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 1) online

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This record has been drawn up under certain limitations. It
is not intended to be a religious history of the period and
the place with which it deals ; nor a complete history of
missionary effort in the south of India in the 17th and
18th centuries. It is a record of ecclesiastical events as they
affected or were affected by the East India Company and
its local Government at Fort St. George.

The Directors of the Company were men of high standing
in the city of London, Christian gentlemen jealous of their
honour as merchants of so great a city, and careful of their
* merchantly carriage.' Their actions both at home and
abroad accorded with their high character. This record,
which consists principally of extracts from their despatches to
the Government of Fort St. George and extracts from the
letters in reply, is intended to exhibit the Directors and their
ecclesiastical actions exactly as they were.

The writer hopes also that the record will serve to remind
the present generation how much Missionaries in the south of
India are indebted to the Society for Promoting Christian
Knowledge and the German agents they employed for the
pioneer work they did in the 18th century. The German
agents were well educated men, mostly graduates of Halle ;
they compiled Tamil grammars and dictionaries ; they made
translations of all the books and tracts that were necessary
for their purposes into Tamil, Portuguese and Persian. All


subsequent Missionaries in the south have profited from the
literary labours of these faithful men.

The whole official ecclesiastical record of the Company
and the Government of Fort St. George is a record of welcome
to the Missionaries and kindly help. There was no hostility,
no intolerance of missionary effort, no dark period of dis-
couragement, no attempt to keep Missionaries out of the
country. Statements to the contrary must be read in the
light of the Company's own records, which are their complete

The chapters on the Governmental dealings with the
Roman Catholic missions and those of the English Society
for Promoting Christian Knowledge show the even-handed
justice meted out to both by the Company, so long as its
own supreme authority was recognised. And the reader
cannot fail to observe the kindliness of the assistance given
by the Company's servants, civil and military, in all good
Christian causes in the centuries under review.

The writer begs to thank especially the Lord Bishop of
Madras, the Venerable Archdeacon H. B. Hyde of Madras, and
Mr. W. Foster of the India Office, for kind assistance freely and
sympathetically given ; also the Revs. W. H. Blake of Tan-
jore; L. E. Cox, Cathedral Chaplain, Madras ; B. M. Morton,
Chaplain of Secunderabad ; J. A. Sharrock of Trichinopoly,
and Col. Routh, for photographs of Churches etc. ; and Mr.
Arthur J. Weightman for a photograph of the pulpit of Great

St. Helen's, Bishopsgate.

F. P.



Preface vii

I. Introductory, 1609-40 1

II. The FinsT Twenty Years of Fort St. George, 1640-60 17

III. The Next Twenty Years, 1660-80 .... 38

IV. Streynsham Master and the Building of St. Mary's

Church, 1680 74

V. From the Building of the Church to the End of

the Century 92

YI. A Period of Changes, 1693-1713 118

VII. From the Appointment of the Eev. W. Stevenson to

THE Surrender of Fort St. George, 1712-46 . . 140

VIII. The Company and the Schools before 1746 , . . 164

IX. The Company and the S.P.C.K. Mission, 1710-50 . 180

X. The Church Stock . . 201

XI. The Company and the Roman Catholic Mission up

TO 1746 217

XII. Churches Founded before 1746, and now the Trust
Property of the Government : St. Francis', Cochin,
circa 1510 ; Zion Church, Tranquebar, circa 1625 ;
the Mission Church, Tranquebar, 1717 ; Pulicat
Church, circa 1630 and 1785 ; St. Peter's, Negapa-
tam, circa 1680 243

XIII. Fort St. David ; Christ Church, Cuddalore, 1692,

1767 AND 1801 ; The Holy Epiphany Church, 1886 . 274

XIV. From the Surrender of Fort St. George to the

Capture of Pondicherry, 1746-61 . . . . 301

XV. The Company and the Eoman Catholic Mission,

1746-65 323

XVI. The Period of the Establishment of the Honourable

Company as a Governing Power, 1761-84 . . . 341



XVII. The Chaplains and their Work, 1785-1805 . . 371

XVIII. The Chaplains and their Work, 1785-1805 — continued 401

XIX. The Chaplains and their Work, 1785-1805 — continued 428

XX. The Company and the Roman Catholic Mission,

1765-1805 456

XXI. The Company and the S.P.C.K. Mission, 1750-1805 . 483

XXII. The Company and the Schools, 1750-1805 . . . 505

XXIII. St. Mary's Vestry 534

XXIV. Churches Founded between 1746 and 1805 : Vepery

Church, 1748 and 1825 ; Tuticorin Church, 1750 ;
Christ Church, Tricuinopoly, 1765 . . . . 565

