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The church in Madras : being the history of the ecclesiastical and missionary action of the East India Company in the Presidency of Madras in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Volume 2) online

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chosen. They were all chosen with deliberation and care. The
difficulty at Secunderabad and Bangalore was surmounted
soon afterwards by the building of other Churches for the use
of the distant portions of the garrisons.

The Government forwarded their proceedings to the
Directors, I who replied : ^

29. ' We must express our regret that you sanctioned so large
an expenditure &c. We do not know when the Church was
built, or who is responsible for its erection such a distance from
Barracks. When the inconvenience of its position had been
placed before you, you should have delayed the enlargement

' Letter. Sept. 10. 1850, 7-9, Eccl.

2 Despatch, March 31, 1852, 29, 30, Eccl.


till after consulting us, especially as the Church Committee
offered in the event of a new Church being sanctioned, to en-
deavour to raise a considerable portion of the sum required by
private contributions.'

30. ' We much regret to discover from the representations
of the Archdeacon that this is not the only instance,' &c.

On receipt of this letter the Government referred the matter
to the Bishop for inquiry. His report was sent to the Directors,^
who replied : "

' We learn with great satisfaction from the statement of
the Bishop that the situations of the Churches throughout
the Diocese of Madras are on the whole as eligible and con-
venient as could have been selected. ... It is greatly to be
regretted that Archdeacon Shortland made the strong obser-
vations regarding the position of the Churches,' &c.

In the meantime the Church was enlarged and surrounded
with a compound wall,^ and a large addition was made to the
cemetery .+

The official return of the cost of the Church made in 1852
was Rs.42,369. If this was correct the original estimate was
more than doubled. But perhaps the enlargement and the
building of the compound wall and the various necessary
repairs up to that date are included in the sum. The
compound wall had to be almost rebuilt in 1865.^

The size of the Church is 70 x 47 x 41 feet. Each tran
sept is 32 X 24 feet. There are two vestries flanking the
sanctuary each 14 x 12 feet. The addition of the transepts
makes the plan cruciform. The building has a flat terrace roof
over the nave. The west end has a handsome portico with
classical columns and a flight of steps, like all the other Churches
built at this period by the old Madras Engineers. At the present
time there is only one company of European infantry in the
station, and a regiment of native infantry with European

' Letter, Aur. 10, 18.52, 21, 22, Eccl.

- Despatch, Aug. 31, 1853, 20, Eccl.

2 Letter, Nov. 11, 1851, 6, Eccl.

•» Letter, Nov. 1, 1852, 11, Eccl.

^ G.O., Aug. 31, 1865, Nos. 72C-28, Works.


officers. But there is still a considerable number of civilians,
official and non-official, to be ministered to. It is better that
the Church should be too large than too small.

The Eoman Catholic Church in Cannanore has been very
fortunate in getting assistance from the Government in the
past. In 1848 it received a grant of Es.l618 for repairs ; ^
in 1868 it received a grant of Ks.2885 for enlargement ; "
and in 1872 a grant of Es.5506 for the completion of the

The monumental tablets in the Church record the deaths
of three young officers of the 51st Madras Infantry who lost
their lives in the Coorg war in 1834, and of other officers of
other regiments who died at or near Cannanore. There is
no memorial gift in the shape of furniture ; but all the better
and more expensive furniture has been provided by the
congregation at various times.

The first Chaplain stationed at Cannanore was the Rev.
John Dunsterville. He was there in 1808, 1811, and from
1814 to 1831, when he died. The English residents at the
time erected a handsome monument over his grave in the
cemetery. No other Chaplain was at the station longer than
six years.

St. John's, TricJiino'poly. — The history of Trichinopoly has
already been given when dealing with the story of Christ
Church in the Fort.* It remams now to relate the story of St.
John's. The first move outwards from the Fort in search of
fresh air and health was towards the village of Warriore, where
a cantonment was laid out and bungalows were built. At about
the same time the 19th Dragoons were accommodated with
temporary quarters on ' Trichinopoly Plain.' The Warriore
cantonment was in a low-lying neighbourhood, almost on a
level with the waters of the Wyacondah irrigation channel.
There was a good deal of sickness in the Warriore lines from
which the Dragoons on the higher ground were free. After the

1 Consultations, May 18, 1847, 19, 20, Eccl. ; June 13, 1848, 19, 20, Eccl. ;
Oct. 10, 1848, 13, Eccl.

= G.O., March 25, 1868, No. 63, Eccl.

