Trinity Chapel

Also Known As: Church Mission Chapel, John Perieras

Built: 1831

Location: Walltax (VOC) Road Black Town Madras

Consecrated: 1833

Denomination: Protestant

List of Priests and Chaplains:
1845 - 1848 JOHN RIGG

Notes: From the missionary point of view the spot known as John Pereiras is one of the most interesting in Madras. It was purchased in 1729 together with a house standing on it by Schultze, one of the first of the German missionaries in the employ of the S.P.C.K. The house was destroyed during the occupation of Madras by the French in 1746-49, but the site remained the property of the Vepery Mission From this date until 1828 the site was used as a garden and burial-ground for native Christians ; but a certain number of native Christians had squatted on the property and erected small dwellings on it. In the year 1818 the Madras District Committee of the S.P.C.K. made a list of the Societys property in Madras, and included the Mission burying ground at John Pereiras, around which are some houses built on it by Christians. In 1826 the squatters resisted the measurement of the ground by the Collector of Madras, who was proceeding at the request of the S.P.C.K. Committee. There is no doubt that the property belonged to the S.P.C.K. from 1729 to 1826.

In 1826 the Rev. J. Ridsdale had begun working among the John Pereiras community. Neither the S.P.C.K. nor the S.P.G. had men for the purpose. In the absence of documents it must be assumed that the S.P.C.K. Madras Committee had no title-deeds to prove their ownership. In 1828 Ridsdale purchased the ground from a builder in Black Town, Mr. Stringer, who had appropriated it, and built a chapel upon it. Ridsdale was a zealous missionary, and raised the money to build the chapel, which cost over Rs.6000, but came to the end of his resources before the furnishing of it could be finished.

He appealed to the trustees of St. Georges Church, who were then renewing some of their furniture. The Archdeacon proposed that the old furniture should be given to him. The trustees said that there was none to be removed that would be of any use, and suggested that a Government grant of Rs.500 would be more acceptable. The Government therefore gave a donation of Rs.500. When they wrote to the Directors they explained that it was on account of a small chapel, the shell of which has been completed in the midst of a large population of the poorest class, who have raised a subscription for it exceeding Rs.6000, but seats and furniture were required for fitting it up for public worship, and the people had no funds for the purpose. We therefore authorised, &c. And the Directors sanctioned the grant.

Mr. Ridsdale built the chapel for the use of the Eurasians as well as the native Indian Christians of the district, and it has been regularly used for this twofold purpose up to the present time. In consideration of this the Government assisted with a grant of Rs.400 the repair of the chapel in 1871. After Mr. Ridsdales death in 1831 the building was put into trust for the C.M.S., and is now held by the Church Missionary Trust Association. It has not been consecrated, nor officially named, but it is generally known as Trinity Church.

It was licensed in 1833 by Archdeacon Robinson, as Commissary of the Bishop of Calcutta, for all ecclesiastical purposes. Between 1816 and 1833 both the C.M.S. and the S.P.G. had reason to be thankful to the Directors and the Government of Fort St. George for their liberality and goodwill. The former Society had a handsome Church built for them in Black Town, and received assistance for the John Pereiras chapel.

The latter Society were greatly helped in the building of the new Vepery Church, and in the extensive repairs of the buildings at Trichinopoly and Cuddalore.

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