In 1750 − a very long time ago,a missionary and a teacher, Christian Frederick Schwartz came to India to work in the Danish Mission at Tranquebar.Due to his own personal charm, genius and integrity, soon he became a trusted envoy to the court of Princes ,both hostile and friendly. He even helped in the training and education of Serfogee Rajah, the adopted son of the Tanjore Raja Tuljagee.
In 1763, a gunpowder magazine in the Trichinopoly Rock Fort exploded, killing some of the European and Indian soldiers. The soldiers in the garrison collected a sum of 600 pagodas which was given to the Rev.C.F.Schwartz to look after the fatherless children. Schwartz was given a sum of money by the Nawab and this enabled him to support a School master and 10 children, and also to give instructions and necessary books to several others. This was the origin of what was to be the Vestry School.
In 1771,the Pay Master James Hays, Schwartz and the body of members who managed the Church affairs, named the Church Fund, the Vestry Fund. They looked after the affairs of the little English School. The School were housed in the compound of Christ Church near the Rock Fort.
In 1772,a second explosion took place. It was the gunpowder factory at the foot of the Rock Fort and many soldiers lost their lives. This calamity called forth the sympathy of the garrison, who raised a considerable sum of money for the upkeep of the orphans.
Between 1771 and 1812 the Fund was looked after by the Vestry. The money was used for the expenses and repairs of the Church and furniture, and the upkeep of the school, the Vestry school.It was during this time that the Fund was called the Vestry Fund and, the school, Vestry School. About this time the area around the Fort had become overcrowded and there was a general movementaway form the congestion. Vestry School moved too, and was accommodated in the area now known as Puthur.
In 1812, the Church of St.John the Evangelist was built. The members of this Church were the same people who had moved form the Fort area. The upkeep of the School was entrusted to their care-hence the name St.John’s Vestry School.
For many areas the military Officers and Soldiers were the benefactors of the School. Then in the 1880’s Trichinopoly lost its Military importance. In 1881 the Vestry School moved from Puthur to its present place in the Cantonment. In a few years time Trichinoploy became important in the Head Quarters for the South Indian Railway. The new building, which the School occupies now, is the result of the love, kindness and generosity of the Railway Officers of that time and donations in money given by well wishers. The School buildings took about 3½ years to be completed from 1929−1932.However,in the face of many financial troubles growing numbers of orphan children and the very poor, the school has had a struggle to exist and hold aloft its motto “ORA ET LABORA”(Pray and Work).The school has by the help of God and well wishers done its work for the past 249 years − and hopes by the Grace of God to go on for another 200 years caring for the orphan children.
The School today has children from the all communities in India-rich and poor study in the same classroom and share the everyday joys of school life. The School stands for all that is highest and best in Education. It sends out into the World, men and women, who are proud to belong to it; men and women who will be worthy citizens of India’s Tomorrow.
St.John’s Vestry Anglo−Indian Higher Secondary School is now under the care and guidance of CSI−Trichy Tanjore Diocese(Tamil Nadu) and is soon entering into 250 year in 2013.We request you to uphold the School and its management in your prayers.
We earnestly request the public and our well wishers to help us to continue looking after the orphans by liberal donations. Thus continuing the good work of our founder−The Rev.C.F.Schwartz.