XXV. Churches Founded between 1746 and 1805 — continued :
Christ Church, Tanjore. 1779 ; St. Peter's, Tanjore,
1780, 18o0 AND 1900 ; Vellore Church, 1773, 1792
AND 1846 605

XXVI. Churches Founded between 1740 and 1805 — continued :
Palamcottah Church, 1785, 1826 and 1845 ; Eamnad
Church, 1798 and 1900 ; Dindigul Church, 1800 ;
the Bl.\ck Town Chapel (St. Mark's), 1800 ;
Madura Church, 1801, 1827 and 1881 . . . . 630

XXVII. Chaplains and Missionaries, 1647-1805 . . .661




1. St. Mary's, Fort St. George

2. The Pulpit of Great St. Helen's, Bishopsgate,


3. Interior of St. Mary's, Fort St. George

4. Sanctuary of St. Mary's, Fort St. George ,

5. Gallery of St. Mary's, Fort St. George

6. St. Francis', Cochin

7. Tranquebar ; Zion Church ....

8. „ New Jerusalem Church .

9. „ Church Plate

10. „ the Poor Box ....

11. Pulicat; Silver Font Basin on Brass Stand .

12. „ the Sacramental Plate .

13. St. Peter's, Negapatam

14. Cuddalore; Christ Church, Old Town.

15. „ Tower of Christ Church, Old Town

16. „ Holy Epiphany Church, New Town

17. Vepery, Madras; exterior of St. Matthias' .

18. „ Interior of St. Matthias'

19. English Church, Tuticorin ....

20. Trichinopoly ; exterior of Christ Church, Fort

21. „ interior of Christ Church, Fokt

22. „ the Bath in which Bishop Heber

was Drowned ....
28. „ the Sanctuary of Christ Church,

Fort ....


To face p. 4




































24. Tanjore ; Christ Church, Fort

25. „ Schwartz' Pulpit, Christ Church . .

26. „ St. Peter's

27. „ Church Plate, S.P.G. Mission . . .

28. Vellore Church

29. Palamcottah: Christ Church (Clorinda's Church)

30. ,, the C.M.S. Mission Church .

31. Ramn.vd; the S.P.G. Mission Church . . .

32. St. Mark's, North Black Town, Madras

33. St. George's, Madur.\

To face p. G08


Fort St. George, 1655
The Inner Fort, 1694
Fort St. George, 1740
The Church Lodgings




Page 9, Ihie 14, delete not. See also Notes & Queries, 9th S. iii. 285.

„ 196, „ 13, for shall read should

„ 218, add to note. In the Founding of Fort St. George, by W. Foster, there
is a letter on p. 16 cltited 1661 in which it is stated that
the two French Capuchins were found at Madraspatam
when the agents of the London E.I.Co. first went there.
This statement, made twenty years after their first arrival,
and which is not in accordance with other evidence, is
rejected as improbable.

„ 256, line 12, for Denmark read the Diocesan Registry, Madras

„ 296, „ 14, for 1891 read 1894

„ 344, „ 3, after Portuguese insert on the coast. (The local Portuguese
and their descendants lay the stress on the first syllable.
Their pronunciation of Thoma rhymes with Homer.)

„ 406 „ 14, for 1793 read 1783

„ 422 „ 9, for thank read thanked

„ 506 „ 9, for 1774 read 1778

„ .506 „ 11, for that same year read 1774

„ 575 ,, 25, for May read April

,, 582 „ 25, for Dienst read Dienstmann

„ 599, delete note 3

„ 636, line 1, The Rev. T. A. C. Pratt was appointed Chaplain of Palam-
cottah in 1858, when the Company was insisting upon a
separation of their own ecclesiastical atfairs from all mis-
sionary effort. He officiated there till 1862. He was the
last resident Chaplain.

