William Irvine’s Missionary Work Among the Lepers of India

William C. Irvine [1871-1946], 25 Years' Mission Work Among the Lepers of India in a Manner Believed to be ScripturalWilliam Carleton Irvine [1871-1946] was a New Zealand missionary who was “founding editor of the Indian Christian magazine and superintendent of Belgaum Leprosy Hospital at Hindalga for 25 years” [Wikipedia]. This books tells the story of his work there.

My thanks to Redcliffe College for providing a copy of this book for digitisation. This title is in the public domain.

William C. Irvine [1871-1946], 25 Years’ Mission Work Among the Lepers of India in a Manner Believed to be Scriptural. London: Pickering & Inglis, [1938]. Hbk. pp.144. [Click to download complete book in PDF]


  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • A SHort Survey of the Work
  1. Our First |three Christians
  2. Dhondibri – Our First Woman Inmate
  3. The Stage is Set: Caste or Christ
  4. Armadas – The Mad Leper
  5. Bunchdas – The Bairagi
  6. The Open-Air Meeting
  7. A Brush with the R.C.’s and a Visit from the Commissioner
  8. Dark Days
  9. A Petition to the Collector and What Came of it
  10. Lepers and Faith Healing
  11. Gifts for Lepers
  12. Subrao – A Sketch
  13. A Mysterious Sickness
  14. Miscellaneous Incidents
  15. A Visit to the Asylum
  16. Girbabai has Become a Leper
  17. Testimony of Three Lepers
  18. Christmas Eve, 1936
  19. Leprosy and its Treatment


I had the privilege of seeing something of Mr. and Mrs. Irvine’ s work in Belgaum as long ago as 1922, and I am sure that the homely sincerity and vividness of this short account of that work will appeal to others as it does to myself. Mr. Irvine tells no rose-water story. Theirs has been, as the Commissioner remarked (see p. 55), the “dirty work” necessary to help the most wretched members of our race.

It is good to see how simple and straight is the line taken by these devoted Christian workers, and how thorough is the conversion and implicit the faith of those whom they win over to belief. What the barriers are against conversion, either of Mohammedan or Hindu, few can realise who have not lived in India. [Continue reading]

Irvine also wrote one of the first widely-read books on New Religious Movements called “Heresies Exposed” in its later editions. I had a copy of this book on my bookshelf, so have digitised it here.

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