Take cover inside a canon ball-proof church

Dec 13, 2011, 06:29 IST | Fiona Fernandez
By itself, this iconic city landmark can be dubbed a museum. Except for St Thomas Cathedral's towering spire, the historic place of worship at Horniman Circle Gardens is nearly lost among the hustle and bustle of its surroundings.
It was the city's first Anglican church built by the earliest British settlers in order to provide them with church services.

During Rev Richard Cobbes term as chaplain of Bombay (between 1714-21) funds amounting to Rs 43,992 were raised for building a new church. Governor Gerald Aungier authorised its construction in 1672 but work reached a standstill after the walls of the church were complete.
Renewed attempts and fresh funds from wealthy British residents saw the construction fully complete on Christmas Day in 1718. The church still has splendid oyster-shell windows that allow only a misty, pearly, diffused light to enter its interiors.
Great effort and detail was put into its construction that even its roof was cannonball-proof! In 1816, it was consecrated in the name of St Thomas, the Apostle of India and in 1838, it was designated the Cathedral Church of the See.
The Gothic-styled clock and tower was added in 1838. Some of the outstanding memorials honour Colonel Burr, who commanded the Battle of Kirkee (1817), Captain GD Hardinge, who died in battle when the English captured the French cruiser Piemontaise (1808), and Colonel John Campell, defender of Mysore against Tipu Sultan in 1784.

Go to top