,. 700, after Ridley add Ringeltaube, 633

„ 701, under Schwartz add portrait, 504

Penny's Church in Madras





The ecclesiastical history, like the political and commercial
history of the East India Company, resolves itself into definite
periods, each period showing an advance in stability and
prosperity. The first period must be reckoned from 1601 to
1640, during which the Company owned no land in the East.
The original charter granted by Queen Elizabeth was a
charter to form a Company and to provide for its orderlv
government, with a view to its object being carried out in
a lawful manner. The chartered Company consisted of a
few London merchants desirous of putting their capital
into a common stock, and trading with it beyond the limits
of the kingdom. The charter enabled them to sail their
ships under a British flag, and to have all the privileges
of protection which are part and parcel of that honour. It
enabled them to carry out the purposes of their association,
and to compete with the merchants of foreign nations on
equal terms.

The Company were under no obligation to appoint
Chaplains ; but the London merchants were a God-fearing
set of men then as now ; and one cannot read the records
without seeing how great a value they placed upon the
observance of religious duty both amongst themselves and
amongst those they employed. There is no record of any



appointment of a Chaplain before 1607 ; but in the com-
mission to their General, — the term they used for the chief
person of their expeditions, who had supreme authority
over all other persons, both merchants and seamen, — there
is in the first seven voyages this paragraph ' : —

* Item and for that religious government doth best bind
men to perform their duties, it is principally to be cared for
that prayers be said every morning and evening in every
ship, and the whole company called thereunto with diligent
eyes, that none be wanting ; so as all may jointly with
reverence and humility pray unto Almighty God, to bless
and preserve them from all dangers in this long and tedious
voyage ; for the better performance whereof we have de-
livered to each of the pursers a Bible, wherein is contained
the book of Common Prayer.'

In the Calendar of State Papers relating to the East
Indies there are many early references to charitable grants
made by the Company to ministers and poor preachers in
England. In 1607 it was decided to employ some of these
poverty stricken priests to go the voyage to India with their
ships. After that date continual references are found to the
trials, appointments, and allowances of preachers. The trial
was by means of a sermon on a text of scripture chosen by
the Company at one of their Court meetings, and preached
before the Company at their parish Church.

The Company's first office and warehouse was at Sir
Thomas Smyth's house, in the parish of St. Benet Grace-
church ; here they remained from 1600 to 1621. They then
moved to larger quarters which they found at Crosby Hall in
the parish of Great St. Helen's, Bishopsgate ; here they
remained till 1638. The necessity of still larger quarters
obliged them to move again in that year ; and they hired Sir
Christopher Clitheroe's house in the parish of St. Andrew
Undershiift ; here they remained for ten years. In 1648 they
moved U) the adjoining house which was the property of Lord
Craven and in the same parish ; here they remained — though
not in the same house all the time, — till 1858. The trial
sermons were therefore preached in St. Benet Gracechurch

' Firat Letter Book of the E.I. Co., 1619, edited by Birdwood & Foster.

INTKODUCTORY, 1609-1640 3

until 1621, and in Great St. Helen's from that date until
1638 ; and if any were preached after 1638, which is doubtful,
they were preached in the Church of St. Andrew Undershaft.
The first church no longer stands ; the second and third were
spared by the great fire of 1666 ; the pulpit of the second is
dated 1633, and is the identical one m which several trial
sermons were preached ; the pulpit of the third is of a more
modern date.

Beside this trial, enquiries were made of the private and
public character of the candidates. The early Chaplains do
not appear to have been licensed either by the Bishop of
London or by the Archbishop of Canterbury. They had their
letters of Orders and their general licence as preachers.
With these they seem to have been at liberty to offer their
services to the East India Company ; and if the Company
were satisfied with their characters, their scholarship and
their ability, they appear to have been at liberty to employ
them in their ships.

This system was wrong in principle and therefore bad in
practice. There were some among the early Chaplains who
were all that the Company could desire ; but there were also
some who ought not to have been employed.

The earliest English voyages were made to the west coast
of India and to the Persian Gulf. The Company had a factory
house at Suratt, and commercial agents at Ispahan and
Ajmere. These, therefore, were the places which were visited
by the first Chaplams.

In 1607 Henry Levett, Chaplain to Lord Pembroke, was
offered £'50 to go the voyage with £'15 gratuity for the expenses
of the journey. He was of Clare College Cambridge, B.A.
1599, M.A. 1603. Enquiries were made of his character, and
he preached his trial sermon at St. Benet Gracechurch,

In 1609 Esdras Simpson was employed to go the voyage
for £33 6s. 8d. yearly— that is, £100 for the three years, and a
gratuity of £20 for provisions at sea. He was the son ot Thomas
Simpson, vicar of Kelvedon in Essex. His father resigned
in 1604, and Esdras was instituted Vicar, the patnii being
the Bishop of London. In 1609 Esdras was for soum reason
deprived of his preferment ; but was accepted by the Company.


