The Life and Legacy of John Coleridge Patteson – Missionary, Bishop and Martyr

Patteson 150 - Dr Robert Guyver Talk

Thursday 16 September 2021

Talk by Dr Robert Guyver. Chapter House, Exeter Cathedral
Drinks will be served from 6.45pm, followed by the talk at 7.00pm

Robert’s talk will present a more nuanced truth about John Coleridge Patteson which involves steering a middle way between the enthusiastic biographies that followed his death and more critical accounts contemporary with our own times. This is a missionary but also a maritime story, with fascinating records to be found in the log-books of the ‘Southern Cross’. Patteson’s martyr’s death on Nukapu (in the Reef Islands Group, Solomon Islands) with those of two others who died with him on 20 September 1871 – or soon after – was Christ-like in many ways, but it was a sacrifice that bore fruit. First it led to changes in legislation to stop ‘blackbirding’, but also, and more significantly, it led to the wholehearted and voluntary adoption of the Christian faith in many, many communities across the Pacific.

Dr Robert Guyver
Dr Robert Guyver

The work of the Melanesian Mission continues this legacy and offers opportunities for constructive and prayerful connection between the Diocese of Exeter and the Diocese of Melanesia. Chapels or niches in Alfington, Feniton and Ottery St Mary churches commemorate Patteson, as does Patteson’s Cross and the Martyrs’ Pulpit in Exeter Cathedral.

Robert worked in primary education from 1969 to 2011, first as a teacher, then as an advisory teacher, and lastly as a lecturer at the College of St Mark and St John. Since 2010 he has been Secretary of the Exeter Branch of the Historical Association. When he was on a short secondment to New Zealand in 2007 he visited some of the places associated with Patteson.

Tickets cost £13 for Friends and £17 for non-members.
Please ring the Friends Office on 01392 423931 for booking details.