Frank Penny.

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

. (page 9 of 39)
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 9 of 39)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Here also rest the remains of the engmeer who built the Fort
Church, Lieut. C. E. Trapaud of the Madras Engineers. He was
a son of Major- General Elisha Trapaud of the same corps, and
Chief Engineer to the Madras Government. Here also lie
Charles Douglas Babmgton, who was killed in the Coorg War,
1834 ; Colonel D. A. Fenning, who died in 1852 ; Mr. Ralph
Horsley of the Civil Service, who was murdered by robbers in
his bungalow in 1856. There is a tablet to his memory at the

In the sanctuary of the Fort Church there is a tablet
recording the death of the Rev. E. R. Otter, Chaplain, in 1841,
who died of cholera when on a pastoral visit to Hurryhur.
There is also a brass tablet to the memory of Colonel Henry
Smalley, R.E., who died in 1892, a zealous officer and an
equally zealous Churchman ; it was erected by some of his
many friends. The officers of the 39th Regiment who fell
during the Kurnool rebellion of 1839 are also recorded ; and one
officer. Major Alexander Robert Dallas, of the 1st M.N. I.,
who was Adjutant-General of the Saugor Field Force in 1858,
is commemorated on the walls of the same Church. He was
stationed at Bellary when he was selected for the important
appointment he held at his death.

St, George's, Choultry Plaiii. — The European officials and
merchants of Madras began to build themselves houses outside
the walled Fort and the walled town soon after the conclusion
of peace in 1763. The position of the houses was between the
Fort and the Choultry Plain, where a considerable number of
troops were encamped. The pohtical condition of affairs in
the south up to the end of the century was such that they who


lived in these garden houses must have been always conscious
of the insecurity of being beyond the protection of the Fort
guns. They had several scares ; ^ the last one was in 1791 when
the cavalry of Tippoo of Mysore appeared in their vicinity .2
The conquest of Mysore gave the same security to dwellers in
Madras as it did to dwellers in other parts of the Carnatic.
Garden houses of various sizes at once increased in number in
the different suburbs south and south-west of the Port, and the
Europeans spread themselves out to enjoy the space and
fresh air to which they had long been strangers. Some of the
new residential districts were three and four miles from the
Fort. Naturally the attendance at St. Mary's on Sundays
began to decrease. Dr. Kerr made this a subject of complaint
to the Governor. The Governor recognised the fact and
sympathised. It came to the ears of the Directors, and they
wrote somewhat severely on the neglect of public worship, as
reported to them.^ But none of them traced the neglect to the
right cause, namely, the want of a Church building in the
neighbourhood where the people lived.

The subject was discussed locally as early as 1807 and
perhaps earlier. When Dr. Kerr wrote his report to the
Governor on the ecclesiastical needs of the Presidency (July 23,
1807) recommending an increase of Chaplains, he noted
the places where they would be required, and allotted
two civil Chaplains for a Church ' to be built on Choultry
Plain.' The Directors made no reply to this suggestion,
so that the burden of building it was left to the people

It was well understood locally that the policy of building
Churches had been adopted by the Directors in deference to
the representation of the military authorities, and because of
the urgent need of some such means of instruction and restraint
in the soldier's life. The Directors had no intention of bearing
the whole cost of building Churches for their civil servants,
though, as in the case of North Black Town, they might give
a little help. The people of Madras being left to themselves

' On the Coromandel Coast, pp. 27-30.

- T/ie Church in Madras, vol. i. p. 568. ^ Ihid. pp. 420, 683.


to devise a means of raising a large sum of money, there was of
course a delay. It took some time to remember what a pro-
fitable source of wealth the local Lottery was. Then it took
some time to settle if it would be just to all subscribers alike,
European and native, which was then almost equivalent to
Christian and heathen, to applj^ even a portion of the profits
to promote the religion of one party and not the other. This
difficulty was got over on consideration that a large portion
was allotted to the upkeep of the roads, and that the natives
profited from this expenditure far more than the Europeans.
So it was settled ; and the Government wrote to the Directors ^
that they had authorised the erection of a Church on the
Choultry Plam ; that the expense was to be defrayed out of the
Lottery Fund ; and they asked that the necessary authority
might be obtained from the Archbishop of Canterbury for its

The Directors in theu' reply said ~ that they concurred
entirely m the propriety of affording the European residents
of Madras and its vicinity an opportunity of attending divine
worship ; and as the Church in Fort St. George was inadequate
for the accommodation of the private families as well as the
troops in garrison, they approved of the decision to build a new
Church in the manner explained. By the time this despatch
arrived at Madras the new building was nearly finished. The
completion report was submitted to the Government early in
1815,2 showing that the cost of building had been 41,709
pagodas. The cost of the site, the expense of furnishing,
including the provision of the bells and the organ, and the
commission to the architect increased the total cost of the Church
to 57,925 pagodas r*- and this was defrayed entirely from the
Lottery Fund. When the Government made their report '^
to the Directors, they took credit to themselves for the econo-
ruical spirit in which they had watched the expenditure. They
said that it was proposed by the Church Committee to incur a
further expense of 3600 pagodas for a wall and gates ; ' but

• Letter, Oct. 17, 1812, 128-30, PubUc.
' Despatch, June 3, 1814, 213, Public.
^ Consvltations, March 7, 1815, Public.
■• Letter, Jan, 25, 1816, 231, Public.


we informed them we thought the charge might be avoided by
enclosing the area with a hedge.' The wall and gates came

The designer of the Church was Colonel J. L. Caldwell, the
Company's senior engineer at the Presidency .i For the
excellent design he received the usual commission.'^ Captain
De Havilland, his junior, superintended the carrying out of the
design. The plan was nearly the same as that sanctioned for
the military Churches in the mofussil. The chief difference
was a tower and spire at the west end, with a vestry on each
side of it, instead of at the east end. The portico west of the
tower is of noble proportions. The spire is 139 feet high, and
is almost identical in design with that of St. Giles' in the Fields,
London. The arrangement of a small semicircular sanctuary
at the east end of the building was in accordance with the taste
and the requirements of the day. The proper place for the choir
was esteemed at that period to be the gallery at the west end.
Accordingly there was a gallery, and the new organ was placed
in a chamber under the spire.^ The body of the Church was
filled with pews which were allotted to officials and other
important residents. There were besides benches under the
gallery. The internal measurement of the body of the Church
was 101 X 54 feet, but there was only sitting accommodation
for 300 persons.

When the building was finished and furnished the Presidency
Chaplains applied to the Bishop of Calcutta for a licence to
use it. The licence was dated April 15, 1815, and was addressed
to the newly appointed Archdeacon. It arrived in time for the
Presidency Chaplains to hold divine service in the building on
April 30, 1815 ; the fact is recorded in the Archdeacon's
Act Book, but it is not stated what the nature of the service
was. At the end of 1815 Bishop Middleton arrived in Madras.
On January 8, 1816, the Church was dedicated by the trustees
with a considerable amount of official ceremony, the deed of
donation of the site being laid upon the altar ; and the Bishop

' On the Coromandel Coast, p. 31. Tlie Imperial Gazetteer is in error in
saying that it was designed by De Ha\'illand.
- Letter, Jan. 25, 1816, 231, Public.
" Now the muniment room.


consecrated the building to the service of God according to the
use of the Church of England.^

Before the act of consecration the Church Committee had
to devise a means of securing the property in trust. They had
before them the case of St. Mary's in the Fort, and they did
not want a repetition of it. For want of a trust deed the new
lawyers in Madras had decreed that St. Mary's Church had no
owner. Consequently a trust deed was prepared. The sale
of the site had been to the Church Committee ; but according
to law they were not a corporate body and could not own pro-
perty. Therefore it had to be pretended that the sale of the
site had been to the Company. The trust deed of January 6,
1816, recited that whereas the Company was seised of the land
in 1812, and did set it apart for the erection of a Church, which
is now builded and licensed ; Whereas the Bishop was ready
to consecrate it ; it is witnessed that for the sum of ten pagodas
the said Company did sell unto the said trustees the site, the
building on it called St. George's Church, together with all rights,
title-deeds, and muniments. That deed secured the property
at all events, and the first trustees were :

Edward Vaughan, Senior Presidency Chaplain.

M. Thompson, Junior Presidency Chaplain.

J. H. D. Ogilvie, Civil Service.

J. L. Caldwell, Lieut. -Colonel Madras Engineers.

D. Hill, Civil Service.

Richard Yeldham, Manager, Madras Bank.

No arrangement was made for facilitating succession ;
the lawj^ers in Madras did not apparently Imow of a simple
process by which new trustees could be substituted for those
deceased or retired. Consequently a new deed was executed
on February 9, 1821, between the Company and five new
trustees. The new indenture cited what had been done in
1816 ; mentioned that the trustees of that date were either dead
or retired ; and witnessed that in consideration of the sum of five
pagodas the said Company did sell unto the new trustees the
land, the building called St. George's Church, with all rights,
&c. This deed mentioned their successors who were to be

' Archdeacon's Act Book.


appointed under the provisions hereinafter for that purpose
contained. The second set of trustees were :

William Thomas, Senior Presidency Chaplain.
Morgan Davis, Junior Presidency Chaplain.
J. H. D. Ogilvie, Madras Civil Service.
George Garrow, Madras Civil Service.
Richard Clarke, Madras Civil Service.

The succession was not kept up in a legal way in spite of this
precaution. Officials came and went, but no alteration was
made to the names in the trust deed, either by endorsement or
otherwise. The second deed was allowed to go on until 1835,
when it was endorsed as follows : ' Be it remembered that on
Dec. 11, 1835 the Hon. Company by the power vested in them
did remove [Thomas, Davis, Ogilvie, Garrow and Clarke] from
being trustees of the within mentioned indenture ; and in their
place did nominate and appoint to be trustees : '

Henry Harper, Senior Presidency Chaplain.

F. Spring, Junior Presidency Chaplain.

R. Clarke, Civil Service.

J. C. Morris, Civil Service.

W. Monteith, Lieut.-Colonel Madras Engineers.

After this there was neither a new deed, nor a new sale, nor even
a new endorsement when a vacancy occurred in the trust. In
such cases the names of the new trustees were published in the
Fort St. George Gazette.

There was very general satisfaction in Madras on the com-
pletion of the new Church. Everyone was proud of the
building, and glad of the opportunities it afforded. Even the
Madras Government mentioned to the Directors ' the great
benefit to Society in Madras from its erection,' and the Directors
expressed their pleasure.^

The allotment of official seats to the civil and military
holders of appointments soon caused a difficulty. Some
officers were married, some were not ; some were frequently
absent on inspection tours, some were absent from choice.
But whether married or single or absent on duty or from

1 Despatches, Oct. 22, 1817, 95, Eccl. ; July 28, 1824, 20, Eccl.


choice, so many seats were allotted to the holder of the office.
On bemg appealed to by the trustees the Governor in Council
suggested the throwing open of the pews with certain exceptions
to the European public on payment of rent. This course was
adopted and has been in use ever since. The Directors

There can be no doubt that the new system was popular.
Church-going was general ; and there was such a demand for
evening services in 182G that a system of lighting had to be

In the year 1828 the Directors made a very handsome
present ^ to the trustees of St. George's when they sent out the
turret clock.

When the Church was completed, a small portion of ground
in the south-east corner of the large compound was put aside
for burials and enclosed with a wall. The Government com-
pleted the simple arrangement of the corner in 1832 by erecting
a gateway and constructing a belfry over it.

There is no record about the shape, design, or material of
the furniture supplied in 1814. The only thing known about
it is that it had to be renewed in 1836, which means that it
only had a life of twenty-two years. The cost of renewal was
Rs.7300, for there was very little of it that was not condemned.
The furniture of 183G lasted till 1865, that is for twenty-nine
years. On each occasion it must have been made of teak and
rattan. Both these substances are strong and lasting. There-
fore it must be concluded that there was some other reason
for the renewal than age and infirmity. Neither in 1814 nor
in 1836 had the military officers who designed the furniture
any artistic ideal to look to at home. Church furnishing as a
trade had not then come to the birth. By the year 1836 there
was a more general taste for ecclesiastical design than there
was in 1814, and by the year 1864 the taste had grown apace.
It was this change of feeling in Church matters which caused
the wholesale casting out of the old designs. The renewal
in 1865 cost nearly Rs.20,000 ; the money was given by the

' Despatch, Sept. 5, 1827, G, Eccl. - Despatch, July 23, 1828, 8, Eccl.

■■' Despatch, March 12, 1828, Eccl.


Punkahs were hung m the Church in 184G. The Church-
keeper's lodge was built in 1851. The chancel was lengthened
and rooms built on each side of it in 1864, and from time to
time the necessary repairs were executed. The cost of all
these changes and alterations came from the Lottery Fund.
Lotteries were suppressed by legislative enactment in India in
the year 1844. The draft of the Act was forwarded from Bengal
to Madras for remark. The Most Noble the Governor in
Council concurred ' entirely in the principle of the proposed
Act and in the expediency of its application to this Presidency.' ^
At the foot of this resolution was a statement showing the net
profit of the Lotteries during the past ten years and the appro-
priation of it. From this it appeared that there had been a
profit of 6f lacs of rupees. Of this 6 lacs had been appropriated
to the repair of the roads, and f lac had been ' transferred to
St. George's Church on account of advances made to the new
Church committee for that Church.' The amount transferred
was actually Rs.76,447.

The object of the 1864-65 alterations was to bring the choir
and the organ " from the west gallery to the chancel and to
demolish the gallery, which no one could sit under with comfort.
The enlarged chancel was made to end in a semicircular apse
of ten feet radius. The whole length of the chancel and apse
together was thirty-one feet. This made the new arrangement

In 1857 the trustees obtained the services of an eminent
organist in the person of Dr. Garrett, who was afterwards
Professor of Music at Cambridge ; but he only remained in
Madras about two years. It was his successor, Mr. Mayne,
who saw the organ brought from the west to the east end.
In 1887 the organ was re-erected and added to, and additional
room was made for the choir by putting it back three feet. At
this time Mr. W. D. St. Leger had held the position of organist
for ten years.

The roof is supported by Ionic columns of brick, which are
plastered with the finely polished chunam of the coast. These
divide the floor space into a nave and two aisles. The nave

1 Consultations, March 5, 1844, No. 204, Public.

- The organ obtained from Hills & Sons, London, in 1857.


has a tiled roof ; the aisles have terrace roofs of masonry.
Tlie tiled roof of the nave rendered it necessary to have a false
roof as well. Originally this was made of lath and plaster.
In 1884 it was showing signs of decay, and the trustees decided
to renew it with teak wood. This was done, and after decorat-
ing the wood with a pattern in papier-mache, the whole roof
was painted white.

Since the last re-arrangement and renewal of the furniture
in 1864, many handsome gifts, memorial and otherwise, have
been made to the Church. The first of them was the font,
an exceedingly handsome marble structure which was given
by the congregation and cost them several thousand rupees.
This was followed in 1871 by a peal of six bells, which cost
Es.8000 and was also the gift of the congregation. The
weights of these are 20, 14, 11, 9|, 8, and 7^ cwt. Soon
after the ring was completed by Mr. George Banbury of the
Madras Civil Service, who presented the two which weigh
6| and 6 cwt. When the bells were placed in position it was
found that the ringing of them put too great a strain upon the
stability of the spire. The Rev. Thomas Foulkes, a Chaplain,
heard of the difiQculty and presented the trustees with a
chiming apparatus. At about the same time the congregation
presented a pair of silver candlesticks, and Surgeon- General
Cornish, CLE., presented the handsome brass altar cross.
In 1884 Archdeacon George Warlow died at Madras. He had
many friends who were anxious to perpetuate his memory.
They presented to the Cathedral trustees a very handsome
brass lectern with a memorial inscription. At about the same
time Mr. W. S. Whiteside of the Civil Service was doing for the
Cathedral i what he had been doing for years at Chittoor, the
headquarters of his district ; namely, producing carved wood-
work articles of furniture for the Church. Carving was his
hobby. To his skill and taste are due the carving of the
Litany stool, the Bishop's throne, and the different clergy stalls.
The episcopal chair in the sanctuary was the gift of Mr. F. E.
Kneale in 1893, and was intended to be a memorial of his

' St. George's Church, Choultry Plain, became the Cathedral Church of the
Diocese in 1835 when Bishop Corrie was consecrated.


From 1815 to 1855 the Archdeacon of Madras attended to
his own duties and was not attached to any Chaplaincy. There
were two Chaplains at St. George's to do the work of the Church
and the district. In 1853 Archdeacon Shortland went to the
hills on leave and took his office establishment with him. At
that time the Archdeacon was looked upon, as far as business
and correspondence were concerned, as the head of the eccle-
siastical department. It was inconvenient to have a depart-
mental head so far away from the seat of Government.^ After
reference to the Directors it was decided to fix the Archdeacon
at the Cathedral by making him one of the joint Chaplains.^
The appointment at the Cathedral was always regarded as the
most desirable of all the appointments possible, and this quite
apart from the higher pay which the Senior and Junior Presi-
dency Chaplains drew. Generally speaking all the Chaplains
who served at St. George's were the pick of the Service, but
naturally some exercised a greater influence for good than
others. Probably those who had the greatest influence before
1855 were :


Edward Vaughan . . . .1815-19
Marmaduke Thompson . . . 1815-28

Wilham Eoy 1828-31

Henry Harper ..... 1831-38

G. H. Evans 1849-51

C. D. Gibson 1852-57

After that time the Archdeacons were the men who, one
after another, exercised the widest and best spiritual influence
in Madras. The titles of Senior and Junior Presidency Chaplain
were dropped when the Archdeacon was made Joint Chaplain.
The former title would not have added to the Archdeacon's
dignity. The latter title was not an object of desire to the
Senior Chaplain who remained at the Cathedral.

From the very beginning the Archdeacons had insisted upon
the rights granted them by Letters Patent to stand aside from
parochial ministrations. In 1822 the Eev. Morgan Davis was
ill and on sick leave, and the whole duty fell upon the Eev.

' Madras only at that time.

' Despatch, Oct. 25, 1854, 22, EccL, in reply to Letter, Aug. 9, 1853.


William Thomas. He proposed to discontinue the evening
service. Archdeacon Vaughan declined to consent to this.
The Government was appealed to, and Mr. Thomas was told
that if he fomid the work of the Presidency too difdcult, some
other Chaplahi would be appointed in his place. The Directors
approved of this reply, ^ but it seems to modern folk that the
Archdeacon might have helped Mr. Thomas out of his difficulty.

From the nature of the case the Churches in the Presidency
towns of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay contain memorials
of many eminent men. The best men of the different depart-
ments always gravitate towards the seats of Government,
whither they are called to higher offices. The Hon. East India
Company were not only good to their servants whilst they
lived, but were also just to their memory when they passed
away. There are some handsome monuments by sculptors
of eminence in St. George's Cathedral. Dr. James Anderson "
is commemorated by Chantrey ; Archdeacon Mousley by
Flaxman ; Bishop Heber by Chantrey ; Bishop Corrie by
Weekes ; Bishop Dealtry by Durham. There are besides
memorials of Eichard Yeldham, C. H. Higgenson, Parry,
Kindersley, Lushington, Chamier, Norton, Dent, Best, Elliott,
Conolly, Horsley, Clogstoun, and Grose, all of Civil Service ;
of Sir Eobert Dick, Major George Broadfoot, Colonel Drury,
Colonel Dah-ymple, and other good soldiers of the old Madras
Army ; of Bishop Gell, Bishop Caldwell, and others who
spent their lives trying to rule justly and to do their duty.

And in the adjacent burial-ground rest the remains of
equally eminent men who have no monument inside the
Church. Here lie Sir George Cooper, Sir Samuel Toller, Sir
George Elder, Sir Andrew McDowall, K.C.B., Colonel Syden-
ham Clarke, Colonel Tredway Clarke, Major John Noble, Sir
Vere Levinge, Archdeacon Warlow, Dr. Harris, and many others
whose names were formerly household words in the Southern
Presidency and beyond.-^

1 Despatch, Jan. 6, 1824, Eccl.

- On the Coast of Coromandcl, ]). 108.

'* See J. J. Cotton's Monumental Inscriptions.



Origin of slanders. Alexander Hamilton. Company's monopoly. Shaking
the pagoda tree. The honesty of British dealings. The Tanjore loans
trouble. The Carnatic loans trouble. Lord Teignmouth on the Bengal
Chaplains. Lord William Bentinck on the Madras Chaplains. The
' Evangelical ' view of human de^Dravity. Henry Martyn on himself.
J. Hough on Madras Society. R. H. Kerr on the same. General H. MacDowall
on the cause of the Vellore mutiny. Morals of officers as described in
various books. The testimony of their lives, and of the burial-ground
epitaphs. The probable explanation of MacDowalFs declaration. Madras
Society at the opening of the nineteenth century. The difficulties in out-
garrisons. Marriages with native women. The Comjjany's attempt to
supply wives from home. The position of the offspring of these native
marriages. The education of English children born in India. The influence
of English ladies in India on the side of religious practice and Church

Eeligion deals largely with morals, and strives for the better-
ment of men, both as individuals and as associated commu-
nities. No ecclesiastical inquiry can be complete which does

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 9 of 39)