First Anglican St. Thomas Cathedral , Mumbai and its memorials - a brief note

First Anglican church (St. Thomas cathedral,

Fine metal work.St.Thomas cathedral, Mumbai.

Mumbai (Bombay). St.Thomas Cathedral, interior wikipedia.

St. Thomas Cathedral, c.1905 Bombay, India.

Controlled by the Cathedral and John Connon School,  the  300 year old  St. Thomas cathedral, now located near Flora Fountain in Mumbai (Bombay)  is the first Anglican church in this  western part of India. It was established  in a small place. by the 2nd Governor Gerald Aungier within the walls of fortified British settlement. The foundation for the proposed neo-Gothic styled church was laid in 1676 in a place called  Bombay Green but the consecration for the church services  was held only in 1718 after a lapse of some decades for various reasons, one being the unexpected death of Gov. Aungier. 

Between 1716 and 1718 Chaplain Richard Cobbe completed the construction work of the church and since then it has been functioning as an Anglican church. In 1816, however, it was  dedicated to the apostle St. Thomas by the Bishop of Calcutta Thomas Middleton. Only in July  1837, it became a cathedral with the concurrent appointment of Thomas Carr as the Bishop of Bombay. A UNESCO  (Asia-Pacific) recognized heritage site, it is a beautiful cathedral with well embellished interior containing  eye-catching  brass, glass work, plaster of Paris with arch shaped windows and 'cannon-ball-proof' terrace. The  colorful stained glass windows depict St. Thomas, portraying him and reminding visitors of his great contribution to Christianity. In 1838  the tall  tower and the clock at the western end of the church were added to the existing structure. The arrangement - the three vaulted roof "supported by two pillars and pilasters on each side," the decoration  at the east, with the semi-dome of the apse, and the communion table that ca be accessed by  3 steps  is similar to that of St Paul's in London; Despite long time since its inception the cathedral is in good shape and  'its congregation is now best characterized as "protestant cross denominational,"  Since 1970  it has been under the CNI - the Church of North India Other Protestant Churches"cme under its fold.

Tablet at the entrance Image: The Bombay ProjectCulture Trip

St.Thomas Cathedral Mumbai, Marble memorial stone.

A significant  feature  of this historical Cathedral that grew with Bombay from the earliest colonial time under the English company is its memorial, containing many carved stone memorials from the eras of East India Company rule in India and to  the British Raj (under the British Crown). The following important  features are worthy of mention. Inside are found dozens of  poignant eulogies engraved on the marble tablets  of the departed souls and the numerous  tombstones of military generals, clerks and young maids  in the cemetery who died here thousands of miles away from their country of birth and who were part of the British society centuries ago. 

 St. Thomas Cathedral Mumbai.

Above image: St. Thomas Cathedral Mumbai, India.  Beautiful  brass lectern, standing on tiny stone lions — the eagle being a symbol of St John, and the lions of St Mark. Note the tessellated pavement, dedicated to Archdeacon Fletcher (1802-1867), who had "spearheaded" the restoration project of the 1860s (see "History," and Tahseen's newspaper account).

St. Thomas Cathedral,

1833 Lithograph. St. Thomas cathedral, Mumbai

Above image: Coloured Lithograph of 1833, by Jose M. Gonsalves, Jose M. (fl. 1826-c.1842), courtesy of the British Library (Shelfmark: X840 (5), no. 8405).

The following are  important  carved stone memorials (from the eras of Company rule in India and the British Raj.) in this cathedral: 

01. Sir Frederick Lewis Maitlnd :

Capt. Frederick Lewis Maitland (1815)

Rear-Admiral Sir Frederick Lewis Maitland KCB (7 September 1777 – 30 November 1839) born at Rankeilour, Fife was an officer in the Royal Navy during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. His father Frederick Lewis Maitland (1730–1786), himself  was a distinguished naval officer. He had his education at the Royal High School, Edinburgh, and later joined the Royal Navy. That he rose to the rank of rear admiral and held a number of commands proves his immense ability in naval command. leadership and tactical naval strategy. For this brave  naval officer the most famous event of his career was  when Napoleon Bonaparte surrendered to him on 15 July, 1815  aboard HMS Bellerophon, marking the final end of the Napoleonic Wars.

