Saint Mary’s Church

The Saint Mary’s Church within the walls of the Madras Fort is a very quiet place to sit and get out of the heat. Unlike other places in Madras your left alone to do as you wish. In fact to find the church caretaker you have to search high and low! On the walls are memorials to many of the deceased remembered on plaques of marble, bronze and steel. The stained glass windows are amazing and most are still intact, which is surprising. All windows have floral crested designs in pinks and yellows and right now I am sitting on a woven pew enjoying peace, quiet and tranquility. The ceilings have high domed arches and are painted baby blue. The floor is paved with tombstones inside the church and outside; the earliest I could find was 1678.

To my right is a memorial to Catherine Jane, wife of Guy Lushington Pendergast and daughter of James Annesley (1818-1839). Who was she and why did she die when she was only 28? Did she come here with her husband and hate it here? Or did she love the adventure and the people? Did she long for her home and family in England? Or was this her home? I think it would be horrible to die in a country which is not your home. When you are traveling one of the things you think about a lot is going back to your old life; to die in a foreign country and be there forever would be dreadful. I wonder if soldiers that go to war feel this and if that’s why they don’t rest until their lost comrades are found and returned home.

To my right is another plaque in memory of Nancy Adair Sabine (1865-1905). Who was she and why did she die when she was only 40 years old? It could have been childbirth or disease. It could have been war or an accident. Who knows? All that remains is a memorial on the wall of a church in Madras, India.

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