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Malabar Manual Vol 2
William Logan

By C. Kunhi Kannan

Tangasseri is situated in Lat. 8°54' N. and Long 76° 38' 15" E., and is bounded on the north and north-east by the Travancore territory, and on the west, south and south-east by the sea. In extent it is only 96 acres. In 1871 its population was 1,562, whilst in 1881 it was 1,665 (784 males and 881 females). The inhabitants are almost exclusively Christians, there being 4 Hindus, 2 Muhammadans, 1,658 Christians and 1 other caste.

Tangasseri adjoins Quilon. It was a Portuguese possession from 1519 to 1661 when it was captured by the Dutch. The fort is built on a headland of laterite jutting into the sea. The length is about 2½ furlongs east and west, and the mean breadth 1 furlong. Portions of the old walls are still visible, as are also the ruins of an old Portuguese tower and belfry. The English Government came into possession of Tangasseri on the capture of Cochin in 1795. It has been leased to the Travancore Government for an annual rent of Rs. 2,447, which will be referred to hereafter.

In civil judicial matters the people are subject to the District Munsif's Court at Anjengo, which is again subordinate to the District Court of South Malabar. For criminal matters there is a resident Subordinate Magistrate under the immediate orders of the Deputy Magistrate of Cochin. The Sub-Magistrate also exercises the functions of a Sub- Registrar of Assurances.

A bank of hard ground called the Tangasseri reef extends 1½ miles to the south-west and 3 miles to the west of the Tangasseri point, and 6 miles along the coast to the northward. The bank should not be approached by vessels under 13 fathoms of water by day or 17 fathoms at night.

The origin of the word Tangasseri or Changacherry is involved in doubt. Changacherry was the former ruler of Kollam (Quilon), who was dispossessed in 1740 by Travancore. The place might have taken its name from this ruler ; ‘‘Changa” means conch and the name might imply conch-village. It is also conjectured that the name Tangasseri or gold village (tangam = gold) owes its origin to the circumstance of a large quantity of gold coins having been put in circulation by the Portuguese who settled there at first and who exchanged them for the goods purchased by them.

Tangasseri is level, crowded with houses, and very thickly planted with coconut, bread-fruit and other trees. There is no room for the cultivation of paddy or other grains.

Religious Institutions.—There are two sections of Roman Catholics at Tangasseri, the one owing allegiance to the Goa Mission, and the other to the Propaganda Mission of Verapoly. The church of the latter is very old, having been built, it is said, in 1789. It is 96 feet long by 66 feet broad.

The Propaganda Mission has since 1840 started an English and Vernacular boys’ school. A convent was added to the church in 1845 and a girls’ school was opened in 1885. Within the church at the foot of the altar lies a tombstone with an epitaph over the grave of the first Vicar Apostolic Bishop.

The church under the Goa Mission was founded in 1841 by the Archbishop elect of Cranganore, Don Manual De Sam Joquim Neves. It was, it appears, originally intended as a chapel for his burial, and built in a garden of his own. He died in 1849, and his body was interred in the centre ol the church which is marked by a tombstone bearing an epitaph. This church is now being enlarged. It is 122 feet by 52 feet.

There are two cemeteries in Tangasseri enclosed within walls. They are separated by the road leading to the flagstaff. One of them is a Protestant graveyard, which is looked after by a gardener on Rs. 5 per mensem.

Tangasseri is, as already observed, leased to the Travancore State for Rs, 2,447 per annum. The conditions of the lease are the following: —

That "all rents, customs, or jenkums, profits and produce, accruing from the said rented premises of all denominations, whatsoever, are hereby declared to become the sole property of the Travancore Sirkar during the full and entire period of three years. That the inhabitants, residing within the limits of the said village of Tangasseri, of all castes and descriptions, whatsoever, shall continue to be under the protection of the British Government in all cases of a civil or Police nature.

"That with the exception of the introduction of the monopoly of the sales ot tobacco and spirits, the Travancore Sirkar or its Agents are prohibited from imposing new taxes, levying unusual duties or arbitrary exactions of any kind on the inhabitants of Tangassari, and that an attempt to do so by the Travancore Sirkar, will forfeit all claim to a continuance of the Farm.

"The Police establishment at Tangasseri are to afford every aid and support to the servants of the Farm in the detection of frauds or attempts to introduce into Tangasseri any of the articles under Government monopoly.

"The Police will give all aid in securing peaccable execution of revenue processes as far as required and authorised by law so to do."

The lease was last renewed for three year on 10th July 1883.

Commentary                MMVol 1               MMVol 2

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