The old colonial Chapel on the premises of Lawrence School, Lovedale near Ooty

The Church of the Ascension at Lovedale

Above image: A view of The Church of the Ascension at Lovedale near Ooty which celebrated  its centenary in the recent past. The Church is  within the  campus  of the well known  Lawrence School. Photo: D. Radhakrishnan 04-10-2011

Chapel Lawrence School Lovedale

interior, Chapel Lawrence School Lovedale

Chapel Lawrence School Lovedale
Lawrence school Chapel.
Since Ooty was the summer capital of the Presidency of Madras during the early period and with the influx of more Europeans into Ooty and other places near-by  to run the tea and estates or to lead a retired life, there was a need for more churches  to meet the spiritual needs of the European families. It is mentioned there were  more than 45 churches in the hill and many of them were more than 100 years old. 
Though much has been written about the popular Lawrence School of Lovedale, 6 km from Ooty  founded by Lawrence military officer and civil servant who was killed in the 1857 rebellion in Lucknow (now in UP) while fighting,  No details are available about the Chapel close to the school - name of the architect, design style, builder' name, etc.  The chapel  is part of the school campus that covers 700 acres of land leased out by the Ministry of Defense, Government of India.  Called  the Church of the Ascension, it was built in 191, just  overlooking the  Lawrence school.  

As far as this chapel was concerned it was run by the Church of England until the mid 1970s and, it is said, the church services were conducted by an English priest and his associates,  apparently belonging to the Anglican church.  During the Raj it is quite obvious it catered to  mostly army people and other Europeans. 
Like some of  the colonial churches in West Bengal, in this chapel  there  are memorials on the walls in the form of  many  brass plaques  for those who died here for various reasons while on duty for the ruler and country.  Ruskin Bond, famous Angelo Indian author's father to whom he was close, worked in this chapel in 1917.The church also had an old type  organ with bellows for the  services. 

This chapel  set in a serene place - first summer resort in the entire empire  would have  witnessed several generations of English men - both bad and good  associated with the Raj whose perpetual misrule and exploration of native Indians' generosity made them  exit at last in 1947.    

Under the control of the CSI, the old Chapel, one of the vestiges of British legacy in this part of Nilgiris, conducts services both in Tamil and English.