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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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looked upon the local Government, and the local Government
regarded themselves, as ' in charge ' of the Church buildings
generally, and holding them in trust for the purposes for which
they were built and consecrated. The question of property
was, however, bound to arise at some time ; for some of the
Churches built were only slightly assisted by the Government,
and some were built without such assistance. It arose in 1849.
The civil and military residents at Waltair had built themselves
a Church in 1838 without the assistance of the Government.
In 1849 they asked the Government to carry out certain repairs.
The Government assented, and took the opportunity of asking
the Directors ^ if the Church ' should be brought on the list of

' Letter, May 8, 1849, 5-8, Eccl.


Churches to be repaired by the Government,' according to the
recommendation of the MiHtary Board. The Government
evaded the question of ownership, and the Directors did the
same thmg m then' reply ; they said : ^

' We are of opinion that subject to the consideration of the
particular circumstances of each case. Churches built by sub-
scription either at stations where there are Chaplains resident,
or at out-stations periodically visited by them, may very
properly be taken under your charge, and repaired at the
public expense.'

This meant that they should be regarded as in the same
position as other station Churches for Europeans ; that is,
that they should be held in trust and protected, and placed
under the Rules relating to Lay Trustees.

The question again arose in 1851. The residents in Mercara
raised over Rs.6000 for the erection of a Church and asked the
Government to contribute Rs.2000, The Bishop also asked
that the Church when complete might be vested in himself
and the Archdeacon ' in trust for the use of the Church of
England.' The Government referred ^ this question to the
Court of Directors, who replied as follows : ^

' We are not prepared without further information to
consent to the transfer of the Church when completed (as
requested). As at present informed we think that the property
in all Churches built either wholly or in part at the public
expense should be vested in the Government, the Church
being maintained and repaired at the expense of the Govern-
ment. As uniformity of practice, however, is desirable on this
point we direct that a reference be made to the Government of
Bengal for the purpose of ascertaining the forms observed in
the Diocese of Calcutta previously to the consecration of
Churches ; and that if the practice there be found conformable
to the views we have expressed above, you at once adopt that
practice as the rule hi the case of Churches built with the aid
of your Government.'

1 Despatch, July 30, 1851, 15, Eccl.

« Letter, June 26, 1851, Eccl.

•> Despatch, Feb. 18, 1852, 2, Ecol.


Eeference was accordingly made to the Government of
Bengal, and the reply was sent ^ to the Du'ectors. The answer
of the Court was this : "

' In accordance with the practice prevailing in Bengal the
Churches built within the Madras Presidency either wholly
or in part at the Government expense will remain vested in
the Government, whose consent will be apphed for previously
to the performance of the act of Consecration.'

The word ' remain ' left the question unsettled as to future
buildings ; but nothing further was done in the matter during
the rule of the Hon. East India Company, because the great
majority of Europeans and Eurasians for whom the Churches
were built were satisfied that the Government, in whom they
had implicit confidence, were the most trustworthy of all
possible trustees.

Of the twenty-three Churches and Chapels built between
1805 and 1835, eighteen were consecrated with the permission
and co-operation of the founders and builders. The exceptions
were : (I) the Fort Chapel, Bangalore, which is a small tiled
building, originally erected for what was regarded as a tempo-
rary need only ; (2) the Cannanore Chapel, which was in the list
of those to be consecrated in 1813 by commission from the Arch-
bishop of Canterbury, but which was for some unknown reason
afterwards forgotten ; (3) the Tripassore Chapel, which was
erected for the use of the Company's Veteran Battalion then
stationed there ; soon afterwards the battalion was moved
elsewhere for sanitary reasons and the station deserted ; (4) the
C.M.S. Chapel, Black Town, and (5) the C.M.S. Chapel, John
Pereiras, both in Madras. The Church Missionary Society
retains its hold as absolute owner upon its missionary chapels.
There is no reason to suppose that the Society does this with
the intention of using them in some way the Bishop would not
approve. The act of consecration is omitted through a mis-
apprehension of its meaning and effect. The secretary of the
Madras Corresponding Committee of the C.M.S. gave this
explanation : ' They are not consecrated because the native

1 Letter, August 10, 1852, 8-10, Eccl.
- Despatch, August 31, 1853, 10, Eccl.


Church has an interest m them, and it is not desirable to make
them the property of a foreign corporation, the Church of
England m India.'

Since a similar misapprehension existed in the imaginations
of the Scotch Presbyterians, who laid claim to the use of the
consecrated Churches in Lidia in 1897-1902, it may be well to
explain what their consecration means. The Presbyterians
asserted that the Churches by the act of consecration were
filched by the Church of England from the Government. This
assertion means that the property in the buildings was trans-
ferred by stealth from one body to another body.

In the lii'st place the Church of England is not a corporate
body, and is not capable therefore of holding property. Then
consecration is not an act of transfer. It is and always has
been from the earliest times m the history of religions a solemn
setting aside for religious purposes. Persons, places, things, and
buildings can be thus set aside. With regard to persons, they
whose lives are consecrated to religious use are ' not their own ' ;
they are ' bought with a price ' ; and they are required to hold
their lives in trust for the purpose for which they are conse-
crated. With regard to places, things, and buildings consecra-
tion has a similar effect, for it limits the powers of ownership.
Consecrated articles cease to be private property ; they are held
in trust for a purpose. Before the act of consecration the
person or persons or representative persons who provide the
funds can legitimately exercise all the rights of ownership.
After the act they cannot. They can neither make alterations
nor additions, nor keep the key of the building, nor lend the
building to whom they please, nor make arrangements for the
conduct of services in it. After consecration their absolute
ownership and their power over the building is at an end.
Henceforth the building is held in trust for the purposes for
which it was set aside.

In England the trustees are the Patron, the Diocesan, and
the parochial authorities together. They have certain legal
relationships and methods of action. They may not proceed
to alter, demolish, add or re-arrange independently of one
another. Each set of trustees must be consulted before any
change of the permanent structure is made ; and this because


every change affects the rights of those by whom and for whom
the trust is held. The power of the trustees over the building
is not absolute because their ownership is not absolute. For
his own protection against any autocratic action on the part
of the Bishop or the Patron, the building is the freehold of the
Parson, but he holds it as a freeholder, not as a lord, and is
subject to the customs of tenancy. The wardens are the
officers of the Bishop and are admitted to office by his authority ;
but they are nominated to office by the Parson and the people.
The Bishop is the Judge in all disputes between the Patron,
the Parson, and the people concerning the building, its furniture,
its services, and its funds ; but he is to hear and determine all
questions in open Court in a lawful and regular way. Conse-
cration creates a trust m which all the parties concerned have
to subordinate their individual will to the purpose for which
the trust is held. The Patron nominates the Minister and the
Bishop appoints him ; but both are limited in their choice to
such as have been ordained Priest in the prescribed way. The
Minister conducts the services, but he is not at liberty to conduct
any kind of service except the prescribed service without the
consent of the Bishop. The Wardens keep the building and its
furniture in proper repair, but they are not allowed to carry out
repairs and alterations without the consent of the Bishop and
the Parson.

In this way the buildings and their contents are held in
trust for the community, and the rights of the people are
guarded from any autocratic action on the part of any one
trustee by the necessity of obtaining the consent and co-opera-
tion of the others before he can act.

In India consecration means nothing more than this. There
is no transfer of property, but only the insurance of its use for
its consecrated purpose. When Bishops were consecrated and
sent out to India, their jurisdiction and ecclesiastical rights were
secured to them in the Royal Letters Patent constitutmg their
appointment. Thus : i

' We command and by these presents for Us, Our heirs and
successors, do strictly enjoin as well the Court of Directors of the

1 Letters Patent, May 2, 54 Geo. Ill, and June 13, 5 Will. VI.
VOL. II. p


said United Company, and their Governors, Officers and
Servants, as all and singular our Governors, Judges and Jus-
tices, and all and singular Chaplains, Ministers, and other
Our subjects within the parts aforesaid, that they and every
one of them he in and by all lawful ways and means aiding and
assisting to the said Bishop and Archdeacons and his and their
successors in the execution of the premises in all things.'

The premises mentioned are the early paragraphs of the
Acts m which the sees of Calcutta and Madras were constituted,
and then limits defined, and in which it is decreed that the
Bishops shall be appointed to exercise the episcopal office
within those limits, and to perform the various duties belonging
to their office.

It is partly the duty of a Bishop to control the use and
prevent the abuse of the Church buildings and burial-grounds
which by consecration are set apart. In the performance of
this duty he is associated with others in a trust. In India he
is generally associated with the local Government and the
ecclesiastical officials appointed by it.

The Lay Trustees created by the Madras Government in
1829 on the recommendation of Archdeacon Robinson corre-
spond in many respects with Churchwardens in England. The
important difference is that they are both the nominees of the
Chaplain and they are both communicants. In seeking trustees
with a view to submitting their names to Government
through the Bishop, the Chaplain must approach the highest
civil or military officers in the station first ; if they are unwilluig
or unable to serve he must approach those next in rank, till
he finds persons both willing and qualified. Their duties are
regulated from time to time by the Government in consultation
with the Bishop. The importance of their position consists
in the fact that, havmg been nominated by the Chaplain, recom-
mended by the Bishop, and appointed by the Government
by means of a notification in the Gazette, they are officially
associated with all three parties in the trusteeship of the
property. In India, therefore, the three sets of trustees are the
Government, the Bishop, and the local Church Committee
(the Chaplain and Lay Trustees). The Government does not
alter, improve, or even repair the building, except on the


representation of the local trustees through the Bishop. The
local trustees can make no change without the consent of the
Bishop and the Government. The Bishop cannot decree
changes and alterations without the consent of his co-trustees.
Thus in India the rights of Church people are guarded from any-
autocratic action on the part of any one trustee by the necessity
of his obtaining the consent and co-operation of the rest.

The value of consecration appears in the rigid guardianship
of all rights and duties. Long may it continue ; but in order
that it may do so, all parties must clearly understand its far-
reaching value.

F 2



St. Mark's, Bangalore. — The cantonment and the site of the Church. The cost.
Its consecration and that of t\\o burial-grounds. The earl}' Chaplains and
the Mission. The Fort burial-ground. Tablets in the Church. The fu'st
organ and the gallery. The first scheme of enlargement, 1833. The sugges-
tion of a second Church, 1837. The second scheme of enlargement, 1840.
Second Church sanctioned, 1844. Pensioners' Chapel at Mootoocherry
(now St. John's Hill). Third scheme of enlai'gement. 1859. Fourth scheme
of enlargement, 1895. Tlie Churchyard wall and well. Allotment of seats.
The benches. Education. Soldiers' Reading-room, Mootoocherry. Pen-
sioners' Reading-room at Richmond To^^'n. The ^vork of the Chaplains.
The furniture.

Holy Trinity, Bellary. — History of the Fort. The Church. The early Chap-
lains. The Orphanage. Enlargement of the Church. Its consecration.
The new barracks and Dr. Powell's new Church. Its collapse. Christ
Church, Bellary. The local mission. Fort Church furniture. Some of
the Chaplains. Monuments in Church and cemeterj*.

St. George's, Choultry Plain (now the Cathedral). — History. Its building and
its cost. The design. Its consecration. The trust deeds. The allotment
of seats. The clock presented by the Directors. The burial-ground. The
furniture. The 18G5 alterations. The organ and the organists. The
inner roof. Memorial gifts. The Archdeacon made joint Chaplain, 1854.
Some Chaplains. Memorials of the dead.

St. Mark's, Bangalore. — After the capture of Seringapatam
and the destruction of the power of Tippoo Sultan, a consider-
able force was left in the State of Mysore to overawe the
country. At first the headquarters of the force were at
Seringapatam itself, and there were detachments at Bangalore,
Nundidroog, Eayapott, Mysore, and some other forts in the
country. The whole province is a tableland about 3000 feet
above the level of the sea. It was anticipated that every fort
would be a health station for the British troops of the Madras
army. But in this hope the authorities were disappointed.
Seringapatam itself soon proved to be a most unheal th}^ station ;


the detached forts hero and there were httle better ; so that it
became necessary for the mihtary authorities to choose a new
sjjot for a camp, supply it with drains and sanitary apphances,
and build barracks such as the troops could live in without
danger to their bodily health.

They pitched upon an undulating piece of ground about
one mile from the Fort of Bangalore. Lieutenant John
Blakiston of the Madras Engineers prepared the plans of the
new cantonment ; and when they were approved, he set to work
and completed in less than a year barracks for two regiments
of Europeans, five regiments of native infantry and artillery,
besides hospitals, magazines, and other requirements. He was
at Bangalore from 1806 to 1809 ; and ho had the satisfaction of
seeing the cantonment grow into tho first military station on
the Madras Establishment. ^

Bangalore was included in the list of places where the
Commander-in-Chief recommended the erection of a place of
worship in 1807. The site was probably fixed upon soon after
the recommendation was made ; for the grave of Major Joseph
Dickson, who died in 1808, was made in such a position on the
site itself as to be just outside the building that was to be
erected. The same kind of delay took place in the building of
the Church as at Cannanore, Trichinopoly, and other stations.
It was not commenced until two years after Blakiston had left
Bangalore. He tells us in his memoirs that before he left
India in 1813 he had the satisfaction of displaying his * archi-
tectural talents in the erection of a Church or two.' ~ This was
probably one of them. At the beginning of 1811 the General,
in a letter to Government,^ expressed his opinion that the Church
ought to be built. It was thereupon sanctioned and proceeded
with without waiting for further orders from the Directors.

In choosing the site, allowance had to be made for the fact
that the Church was intended for the troops in the Fort as well
as for those in the new barracks. A place was therefore pitched
upon midway between the Fort and the furthest barrack in the
cantonment, and about a mile from each. When the building

^ Vibart's History of the Madras Engineers, i. 429; Blakiston's Twelve
Years, dhc, i. 315. - Blakiston's Twelve Years, dhc, i. 279.

'^ Letter, March 15, 1811, 93S-41, Mil.


was opened for service in 1812 it was a strong but exceedingly
plain structure, according to the intention and order of the
Government. It measured 110 X 53 X 20 feet ^ and could
accommodate about 450 men. To make this accommodation
possible the font was placed in the west verandah, and the
pulpit b}^ the side of the altar rails against the east wall of the
nave. According to the 1852 Return the cost of the building
was Es. 30,349. As in other cases, this probably mcluded the
total cost of building, repairs, and alterations up to the date of
the inquiry ; for the original sanctioned estimate was 5000
pagodas or Es.20,000.

When Bishop Turner of Calcutta visited the station in 1830
he consecrated the building and two burial-grounds, one at the
Bangalore Fort and the other in the cantonment.

At the beginning of the century the troops at Seringapatam
had two Chaplains with them. Both were appointed by the
Government of Madras, but neither of them was in the Hon.
Company's service. The Rev. A. T. Clarke ministered at
Seringapatam from 1799 to 1805, when he died ; ^ and the Rev.
I. G. Holtzbcrg, of the S.P.C.K. Mission, ministered to the men
of the de Meuron Regiment.'^ There was no Chaplain in the
Mysore command from 1805 to 1809, when the Rev. John
Dunsterville was sent to Bangalore. He was succeeded in
1811 by the Rev. William Thomas, who remained in the station
till 1820. Thomas saw the building and the opening of the
Church. Ho originated and established the local mission ;
for fifty years this was managed by the Chaplains in the station
by means of local subscriptions, but in 1872 the work had
grown beyond them, and it was taken over by the S.P.G.

Of the other Chaplains during the nineteenth century,
they who exercised most influence in the station, perhaps
because of their long tenures, were :


William Malkin .... 1820-31

George Trevor 1838-45

W. W. Lutyens .... 1840-54

S. T. Pettigrew .... 1865-72

' Official Return dated 1852 ; but the accuracy of the length is doubtful.
- See The Church in Madras, i. 686.
'■' Letter, Feb. 12, 1800, 23^-40, Mil.


All the Chaplains were enthusiastic educationists and
established schools at various centres in the cantonment for
European and Eurasian children, Trevor and Pettigrevvr had
the missionary spirit ; the former built the mission chapel of
St. Paul, the latter enlarged it ; both of them greatly streng-
thened the mission by their encouragement. Irevor tried
hard for the enlargement of the Church. Lutyens saw the
building of Holy Trinity and St. John's. Pettigrew established
the Bishop Cotton Schools and built All Saints'. Others not
mentioned, such as J. Morant (1845-49), G. Knox i (1849-54),
were not far behind them in their missionary, pastoral and
educational zeal.