=* G.O., Sept. 19, 1871, No. 163, Eccl. ; Oct. 16, 1872, No. 191, Eccl.

^ Church in Madras, i. 584-604.


Mysore war the Dragoons did not return to Trichinopoly, and
their temporary barracks were allotted to the 12th Regiment
in 1801.1 Tiie grovmd was not much higher, hut it was higher,
and it had the advantage of being at some distance from the
wet cultivation near the banks of the channel. The improve-
ment in the health of the European soldiers at the new lines
was so marked that in 1805 a permanent infantry barrack was
built on or near the site of the temporary buildings. The new
cantonment was laid out and drained, and all the European
troops, except the Ordnance Artificers, some artillerymen, and
an infantry guard, were withdrawn from the Fort.

The new cantonment was one of the places where the
Directors sanctioned the building of a Church in 1805.2 As
at other stations a long delay took place and nothing was done.
The question of expense had to be considered. At the end of
1807 3 the Government sent home the recommendation of
General MacDowall. They received a favourable reply, sanc-
tioning the expenditure in 1809,1' a^^i they determined to build
a Church at Trichinopoly m 1811 s at a cost of 5000 pagodas.

^Vhile they had the scheme under consideration the question
of a new burial-ground was settled. A site was fixed upon in
1807 at the southern limit of the cantonment. The first burial
was in 1808, soon after the enclosing wall was built.^

In all other military stations the cemetery was separated
from the Church. At Trichinopoly there had been a burial-
ground in the churchyard at the Fort as well as a separate
burial-ground at Chintamony, and no evil effect had resulted
from its existence. The local feeling, which was probably
founded upon the sentiment of arrangements at home, was in
favour of having the burial-ground and the Church together.
Consequently when the building of the Church was sanctioned
in 1811, it was built in the centre of the new burial-ground.

The engineer had to keep within his estimate, and to do
the best he could to build a Church to hold 600 persons for

' Memoirs of George Elers, p. 133.

•^ Despatch, June 5, 1805, 9, Public.

3 Letter, Dec. 14, 1807, 49-52, Mil.

^ Despatch, January 11, 1809, 153, Public,

* Letter, March 15, 1811, 939, Mil.

« Letter, Oct. 21, 1807, 634-35, Mil.


5000 pagodas. He erected a plain, strong, parallelepiped
building without even a cupola for a bell. When Bishop
Middleton visited the station in 1816 and in 1819 he complained
to the Government of its unecclesiastical appearance, and
suggested that a cupola and an entrance portico at the west
end should be added, and that in future there should be some
recognition of the traditional ecclesiastical character of Church
buildings. In 1822 the Government sanctioned i the additions,
and they were carried out. Two years later there was a further
large expenditure ^ over the internal arrangements. The two
expenditures amounted to over Es. 10,000, which are sufficient
to show that it is not easy to build a cheap Church. Sense and
sentiment equally rebel against discomfort within and plainness
without. The belfry was added in 1832.3

Bishop Middleton consecrated the new Church in 1816.
It was dedicated to God in honour of St. John the Evangelist.
During this visit he was greatly impressed with the need of a
library of standard works, especially theological, in the station,
and he forthwith established one at his own expense. There were
about two hundred volumes bound in leather. The bookcase
stood for over sixty years in the Vestry. At the end of that
time the library had become practically useless owing to the
loss of so many volumes. Eoom was wanted in the Vestry,
so the bookcase with the remnant of the books was removed
to the Vestry school, where it is still the trust property of
the Chaplain and Lay Trustees.

The year 1826 will always be remembered in Trichinopoly ;
for in that year Bishop Heber was drowned and was buried in
the sanctuary of St. John's on the north side of the altar.*
When the body was taken from the bath the garrison surgeons
did their best to restore animation. One of them, Mr. A. B.
Peppin, made an official report on his examination of the body.
This report came into the hands of the Eev. C. S. Kohlhoff,
S.P.G. missionary of Erungalore. He presented it to the Chap-
lain of Trichinopoly in 1879, and it is now in the Chaplaincy

1 Despatch, July 28, 1824, 73, EccL, in reply to 1822 letter.

" Despatch, Feb. 23, 1825, 13, EccL, in reply to 1824 letter.

