Anna Hinderer, nee Martin (1827-1870)
Plus her husband Rev. David Hinderer
Anna was a British missionary to Ibadan in Nigeria. She is celebrated by a small stained-glass window devoted to her in the Lady Chapel of Liverpool Cathedral. Shown here.
Anna was born in Hempnall in Norfolk in 1827. Her mother died when she was five and from the age of twelve she was cared for by her aunt and grandfather until she went to live in Lowestoft. In Lowestoft’s vicarage she worked as secretary to the Reverend Francis and Richenda Cunningham. Whilst serving as a Sunday School teacher she reported her own conversion. She had an ambition to be a missionary and on 14 October 1852 she married David Hinderer. Her new husband came from Germany but he was employed as an African missionary by the British Church Missionary Society.
In 1852 they set out to establish a new mission in what is now Nigeria. They briefly stayed at Abeokuta. In 1853 she arrived in Ibadan and although they had intended to travel further they decided to set up their mission there. Ibadan’s population was around 55,000 according to David. Anna would teach in the school that they built and she would run the mission when David was away preaching or trying to translate the New Testament. Her husband could speak Yoruba and he was on good terms with the local dignitaries. This advantage meant that the children of local chiefs attended and sometimes boarded at the school which Anna ran. The first two Christian converts were Yejide and Akielle who were the son and daughter of a local chief.
In 1860 war broke out and the hostilities prevented them from being able to travel to the coast for five years. Money and food ran out and sadly one of their converts died after being mistreated by their family for being Christian. This was the start of Anna’s poor health and she returned to England in 1869. Their plight must have been known in ecclesiastical circles in Norwich. They were friendly with the Reverend William Ripley whose wife was Laura the widow of John Gurney of Earlham Hall, Norwich. Laura’s father was the Reverend George Pearse of Martham who was by this time a man in his 70’s and in failing health. He was in need of help and was pleased to agree to a curacy for David together with the use of the Vicarage at Martham. As this offered Anna & David the home and occupation they both wanted they were absolutely delighted.
When they settled into Martham Vicarage in March 1870 Anna was immediately charmed by the village which she described ‘as large, with a green, and bright pleasant cottages and houses’. On 4th May 1870 she wrote ‘We are now getting quite established at Martham. We are quite encouraged already, the people welcome us very heartily in our house-to-house visitations, and the Sunday and day schools are much improved’. Later in May she wrote of going to her little mothers’ meeting in what was probably the hamlet of Cess or Damgate but little did she know it was the last time she would be able to attend.
A week later Anna died on 6th June 1870. She was buried on 13th June 1870 when the Reverend William Ripley presided at the burial service. Two years later her memoirs were published and although her husband was shown as joint author the book had been compiled by two sisters, named Hone, who lived in Halesowen Rectory. The book raised £31 and this was sent to Daniel and Susannah Olubi who had taken over the mission in Ibadan. Daniel and Susannah had married whilst working and deputising for the Hinderers.
The gravestone of Anna & David Hinderer is at section G, plot G9 at St Mary the Virgin, Martham and was renewed in 2017.
‘Anna Hinderer, Pioneer Missionary’ by Ann Meakin.
Appointment information courtesy of the: Clergy of the Church of England Database at https://theclergydatabase.org.uk