Reverend Louis Courtier Biggs(b? - d 1903) was the colonial chaplain at Penang from 1885-1897. He was also the acting colonial chaplain for Penang in 1875,1877 & 1878. He must have been to Penang started in 1875. The time when the Anglican church was under United Diocese of Singapore, Labuan and Sarawak. He was the one that found the St George's Girls' School(some said Mrs Biggs) and St Paul Anglican Church, Macalister Road, Penang. The Hymn book you use during the service most probably is authored by him.
(Note: There were 4 periods in the history of Church of England or Anglican in Strait Settlement and Malaya.
(i) 1814-1869 : Under Bishop of Calcutta
(ii)1869-1881: Singapore, now Malaya were de facto within Diocese of Labuan and Sarawak(found in 1855)
(iii)1881-1908: United Diocese of Singapore, Labuan and Sarawak
(iv) From 1908 - Diocese of Singapore)
His son, Mr Louis Alban Coutier Biggs or L Courtier Biggs was also in Penang serving as Municipal Secretary of Georgetown, Penang; he was also active in the St George Church, Penang.
Reverend Louis Courtier Biggs(b? - d 1903)
1863 - graduated at Oxford ,BA
1864 - was ordered deacon
1865 - ordained priest
1866 - graduated at Oxford, MA(The Ecclesiastical gazette, or, Monthly register of the affairs of the Church of England, 1865 pg272)
1867 - S Edmund Hall, Oxford, curate of Grendon, Northamptonshire. He was the editor for the book, Hymns ancient and modern: for use in the services of the church. He was most probably the curate of parish church, St Mary(ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grendon,_Northamptonshire)
Grendon is a small village and civil parish in rural Northamptonshire, England on the borders of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire. Many houses are made of the local limestone and various older thatched houses still survive. The name of the village means "green hill" and today the village remains centred on the hill. The village has a parish church (St Mary's) which dates in part back to Norman times, and a thatched pub, The Half Moon, run by the Charles Wells brewery. The church, the Rectory, the site of Grendon Hall, and a few farm-houses and cottages lie on the east bank of the Anker on the road from Atherstone to Polesworth. Northamptonshire is an inland county in the East Midlands region. It contains the watershed between the Severn and The Wash.
Note: A parish is a territorial unit that was usually historically served by a parish church or local church. Historically each parish should have had at least one parish priest (who might be termed its vicar or its rector), perhaps supported by one or more curates or deacons - although as a result of ecclesiastical pluralism some priests might have held more than one parish living, placing a curate in charge of those where they did not reside
1871 - Biggs, Louis Coutier, M.A., Rector of West Chickerell, Dorset. Chickerell is a small town 2 kilometres (1 miles) north-west of Weymouth in west Dorset, England. (Chickerell West, par., S. Dorset, on E. Fleet Channel, 3 m. NW. of Weymouth, 1576 ac., pop. 819; P.O. Chick Hill, eminence, Pett par., Sussex, 4½ miles NE. of Hastings). He was one of the Signatures To a Remonstrance Addressed to the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England On Occasion of the Report of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council In Re Herbert v. Purchas. London: Sold by Messrs. James Parker & Co.. 1871.
1874 - he went to Malacca as chaplain, and was at the same time acting chaplain at Penang in 1875 and 1877, 1878, and at Singapore 1881. In 1879, he was still the Colonial Chaplain in Malacca.
1877 - reported stayed at Fort, Malacca. He was the Chaplain of the Christ Church, Malacca; The secretary for trustee of Malacca Girl's School; Vice President for Malacca School,AD 1826.(Ref: Singapore Directory,1877)
1881 - LC Briggs(Penang), W Everingham(Malacca), W H Gomes attended Bishop Hose's enthronement. In 1881,Rev LC Briggs was also the Acting Colonial Chaplain in St Andrew, Singapore.
1884 - Handwritten signed letter [to James Mearns] from Wm. Cooke, 6 Clifton Place, Sussex Square, W.. Regarding hymns; mentions Mr. Dayman, Schmolck, Mr. Chester, and Mr. L. Coutier Biggs. 15 March 1884.
