The Early History of the Anglican Church in Korea

The British bishops in Korea up to the division of dioceses and the consecration of Korean bishops




1889 to 1905

Charles John Corfe


1905 to 1910

Arthur Beresford Turner


1911 to 1930

Mark Napier Trollope


1931 to 1954

Alfred Cecil Cooper


1955 to 1965

John Charles Sydney Daly


Cecil Richard Rutt

Charles John Corfe (1843 – 20 June 1921.) was the inaugural Anglican Bishop in Korea from 1889. Corfe was one of the four Bible Clerks at All Souls College, Oxford. After graduating he had a brief spell teaching at St. Michael's College, Tenbury before being ordained in 1866. For the next 22 years he was a Royal Naval Chaplain. In 1889 he was awarded an honorary DD on his appointment in Korea. After retiring he made several long visits to China to assist the missions there.  With his colleagues who had been invited to join the mission, he arrived in Chemulpo (Incheon) on 29 September 1890. He initiated his work in the Seoul area, including Gyeonggi and Chungcheong provinces. He first opened a number of educational institutions, medical facilities and social work centers across the country, such as the Sinmyeong (Faith and Enlightenment) schools and the hospitals in the vicinities of Incheon, Yeoju and Jincheon as well as the orphanages in Suwon and Anjung. The Anglican missionaries also sought possible ways for the church to be integrated into Korean culture. As a result of that effort, there are several Anglican Church buildings which were constructed in the traditional Korean architecture and which survive today such as those on Ganghwa Island. (Source: ) After his retirement in 1905 he published documents of his pioneering efforts entitled “The Anglican Church in Corea.”  Book-length biography: Charles John Corfe: Naval Chaplain—Bishop By H.H. Montgomery.

With other members of the mission Corfe prepared a basic text, Lumen ad Revelationem Gentium, indicating the "essentials of the faith," which was published in English in England and in both Classical Chinese and Hangeul (Korean) in Korea. This was intended to make up for the lack of a translation of the Bible.

Arthur Bersford Turner (24 August 1862 – 28 October 1910)  Born into an ecclesiastical family, he was educated at Marlborough College and Keble College, Oxford. After graduating he studied for ordination at Ripon College Cuddesdon before curacies at Watlington, Oxfordshire and Downton, Wiltshire. After a further four years as Senior Curate at Newcastle Cathedral he went to Korea to be part of the USPG missionary team. For the next 14 years he was a devoted servant to the emergent Korean church. A noted cricketer, he died “whilst still at the height of his powers” from blood poisoning.  

Mark Napier Trollope was born in London on March 28, 1862, studied at New College, Oxford, then at Cuddesdon College and he was ordained deacon in 1887 and priest in 1888. Until 1890 he was Curate at Great Yarmouth and while there he responded to an appeal from Bishop Corfe in Korea for volunteers. He came to Korea in the same year. From 1890 to 1902 he was Chaplain to the Bishop and Senior S.P.G. Missionary, and from 1896-1902 he was Vicar General. In 1902 he returned to England for a time on account of the ill health of his father. He returned to Korea as the new Bishop in later 1911 and continued to serve there until his sudden death in 1930. Read H. H. Underwood's tribute to him. Some of his publications etc are listed in my page about the founders of the RASKB.

See also: Richard Rutt: An Early Koreanologist: Eli Barr Landis, 1865-1898. RASKB Transactions Vol 54:59-100. (A wonderful narrative of one man's service and death in Korea)

Beginning in 1923 mission work was actively carried out in the northern part of the peninsula such as Pyongan and Hwanghae Provinces. To train the local clergy St. Michael's Theological Institute was established in 1923, followed by the Society of the Holy Cross (convent) in 1925. Also, the cathedral Church of St. Mary the Virgin and St. Nicholas in downtown Seoul was initially constructed in 1924. From 1892 onwards, sisters from the Community of St Peter in Woking were sent to work in Korea. In 1925 Bishop Trollope founded the Society of the Holy Cross as a local religious order, but support from the Community of St Peter continued until 1950. Sister Mary Clare CSP came from Woking to assume office as the first Reverend Mother (superior) of the new Society of the Holy Cross.  In 1950 Mother Mary Clare died during the Korean War, being part of the 'death march' of foreigners, missionaries, diplomats and others, caught in Seoul by the North Koreans at the start of the Korean War.