The Minute Books of the Court of Directors do not show
that any appointment was made between 1609 and 1614. In
that year tive appointments were made, a number which
seems to show that trade was increasing, and that a greater
number of ships was being made use of to carry it on. These
were the five : —

1. Master Rogers, a preacher at Deptford, 'esteemed an
honest man and a good teacher but no scholar ' ; to have an
allowance of £50 yearly.

2. Master Evans, the preacher, to have an allowance of
£50 yearly.

3. Master James Cunningham, a preacher recommended
by Mr. Ofiley ; to have £100 yearly for three years if the good
reports of him are confirmed by Mr. Newton, the late Prince's
tutor. Cunningham or Coningham was described as a Master
of Arts, but his University was not stated. On his return
home in 1616 he was instituted to the rectories of St. Martin
and Holy Trinity, Colchester. In 1628 he became Rector of
Mose, Essex, where he died in 1630.'

4. Master William Leske, the preacher, to be entertained
at £100 yearly and £30 ' to set him forth to sea, the Com-
pany being well satisfied of his learning and gravity, and
Ijeing aljle to contest with and hold argument with the Jesuits,
who are busy at Suratt.'

5. Master John Hall, who went as a Chaplain with Sir
Thomas Roe and landed at Suratt with him in 1615. He
was a native of Southampton ; he graduated B.A. from
Magdalene College Oxford in 1600, M.A. from Corpus
(Jhristi College (of which he was a Fellow) in 1604, and
B.D. hi 1(;13.

The Chaplains of the period were paid according to their
fjualificatiouH ; the five appointed in 1614 were all paid more
thjin their predecessors. There was no fixed income and
allowance before 1660. Of these five the first three appear
to Imve gone tlio voyage and returned without Uuiving any
record. William Lesku went to Suratt and stayed tlioro till
1617. Whilst there Sir Thomas Roe wrote to him a kindly
appreciative letter fromAjmore dated the27th April 1616, which
' Repert. Eccl. Lond.


INTEODUCTOEY, 1609-1640 5

5s Teproduced in facsimile by Mr. William Foster in his book
" The Embassy of Sir Thomas Eoe.' But Leske was relieved
■of his duties by the Agent and Council at Suratt and sent
home in 1017 ; they wrote of him to their masters in London
that he was a ' licentious ungodly liver ' etc. John Hall only
lived one year in the East ; he died at Ajmere in November
1616, aged thirty-seven. Sir Thomas Roe wrote of him that
he was * a man of most gentle and mild nature, religious and
of unspotted life.'

In 1615 the Company appointed Edward Terry for the
period of a voyage : a voyage generally meant three, but
sometimes four years ; it included the time of the journey
•out and home, and the time that a vessel could cruise about
from port to port in the tropics trading, without having to
return to England to refit. Edward Terry arrived at Suratt
in 1616. He was born at Leigh near Penshurst in Kent, and
was educated at Eochester Grammar School and Christ
Church, Oxford. He graduated B.A. in 1611, M.A. in 1614,
and was elected to a Fellowship at Corpus Christi College ^
like his predecessor John Hall. On the death of Hall Sir
Thomas Eoe wrote to the factors at Suratt for another
Chaplain ; and Terry was sent up on the arrival of the ships.
Sir Thomas Eoe said in his letter, ' Here I cannot live the
life of an atheist ; let me desire you to endeavour my supply ;
for I will not abide in this place destitute of the comfort of
God's word and heavenly sacraments.'

Edward Terry returned to England in 1619. Ten years
later he became Eector of Greenford Magna in Middlesex.
He was ' an ingenious and polite man, of a pious and
exemplary conversation, a good preacher, and much respected
by the neighbourhood where he lived ' ; he ' submitted to the
men that bore sway in the time of the Eebellion,' so that he
retained his rectory until his death in 1660.- Calamy says
that during the Presbyterian usurpation he was a member of
the Assembly of Divines ; that he was a master of all the
ancient learning of the Greek and Latin fathers ; and that he

' Calamy, in his Abridgement of Baxter, says University College.
^ Wood's Athencc, vol. iii.


was selected to preach the funeral sermon at Oxford on the
death of Dr. Joshua Hoyle, the Regius Professor of Divmity.

