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Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge



The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge was founded in 1698 by four Anglican laymen and one clergyman; Sir Humphrey Mackworth, Colonel Maynard Colchester, Lord Guilford, John Hooke and the Reverand Dr Thomas Bray. Their aim was to combat the "gross ignorance of the Christian religion" by promoting Christian knowledge through evangelical philanthropy, especially by means of the printing and distribution of Christian literature. In the early days the SPCK promoted charity schools, libraries for clergy in poor parishes, and the translation of the Bible and Prayer Books into other languages. The SPCK also supported the establishment of the Church of England in "colonies and plantations", especially in America and India. In the 19th century most missionary activity passed to other societies, but the SPCK continued to send its publications overseas, to employ chaplains on ships to support emigrants en route, to provide funds for new dioceses and churches, and to promote the training of medical missionaries. Today the SPCK provides financial assistance, advice and published resources for Christian education, communication and mission throughout the world.

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Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge archive

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS SPCK
Dates: 1698-2017
Conditions Governing Access: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (