Here in this Church there is an old registry, containing the names of people baptized here and buried in the adjacent grave yard. It is in good condition and some visitors from England come here in search of their ancestors' graves. Consecration of the church was done in 1822 by the Bishop of Calcutta, the Right Rev Thomas Fanshaw Middleton and. prominent among the elite group present at that time, was Governor-General Marquis Hastings. Rev Henery Fisher, a one time Church of England Clergyman, was its first chaplain. This is a parish church and the parish was founded in 1819.
The rare possessions of this oldest church are the wooden pews and kneelers, brass eagle lectern, marble baptistery, and stained glass windows and all these are 200 years old. Yet another attraction is a manually operated vintage pipe organ with bellows to supply air to the organ. Because of aging, it is non-functional.
It once accompanied the singing of hymns by a congregation of about 1000 people in the colonial days.
When one visits the grave yard of this church, one could see the scattered graves of many soldiers who died in the early days of Sepoy mutiny. The graves remind us of the repressive rule of the E.I. C that was the core of this massive rebellion. Indian historians
know it is here in Meerut the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny (or Sepoy Rebellion) took place. On 10 May 1857 at that time, the congregation of British officers and their families well dressed were ready for the holy early evening prayer in spite of hot weather condition. No sooner had the services begun, than a group of Indian Sepoys suddenly barged into the prayer hall, brandishing their swords and bayonets. In the ensuing anarchy, several British soldiers were brutally killed.
Caught unawares, the British soldiers - the 6th Dragoon Guards, 60th Rifles, Carabiniers and Artillery, became petrified, not knowing what to do and the Sepoys had a run on them. It is considered as the beginning a large scale rebellion against the oppressive rule of the English company, running a proxy government under the British Crown, Rampant corruption in the English company, blatant racial discrimination in the military services, poor salary, utter disregard for the religious sentiments of Muslim and Hindu soldiers, besides harsh punishment of the Indian soldiers, etc are some of the reasons. Their tolerance level reached the fag end. The natives with full of hatred turned the heat on the obnoxious, race conscious and over-bearing E.I.C officers.
The introduction of the Enfield rifle in the English army was something like opening the Pandora's Box. The new rifles' cartridges had a special grease coating that was believed to contain the fat of cow or pig, a taboo for the Hindus and Muslims respectively. To use it, the new cartridge had to be bitten off which enraged the soldiers. Their disobedience escalated into a towering inferno.
St John's Garrison Church - Meerut was a silent spectator of the untold atrocities done by the British against the Indian natives and how it provoked the natives who had borne the grief and pain for too long a time. The night of May 10, 1857 was the worst nightmare for thousands innocent British families. The docile Indian natives who no longer wanted to lose their pride and dignity on their own soil, under the compelling circumstances, became violent against the foreign invaders.
This worst rebellion shook the British Crown out of slumber and complacency and ultimately led to the direct administration under the British Crown.