Charles was educated at Queen Elizabeth School Ipswich where he was a younger contemporary of Rider HAGGARD, who he was to emulate through the publication of his novel ‘King Edwards Ring.’ The school had close connections with Ipswich Museum though Headmasters who sat on its committee. The museum already had an extensive ethnographic display at this time which in later years PARTRIDGE would contribute to through the donation of his collections from Nigeria; other objects were donated to the British Museum.
After his time at Queen Elizabeth School Partridge continued his education at Cambridge University gaining an undergraduate degree in Theology in 1895 and his MA in 1901. Due to his broadening interests in the humanities he became a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, an elected member of the council of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and founded ‘The Suffolk Miscellany’ a journal of genealogy and local history
He then undertook a range of colonial appointments as listed below within the Nigerian Protectorate.
1901 (June) Appointed District Commissioner in Southern Nigeria
1901 (July): In treasy at Calabar
1901 (Aug) - 1902 (May): in charge of Idah sub-district
1902 (June - Sept) Calbar
1903 (May) - 1904 (May): District Commissioner Obubura Hill District
1906 (9th Jan): Promoted to District Commissioner of Ikot Ekpene
1906 - 1907 (Aug): District Commissioner of Ikot Ekpene
1907 (16th-25th May): Provincial Secretary and Assistant Provincial Commissioner East Province
1908 (July-Nov): District Commissioner Meko, West Province and officer in charge of Preventive service
1908 (Nov-Dec): Acting Chief Assistant Colonial Secretary
1909 (13th Jan): Appointed to represent Southern Nigeria in delimination of Anglo-French (Nigeria/Dahomey)
1909 (24th Feb): Appointed to represent Northern Nigeria in delimination of boundary Ekiti country
1915 returned to England
During his time in Nigeria PARTRIDGE also wrote and published a book about the cultures he came into contact with as a colonial official “Cross River Natives” which was published in 1905. He also befriended a well known missionary Mary SLESSOR with whom he corresponded extensively. Partridge donated the letters he received from Mary to the Glasgow record office along with a recording of her voice in 1950. He remarked of her in his letter of donation: “During my long life, I have had intercourse with many distinguished people, chiefly men. Of the women, I place first Mary SLESSOR… She was a very remarkable woman. I look back on her friendship with reverence - one of the greatest honours that have befallen me - and I had and still have a superstitious feeling that she has been and still is one of my Guardian Angels. (I have been twice seized by cannibals, thrice shipwrecked, etc., etc.!) This belief exists in spite of my being agnostic (non-knower) and non-religious, though, as we all are, thoroughly imbued with the ethics of Christianity. Excepting Miss Slessor, I thoroughly disapprove of all missionaries!”
It was during his time in Nigeria that one Charles Stanely PARTRIDGE was to enlist as a member of the Nigerian Command of the Legion of Frontiersmen.
Charles remained in Nigeria until 1915 when he joined the British Army and went onto serve in campaigns in Greece and Italy, his rank at that time was Lieutenant. On leaving the army Charles returned to England where he re-engaged with his life-long interest in local history and genealogy. Alongside his friends Prince Frederick Dalip SINGH, who he met initially in 1893, and Dean FARRAR he worked towards the compilation and publication of the book ‘Portraits in Suffolk Houses.’ He also worked extensively on the history of Suffolk families, including his own, and presented a copy of the typescript book to the Suffolk records office. He was also editor of East Anglian Notes and wrote a series of articles for the East Anglian Daily Times under the name ‘Silly Suffolk’.
Master of Arts (M.A)
Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society (F.R.G.S)
British War Medal
Born 10 February 1872, Suffolk, England
Father - Charles Thomas PARTRIDGE
Mother - Catherine Pleasance HEWITT
Died 21 December 1955, Stowmarket, Suffolk, England
Cross River Natives (1905)
Suffolk Churchyard Inscriptions (1912)
Portraits in Suffolk Houses
Sir Charles PARTRIDGE was a major collector for Ipswich Museum. He was a member of an old Suffolk family. He was born in 1872 andeducated at Ipswich and Cambridge. In 1904 he arrived as a District Commissioner at Ikot Ekpene in Nigeria. He remained in Nigeria until 1915, collecting traditional African items, including clothing, basketware, pottery and furniture. He also collected the contents of a burial hut which he presented to Ipswich. After returning to Suffolk he pursued his lifelong interest in local history andgenealogy. He died in 1955 in Stowmarket.
Colonial official, anthropologist, researcher, writer. Born in Suffolk, graduated Cambridge in 1895, afterwards joined Colonial Service in Nigeria, later he became Political Officer and District Commissioner; elected a Fellow of both Anthropological and the Royal Geographical Societies; in 1904 he wrote “Cross River Natives: notes on the primitive pagans of Obubura District”; he assembled an important collection of ethnographic artefacts; after the Great War he resigned from the Colonial Service and returned to Suffolk, where he devoted himself to research and writing.