Book on little-known Norfolk Christian heroine
A Norfolk author has published a book on Anna Hinderer, a Hempnall-born woman of the Victorian era who established the first Christian mission at Ibadan and endured isolation, illness and suffering before returning to Norfolk.
In her recently published book, Ann Meakin tells the extraordinary story of Anna Hinderer, who was born in Hempnall in Norfolk, nurtured in Lowestoft, became a ‘fringe’ member of the Gurney family, and then married a pioneer CMS Missionary priest - David Hinderer with whom she travelled to West Africa in 1852.
The Hinderers lived in Ibadan, Nigeria, until 1869. During the years at the mission, Anna and David endured the most horrendous ordeals of isolation, illness and starvation as a result of tribal warfare, before returning to England. Anna died in a Norfolk vicarage.
Ann Meakin lives in Martham and has a keen interest in local history. She is the president of the Martham Local History Group and has already published two books on local history. Ann’s interest in Anna Hinderer was first piqued many decades ago when she came across an old newspaper cutting which told of the girls and staff of Kudeti High School (at Ibadan in Nigeria) who had raised money for the repair of Anna Hinderer’s grave in the churchyard at Martham.
Many years later, Ann researched Anna’s journey from Norfolk to the Yoruba country of West Africa and the pioneering missionary work she and her husband bravely established. Ann said, “As my research progressed, such a moving story emerged that I felt that it deserved to be retold to people of the 21st century.”
Ann was intrigued by many questions; how was it that they came to Martham where Anna found great joy and peace? What led Anna and David to the mission field in the first place? She said, “I became more and more fascinated and amazed at their bravery as their incredible story unfolded.”
The book reveals information about Anna’s early years and also about her endurance when faced with violence and hostility. David and Anna based their mission on friendship and faithful propagation of the gospel. They sought to establish good relationships with their neighbours including those who continued to be devoted to native African religions. The violence of so many local traditions presented the greatest challenge. Many of those who responded to the gospel faced ill treatment within their families and kinship groups. Anna and her husband also suffered incapacitating fevers.
Anna did not live to see the full fruits of her labours. She died at just 43, rests in a Norfolk churchyard and is commemorated as a ‘noble woman’ in the Lady Chapel of Liverpool Cathedral.
Bishop Graham James wrote the foreword to the book. He writes, “It was no accident that the next generation of Anglican Christian leadership in that part of Nigeria was formed and shaped by those who had been in Anna’s care.”
“Anna Hinderer did God’s will. This is her story – a daughter of Norfolk for whom, thanks to Ann Meakin, the Diocese of Norwich and its people are now enabled to offer fresh and informed prayers of thanksgiving.”
The book can be purchased for £8.50 from http://www.connaughtbooks.com/index.php?pr=Anna_Hinderer or from Ann Meakin Tel. 01493 740379 firstname.lastname@example.org
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