LORD, Henry. Oxfordshire 1563 (?) — 16??. British Clergyman in India. Matriculated from Magdalen Hall, Oxford, in 1580, apparently never graduated. Worked as curate. From 1625–29 chaplain of the British factory in Surat, and possibly remained little longer in India, returning in 1630. His later life and time of death are unknown. The birth year of the Henry Lord of Magdalen Hall seems rather early for a man coming to India in 1625 (when he would have been over 60) and, though accepted by most, is now questioned by Sweetman.
In Surat he soon became interested in local religions and collected the first special account of two popular beliefs. The result was rather poor, although he had learnt at least some Hindustani and Persian in the process. In the first part, about the religion of Banians (traders, vaṇiā), he could not discern Jainism from Vaiṣṇavism. He give a full, although rather distorted account of Hindu cosmogony and goes on to describe their moral law and rituals. As pious Christian he thought that the “Bramenes” were consciously leading people astray. The second part dealt with the Parsis, but of the Avesta he had no idea at all. Still, he is here closer to truth than in the first part with this “idolatrous worshippe of Fire”. His informants were a dastur and a Parsi, who had learnt little English in English service.
Publications: A Display of two forraigne sects in the East Indies, viz.: the sect of the Banians, the ancient natives of India, and the sect of the Parsees, the ancient inhabitants of Persia. 13+95+53 p. L. 1630, French translation by Pierre Briot 1667.
Sources: G.G., D.N.B. 34, 1893, 134f.; Prasad 1980, 311-341; Sweetman 2003 (ch. 4. “HL’s Discovery of the Banians”, 64-88).
Last Updated on 4 weeks by Admin