It is only fitting that I resume this series today.. Why? Today marks the 375th birthday of Madras aka Chennai. This image I share was taken during the last weekend walk inside Fort St George.
It was taken at St Mary’s Church which is located within the Fort’s campus.
The church was built back in 1680 mainly because those who lived inside the fort needed a place of worship. Earlier prayers were held in a random hall in the place. Only on March 25, 1678 did Governor Streynsham Master order work to commence on this church. Apparently it was Our Lady’s Day, which is the reason for the name- St Mary’s Church.
The church is 80 feet long, 50 feet broad and has 3 aisles that are constructed entirely with brick and stone.
Some interesting facts about the church: There are 104 tombstones, the oldest is that of Lord Pigot from 1777. The original cemetry is where the High Court stands today. During the time when the French tok over the city, many of the slabs were brought over to the church and are found on the floor around the main chapel. In 1782 when Hyder Ali invaded Madras, these very slabs were used to mount the guns around the Fort.
Even today, prayers and worship happens in this church, though entry is restricted. We were not allowed to enter the premise, not even a few steps inside the gate, so here is an image of the entrance to the Church.
More to come in next post……………