Cambridge Seven

For Cambridge Seven Associates, Inc., the architecture firm, see Cambridge Seven Associates.

The Cambridge Seven were six students from Cambridge University and one from the Royal Military Academy, who in 1885, decided to become missionaries in China; the seven were:

Preparations in Britain

Having been accepted as missionaries by Hudson Taylor of the China Inland Mission the seven were scheduled to leave for China in early February 1885. Before leaving the seven held a farewell tour to spread the message across the country — it was during this tour that someone dubbed them "The Cambridge Seven."

For the next month, the seven toured the University campuses of England and Scotland, holding meetings for the students. Queen Victoria was pleased to receive their booklet containing The Cambridge Seven's testimonies. The record of their departure is recorded in "The Evangelisation of the World: A Missionary Band". It became a national bestseller. Their influence extended to America where it led to the formation of Robert Wilder's Student Volunteer Movement.

All seven had become born-again Christians and were moved by their beliefs to go to China in 1885 to spread these beliefs and to help the local population; most remained in or connected to missionary work for the rest of their lives. They were greatly influenced by Taylor's book "China's Spiritual Need and Claims". After their acceptance into the China Inland Mission, the seven toured England and Scotland, preaching and appealing to their listeners to follow their example and follow Christ. Charles Studd's brother Kynaston helped the seven in their preparations for departure.


The conversion and example of the seven, was one of the grand gestures of 19th century missions — making them religious celebrities; as a result their story was published as "The Evangelisation of the World" and was distributed to every YMCA and YWCA throughout the British Empire and the United States.

Though their time together was brief, they helped catapult the China Inland Mission from obscurity to "almost embarrassing prominence," and their work helped to inspire many recruits for the CIM and other mission societies. In 1885, when the Seven first arrived in China, the CIM had 163 missionaries; this had doubled by 1890 and reached some 800 by 1900 — which represented one-third of the entire Protestant missionary force.


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