Born in Glasgow, Scotland. Burdon entered the Anglican Mission College at age 23 and came to Shanghai in 1853. The following year, he was consecrated by the bishop of Victoria, George Smith, as an elder. His mission work was mainly in the cities of Kiangsu and Chekiang. Burdon also visited Tai-ping-tian-guo (the Heavenly Kingdom). In 1862, he was transferred to Peking, where he first set up a chapel in the British embassy and later began a boarding school for Chinese boys. After his furlough, he returned to China in 1865 and was commissioned to translate the Bible into guan hua. In 1874, he was commissioned as bishop of Victoria. Before his commissioning, he went to Fukien and visited almost all of the Anglican churches in the province. In 1876, Burdon went to Japan and visited the Anglican churches in Tokyo, Nagasaki, Osaka, and other cities. In 1882, he started new missionary districts in the provinces of Kwangsi and Hainan Island. In 1897, he resigned from the episcopate; thereafter he traveled in Europe and did some writing. He died in Royston.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
Cohen, Paul A., China and Christianity (1963).