John Stevenson Scotland India

Biography of John Stevenson

John Stevenson graduated MA from the University in 1816. He enrolled at the University in 1811, taking classes in Latin (1811-12), Greek (1812-13), Logic and Latin (1813-1814), Ethics (1814-1815), Physics and advanced Latin (1815-1816).

He went on to become a Church of Scotland missionary at Bombay from 1823-34, the first person sent to India by the Scottish Missionary Society; assistant Chaplain to the East India Company from 1834-41; chaplain from 1841-54; and Minister of Ladykirk from 1855-58.

While in India, Stevenson also served as one of the editors of The Bombay Gazette in 1823, and during his long residence, he became an accomplished Sanskritist and grammarian of the Marathi language. Reverend Stevenson was a prominent orientalist and ethnographer, appointed president of the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and was one of the earliest translators of the Vedas, which are the four holiest books of the Hindu religion, written in Sanskrit and believed to be one of the oldest books ever made. His Translation of the Sanhitá of the Sáma Veda was published by Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, in London in 1842.

Stevenson retired to Scotland in 1854, and died on 11 August 1858. His nephew, William Barron Stevenson, followed in his footsteps as an adept linguist and scholar, becoming Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages at the University from 1907 to 1937.


John Stevenson
Born 3 November 1798.
Died 11 August 1858.
GU Degree: MA, 1816;
University Link: Graduate
Occupation categories: clergy; ethnographers; linguists; missionaries; orientalists; translators
English snippet: Arts graduate of the University of Glasgow in 1816,
Record last updated: 28th Oct 2013

Country Associations

Scotland Scotland, No Region
Place of Birth

Scotland Scotland, Ladykirk
Place of Death

India India, Mumbai

University Connections

University Roles