[Born : 14 - 04 - 1787]

Richard Knill (14 April 1787 – 2 January 1857) was an English missionary. He was born at Braunton, Devon, on 14 April 1787, the fourth child of Richard Knill, a carpenter (died 15 December 1826), and Mary Tucker (died 1826). In 1804 he enlisted as a soldier, and was shortly afterwards bought out by his friends. He became a student of the Western Academy at Axminster in 1812, and under the influence of a sermon by Dr. Alexander Waugh, volunteered for missionary work.

He was accepted by the London Missionary Society, and embarked for Madras 20 April 1816. There he engaged in English services for the schools, soldiers and residents, while studying the native languages. His health soon failed, and he was sent in September 1818 to Nágarkoil in Travancore, where, after suffering from the cholera, he returned to England 30 November 1819. A cold climate was recommended, and he sailed on 18 October 1820 for St. Petersburg, intending to proceed to Siberia as a missionary. On the persuasion of the British and Americans, he consented to remain in that city, where he laboured successfully, and obtained the support of the emperor and the royal family.

A Protestant Bible Society was formed for supplying the bible in their own tongues to Germans, Finns, Poles, Livonians and other persons not belonging to the Greek church. A school was opened for the children of foreigners, and a mission to the sailors at Cronstadt established. He returned to England in August 1833 to obtain funds for erecting a larger church in St. Petersburg. His labours were so successful in creating funds and friends for the London Missionary Society, that he was requested to remain at home, and for eight years he visited almost every place in the United Kingdom, advocating the claims of the foreign missions.

On 1 January 1842 he settled down as congregational minister at Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire, where he remained until his removal to Chester in 1848. During his last days he preached in the Chester Theatre for twenty Sunday afternoons.

He died at 28 Queen Street, Chester, England on 2 January 1857.

Personal life

On 9 January 1823 he married Sarah, daughter of James and Isabella Notman, a native of St. Petersburg, by whom he had five children.