The grave of Bishop French in Muscat

Grave of Bishop French
  • Description

The photo on the left was taken by George H. Judd, a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society who visited Muscat around 1900. The graveyard is only accessible from the sea. The other photo of Al-Jalali fort is also by an unknown photographer. 

Bishop French Muscat Oman

Grave Bishop French Muscat Oman 

 

Bishop French and other missionaries in Muscat

Photo of the grave of Bishop French who died May 1891 in Muscat after (apparently) getting a sunstroke when traveling from Muttrah to Muscat.  He intended to do missionary work in the interior of Oman but never managed to do so. 

The Death of Bishop French inspired two young Americans, Samuel Zwemer and James Cantine to found the Arabian Mission of the Dutch Reformed church in America. Zwemer was able to purchase a large plot of land outside the walls for the mission, and here had a station built. S.M. Zwemer (see reference)  says: "The grave of Bishop French is in the bottom of a narrow ravine circled by black rocks and reached by boat, by rounding the rocky point to the south of Muscat. Here are many graves of sailors of the Royal marine and others who died on this burning  and inhospitable coast. Here also rests the body of Rev. Stone, the American Missionary, who was called home in the summer of 1899, after a short period of service"

 In 1897 Peter Zwemers brother travelled across the very high Jebel Akhdar mountains (See References section) Unfortunately he died the next year.  

In 1908 the mission built a school and in 1913 a hospital for women. In 1909 Dr. Sharon Thoms arrived in Muttrah to set up the first medical mission in Oman, but he was killed in 1913 in an accident and also buried near to Bishop French. His son (Sharon Thoms) would much later (1939)  set up an early  hospital in the Sultanate starting with a leprosy care center outside the walls of Muttrah, he stayed in Oman for 40 years until 1970.  Dr. Donald and Mrs Eloise Bosch  came to Muscat in 1955 to join the American Mission hospital in Muttrah and played a key role in establishing the current National Health service in Oman.

References:

  1. Cradle of Islam by S.M. Zwemer Arabia:   New York 1900 page 351;
  2. Historical Muscat An illustrated Guide and Gazetteer by J.E. Peterson published by Brill Leiden 2007 aerial  photo 139 shows the situation 1998
  3. Muscat Gate Museum Memoirs of History p 32-p 33 map showing location of the Christian cemetery.
  4. S.M. Zwemer Three journeys in Northern Oman 1902 The Geographical Journal, Vol XIX
  5. Throw down the anchor The story of the Muttrah souq by Maxine Burden, centre for Omani dress, Muscat Media Group page 72-77. 2014 Contains a good article about Donald and Eloise Bosch.