See: The Church In Corea  By the Right Rev. Mark Napier Trollope, D.D. 1915. After his death, his sister Constance Trollope published a biography: Mark Napier Trollope, Bishop in Corea 1911-1930 (SPCK, 1936). Trollope always insisted that Korea should be written as "Corea".

Photographed with him in 1894: (but the photo is not available online) The Rev H.J. Drake,  'The Rev A.B. Turner', 'Br Laws', 'Br Firkins', 'Br Pearson' and 'The Rev F.H. Hillary'. 

Anglican missionaries reported by Mary Linley Taylor (in "Chain of Amber") to be living with Bp. Trollope in Seoul 1929 were  Henry John Drake SSM,  who served in Korea 1898-1941,  and Fr. Charles Hunt (1889-1950), who served in Korea 1915-50. Fr. Hunt was taken North with Bishop Cooper after being captured by the North Koreans at the start of the Korean War, and died on the terrible "Death March" on November 26, 1950, 3 weeks after Mother Mary Clare. More information about his last weeks is given by Larry Zellers ("In Enemy Hands: a Prisoner in North Korea"). He was in poor health and gout made walking almost impossible yet he walked as far as Chunggangjin, in the far North, very close to the Yalu River, then finally to Hanjang-ni, a few hours' march to the east, where he died.

Bishop Cooper with Mother Mary Clare (left) and Korean sisters of the Holy Cross

Father Charles Hunt (홍갈로) : Photo in Seoul Anglican Cathedral

Alfred Cecil Cooper was the fourth Bishop in Korea from 1931 until 1954. Born in 1882 and educated at Bradfield College and Christ's College, Cambridge, he was ordained in 1907. After a curacy at St Oswald's, West Hartlepool he spent the rest of his active ministry in Korea. Bishop during a turbulent period in the country’s history, the most dramatic event of his episcopate was the forced "death march" to the very top of the country during the Korean war. Retiring in 1954, he died a decade later on 17 December 1964. 

John Charles Sydney Daly (1901–1985)  Educated at Gresham's School, Holt, and Cambridge University, Daly was ordained as a Church of England deacon and priest in 1923.  In 1935, he became the youngest bishop in the Anglican communion when he was appointed as bishop of the new diocese of Gambia and Guinea.  He was later translated to become the Anglican bishop of the dioceses of Accra (1951–1955), Korea (1956–1965), and Taejon (1965–1968). Daly's appointment to Korea followed the Korean War of 1950 to 1953, leaving him with major challenges for his mission. He was enthroned at the Cathedral Church of St Mary and St Nicholas, Seoul, on 17 January 1956. In 1965, the Diocese of Korea was divided into two when Paul Ch’on-Hwan Li (Paul Lee, the first Korean bishop of the Anglican Church in Korea) was consecrated as Bishop of Seoul and Daly was sent to become Bishop of Taejon, a part of which became the Diocese of Busan in 1974.    

Cecil Richard Rutt  (1925 – 2011) was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge and  Kelham Theological College. Rutt was ordained an Anglican priest in 1952. After a curacy at St George’s Cambridge he went to South Korea as a missionary in 1954. In 1965 he was appointed Archdeacon of West Seoul. In June 1966 he was appointed an assistant bishop of the Diocese of Daejeon by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In February 1968 he became Bishop of Daejeon. In 1973 Rutt offered his resignation as Bishop of Daejeon, and returned to England.