Cecil Polhill: Missionary, Gentleman and Revivalist

Volume 1 (1860-1914)


Author: John Usher
The full significance of Cecil Henry Polhill (1860-1938), the wealthy squire of Howbury Hall, is known to few, yet he was one of the founding fathers of the Pentecostal-Charismatic tradition in Britain, and his impact and legacy stretch far beyond British shores to North America, the Far East and elsewhere. In Cecil Polhill: Missionary, Gentleman and Revivalist John Usher comprehensively connects Polhill's early life and former experiences as an Evangelical Anglican missionary in China, a member of the Cambridge Seven, with his time as a pioneer of early Pentecostalism, and in doing so reveals a much more richly contoured and multifaceted picture of the development of early Pentecostalism than previously achieved.

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John Martin Usher, Ph.D. (2015), Regents Theological College, is a Research Fellow in the Institute for Pentecostal Theology at the College, and Visiting Lecturer of Church history at the University of Birmingham (2018-present) and previously at the University of Roehampton (2012-2019).
"Usher’s book has left few bibliographic stones unturned. The scope of the research is amazing... Usher, the editors of Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies, and Brill are to be thanked for producing what will long be a crucial standard work for the study of UK Pentecostalism, Pentecostal mission, and more generally of global Pentecostalism." - David Bundy, Manchester, UK, in: Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association (2022).

“It is extremely rare to find, among those who have written on early Pentecostal figures, many who have taken the time to work in such detail and it may be the first such study that I have found on a British figure. It is first rate.” – Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., Professor Church History and Ecumenics, Fuller Seminary.

“Undoubtedly highly original and a significant contribution to knowledge…some truly excellent archival research underpinning the writing….” – Andrew Davies, University of Birmingham.
List of Illustrations


1 From Eton to China (1860–1885)

2 Imperial China: Frequent Danger and the Power of the Holy Spirit (1885–1888)

3 Mysterious Tibet: The Land “in Gross Darkness with Hardly a Gleam of Light” (1888–1900)

4 Life in England, “for China and Tibet, and for Worldwide Revival,” Prayer and Activism between Leaving China and Discovering Pentecostalism (1900–1907)

5 Embracing and Leading Early British Pentecostalism (1908–1910)

6 A Vision Realised, “The Tribes Abound and Are Clamouring for the Gospel,” Polhill and the Pmu at the Tibetan Border (1910–1914)

Appendix 1 The Testimony of Wang Tsuan Yi (Uang-Ts’Ong-I)

Appendix 2 Full Text of the “Memorandum of Agreement between the China Inland Mission and the Tibetan Band” 1896

All interested in the history of Pentecostalism, especially in Britain, the history of the Cambridge Seven and evangelical mission to China, India and the Sino-Tibetan and Indo-Tibetan borders.