Barclay Buxton Impacts Japan

This is the day that …. Barclay Foxwell Buxton was born in Essex, England, in 1860. His father, Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton, 1st Baronet, was sole owner of Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co and an elected member of British Parliament for almost twenty years who helped found the Anti-Slavery Society and who was instrumental in the abolition of slavery.

The Buxtons also had a famous Quaker connection. Barclay’s mother was Hannah Gurney, sister to the famous Quakers Joseph John Gurney and Elizabeth Fry, the prison reformer (depicted on the Bank of England Five Pound Note in 2002). The Buxton family financially supported Elizabeth Fry’s prison reform work and became members of her Association for the Improvement of the Female Prisoners.

Barclay was converted (or came to assurance) during DL Moody’s eight-day Cambridge Crusade – it was Tuesday, 9 November, 1883, to be precise – and the gospel he had intellectually known for so long ‘now became crystal clear to him’.

In 1885 he was ordained to the Church of England priesthood … and almost immediately felt the call of the mission field.

Five years later we find him and his wife Margaret, with six others, sailing for Japan under the banner of the Church Missionary Society.

Barclay’s missionary impact was profound, especially considering others had laboured fruitlessly in Japan. He brought methods of evangelism and emphasis on the Holy Spirit not liked by all when he came to Japan in 1890. But people could not argue against his holy lifestyle and the results of his ministry. Within several weeks of his arrival over 700 people were attending his gospel services. By the end of the first year seven churches had been founded in the Matsuye and Yonago areas where he served.

He was a proponent of the doctrine of Entire Sanctification and of the Baptism with the Holy Ghost as a second work of grace, distinct from conversion, in the believers’ heart.

Eight years later Barclay Buxton and his fellow worker, A. Paget Wilkes, organised the Japan Evangelistic Band – an interdenominational mission dedicated to ‘evangelism, conventions and training national workers’.

The Buxton Estate is now home to All Nations Christian College, the largest Missionary Training College in Western Europe, which was co-founded by his son Godfrey Buxton.

Barclay Buxton died in 1946.

This post is based on the work of my late friend Donald Prout whose love for books and Christian history led him to collate a daily Christian calendar. I continue to work with Don’s wife, Barbara, to share his life work with the world. I have updated some of these historical posts and will hopefully draw from Don’s huge files of clippings to continue this series beyond Don’s original work. More of Don’s work can be found at