As for his Indian assignment, he  worked with the EIC army during its raid from Bombay towards Afghanistan in February 1839, and over saw the landing of troops and supplies. When he came to know  of disturbances at Bushehr, with the help of  Marines, he  evacuated the resident and his staff, leaving  the rioters unpunished. For this act, the Anglo-Indian press came down heavily on him for having failed to punish the trouble makers. 

While on board  the Wellesley at sea, Maitland died on 30 November 1839 off the coast of Bombay (aged 62). He was buried at Bombay and a  monument was built by subscription to his memory at. Thomas  cathedral. His wife, Lady Maitland, died in 1865 at Lindores, 

02. Captain George Nicholas Hardinge: 

Capt George Nicholas Hardinge.

Above image: Capt George Nicholas Hardinge, British Naval Officer.  Engraved by H.R. Cook, from an Original Miniature by Lethbridgeen.............

Captain George Nicholas Hardinge (11 April 1781 – 8 March 1808) was a distinguished  officer of the Royal Navy. As a naval officer, he served well during the most important events in world history -  the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. By  dint of hard work and his uncanny ability to adopt himself to various war-like situations, besides his personal aura and bravery, he won the admiration of his important senior officers and naval commanders. Obviously their admiration and recognition of his ability helped him rise  through the ranks. He successfully commanded HMS Terror, HMS Scorpion, HMS and St Fiorenz. However, he had his own ups and downs in his naval career and recognition and promotion  came to him a bit late. His skill to take right decision and strategy helped him a lot when in 1804 he led a daring cutting-out operation against two Dutch ships. In the East Indies he had to manage with an elderly frigate he had first served on as a midshipman much earlier in his career. Once he commanded  a ship  and fought against a superior French opponent. The battle lasted for three  grueling days and at last the  British emerged victorious and the French captain surrendered. As luck ran out of him, Hardinge did not live to see the moment of victory, because he was killed by grapeshot shortly before. On 8 March 1808 aboard HMS St Fiorenzo, off Ceylon (Sri Lanka). 

He was buried with full military honors and monuments to his memory were  built in St. Thomas Cathedral, Bombay and St Paul's Cathedral, London.

03. Bishop Thomas Carr:

Memorial, Bishop Thomas Carr. St.Thomas Cathedral,Mumbai

Thomas Carr M.A., D.D. (1788 - 5 September 1859) was the first  Bishop of Bombay and served between 1837 and 1851. His details are sketchy.  

Son of Thomas Carr and Catherine Wilkinson, he had his education at  St John's College, Cambridge. Initially,  Carr was Chaplain in the service of the East India Company in 1817 and was  appointed to the archdeaconry of Bombay in 1833. Consecrated  by the Bishop  at Lambeth Palace Chapel on 19  November 1837. Installed in Bombay on  25 February 1838. In St Thomas Cathedral, Mumbai  there is a nice monument to Carr -  a recumbent effigy of Thomas Carr designed by British sculptor Matthew Noble. Memorial,

04. Memorial to officers and crew of steam ship Cleopatra:

Cleopatra steam ship.

Cleopatra was a steam operated wooden paddle sloop launched in 1839 (weight 760 ton; its rated engine capacity 220hp.). Commanded by lieut. Young,  it sank off the Malabar coast on 15 April 1847 facing the powerful SW Monsoon.  The ship was transporting 100 convicts from Bombay to Singapore. with a crew of 15 including 9 officers. The plaque contains the names of  nine officers and mentions about the 142 other crew members, but there is no mention of the 100 odd convicts.

St. Thomas cathdral, memorial to

Above image. Memorial to the Hon. Jonathan Duncan, Governor of Bombay from 1795-1811, with the inscription below. A Hindu mourns and hangs his head by the urn, on which the female figure of Justice writes, "He was a good man and a just."

John Campbell, St. Thomas cathedral,

05. There is also a memorial  to one Lieut. Colonel John Campbell  (1753–1784), a Scottish soldier and 2nd son of a Judge. He successfully  participated in the  Siege of Mangalore (now in Karnataka) against Tipu Sultan's assault.. He also saw action in the American wars. Later  he commanded a troop in the  2nd Angelo-Mysore war (1780-1784) Though injured, in 1783, he fought  well against Tip Sultan of Mysore. but fate had it that he died in Bombay after falling sick due to TB. He was buried here and his  monument  was  sculpted by 18th century British sculptor  Charles Peart.,_Mumbai