Walter Andrews

Walter Andrews (1852-1932), brother of museum founders R.T. and W.F. Andrews. Walter was educated at Hertford Grammar School and St Johns College, Cambridge and ordained in 1877. He married Helen Paterson, the daughter of a clergyman, in 1878 and, whilst it is not known what drove him to apply overseas, he and Helen arrived in Nagasaki with the Christian Missionary Society the same year. Their first child, Walter, was born the following year. It was not an easy life for the young family; the Japanese were suspicious of
foreigners and their evangelism and hefty rewards were offered for information on Japanese converts preaching the gospel. Walter was not allowed to speak in any public building and so small meetings had to be arranged in private homes. Walter was sent to Hakodate, at the tip of Hokkaido around 1881, where he met John Batchelor. Walter and Helen’s daughter Minnie was born that summer but sadly died aged 13 months. A second daughter, Daisy, born 1883 and son Eric completed the family in 1885. Walter set up several schools in Hakodate where Japanese children were taught literacy, numeracy, vocational skills and of course the gospel. He was promoted to the post of Examining Chaplain to the Bishop of Hokkaido in 1896 and it seems the heavy work load took a toll on his health. John Batchelor, writing to Walter’s brother Robert, noted: “Walter has been working too hard and appears to me to be quite ill. I wish he would take a trip home for a rest. It would, I think, be the best thing both for him and his family, particularly the lads.” Walter confirmed a trip home was necessary, writing to Robert in 1902: “I want rest–complete rest – I am about done up.” He and his family arrived at Castle Street in 1903. It was decided not to return to Japan and Walter set about looking for a new position with some regret but confident that all was part of God’s plan: “letters this morning from Japan chafe the old me which aches, but… one sees the Master’s hand pointing along the direction we have chosen.” Walter was given charge of the parish of Middleton St George in County Durham, where he, Helen and daughter Daisy lived very happily and his strength returned. Walter’s Japanese mission was far from over, however, and in 1909, when Bishop Fyson retired, there seemed only one person capable of taking on the Bishopric of Hokkaido. Walter threw himself into his new role, delighted to be back. He founded 17 new churches across the island and finally retired, aged 66, in 1918. Helen died the same year and Walter and Daisy took up a living in Chichester and, two years later made the final move to St Leonards. Walter died in 1932, shortly after his retirement. His funeral was conducted by the Bishop of Chichester who said: “We have to thank God for a most beautiful character, full of love, full of joy, full of hope, full of enthusiasm.”


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