St Mary’s Church, the small Anglican church within the walls of Fort St George, is the oldest masonry building within the fort. Consecrated in 1680, the church is said to be the first Anglican church in Asia and the oldest remaining English church in India. Work began on the church in 1678 on Our Lady’s Day, giving it its current name.
Except for a new steeple, much of the bombproof structure remains in its original condition, including the roof and arcade aisles. The church’s 104 tombstones were relocated and used to lay pavement after the French besieged Chennai in 1758 and 1759 and used as gun platforms when Hyder Ali invaded the city in 1782. Since then they’ve been restored to their old positions around the church. Keep an eye out for the gravestone of Elizabeth Baker, the oldest British tombstone in the country.
Elihu Yale, founder of Yale University, was the first man to be officially married in the church, and three of the daughters of Job Charnock, the founder of Kolkata (Calcutta), were baptized here.