Penang 1885-1897, Colonial Chaplain
1885 - Left Malacca, appointed as colonial chaplain at Penang in 1885 to 1897
1886 - Founding of St Paul Church Penang, a Chinese church(formally known as St. George’s Church Chinese Mission). The St. George’s Church Chinese Mission was founded in 1886 by then Colonial Chaplain of Penang, the late Rev. Louis Courtier Biggs, ably assisted by Mrs. Lim Kim Soa (nee Tan Ooi lu Ghee).But some said in 1887 as reported in Rev John H Smith lecture on the Centenary Celebration of St George Church consecration( Pg 6, Singapore Diocesan Association, December, 1953)
1889 - Chaplain, St George Church, Penang(ref: The Directory & chronicle for China, Japan, Corea, Indo-China, Straits Settlements, Malay States, Siam, Netherlands India, Borneo, the Philippines, &c:with which are incorporated "The China directory" and "The Hongkong directory and Hong list for the Far East"(1889),The Hongkong Daily Press Office.)
1891 - Government Gazette 17th April 1891, reported Rev LC Biggs has returned from leaves, and has resumed duty as Colonial Chaplain of Penang (ref:Straits Times Weekly Issue, 22 April 1891, Page 10). Pinang Gazette dated 7-4-1891, reported "Our Colonial Chaplain Rev LC Biggs, accompanied by Mrs Biggs and their daughter, Rose Biggs, returned to the Colony on Sunday from leave of absence, arriving here by the O.S.S. Company's steamer, Hector".(ref: Daily Advertiser, 10 April 1891, Page 3)
1893 - In 1893 the S.P.C.K. published for the Chinese Christians of the Straits Settlements a card containing: Amoy Lord’s Prayer, Creed and Ten Commandments, translated by Mr. Biggs.
1897 - On 19th April 1897, Wedding of Katharine Rosalie Courtier Biggs, the only daughter of Rev LC Biggs and Mrs Biggs married to Henry Hessy Gompertz(Henry Hessy Johnston Gompertz)of Strait Civil Service, at St George Church(ref: The Straits Times, 23 April 1897, Page 2)
Rev LC Biggs Left Penang. Owing to failure of health he retired from foreign work and returned to England.
1901 - In 1901 the S.P.C.K. published for Gomes the translation of the Liturgy, excepting the Psalms, the Athanasian Creed, and the Epistles and Gospels. The English title reads: * The Order for Morning and Evening Prayer, and Administration of the Sacraments, and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the Use of the Church of England, in the Hok-kien dialect (Amoy colloquial). Transliterated by the Rev. W. H. Gomes, B.D., Missionary, S.P.G., Singapore, assisted by the Rev. L. C. Biggs, M.A., formerly Colonial Chaplain, Penang. Singapore: Printed at the American Mission Press, for the S.P.C.K. . . . 1901. (8), 216 pages, fcap. 8vo.
He was reported to be the late Vicar of Monkleigh, North Devon in who’s who 1929-1940.
1903 - Rev LC Biggs passed away on 23-4-1903 at Ilfracombe(Ref:.The Straits Times, 19 May 1903, Page 4 )
Ilfracombe is a seaside resort and civil parish on the North Devon coast, England with a small harbour, surrounded by cliffs. The parish, which includes a significant rural area and other villages outside the town of Ilfracombe, stretches along the coast from 'The Coastguard Cottages' in Hele Bay toward the east and 4 miles along The Torrs to Lee Bay toward the west. The main Anglican church is the parish church 'Holy Trinity' which is the mother church to St Peter's on Highfield Road.
The St George's Girls' School
The St George's Girls' School, nowadays known as SMK (Perempuan) St George, is a school for girls founded by Anglican missionaries, similar to the Penang Free School. St George's Girls' School traces its history to informal classes conducted by Mrs Biggs, wife of Reverend L. Courtier Biggs, the Anglican missionary in Penang. At that time, classes were held at their home called "The Manse", located at Farquhar Street.
Mrs Biggs taught for a year before a formal school was established for girls. It was named after St George, the patron saint of English, whose name is often used throughout the British Empire for schools and churches established by Anglican missionaries. The first classes were held on 7 January 1885, and the school headmistress was Miss R.A. Shackleford.
In 1888, a bungalow was constructed next to the reverend's residence, and classes were relocated there. The building, now in a dilapidated state, is still standing, next to E&O Hotel. In 1909, the British government took over the running of the school, and renamed it Government Girls' School. In 1916, the government attempted to turn Government Girls' School into a co-educational school, but the idea was shortlived.