^ Letter, April 24, 1832, 1, Eccl. ; Despatch, Feb. 20, 1833, 6, EccL

'' Church in Madras, i. 598.


File Book. A mural tablet was put up to his memory by the
Memorial Committee, but there was no monument over his
gi'ave till the Eev. Thomas Foulkes, Chaplain, went to the
station in 1865. He raised money locally, and placed over the
gi'ave a handsome marble slab inlaid with brass and coloured
enamels. Even so, no memorial of any kind could be seen
from the body of the Church. Therefore twenty years later
another fund was raised, to which the Diocese was asked to
subscribe, and a memorial window was placed in the sanctuary,
which all in the Church could see. The window is an artistic gem.^

Shortly before the death of Bishop Heber it was found
necessary to enlarge the burial-ground. A considerable portion
of the space intended for burial was occupied by the Church.
The military authorities therefore arranged for additional
space, and with the consent of the Government enclosed it with
a wall. The Directors approved. 2

In the same year 1826 the congregation raised a sum of
money and purchased an organ in England. When it arrived
they asked the Government to erect a teak wood gallery at
the west end of the Church for the accommodation of the organ
and the proposed choir. The Government assented and the
Com-t of Directors approved.^ The gallery remained in posi-
tion and in use until 1870, when there was a desire to bring the
choir and the music to the east end of the Chm'ch. The pipe
organ, which required repair, was discarded and presented to
Christ Church in the Fort, and a new reed organ was purchased
by the congregation in its place. It was a poor exchange,
for the pipes of the old organ were good ; the instrument only
required a renewal of some of its mechanism. Sixteen years
later the reed organ was sold to the Tanjore Mission, and
another pipe organ of good quahty was obtained from England.
The ship which brought it out encountered a severe cyclone.
The cargo shifted, and parts of the instrument were damaged.
There was no one in the station who had any knowledge of the
mechanism of an organ. But as an example of what can be

' In borrowing from the Diocesan Record of 1893, p. 88, I am merely
borrowing what is my own. — F. P.

» Despatch, AprU 26, 1826, 6, Eccl.

^ Letter, Dec. 16, 1826, EccJ. ; Despatch, July 23, 1828, 4, Eccl.


clone when there is a will to do it, it may be mentioned that the
damaged parts of the instrument were repaired, the whole
organ was put together and tuned by the joint effort of a Civil
Engineer, an Enghsh and a native fitter employed on the
railway, and the Chaplain.

The same year 1826 saw the separation of the Chaplanicy
and the mission funds. When the garrison left the Fort, they
not only left behind their Church, but also their Vestry fund
and their school for soldiers' children.^ A vestry composed of
British officers and civilians in the Company's service had
managed the fund and other parish affairs from 1771 till
St. John's Church was built in 1812. Their proceedhags were
recorded in a book in the same orderly way as was done at
St. Mary's, Fort St. George.^ After 1812 there does not appear
to have been any Vestry meeting at Christ Church. Christian
Pohle continued to administer both the Vestry and the native
mission funds as he had been accustomed to do. His death
and the advent of a successor, who did not understand that
there were two funds, were the means of raising inquiry soon
after 1820 as to what was being done with the Vestry fund,
which was established by the liberality of officers for the benefit
of the children and descendants of British soldiers. The
accounts were separated in 1826. The missionaries in the Fort
kept possession of all their mission property, and the Vestry
fund was placed in charge of the Vestry of the new Church. The
children of the Vestry school were transferred from the Church
compound in the Fort to more open premises between the new
cantonment and Warriore. Schoolrooms and other premises
were built for them in the corner of the compound occupied
by the Chaplain, and there the school remamed till it was
moved into the heart of the cantonment in 1881.

Between the years 1831 and 1834 an attempt was made by
Major-General Sir E. K. Williams, K.C.B., who commanded
the southern division of the Madras army, to take the Vestry
school out of the hands of the Chaplain and the Vestry, and to

1 Called the Vestry School.

" This book has been found among the Mission records at the Fort Church,
Trichinopoly, since I wrote on this subject in The Church in Madras, i. 595-6.
In 1906 the Rev. J. A. Sharrock supplied me with a copy of all the Proceedings
from 1771 to 1812. See Appendix I.



make it a brigade school under a committee of military officers.
The General did not know the history of the school, and his
design failed, partly because the property of the school was held
in trust by the Archdeacon of Madras as a corporation sole, and
partly because the bankers refused to pay dividends to anyone
but the Vestry authorities. Sir E. K. Williams was backed by
the military officers in the station, who could hardly act other-
wise ; but as soon as his period of command came to an end
the contention ceased.