He preached moderation to the ruling powers. One of
his sermons, entitled Lawless Liberty, was delivered before
the Lord Mayor and Corporation in 1646, and was by them
ordered to be printed. It echoed the sentiments of the London
merchants, who had everything to lose and nothing to gain
by political disturbances in the kingdom.

More than once Edward Terry preached before the Court
of Directors of the Company at Great St. Helen's. And when
the Company moved their office into Leadenhall Street
Master Terry preached before them more than once at St.
Andrew Undershaft. The sermon preached by him in 1649
was published.' In this, as in other sermons, he warned the
Company to consult their own best interest by sending out
Chaplains in their ships ; and not to leave their servants at their
factories without the restraining influence of a good minister.
In the Company's Court Minutes of 1619 there is a reference
to a letter on this subject from Terry to the Court, which is
described as * comfortably and divinely written.' The ex-
pression is a testimony not only of the esteem in which the
minister was held by the Court, but also of the coincidence of
their opinion with his.

In 1615 the Company decided to establish a factory at one
of the Dutch settlements in Sumatra. It was to be manned
from the factory of Suratt. A stalT of merchants was accord-
ingly chosen there by David Midleton, the Company's General,
and he issued a commission to them giving them authority to
act on Ijelialf of the Company. Having reminded them that
his own authority was derived from the King's Majesty, he
continued his charge as follows ^ : —

• First above all men living under the sun, we that be
travellers by sea be much bound unto Almighty God, who see

' An opitome of it will bo found in Anderson's History of the Colonial

Dr. Joflias Shute, ' that worthy man,' preached the annual sermon at Great
St. Hnli-n'H in l(;:j'2, IGiJIJ and 1(134. Ho also prcachod tho ThanksgivinK
Bcrmon on tli<! Hufo rfturn of the HliipH in IfilO befurn the Court at St. Andrew
(Jndfrrthaft {Court Minutes, 7 February, IG.'J'.) 40). In liuiii tho Directors gave
100/. at hiH request to tho Repair Fund of Groat St. Helen's.

* Letters received by the E.I. Co. vol. iii. edited by W. Foster.

INTEODUCTORY, 1609-1640 <

His wonders in the deep, and in a moment is able to turn
the vessels wherein we live upon our heads, and call us to
account for our forepassed life, if in His mercy He did not
look favourably upon us. Therefore it behoves you prin-
cipally to have respect that prayers be read morning and
evening both ashore and aboard, and that none be wanting
unless sickness be occasion, that you may jointly pray to the
Almighty for a blessing upon you and upon your proceedings.'

The Sumatra staff were setting out on their venture with-
out a Chaplain ; the General, who had himself been charged
on his appointment to observe his religious duties, and to see
that his subordinates observed theirs, passed on this part of
his charge to them ; and it is easy to see that he did so in the
spirit of the original charge, in the full conviction that he
was urging the performance of what was best for the men he
was sending forth. It would have been easy enough to have
omitted this part of the charge if the Agent General had
so willed. That he did not do so is sufficient proof of his
religious intention.

The Chaplains appointed during the first period of the
Company's history were not all of them such men as they
and their servants abroad desired ; but some of them were,
and were quite remarkable men in their way. The following
were appointed between 1615 and 1621 : —

1617. James Eynd. 1619. Matthew Cardrowe.

— Thomas Fryday. — Patrick Copland.

— Henry Golding. — Eobert Gould.

1618. Arthur Hatch. — Samuel Crooke.

James Rynd stayed eight years in the East and died on
the voyage home in 1626. Most of his service was spent in
Batavia. The factors there wrote thus to the Company on
his departure : — ' Lastly Mr. Eynde, our preacher, is the
conclusive passenger of note, who hath lovingly this last Sab-
bath included us in his hearty prayers. He hath lived among
us peacefully without any touch of spleen or faction. His
function he hath ever observed conformably, and his life no
way deserving public reproach, though not free from imbe-
cilities, as in all of us might be wished a bettering.' Like


some others of the early Chaplains James Eynd left his wife
at home, and made her an allowance of half his pay through
the Company. Andrew Eynde his brother, a preacher in
Scotland, was the executor of his will.

Thomas Friday graduated B.A. from Emmanuel College
Cambridge in 1607, and took his M.A. degree in 1611. He
was entertained by the Company in 1617 and returned from
the East in 1623. He was re-entertained in 1624 and died
at Suratt in 1630. When he was reappointed in 1624 he was

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 1) → online text (page 1 of 63)