Thomas Valpy French (1825-1891), Bishop of Lahore
Sitter in 2 portraits
Born at Barton-upon-Trent, French was the eldest child of the vicar of Holy Trinity in Stretton. In 1850, shortly after he was ordained as a priest, he joined the Church Missionary Society who sent him to India to be Principal of a St Johns College in Agra. Despite the efforts of some missionaries, overseas bishops were predominantly Westerners until the twentieth century. In 1877 he was consecrated as the first bishop of the large diocese of Lahore. An expert on Indian languages, French published sermons in Urdu, and translated the prayer book into local languages. He sought to establish a Church in India that did not simply replicate the English Church but instead allowed for cultural differences.