There was a long dispute between the Madras Government
and the Directors as to the supply of punkahs in St. John's.
The local Government knew the need and knew it well ; but
the Directors refused to sanction the expense. The punkahs
were supplied while the dispute was still going on, and finally
it came to an end by the Directors' acquiescence in 1850.

The chm-chyard was again enlarged in 1848 in the westerly
direction.^ Considerable repairs and alterations were made in
1871,2 including the destruction of the west gallery. They
who had to sit underneath it were exceedingly uncomfortable,
and hot ; and as there was no real necessity for it, it was
carried away without regret.

In 1879 British troops were withdrawn from the garrison.
At first it seemed as if the empty bungalows were going to be
allowed to go to ruin. But Trichinopoly is a central place.
The Government of Madras made it the headquarters of a
number of different civil departments. The officials of the
South Indian Railway liked its climate better than that of
Negapatam, and built their central offices near the junction
railway station. Consequently the houses filled, and the
Chaplain found no difficulty in keeping up the Vestry school,
and in carrying on various other parochial undertakings.
Between 1879 and 1888 the congregation contributed over
Rs.7000 for the improvement of the furniture and the adorn-
ment of the Church.

In the official return of Churches made in 1852 it is stated
that the cost of the Chm'ch was Rs.28,248. This sum is so
much larger than the sanctioned cost that it probably includes

> Letter, Feb. 22, 1848, 15, Eccl. ; Despatch, July IG, 1851, 15, Eccl.
2 G.O., July 12, 1871, No. 117, Eccl.


all expenditure up to that date. Its size in the same return
is said to be 130 x 67| x 22 feet. The real inside measure-
ments are 82| x 70 x 22 feet. There is a nave, two aisles
of the same length as the nave, and a sanctuary flanked by

Inside the building there are some handsome memorials and
gifts. The font is a memorial of his wife presented by Mr. W. A.
Willock of the Madras Civil Service. The pulpit was dedicated
by the congregation to the memory of Mr. Charles Rundall.
The lectern was given by friends of Mr. A. F. Richards, a popular
young civilian who died of cholera in 1885. The brass adorn-
ments of the altar were given by the Hon. Mr. Whiteside,
and the handsome pulpit candelabrum was the gift of Mr.
G. Duncan Irvine. Both these gentlemen were of the Civil
Service. The Chaplain's stall was the gift of another civilian,
Mr. A. R. McDonell. There is a window given by the Trichin-
opoly Cricket Club to the memory of Mr. Arthur Williams, a
young barrister who died of cholera in 1888, and another to the
memory of a child who died in 1879. On the walls are com-
memorated Bishop Heber, Major- General Hamilton Hall,
Aeneas Ranald McDonell of the Civil Service, David Logan,
Chief Engineer of the South Indian Railway, and others whose
names were household words in the south of India in their

There have been only two burials inside the Church itself,
namely Bishop Heber, and an infant child of Mr. Charles
May Lushington of the Civil Service, who died in 1815.

Of the Chaplains in the Hon. Company's service in the
nineteenth century, they who exercised most influence on the
ecclesiastical affairs of Trichinopoly were Richard Smyth
(1811-15), who saw the building of the Church ; Joseph Wright
(1823-30), who disentangled the Vestry and Mission affairs
and established the Vestry school in the cantonment ; Vincent
Shortland (1833-35), who on his first arrival in India had to
bear the brunt of the attack of General Sir E. K. Williams on
the Vestry school, and made a reputation for himself by the
judicious tone of his letters ; Henry] Deane (1835-42), who
succeeded in restoring unity of sentiment with regard to the
management of the school ; and G. E. Morris (1848-54).

o 2


At the beginning of the nineteenth century Captain George
Elers was with the 12th Regiment at Trichinopoly. He relates i
that when he was there money was collected dming one cool
season for the pm-pose of giving amusement for three days,
with public breakfasts, ball, &c., and sports for the men. With
more or less regularity this custom was kept up during the
centmy, so that everyone in the south of India knew what
was meant by the Trichinopoly Week at Christmas time. The
established practice of friendliness and hospitality has made
Trichinopoly with all its heat a pleasant memory to everyone
who has been at any time stationed there.

