Shepherd, Robert Henry Wishart

United Free Church of Scotland
South Africa

Robert Henry Wishart Shepherd was a Scottish pastor and educational missionary in South Africa. Shepherd was a missionary of the United Free Church (UFC) (after 1929, the Church of Scotland). He graduated from University of Edinburgh (1915) and New College (1918), was ordained, and married Mary Shearer Goodfellow. Under appointment by the UFC, the Shepherds sailed for South Africa in 1919. Until 1927 he worked as a rural pastor among the Xhosa, then he joined the staff of Lovedale, the most important center of black education in southern Africa. He was first chaplain and director of the press. In 1942 he became the school’s fourth and last principal. In 1955 the new Bantu Education Act destroyed the old Lovedale. For 20 years after 1942, Shepherd edited the South African Outlook and wrote many pamphlets and books. The most important are Lovedale, South Africa (1940) and A South African Medical Pioneer (1958). Retiring in 1956, he returned to pastoral ministry in Scotland. He served as moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1959.

Andrew C. Ross


Horton Davies and R. H. W. Shepherd, South African Missions, 1800-1950 (1954).

G. C. Oosthuizen, Shepherd of Lovedale (1970).

This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.