The Fort burial-ground at Bangalore dates from 1791, the
first year of the first Mysore war. It contained memorial stones
and monuments of the officers and men who fell at the storming
of the town and fort in that year. They were mentioned in
Eobert Home's ' Select Views of Mysore ' (1794), but no longer
exist. In their place there is a cenotaph, erected by the Mysore
Government, recording the names, &c., of all the officers who
fell in that war.- The oldest monument in the cemetery is
dated 1807. The old cantonment cemetery was laid out with
the rest of the cantonment. The date of the oldest monument
is 1809. It is not known exactly when the ground was first
used. There were no register books at Bangalore before the
Church was built. As soon as it was ready they were
suppHed, and a correct record of all burials has been kept
from 1812.

There have been no burials inside the Church, and there is
only one monument inside it of general interest, that to the
memory of Lieut.-Colonel Sir Walter Scott of the 15th Hussars,
who was the son and heir of the first baronet, the great novehst.
He died at sea on his voyage home in 1847.

The old cemetery, which contains the mortal remains of
many a distinguished and gallant soldier, was closed for burials
in 1868, and a new cemetery was opened farther away from the

The Eev. Joseph Wright arrived from Trichinopoly in 1831,

1 The father of the present Bishop of Manchester.
- J. J. Cotton's Inscriptions, p. 378.


and at once began to raise money to purchase an organ. In
this he was successful. He and the Lay Trustees then asked
the Government to request the Directors to allow the instrument
to be sent out freight free,i and the request was granted.^
The organ was placed m the west gallery ; there is no record
to show that the Government erected the gallery ; it was
probably erected by the military engineer and paid for by the

It was at about this time, soon after the visit of Bishop
Turner, that the first application for the enlargement of the
Church was made. At the same time it was proposed to build
a belfry. The joint cost of the belfiy and the enlargement would
have exceeded Rs. 10,000. The Government were not inclined
to incur the expense, and the question dropped.

In May 1836 the Church Committee suggested the building
of another Church on a site chosen by Bishop Come of Madras,
at the east end of the parade ground, near the cavalry ban-acks.^
Six months later the Chaplain, Vincent Shortland, wrote to
the Bishop making a similar suggestion, and adding that St.
Mark's might be used as a Chapel of Ease.

At the beginning of 1837 the Church Committee wTote
to the Archdeacon urging the necessity of another Church.
They laid stress on the distance of St. Mark's from the cavalry
barracks, mentioning the reason why the site was chosen ;
they pointed out the unsuitableness of barrack rooms for divine
service ; and they pressed the erection of a new Church on the
site chosen by Bishop Corrie.

These appeals were without effect, and the question re-
mained in abeyance till 1840.

Meanwhile the Eev. George Trevor had come to the station,
and was shocked to see the font in the west verandah, where
it had been placed to make more sitting room inside the
building. This arrangement he was instrumental in getting

In March 1840 the Church Committee addressed the

1 Letter, Feb. 15, 1833, Eccl.

■ Despatch, July 3 and Dec. 4, 1833, 11, Eccl,

•'' Now the infantry barracks.

•* St. Mark's Records, Correspondence Book, 1838.



Government again. They mentioned the three previous
proposals :

(1) to enlarge the Church ;

(2) to demolish it and build a new one near the cavalry

barracks, using the old materials ;

(3) to leave the old Church as a Chapel of Ease and to build

a new one ;
and they made a new proposal, namely, to leave St. Mark's
as it was, and to enlarge the Soldiers' Eeading-room at the
east end of the parade ground, so that it might be used for
divine ser-vice on Sundays instead of the barrack rooms. ^

The Government asked the Directors to sanction No. 1
scheme, the enlargement of the Church to seat 1000 persons
at the cost of Es.l3,312.~ This they did.3 But there was a
necessity at this time to build new barracks for the cavalry
and artillery. The Government wrote to the Directors on this
necessity,* and the Directors suggested that the chief engineer,

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 7 of 39)