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Northampton, United Kingdom
April 28, 2012
From journal India 2011 Pt.7 - Kochi or Cochin
January 22, 2006
The church has an impressive façade with a decorative bell tower at its summit. It has been renovated recently and the bright white finish shone impressively against a clear blue sky. A clock installed in 1923 to commemorate the life of Hal Jones, a local dignitary, boldly declared the time with its roman numerals. Three polished shutters protected arched windows at the upper level and a large heavy-hinged church door welcomed all visitors to the simple but impressive interior.
Behind the altarpiece were three stained-glass windows simple in their design of the sacred cross. The top window with a red cross and blue background and the lower two with a green background. The sunlight reflecting through these windows cast magnificent hues and spooky shadows throughout the length of the church. The past grave of Vasco da Gama was marked with a low wooden and brass barrier and a simply engraved brass plaque. This was evidently well cared for and without fuss signalled Cochin’s important link with the explorer.
In a far corner of the church a basic engraved plaque is unceremoniously propped up against the wall. It states, “this tablet is erected as a memorial of the visit of her majesty Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain on 17th October 1997”. The wall carving itself is lacking in depth and the detail is hard to distinguish. In the vestry is a copy of the original Doop Book, an old baptism and marriage register from 1751 – 1804. The original book was sent to London in 1932 for substantive repair to the leave and was then rebound in the original style.
We were told that many old churches in Cochin were destroyed, often wilfully, in the fierce battles that took place. But St Francis’ was the munitions store so was extremely well protected and escaped any real damage. This is a major tourist attraction in Cochin.
From journal Chilling Out in Cochin