Comments about this page

Think there's a small typographical error where Mather's biographer is refered to variously as Stephen Friend and Stephen Fry. Don't think the latter was around in those days! Please don't think I'm being over-critical.

By Ron Gibbs
On 17/04/2008

Apart from that an interesting article. I hadn't heard of the gentleman before.

By Ron Gibbs
On 17/04/2008

Thanks for spotting my typo.

By Janet Penn
On 17/04/2008

I went looking for Ebenezer Joseph Mather's headstone this week in St Katherines Church. It was pouring with rain and couldn't find it. I since learnt it has fallen over. Hopefully it can be restored to its former glory.

By David Bullock
On 26/04/2008

Having spoken to Janet recently, I am trying to see if there is any funding to restore Ebenezers grave and to cover the service/ceremony afterwards. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

By Joan Liddiard
On 22/02/2009

The grave and NEW headstone looked immaculate in the snow this morning worth a look.

On 06/01/2010

Janet Penn has performed an excellent service in presenting this material.  However, I can add a few details:  the Thames Church Mission employed E J Mather and it was the TCM council that supported the development of the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen.  With the expansion of the MDSF's work the relationship with the TCM gradually fell apart and the MDSF became an independent, non-denominational society in 1886.  

I recently visited Australia and took the opportunity to explore Mather's residence there. It appears that having arrived at Sydney he then transferred to Adelaide where he spent just a few months before returning home to England. I searched through numbers of volumes in the Adelaide Reference Library but was unable to find any reference to Mather's residence. Perhaps this is an objective others could now explore further.  

On return home he obtained a a position with the Church of England Newspaper.

Regards to all interested in this research. I would be delighted to hear from any readers with further helpful comments. 

Dr Stephen Friend

There are other details that would take too long to provide here. However, I have a book, 'Fishing for Souls' that is almost ready for publication, and the secons on the Mission to Fishermen should help answer many of the questions regarding Mather's life.

One final point - all publications about Mather insist on reproducing the picture of him taken in old age - taken long after his severance from the Mission!  There is a very good portrait photo of him in Toilers of the Deep, Vol. III, 1888, and The Christian, 3 Feb 1888. 


By Dr Stephen Friend
On 06/10/2015

Thank you Stephen for the complement.

I have several photos of Mather when he was younger but it seemed more appropriate to add this one to my article on the Canvey Community Archive website as it was in his latter years that he came to Canvey.

You might have notice his headstone has now been refurbished. We raised the money a few years ago and had a rededication service to mark the occasion. You can read all about it here.

By Janet Penn
On 07/10/2015

My cousin in Australia has a small bible inscribed on the fly leaf by my Great Great Uncle (her Great Grandfather).  Also on the fly leaf is a blue oval stamp which reads Thames Church Mission...Instituted 1844...31 New Bridge St. E.C.  My Uncle (aged 20) took this book on a voyage from London 11/11/1887 on The Oroya, to Williamstown landing on 20/12/1887.  Does anyone have anything they can tell us about this please?

By Deborah Green
On 27/02/2017

Glad to have found your article and information about the Founder of the Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fisheman - Ebenezer Mather. I would like to contact Dr Stephen Friend if that is possible please as I have been researching a picture which is as I understand has connections to the mission.  Best regards Peter N Millward  

By Peter Millward
On 24/04/2018

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