JONES, HENRY, priest of the Church of England, missionary; fl. 1725–50.
Henry Jones’ presence at Bonavista, Newfoundland, is first recorded in November 1725. Soon after he was compelled to return to England because of ill health. While in London, in February 1726/27, he wrote the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel to express his “most humble and hearty thanks” for an “acceptable Present of Books,” and also for “their goodness in ordering me so handsome a sum.” He had “raised by Subscription 8£” for his educational work, and was promised more. Encouraged by this response to his efforts he had “ordered a Schoolmistress.” At the end of May 1727 he returned with his wife and family to Bonavista. That November he assured the society that the people of Bonavista “truely are willing to provide a Maintenance & Habitation for the Minister, to rebuild the Church, to set up a Charity School, to build a Schoolhouse, and to provide all things necessary to be used in Divine Service (as a Communion Table & Font etc.).”
In 1729 Captain Henry Osborn*, the newly commissioned governor of Newfoundland, appointed Jones a justice of the peace at Bonavista. Jones informed the SPG in November 1730 that “the Case of the Church is near finished,” and that “a gentleman of London hath given a neat set of vessels for the Communion, and a handsome stone font.” By 1735 there were two schools in Bonavista, supported by Jones’ “utmost Endeavours and Encouragement.” The promise of the residents to provide a “Maintenance” for him was not easily fulfilled. In 1740 Jones informed the archbishop of Canterbury, president of the SPG, that he was suffering great hardship “through ye poverty, removal, or decease of many of ye inhabitants, & ye extraordinary Charge of Provisions wch arise now to about one-third more than usual.”
In 1742 he succeeded Robert Kilpatrick as missionary at Trinity, Newfoundland, which had by then become “ye centre of Trade, not only for this Bay, but all ye Northern Harbours.” The summer population of Trinity was approximately 600, “all of whom sometimes attend Church.” Though he lived “in good Harmony” with the people in his mission, Jones wrote in 1744 that he was forced to protest frequently at the “Considerable obstruction” caused by “certain unauthorised persons [non-conformists] taking upon them to Marry, Baptize, and Church Women (as they term it).” The reluctance of some people to pay the subscriptions they had promised was overcome by a letter from the SPG in April 1747 which “caused them immediately to chuse Churchwardens, and to set about repairing the Church, and to collect what was due to him.”
The society gave Jones leave to return “with the Fleet” to London in 1747. Jones next asked to be sent as the society’s missionary to the Mosquito Indians in Jamaica. His application was accepted, and shortly after his return to Newfoundland in 1749, he sailed with his wife for Jamaica, via Barbados. The society had been careful to prepare a welcome for him in Jamaica: when he arrived there on 1 March 1749/50 Jones presented to Governor Edward Trelawny a letter of commendation from the secretary of the society, describing him as “venerable in his person and of tried Virtue and abilities.” The governor noted that Jones had “a wife who is come with him, & it would be a miserable living for a woman on the Mosquito Shore,” and offered him the charge of the parish of St Anne’s, Jamaica. Jones accepted the offer, with the SPG’s approval, and arrived in his new parish in April 1750. After suffering privations for more than a quarter century, Jones was relieved to be the incumbent of a benefice worth approximately £300 a year.
Nothing is known of his career after 1750.
USPG, A, 19, pp.285–87; 20, p.268; 25, p.67; B, 7/2, p.67; 10, p.58; 11, p.104; 13, p.195; 15, pp.1–2; 16, p.4; 18, pp.81–83, 87–88. The Fulham papers in the Lambeth palace library, ed. W. W. Manross (Oxford, 1965). F. M. Buffett, The story of the church in Newfoundland (Toronto, ). Prowse, History of Nfld.