St. Mary’s Church in Chennai is the oldest British building in India. Apart from being the oldest building, it is also the oldest Anglican Church in Asia. Constructed in 1678-1680 AD by the East India Company this church backs a rich heritage and significant history which needs to be known before visiting this beautiful building.
The church is a masterpiece in itself probably one of the oldest buildings to contain such precise construction accompanied with mind-boggling architecture. Originally built by William Dixon and designed by Edward Fowle this one of its kind church has a bomb-proofed structure which is rare to see nowadays.
The exterior looks magnificently constructed till this very date withstanding all the climatic changes. Like many other ancient churches out there this one too has many tombstones the oldest being that of Lord Pigot dating back to 1777.
St. Mary’s Church not only defines its beauty and rich history it also represents the heritage of the Christian Community in the city.
It is considered to be one of the most prominent tourist spots in the city. The surroundings are filled with tall neem trees and also in walking distance from the crowded Assembly building this place provides the required amount of peace one desires.
The church is said to be built with unpaid contributions from the English who inhabited the place. One can assume the effort put to build this church once visited. The place can be distinguished from other buildings as it stands 86 feet tall. It contains two aisles which are set apart from from the nave by a 4 Feet thick wall.
The church is said to have witnessed some of the most famous weddings like that of Robert Clive the first British governor of Bengal Presidency. One can find the marriage register at the fort museum. A statue of General Conway, known as the soldier’s friend stands here, as he was known to improve conditions in the army.
The church also houses a painting from an unknown painter which is considered to be the centre of attraction of this church. The painting is said to be a replica of Raphael’s Last Supper, which is now in the Vatican. The bought and assembled here by the British from Pondicherry.
Apart from the painting the church also houses many memorials of missionaries, governors and former officials and their families. This place will surely take back you to the pre-independence British colonial regime days making it one of the most satisfying and peaceful visits in the entire city.