Ancient Syrian Church Architecture in Kerala
Buchanan (Rev. Claudius Buchanan) was there (Parur) in 1806, and in the second volume of his memoirs by Pearson there is an engraving of the old church (in Parur) which he found there. If it be at all a correct representation, it was very unlike all other Syrian Churches now existing in Malabar, especially in it's having no raised chancel, but a round tower at the extreme end (east end) of the building - towers of any kind being very unusual in their churches. In his book Christian Researches he speaks thus: "Not far from Cranganore is the town of Parur, where there is an ancient Syrian Church, which bears the name of Apostle Thomas. It is supposed to be the oldest in Malabar, and is still used for divine service. I took a drawing of it.
The old church, sketeched by Buchanan, no longer exists. Major Mackworth, visiting the place in 1821, calls it the oldest church in possession of the Syrians, and states that another was then building in its room. The church now occupied by them is a spacious building, and singular to say, has a square bell tower of four stories on the left hand side of the front entrance. The idea of the tower has been borrowed from Romish structures as at Verapoli, Balarpat, and Ernaculum. Foot note: This venerable structure was one of many burnt by Tippoo Saib's soldiers when they invaded Travancore in 1790. The injuries then received had probably led to another building being necessary.
Webmasters note: The title of Rev. Thomas Whitehouse's book is interesting.
It was perfectly fine for Victorian sensibilities then to call Syrian church
the lingering light in a non-Christian land.
Lawrence Military Asylum, Ootacamund, evolved to become the present Lawrence School (Love Dale public school).
Rev Whitehouse was one of the early Principals (1862-68) of this venerable institution.
Lawrence Military Asylum, Ootacamund, evolved to become the present Lawrence School (Love Dale public school). Rev Whitehouse was one of the early Principals (1862-68) of this venerable institution.