In 1920, the school was handed back to the Anglican church, at which time it reverted to its original name of St George's Girls' School. The school logo is a red crest of St George slaying a dragon. With further expansion and student intake, the school relocated to new premises along The building, now in a dilapidated state, is still standing, next to Northam Road (Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah). In 1954, it moved to its present located at Macalister Road, and the Northam Road school building was given over to the Northam Road Girls' School.
St Paul’s Church Penang(formerly The St. George’s Church Chinese Mission)槟城圣公会圣保罗堂(中路)
The St. George’s Church Chinese Mission was founded in 1886 by then Colonial Chaplain of Penang, the late Rev. Louis Courtier Biggs, ably assisted by Mrs. Lim Kim Soa(林金沙夫人) nee Tan Ooi lu Ghee(陳有義女士)(b? d 1933)). Church welfare work was carried out by them in the Penang prison, and among the lepers in Pulau Jerejak. A small private school for teaching Chinese to Chinese women was run by Mrs. Lim as well. Mrs. Lim also gave literary assistance to those Government servants in Penang associated with the Church who were known as Chinese cadets. In this way there was close association and co-operation between the European and Chinese congregation and there was more missionary zeal expressed by the European members in those days. The Chinese congregation was limited for Pong principally. The growth was very slow and owing to the smallness of the congregation the Chinese Mission was financed entirely by funds from the St. George’s Church.
In Penang the Chinese Mission was begun in 1886 under the direction of the chaplain Louis Courtier Biggs, assisted by Lim Kim Soa, a Chinese Christian from Amoy(厦门)(Robert Hunt, Kam Hing Lee, John Roxborogh, 1992)
In 1886 a Mission chapel was erected , and in 1887 a Chinese department was added to the Mission through the instrumentality of the Chaplain, the Rev. LC Biggs , and about two years later three Chinese were confirmed.
The foundation stone of St Paul’s Church Penang , formally known as St. George’s Church Chinese Mission or Anglican Chinese Mission was laid at No. 56, Macalister Road, Penang on Sunday 31 July 1949 at 9.30a.m. by the Ven. S.M. collier, the Archdeacon of Penang, a large attendance of the members and friends of the Church witnessed the occasion.
Louis Coutier Biggs
Louis Coutier Biggs graduated at Oxford, B.A. 1863, M.A. 1866, was ordered deacon 1864, and ordained priest in 1865. In 1874 he went to Malacca as chaplain, and was at the same time acting chaplain at Penang in 1875 and 1877, 1878, and at Singapore 1881. He left Malacca in 1885, .and was from that time on until 1897 colonial chaplain at Penang. Owing to failure of health he retired from foreign work and returned to England. In 1893 the S.P.C.K. published for the Chinese Christians of the Straits Settlements a card containing: Amoy Lord’s Prayer, Creed and Ten Commandments, translated by Mr. Biggs.
Authors of Hymn Book
Reverend Louis Courtier Biggs was also a Hymnologist. he authored some hymn books:-
1. Hymns, Ancient and Modern: For Use in the Services of the Church (1867),
by Louis Coutier Biggs (Editor) , LaVergne, Tennessee: Kessinger Publishing’s Legacy Reprints, 2009.
