St Francis

Built: 1524

Location: Fort Cochin Cochin


Denomination: Roman Catholic and Protestant

Notes: Built before 1524, by the Portugese, it remained in there hands until 1683 when the Dutch took possession of Cochin, they in turn had possession of Chin until 1795 when they surrendered the possession to the East India Company. The church though was left in the possession of the Dutch community of Cochin, who provided and paid, with the assistance of the Dutch East India Company, their own Minister who had been up until 1801 been the Dutch predicant P. Cornelisz. From 1801 until 1816 there appears to have been no Minister. On petition the Governor of Fort St George sent the Revd. Walter R. M. Williams who was appointed a Chaplain in 1816, he reamined there for only 2 years.

At the beginning of 1818 two C.M.S. missionaries Henry Baker and Joseph Fenn arrived. They had the permission of the Company to proceed to India, and to carry on their work wherever they saw an opening. It was not long before they either saw an opening at Cochin or were invited by the Chaplain to take advantage of an opening which he saw. They were certainly there in 1821 ; for the return of European baptisms, marriages and burials was made to the Senior Presidency Chaplain by the Rev. Henry Baker at the end of that year. The following year and for several years they were regularly made by the Rev. Joseph Fenn. These two missionaries of the C.M.S. adopted precisely the same policy as the S.P.C.K. missionaries ; they ministered to the Europeans and the Eurasians, and prosecuted their native mission work at the same time ; and they had the use of the Church for all their purposes. Ultimately Joseph Fenn followed the example of Henry Baker and went to Travancore. After the Archdeacon s visit Cochin was made an out-station of Quilon, where there was a Chaplain and a large body of troops ; and the Chaplain of Quilon was ordered to make periodical visits. This arrangement continued until 1853. During its continuance the Church was repaired by the Government on the representation of the visiting Chaplain at a cost of Rs.902 in 1836 ; and again in 1852 at a cost of Rs. 817. In 1843 when the Rev. E. W. Whitford was Chaplain of Quilon, the inhabitants desired to have a resident clergyman of their own. With the consent of the Bishop they entered into negotiations with the Diocesan Committee of the S.P.G., offering to hand over the Church to the Society, on condition that the Society provided them with a resident clergyman. The Diocesan Committee accepted the offer. The Bishop reported the arrangement to the local Government ; and asked the Government to do the necessary repairs, amounting to Rs. 620, on the ground that the Church was used by the Companys officers.

References: The Church In Madras, Rev Frank Perry (1904)