Pennell of the Indian Frontier

Norman James Davidson [1860-1936], Pennell of the India FrontierThe story of Theodore L. Pennell [1867-1912] and his work as a medical missionary on the Afghan frontier retold for children. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing me with a copy of the book to scan. This title is in the public domain.

Norman James Davidson [1860-1936], Pennell of the India Frontier. The Fine Story of Dr. T.L. Pennell’s Life on the Afghan Frontier Told for Boys & Girls. London: Seeley, Service & Co. Ltd., 1927. Hbk. pp.60. [Click to download complete book in PDF]

The family of the Pennells is of ancient West-country origin, and traces its descent from ancestors who were already living at Penhall, in Cornwall, before the Conquest. Subsequently the family moved to Lupton in Devonshire, where they resided for some centuries.

About 1890, John Penhale and Richard Penhale are recorded as being Priors of Plympton Priory, and in 1415, a certain Richard Pennell, who was Canon of Crediton and Exeter, and Vicar of Paignton, became Archdeacon of Cornwall. He was also President of the Consistorial Council.

Among the girls, chief interest is attached to Rosamond, who at the age of six weeks was adopted by her eldest sister, then the wife of the Right Hon. John Wilson Croker. It was only by accident that she eventually learned that her supposed mother was really her sister. She was celebrated for her beauty, and her portrait at the age of seventeen by Sir Thomas Lawrence is a renowned and familiar picture. When a child at Kensington Palace, she was sent for to play with Queen Victoria. The ” Croker Papers ” are full of references to “Nony,” as she was called. [Continue reading]

Yarns on Heroes of India

J. Claverdon Wood, Yarns on Heroes of India, 5th edn.Yarns on India is a collection of inspiration talks intended for 12-16 year old boys attending Boys’ Brigade meetings. It includes material on William, Carey Alexander Duff, Theordore Pennell and number of other missionaries. My thanks to Redcliffe College for making a copy o this book available for scanning and to the Church Mission Society for their kind permission to place it on-line.

J. Claverdon Wood, Yarns on Heroes of India, 5th edn. London: Church Missionary Society, 1922. Pbk. pp.95. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  • Foreword
  • Map of India
  1. Given to the Flames – William Carey
  2. Cast Up by the Sea – Alexander Duff
  3. A Massacre That Made a Man Think – Shekh Salih
  4. Cursed by a Brahman – Subrahmaniam
  5. A Mountain Tiger in His Den – Theodore Pennell
  6. A Fight With Death – Emilie Posnett
  7. Making Men Out of Jellyfish – Tyndale-Biscoe
  8. The Wolf of Attock – Dilawur Khan
  9. A Soldier of Nepal – “Nepali”


“YARNS ON HEROES OF INDIA” is the third of a series of text-books prepared for those who work among boys aged twelve to sixteen. It is thus specially suitable for Boys’ Brigade Officers and Scoutmasters. It is written in the belief that stories of missionary adventure appeal to the instincts of hero worship and space hunger, which develop in a boy at this age, and will not only create missionary interest, but will also have a powerful influence in the development of Christian character. Such stories represent Christianity in action, and often show the meaning of Bible truths even better than direct lessons on the Bible itself.

The Yarns themselves are historically true. The realistic detail and local colour give accurate setting without doing violence to the essential facts. [Continue reading]

Things Seen in Northern India by T.L. Pennell

Theodore Leighton Pennell [1867-1912], Things Seen in Northern India“Things Seen in…” seems to have been a series of guidebooks aimed at European visitors to foreign parts in the early 20th Century – roughly the equivalent of today’s Lonely Planet Guides. Who better to write the entry for Northern Indian than the veteran medical missionary to the region Theodore Leighton Pennell [1867-1912]. It would provides excellent background information for anyone studying India in that period. My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing me with a copy to digitise. This book is in the public domain.

It is worth comparing Pennell’s experiences with those of Edward Petter, a Brethren Missionary-Salesman who travelled extensively in India during the 1880s. You can read his letters from India in 1887-1888, 1888-1889 and 1889-1890.

Theodore Leighton Pennell [1867-1912], Things Seen in Northern India. London: Seeley, Service & Co., 1913. Hbk. pp.253. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  1. First Impressions
  2. The People of the Country
  3. The Country and its Climate
  4. Modes of Travel
  5. Rajputana and the Native States of the North
  6. Dehli and its Empire
  7. The Religious Romance of the North
  8. Where Faiths are Born
  9. Rural Life
  10. The Mountaineers of the Borderlands

Chapter 1: First Impressions

Every morning since leaving Aden the traveller has looked eastward over an unbroken expanse of sea and sky, but, on the fifth morning, he must be up betimes to receive the first salutations of the East.

The harbour of Bombay ranks with those of Naples, Sydney, and Rio de Janeiro, and it is alive with the craft of all nations, while its wharves are piled high with the merchandise the East and the West.

First you descry the revolving gleam of the lighthouse off Colaba Point, and then a long, low shoreline on your port bow. As you draw nearer you see the crescent-shaped bay culminating in Malabar Hill over to the left, where the fashionable residences of the rich merchants and officials nestle among beautiful hanging gardens, and then you dimly descry the fine public buildings lining the bay itself. Cocoanut palms are gleaming and waving in the light, and whispering to you the welcome of the sunny East Over on your starboard bow you see the lovely palm-covered islands that stud the harbour, on one of which are the wonderful caves of Elephanta. [Continue reading]