St. John's Church, Meerut city, UP - bells never tolled for a few months after May 1857

 St. John the Baptist, Meerut, India.

St. John the Baptist church,

The St. John the Baptist, or John's Church, a parish church in the diocese of Agra under Church of North India is in  the/cantonment area of Meerut city in Uttar Pradesh. The church, built from 1819 to 1821-22  was the first British church- Anglican parish church in Northern states. The church was primarily used by the British garrison under the East India Company rule. Meerut cantonment then was one of the largest in India. The Gothic revival style was rebuilt in the Palladian or classical style, taking into account the tropical climate of this region. Provided with better ventilation, the free air circulation would keep indoors cool and comfortable for the occupants. The balcony with seating capacity is not functional. The church has a non-functioning pipe organ that requires manual operation of its bellows to supply  air to it. 

St. John's Church, Meerut

St. John's Church, Meerut

St Martin-in-the-Fields

Above image: St Martin-in-the-Fields, London. 18th-century Baroque church;  Architect James Gibbs carefully blended English Baroque and Palladian design. His style served as a template for churches and civic buildings in many colonial colonies. This search served as a model for St.John's baptist church, Meerut....................

It was here the the great rebellion (Sepoy Mutiny) began and slowly snowballed into a big one and shook the British empire.  The natives,especially the soldiers were pushed to the limit of tolerance by the dishonest and scheming  English company. Their oppressive rule, exploitation, dishonest deals, racial disparity, land grabbing spree, cheating and corruption triggered the outbreak of major revolt in Meerut Cantonment. On 10 May 1857, as the congregation of British officers and their families gathered for the early evening service, the sowars of the 3rd Light Cavalry later joined by sepoys of the 11th and 20th Native Infantry) vented their anger and in the aftermath of hell-bent  violence, the European bungalows in Meerut cantonment were torched and its occupants murdered.The church was a silent spectator to the orgy of violence and mayhem.  

During the rampage  50 Europeans were killed on that day.  Many of them were on the way to the church on the British side of the cantonment for the Sunday evening services and they were caught unawares. After their deaths, the church fell silent for at least four months and and the bells never tolled . It reopened and the bells tolled again  only after the fall of Delhi on September 20, 1857. The great rebellion came to an end that resulted in the death of thousands of natives who were killed under some pretext.

However, much of the church including the wooden pews and kneelers, brass eagle lectern, marble baptistery  and stained glass windows that  all date back to nearly two centuries survived the brazen attack.