Faith and Family


Eliza Caldwell


Eliza Caldwell, née Mault (1822-99) of Nagercoil, Travancore, where she was born, the elder daughter of the veteran LMS missionaries Charles and Martha Mault. Brought up at her father's mission station, spoke Tamil as a native, educated in England, returned to South India 1836 where, with her sister Sarah, she helped her mother run the mission and village schools. Married Rev Robert Caldwell at Nagercoil 1844 and joined him at Idaiyangudi. She followed her mother in taking up the cause of female education and her methods were followed by others in the SPG in Tirunelveli where, as a result, lace made by women became a major local industry. She bore seven children. The family moved to the town and seaport of Tuticorin 1883. On her husband's death, she received a grant of 150 from the Royal Bounty on the recommendation of Mr Gladstone for "the Bishop's eminent services to the people of India" 1891. Eliza is buried with her husband beneath the chancel of the church he built at Idaiyangudi.


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