2. English Hymnology(1873), by Louis Coutier Biggs, reproduction 2010 by BiblioBazaar
3. Amoy Lord's Prayer, Creed, and Ten Commandments, Strait Settlement(1893)
One of the founding principles of the Church of England when it originally broke with Rome was that church services should be “understanded of the people” (as it is stated in the Articles of Religion) so that everyone present might be able to follow the liturgy and know what is going on. Accordingly, once the Book of Common Prayer was created in English, it was therefore subsequently translated into many languages, as needed. The Book of Common Prayer among the Nations of the World,by Dr. William Muss-Arnolt, published in 1913, seeks to describe all of these translations, both of the Church of England and of the American Episcopal Church, as they were at that time. PART IV — THE BRITISH EMPIRE IN INDIA AND THE FAR EAST, Chapter XL. — China and Corea, included the article, "The Crowning Work of the Literary Career of Gomes, his Translation of the Liturgy into Hokien Colloquial for the Chinese of the Straits Settlements, assisted by L. C. Biggs"
The daughter & son-in-law
On 19th April 1897, Wedding of Katharine Rosalie Courtier Biggs, the only daughter of Rev LC Biggs and Mrs Biggs married to Henry Hessy Gompertz(Henry Hessy Johnston Gompertz)(b 1867 - d 1929 or 1930)of Strait Civil Service, at St George Church(ref: The Straits Times, 23 April 1897, Page 2)
Hendry Hessy Johnston Gompertz(son of Hendry James Colley, Inspector Revenue Survey India), b Nundyal, India 31st August 1867, ed Bedford , Open 1885, Member 21-10-1886, Classic Mod 1888, Classic 1890, BA 10-10-1890, in Indian Cadet Exam 1890, at Chao Chow Fu, China.(ref: Registrum Collegii Exoniensis(Exerter College). Register of the Rectors, Fellows, and Other Members on the Foundation(2009), Charles William Boase, BiblioBazaar, LLC)
H. H. J. Gompertz was a Hong Kong cadet, appointed in 1900 and resigned in 1904(HONG KONG CADETS, 1862-1941, by H. J. LETHBRIDGE). The London Gazette , Downing Street, dated March 29, 1909. The KING has been pleased to give directions for the appointment of Henry Hessy Johnston Gompertz, Esq., Barrister-at-Law, Police Magistrate and Coroner, Hong-Kong, to be Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of that Colony. He was awarded Knight Bachelor on 5-6-1926(Birthday Honours, gazetted 3 July 1926)
The Chief Justice of the F.M.S., Sir Henry Gompertz(The Straits Times, 23 June 1928, Page 9) Sir Henry Gompertz, the retiring Chief Justice, F.M.S., was entertained to a banquet at Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday by the Selangor Bar Association. Mr. E. A. S. Wagner, who presided, proposed the toasts of the King, the Sultan, and of Sir Henry Gompertz(The Straits Times, 15 December 1928, Page 10).
The son - Louis Alban Coutier Biggs(b? - d1959)
Louis Alban Coutier Biggs (E.V.), assistant secretary, Municipal Commissioners, Northam Road ; Straits Settlements Government Gazette, December 23, 1904, appointed as jurors in the settlement. He was mentioned as Municipal Secretary of Penang (ref: BYGONE SELANGOR; a souvenir", RIMBA,1922). The Straits Times, 16 October 1924, Page 10 reported Mr LA Coutier Biggs acted in the play, Twelve Pound Look at Town hall on 23th and 25th Oct 1924.
Mr L Courtier Biggs or LA Courtier Biggs, Municipal Secretary Penang, the son of Rev LC Biggs, married Anna Minnett, daughter of Alma Baker, in 1925 at St George Church. The Mohogany tree in the church compound was planted in Sept 1885(when Rev LC Biggs was the chaplain here), planted by AB Mackean from the seeding from a tree planted by Warren Hastings.(Rev Keppel Garnier,1925, Singapore Diocesan Magazine Vol. XV No. 58)
He passed away on 16-10-1959 at Annagh, The Warren, Mayfield, Sussex, England(London Gazette dated 30-10-1959).
Further info required
I cannot obtain the background information of Rev Louis Courtier Biggs and his wife, especially before coming to Malaya and after returning to England.
Anyone know the information about him?
1. History of Chinese Anglican Churches in Penang 1886-2006, by Rev Stephen Soe; http://stpaulpenang.multiply.com/journal/item/3
2. Letters to Henrietta(2003), by Isabella Lucy Bird, Kay Chubbuck, Henrietta Amelia Bird, UPNE( pg 239-242, 315)
3. Christianity in Malaysia:a denominational history(1992), by Robert Hunt, Kam Hing Lee, John Roxborogh, Pelanduk Publication
5. A short history of St Andrew's Cathedral Singapore(19), by Frank G Swindell, published by Malaya Tribune Press Ltd, Singapore; http://www.ttc.edu.sg/csca/rart_doc/ang/sing/swindell-1929.pdf(Pg 24 & 25)
6. Classified digest of the records of the Society for the propagation of the gospel in foreign parts, 1701-1892(1894), by Charles Frederick Pascoe, Pub. at the Society's office
7. The Book of Common Prayer among the Nations of the World , http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/Muss-Arnolt/part4d.htm