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Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Chennai/Madras 4: The Old English Burial Ground

The cemetery for early Madras is about 3/4 of a mile west of St. Mary's Church and stands at the end of Burial Ground Road, at the junction with Pallava Salai.

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Peninsular India: Chennai/Madras 4: The Old English Burial Ground picture 1

The entrance, almost identical with the entrances of the city's other Christian cemeteries.

Peninsular India: Chennai/Madras 4: The Old English Burial Ground picture 2

The grounds are badly overgrown, and most of the tomb inscriptions are no longer legible.

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That's true for the biggest of them as well as the smallest.

Peninsular India: Chennai/Madras 4: The Old English Burial Ground picture 4

Watch out for snakes and mongooses.

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Here's one that's legible if we can get closer.

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Col. Peter Whannel survived until 1854, 18 years after the death of his daughter. He himself died at 76.

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Two of six children survive to adulthood.

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Dead at 21.

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Caroline Patterson, "who departed this life on the 16th December 1809. In the prime of her life [she] fell victim to a cruel lingering complaint. Uncommon patience supported her throughout. She was innocence itself, a good Christian, [and] affectionate daughter...."

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More children.

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A man, his wife, and his four children are drowned at sea. Julian Cotton's List of Inscriptions on Tombs or Monuments in Madras,, 1905, has this note (p. 43): "Mr. Hope was a merchant and shopkeeper at Madras and few men have ever left India with a fairer character or a larger fortune: few men, even in more elevated situations, did half the good that this honest man did, since he was as liberal and kind-hearted as he was modest and unassuming. He was a passenger in the fleet with General MacDowall in 1809, when he perished in the gale which destroyed nearly a whole squadron off the Cape."

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In the back of the cemetery there's a Commonwealth War Graves section, kept in the customary, meticulous repair.

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The regular cemetery has plenty of military burials, too. Here: Colonel MacKenzie, commanding the forces at Wallajabad Station, dead at 46. Walajabad, as the name is spelled today, is a town not far to the west, in the Kanchipuram District.

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Dead at 21 from a snake bite.

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On the other side of the cemetery, life goes on in brilliant color.


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