town with Schmelen but on route encountered Jantje Wildschot [Haaimaap], chief of Little Namaqualand, who was seeking a Christian teacher. Barnabas agreed to accompany him, and soon after founded the mission at Lily Fountain in Khamies-berg [Lilifontein, Kamiesberg, Northern Cape Province].

In 1826 Barnabas returned to Cape Town before taking a furlough in England in early 1827. Whilst in England he undertook a tour delivering speeches and preaching about his missionary efforts in South Africa. In particular he was keen to raise funds for a new chapel in Cape Town and to this end acquired £700. Barnabas and Jane returned to South Africa in the summer of 1829.

He continued to work in Cape Town and was involved with the construction of the Wesley Chapel in Burgh Street which opened in 1830. In May 1837 he left South Africa, partly in response to failing health and partly as a desire to educate his children in England, and worked in home circuits until he was asked to serve in South Africa once again. Departing England on September 5, 1843 aboard the Persia with Jane and children (including his eldest son the Reverend Barnabas J Shaw) he initially served in Stellenbosch so that colleagues could preach to the Namaqua [Nama] and Damara.

In 1850 Shaw moved to Rondenbosch and became a supernumerary there in 1854. He died on June 2, 1857

Memorials of South Africa

This work covers Barnabas's nearly 20 years in South Africa. It was first published in England in 1840, but I own the first American edition, below.