In the year 1706, A.D. Luthern missionaries ziegenbalg, a saxon and plutschau, a dane landed on the sandy stretches of Tranquebar’s shore. Along with the spiritual work they also did the social work. Four years later, their thoughts turned to pasture new and their paths lead to sacred soil of Vepery in madras. Later records say that guava orchards, plantain groves and a big pond were features of Vepery landscape on that day. Having found fertile ground, both material and spiritual, they began showing seeds and Vepery began to yield fruits, first the printing press in 1715,known as the diocesan press to print Christian Literature, then the school in 1716 tonurture and nourish young minds and later had a chapel for worship.
Grundler, a German missionary gained favour in the eyes of Joseph Collet, the Governor of Fort St. George and Rev.William Stevenson, Chaplain of madras, towards the founding of two charity schools, one for the European and Portugese children and other the local poor children. The later was to be called Malabar charity school, as those early missionaries confused Tamil with Malayalam in their initial ignorance. This school is now called as St.Paul’s Hr.Sec.School.
Work was constantly hampered in this operation, faith was strong, but financially weak. The S.P.C.K., (Society for the Propagation of the Christian Knowledge) London drawn to this work and took the missionaries under their wings. Having work and took the missionaries under their wings. Having received the blessing of the S.P.C.k. through the secretary, Henry Newman, the school came into being in 1716 Governor Collett, in writing to the directors of the East India company in August 1717, reported what had been done. We have, at Grundler’s coming since to madras; permitted him to construct a Malabar school trust and gave appointment sa per consultation on the 27th of May 1717.
Grundler was called to his rest in 1720 and his successor Schultzecame to reside in Madras in 1729. Vepery mission work prospered under his guiding hand and he succeeded getting a comfortable accommodation for the school.
In 1742 the Stalwart Fabricius, one who labored abundantly and took upon himself the tremendous tasks of translating the bible into Tamil.
Mis fortunes came to fabricius not in single but in battalions. When the French took Fort St. George in 1747, they had the school demolished and fabricius had to flee into exile at pulicat, taking with him the school staff and the children. The year 1749 saw English back in the fort. They restored the building and transferred into fabricius domain and the mission. Once, when the British troops were pressed hard they took over the buildings for a period of two months and the resulting damage was so great that fabricius had to write to the S.P.C.k. in anguish.
Fabricius turned to a local money lender for help, who provided him with funds and later send him to languish in a debtor’s prison for a year and half.Another German missionary, Briethaupet, was taken on to strenghthen the hands of Fabricius in his work at Vepery. They both began to strive meaningfully to set things in order to carry out improvement to buildings and especially to the school and they succeeded in small measure. Briethaupet road in Vepery keeps his memory green.
Fabricius did not seem to have possessed a good head for finance and so Gericke, specially chosen for his financial acumen took control of the mission from 1788. A hostel in this school (Gericke Hostel) bears his name.
The last misfortune fell to Fabricius lot in 1791, Tippu’s cavalry came charging into the compound causing alarm and confusion and making the school children run helter-skelter in fear of their lives and then lit up bonfires breaking pieces of furniture belonging to the chapel and school. Fabricus now broken in health and passed on to receive his Crown of Glory.
Gericke died in 1803, Rottler, a great German scholar, was appointed to take charge of this school. Language like, Tamil, Telugu and Hindustani came to him with equal fluency.he was the first to translate English common paper book to Tamil Dictionary. As long as rottler’s lane in Vepery last, his memory will linger.
The ground where on we now stand is a sacred one, hallowed by the blood, tears and sweat of the tranquebar missionaries.
From 1826: The year under the S.P.G.
The S.P.C.K. era came to close in 1826 and the management of the Vepery mission was transferred to the S.P.G.
Ten Years later in the year 1836, Bishop Corrie of Madras proposed to have the seminary and the school was divide and the school was named Vepery Grammar school .Scholarship connected with Gericke, Heber &peter Cater were instituted to help deserving Pupils for housing in grammar school, with accommodation for European and Indian boys. The greater part of the present buildings constructed in 1835 and Rev.Whitehead, Oxford man appointed as the head master of the seminary with the additional charge of the school. Financial worries were dogging the heels of the management and whitehead resigned.
Then the grammar school was renamed as Vepery High School in 1862. During the tenure of office of Rev. J.Stephenson in 1864 more than pupils, all Indians, were on the attendance. Rev. J.H. pullivant, 1881, the then Headmaster raised the school to second grade college but only to be reduced to middle school.
The situation became so desperate that Rev.A.C. Taylor the secretary of the S.P.G had to take in the services of Mr. Joseph Satya , a lwayer – educationalist from palayoncottah, who struggled through the arduous job of raising the Middle School step by step till it held its head high again as S.P.G. High School.
The year 1905 built another mile-stone: the canon R.U.potts, Oriels College Oxford, was installed as superior of the Cikkege of Clergy inaugurated by Bishop Whitehead, and became manager of the School which offering course of study changed their content and name as the Secondary School Leaving Certificate Course.
With Potts as the head, Loasby, Zachary and Edmonds as members the school worked its way up becoming one of the premier high schools on the state.
The year 1912 is another landmark in its history, having assumed a patron, the illustrious St. Paul’s High School and its heads were designed as principals.
Mr. pascals, who officiated as Principal in 1913 volunteered dedicated service and died of wounds in East Africa.
One of the ideas, Rev. K.C. Mepherson took over the stewardship in 1912 and began translating his ideas into action. A staff fellowship, a group of young masters pledged to give all their interest and devotion to the school’s welfare.