Griffith John is one of the great figures of the British missionary movement. During his 55 year period of service in China he was among the first to initiate Protestant missionary work in Hupeh, Hunan and Szechwan provinces, was a prolific author and pamphleteer and made major contributions to the translation of the Bible into Chinese. He was born at Swansea, South Wales on December 14th 1831, studied at Brecon College and Bedford Academy and was ordained in 1855. In that year he married his first wife, Jane Griffith (died 1873) herself the daughter of a missionary. The couple arrived in Shanghai in September 1855 but, from 1861, were to make their permanent base in China at Hankow. Here he began to establish his reputation as author and translator and as a powerful preacher. He set up schools, hospitals and training colleges. In 1889 the University of Edinburgh conferred on him the degree of DD in recognition of his work in China. He died in England in 1912. For further details see R. Wardlaw Thompson, Griffith John: the story of fifty years in China, London, 1906 and Noel Gibbard, Griffith John: apostle to Central China, Bridgend, 1998.
From the guide to the John, Griffith, 1865-1931, (School of Oriental and African Studies)