Biographical entry: Comins, Richard Blundell (1848 - 1919)

15 November 1848
11 March 1919


Born on 15 November 1848 at Tiverton, England, Richard Comins was educated at Hatfield Hall, Durham. As a teenager, in 1862, he went to New Zealand to study farming, and then returned to England where he had six months training at St. Thomas' Hospital in London studying medicine and surgery. He received his B.D. from Durham University and subsequently was granted an honorary D.D. from the same university. He was ordained a deacon in 1873 and a priest the next year, and then joined the Anglican Diocese of Melanesia, in 1877. Comins was a good amateur doctor and botanist. He worked first on Mae Island in the New Hebrides (1878-1880), then on Makira (1880-1894). He returned to England in 1882 and married Alice Forrest. He then returned to the Melanesian Mission and in 1885 reopened Joseph Wate's school at Sa'a in southern Malaita. He took leave in England in 1889 and returned to the Solomons the next year. When the Protectorate was proclaimed in 1893, Comins accompanied HMS Curacao around the Solomons. In 1894, he was part of an inquiry, with Luke Masuraa (q.v.) in Fiji, into the conditions of Melanesian labourers on plantations. He purchased Siota (q.v.) on Nggela in 1893 for £10 for the Melanesian Mission from the Belaga people to establish St. Luke's boy's school, with himself as the Headmaster. The school used English rather than Mota, the usual lingua franca of the diocese. The school site was thought unhealthy and closed in 1901, much to Comins' disappointment. From 1901 to 1903 he was priest in charge of Nggela and from 1904 until 1912 he was chaplain on Norfolk Island. The first Archdeacon of the Solomon Islands, he retired to New Zealand in 1912 and died on 11 March 1919. (Fox 1958, 158, 225; Bain BDAC)

Related Places

Published resources


  • Fox, Charles E., Lord of the Southern Isles: Being the Story of the Anglican Mission in Melanesia, 1849-1949, Mowbray, London, 1958. Details

Web Pages

  • Blain, Michael, The Blain Biographical Directory of Anglican Clergy in the South Pacific, Project Canterbury, 2012. Details