Papers of Cecil Polhill (1860-1938) and Arthur Polhill (1863-1935)
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Arthur Polhill was at first based at Paoning then moved in 1888, the same year that he was ordained, to Pachei where he remained until 1898. From 1899 he and his wife (Miss Drake, a CIM missionary in China since 1884) were based at Suiting. Polhill's wife died in 1906 and he married A. A. Hart in 1908 and continued his evangelical work at Suiting until he retired in 1928.
Cecil Polhill was first based at Chengtu and Chungking in Szechwan but his main interest was work amongst the Tibetan people. He paid an early visit to Kansu, returning in 1888 to Paoning to marry E. A. Marston (a CIM missionary in China since 1884). The couple spent three years in Sining in Kansu then spent some time travelling along the Tibetan border before in 1892 settling, with their two sons, in Sungpan in north-west Szechwan. Their arrival coincided with a period of severe drought for which they were blamed by the townspeople who attacked the Polhills and forced them to leave. In 1895, after a period of rest in England, Polhill went to Kalimpong in India to help with work on the Tibetan border and a year later his wife and family joined him in Darjeeling. They soon returned to China and settled in Tatsienlu, Szechwan where they stayed until they were evacuated during the Boxer rebellion. Poor health meant that Polhill was sent home in 1900. He remained in England for the rest of his life having inherited the family estate in 1903, but his interest in China continued and he returned on short missionary tours seven times. On the way back from one of these trips in 1908 he became involved with the Pentecostal movement in Los Angeles. His experience led him, with Alexander Boddy, to promote Pentecostalism in Britain. Polhill was particularly interested in evangelism in the missionary context and, with Boddy, founded the Pentecostal Missionary Union in 1909, structured along the lines of the CIM. The PMU sent its first missionaries to China in 1910 and later others went to India and to Tibet. Its activities were promoted through the journal Confidence and Polhill's own Fragments of Flame (later Flames of Fire). Polhill was president and director of the PMU until 1925 when it was integrated into the Assemblies of God after which he retired. He died in 1938 three years after his brother Arthur.
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