About Sawyerpuram

Sawyerpuram Gift of Sawyer

"The village was formed in 1814 as a Christian settlement on land provided by Mr. Sawyer, an Anglo-Indian layman in the employ of the East India Company. Dr. G U Pope established "Sawyerpuram Seminary" in 1844 which trained Indian clergymen, teachers and catechists.

The seminary grew to a college, and was affiliated with the University of Madras in 1880. Rev. Sharrock was its first Principal. (Sharrock was very famous among the people, he was identified by local people, he was loved by the people, so in his name few street names are called Sharrock Strret, it contains three street, I, II, III).Bishop Caldwell moved the college and high school to Tuticorin in 1883. The middle school remaining expanded and at present it is a Higher secondary school. Sawyerpuram has several educational institutions, which include the Pope Memorial Higher Secondary School, Popes College of Arts and Science, Dr. G.U Pope College of Engineering, Dr. G.U. Pope College of Education, National Nursery and Primary School & St. Mary's Girls' Higher Secondary School. Sawyerpuram was also the venue of the first experiment in "Medical Evangelism". From the small beginning of a clinic set up in 1854 there sprang up St. Raphael's Hospital, which became increasingly popular and did signal service during the outbreak of epidemics following the famine of 1877-1879. Dr. G.U Pope is a Tamil Patron. His popular translations include Tirukkural and Tiruvachagam.

Sawyerpuram is a town panchayat in Tuticorin district, Tamil Nadu, India. Since missionary Dr. G. U. Pope ministered in this place the population is predominantly Christian. This place is an historical and religious place. It was first a settlement of persecuted Christians on land provided by Mr. Sawyer, an Anglo-Indian layman in the employ of the East India Company. The village thus formed in 1814 was gratefully named after him as Sawyerpuram. The Christian settlers quickly organized themselves, and by 1838 had built for themselves a small church and a school attended by 10 children. However, it was with the advent of intrepid young Dr. G. U. Pope in 1842 that Sawyerpuram shot into prominence in the annals of missionary history. He established in 1844 the renowned "Sawyerpuram Seminary", which for a long time was the nursery of hundreds of Indian clergymen, teachers and catechists. The esteem in which this reputable centre of learning was held can be seen from the fact that the Oxford University contributed to the formation of a suitable library within its walls. Dr. G.U Pope is a Tamil Patron.

Dravidian scholar Caldwell, "wherever money is to be made, wherever an apathetic people is willing to be pushed aside, there they swarm, these Tamils, the Greeks or Scotch of the East."

"The Student of Tamil" bloomed into a scholar of Tamil, Sanskrit and Telugu. Pope setup several schools and taught Latin, English, Hebrew, Mathematics and Philosophy. As he was a martinet he was always in trouble. Of him Bishop Caldwell said: "The chief drawback to his success was the severity of his discipline which led, after a succession of petty rebellions, to his withdrawal". Pope believed in the theory: "Things have tears". He worked with the motto: "Conscience within and God above". He completed his translation of Tirukkural on September 1, 1886. His "Sacred Kural" contains introduction, grammar, translation, notes, lexicon and concordance. It also includes the English translation of F.W. Ellis and the Latin Translation of Fr. Beschi. It is a tome of 436 pages. He had, by February 1893, translated Naaladiyaar.




His magnum opus, the translation of Tiruvachakam appeared in 1900. Of this he says: "I date this on my eightieth birthday. I find, by reference, that my first Tamil lesson was in 1837. This ends, as I suppose a long life of devotion to Tamil studies. It is not without deep emotion that I thus bring to a close my life's literary work". The much coveted Gold Medal of the Royal Asiatic Society was awarded to him in 1906. He passed away on 12 February 1908. The services of this great soul to Tamil and Saivism defy reckoning by weights and measures. In his last days he was a mature Saiva Siddhanti, with his faith as ever rooted in Chiristianity. He delivered his last sermon on May 26, 1907. Dr. G U Pope's efforts were equally directed to the extension of the Church. He built the All Saints Church at nearby Subramaniapuram enduring extreme hostility and insult. The lovely red-brick Holy Trinity Church at Sawyerpuram was built by Rev. Huxtable and Rev. Sharrock and dedicated on 11 November 1877 by the Most Rev. Johnson, Metropolitan of India.

It is significant that Dr. Pope's Seminary blossomed into a College and was affiliated to the University of Madras in 1880. Rev. Sharrock was its first Principal. Bishop Caldwell thought it good to shift the College along with the High School to Tuticorin, leaving Sawyerpuram with a Middle School in 1883. Again the school got developed and at present it is a Higher secondary school with a history of more than 160 years. Many educational institutions were also developed and Sawyerpuram is well known in southern districts of Tamilnadu for its educational institutions. These include; the Holy Trinity Church, the Pope Memorial Higher Secondary School, Popes College, Dr. G.U Pope Engineering College , St. Mary's Girls' Higher Secondary School and B.Ed college Sawyerpuram.

Henry Constantino Huxtable was born in 1825 at Bristol. He was a Theological Scholar and Associate of King's College, London. He was ordained deacon by the Bishop of London in 1849, and went out to Madras and worked as a missionary at Christianagram from that date till 1852, when he became Principal of the Sawyerpuram Seminary. He was invalided home in 1857. He was Curate-in-charge of Hendford, YeoviL 1858-59, and Rector of Bettiscombe in Dorset, 1859-67, when he was appointed Secretary of the S.P.G. in the island of Mauritius. In 1870 he was nominated and consecrated to the Bishopric of the island. In 1871 he died.

Rev John Alfred Sharrock, MA (1853-1932), youngest of three sons of Rev James Sharrock. Sedbergh School, Yorkshire. Rustat Scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge (Hon Maths Tripos) 1873-77. Idaiyangudi 1878-79, Ordained Deacon by Bishop Caldwell 1879. Sick leave following malaria 1879-80. Curate, North Ormsby, Yorkshire 1880-81. Principal SPG College, Sawyerpuram 1881-83. Principal Caldwell College, Tuticorin 1883-94