Thomas Lowndes Bullock

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Thomas Lowndes Bullock

Birthplace: Faulkbourne, Essex, England (United Kingdom)
Death: March 20, 1915 (69)
Immediate Family:

Son of Rev. John Frederick Bullock and Elizabeth Anne Bullock
Husband of Florence Louisa Elizabeth Bullock
Father of Margaret Annie (Nan) Severn and Guy Henry Bullock
Brother of Rev. John Frederick Watkinson Bullock (Fred); Margaret Emily Bullock; Herbert Bullock of Winslow and Padbury and Agnes Mary Bullock

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About Thomas Lowndes Bullock

Author of "Mandarin Lessons", held various consular posts in China, beginning in 1869. He was British consul at Shanghai in 1897. On his retirement he succeeded James Legge in the Chair of Chinese at Oxford.


MR. THOMAS LOWNDES BULLOCK, born September 27, 1845, died at Oxford on March 20. He was in the Winchester Eleven in 1864, and was described as a first-rate field at long-leg; fair bat. In the match with Eton he scored 0 and 14. At Oxford he was in the New College XI, but did not obtain his blue. He was Professor of Chinese in the University of Oxford, and formerly H. M.'s Consul in China. "Armorial families : a directory of gentlemen of coat-armour "

Thomas Lowden Bullock

(27 September 1845 - 27 March 1915)

By Samuel Stephenson

(Edited by Douglas Fix)

Thomas Lowden Bullock was born to Reverend J. F. Bullock at Tadwinter, Essex, England on 27 September 1845. He studied at Winchester when growing up and received his MA from the New College at Oxford.(1) Bullock was married to Florence Horton, daughter of the late S. L. Horton of Shifnal, Salop, and had one son (who later joined the general consular service) and one daughter (who married a Hong Kong government official).(2)

In 1866, having gained the title of commander, Bullock traveled to Formosa with Doctor Cuthbert Collingwood aboard the H.M.S. Serpent. They first arrived at Takao on 6 May 1866, and proceeded to circumnavigate the island, visiting Taiwanfoo, Tamsui, Bangka, Keelung, and Sauo.(3) Three years later, at the age of 23, Bullock became a member of His Britannic Majesty consular service in China and was appointed consul to Tamsui by the early 1870s, where he was to remain in service for nearly 10 years.(4)

Bullock made numerous trips into the interior of Formosa, including a trek through southern Formosa with Reverend William Campbell and Joseph Beal Steere in October and November 1873. Bullock was primarily interested in novel discoveries among aboriginal tribes and villages, and commented that it was becoming common for Westerners to visit the southern preserves of the "savages.' Bullock also enjoyed hunting, and traveled into the foothills from Takao to shoot pheasants with Steere and Mr. Budd during the Chinese New Year in March 1874.(5)

In 1879, Bullock took over the consulate at Chinkiang from Herbert J. Allen, beginning what was to become a distinguished career in China. He was later transferred to Newchwang, Fentien Province, where he expressed concerns (in more than 80 dispatches) regarding military operations in Manchuria during the Sino-Japanese war in 1894. His primary attention was reserved for the missionary community that was active in that region, and he managed to persuade most of them to withdraw before Newchwang came under Japanese control for about nine months in 1895.(6)

Bullock retired from the consular service in 1896 or 1897 at the age of 51 due to ill health and returned to England. In 1899, he became a professor of Chinese at the University of Oxford and taught there until his death at the age of 69 on 27 March 1915.(7)

Selected Publications:(8)

"Report of a journey into the interior of Formosa made by Acting Assistant Bullock, in company with Rev. W. Campbell, of the English Presbyterian Mission, and Mr. J.B. Steere, Collector in Natural History for the State Museum of Michigan, United States, October and November, 1873." 26 November 1873. Enclosure to "Report on foreign trade at the port of Tamsuy and Kelung for the year 1873." Reprinted: Pp. 171-177 in British Parliamentary Papers. China. Vol. 11, Embassy and Consular Commercial Reports, 1874-77. China, No. 6 (1874), Shannon: Irish University Press, 1971-.

"Formosan dialects and their connection with the Malay." The China Review, or Notes and Queries on the Far East 3 (1875): 38-46.

"A trip into the interior of Formosa." Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society of London 21 (1877): 266-272.

"Formosa." Journal of the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 50 (1919): 158-161.

Translations of the Peking Gazette, 1887-89.

Honors and Membership:

Barr. (year unknown); Inner Temple (1890); nominated from the Foreign Secretary's list.(9)


1. Who was who, Vol 2, 1916-1928 (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1947), p. 101.

2. Ibid., p. 101; Coates, P.D., China consuls, British consular officers, 1843-1943 (Hong Kong, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), p. 513.

3. Carrington, George Williams, Foreigners in Formosa 1841-1874 (San Francisco: Chinese Materials Center, 1978), pp. 63, 66, 107, 117-124, 176; Otness, Harold M., One thousand westerners in Taiwan, to 1945: A biographical and bibliographical dictionary ([Taipei]: Institute of Taiwan History, Preparatory Office, Academia Sinica, 1999), p. 32.

4. Who was who, Vol 2, 1916-1928, p. 101; Coates 1988, p. 256; Otness 1999, p. 22.

5. Carrington 1978, pp. 128-129, 131; Otness 1999, p. 22.

6. Otness 1999, p. 22; Coates 1988, p. 298.

7. Who was who, Vol 2, 1916-1928, p. 101; Coates 1988, p. 256; Otness 1999, p. 22.

8. Who was who, Vol 2, 1916-1928, p. 101.

9. Who was who, Vol 2, 1916-1928, p. 101; Coates 1988, p. 513.

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Thomas Lowndes Bullock's Timeline

September 27, 1845
Faulkbourne, Essex, England (United Kingdom)
November 9, 1845
April 2, 1886
July 23, 1887
Beijing, China
March 20, 1915
Age 69