Professor William Edward Soothill

William Edward Soothill was born in Halifax [23rd January 1861], the son of William Soothill.

He was a solicitor's clerk [1881] and articled to a firm of Halifax solicitors

In 1882, he entered the ministry of the United Methodist Free Church.

He spent 29 years as a missionary in Wenchow, China, where he founded a hospital, a training college, schools and 200 preaching centres.

He was an educationalist and translator, and wrote many books on China.

He was one of the world's leading authorities on the Chinese language.

He translated the New Testament into Wenchowese, and produced a Romanised alphabet system for the language.

He wrote several books

In 1884, he married Lucy Farrar.


  1. Dorothea
  2. Victor Farrar

In 1911, he became President of the Imperial University at Shansi.

In 1920, he returned to England and was appointed Professor of Chinese at Oxford University. He was a governor of the School of Oriental Studies in London.

In 1926, he was a member of Lord Willingdon's delegation to China on the settlement of the Boxer indemnities.

He died at 4 Bradmore Road, Oxford [14th May 1935]. Probate records show that he left effects valued at £5,882 11/8d

© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 09:19 / 24th August 2022 / 4238

Page Ref: X402

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