1 Memoirs of George Elers, p. 130.




What led to their coining. The effect of the S.P.C.K. reports. The debates
of the Stock Proprietors at the India House. John Thomas. W. Carey.
The London Missionary Society ; its agents. The S.P.C.K. agents. Their
reception by the Company, the local Government and the officials. Ringel-
taube. Cran and Des Granges. Loveless. Gordon and Lee. Hands,
Pritchett. John Thompson. Judson and Newell. The Tanjore S.P.C.K.
missionaries. The C.M.S. Their difficulties and their agents. Mead
and Knill of the L.M.S. at Nagercoil. The kindness of Col. Munro.
Norton, Bailey, Baker, and Fenn in Travancore, invited by Col.
Munro. His opinion of them. The Wesleyans. Arrival of Lynch
and Mo\\'att and Hoole. Hoole's autobiography. Non-interference
with one another.

The last decade of the eighteenth century saw the commence-
ment of a popular movement in Great Britain in favour of com-
municating the knowledge of Christ and the blessings of
Christianity to heathen people in foreign lands. The move-
ment was due to various causes. First and foremost among
all earthly causes was the steady, sober, continuous,
prayerful, faithful work of the German missionaries in the
south of India. Some of these were exclusively supported
by the King of Denmark, and they were known as members
of the Eoyal Danish Mission. They worked in the Danish
territory of Tranquebar, and, with the permission of the
Eajah, in those portions of the kingdom of Tanjore which
were adjacent to the Danish borders. Others were supported
by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, and
were locally known as the British missionaries. With the
permission and co-operation of the Hon. East India Company
they worked in the territories of the Company, and of the
Company's ally, the Nabob of the Carnatic.


Since 1726 it had been the custom of the Society to pubHsh
annual reports of what was being done on the Coromandel
coast. These reports were circulated, not widely perhaps, but
sufficiently so to gain and unite genuine believers in the mission-
ary idea. It was not possible that the Society should have
done this for over sixty years without some effect being pro-
duced on the minds and consciences of religious men. One
of the symptoms of such effect appeared in 1793, when William
Wilberforce moved his famous resolutions in the House of
Commons. They were passed, and though they were not
accepted by the Government, the debates on them in the
House of Commons and in the East India House arrested the
attention not only of religious men, but also of a great number
of others who were only slightly interested in the propagation
of the Gospel.

The unchristian natm*e of some of the arguments put forth
by some of the speakers in opposition to the Resolutions at the
Com-t of Proprietors of East India Stock made many men think
more seriously of the duty of preaching the gospel to every
creatm-e than they had ever thought before. If they had been
indifferent before, they found themselves quite unable to be
indifferent any longer. Something can be said in favour of the
speakers, who were extremely afraid of the Resolutions as
calculated to charge the Company with a great and permanent
expense. It was one thing to fight against this reasonably
and on principle ; it was quite another thing to do it in an
unchristian way. But these matters are overruled. Perhaps
if the opponents had not spoken as they did, the conscience of
Christian England would not have been stirred. As it was,
men had to consider which side they were on, whether they
were for or against Christ, whether they were in favour of carry-
ing out His wishes or opposing them. And the general result
was a vast increase in the number of those in favour of doing
what was manifestly right when the question was fairly

Another effect of the publication of reports was
seen in the result produced in individuals in various
parts of Great Britain. The journey of John Thomas to
Calcutta in 1790 was an individual effort to promote a


cause 1 which he must have heard of directly or indirectly
by means of reports. He was quite unfitted for the work
he proposed to do, so that the friends of the mission cause in
Bengal were obliged to hold aloof from him ; he was sent
by no Society ; he had no private nor official income ;
and he had no licence from the Company to reside in any
of their settlements. Still he deserves the credit of making
an individual effort to do what he was convinced ought to be
done, even though he broke all the rules of prudence and
good sense. The subsequent journey of William Carey to the
same place was the result of a knowledge of mission work in
India which could not have been obtained in any other way than
by means of the S.P.C.K. reports. This also was an individual
effort. Carey had at first no guaranteed salary ; he took with
him a sum of money which was lost in the Hoogli as soon as
he arrived ; he had no licence ; but being by temperament

Online LibraryFrank PennyThe church in Madras : being the history of the ecclesiastical and missionary action of the East India Company in the Presidency of Madras in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries (Volume 2) → online text (page 18 of 39)