Known as the Roman Catholic cemetery, it is the oldest Christian cemetery of Northern India. It contains tombstones of Armenian Christians who had come by the land route, around the middle of the 16th century A.D. The first church at Agra was also built by them in 1562. They settled and traded at Agra under the patronage of Mughal King Akbar. Who is also recorded to have admitted an Armenian woman in his harem.
It contains tombs of many Europeans who were connected with the Mughal Court: John Mildenhall (self-styled English Ambassador) who died in 1614; Father Francis Corsi who died in 1635; Geronnimo Veroneo (The Venetian goldsmith) who died at Lahore in 1640 and Father Joseph De Castro who also died at Lahore in 1646; Mildenhall’s tomb is the oldest English monument in India.
Many European explorers, traders, adventurers, factors, missionaries, artisans, sailors, physicians, diplomats and above all free-lance soldiers (like the German Walter Reinhardt who was nicknamed ‘Sombre’, later corrupted to ‘Samru’ (owing to his hard and sobre looks) of 17th, 18th and 19th century are buried here.
Photos and copyright: K.J.S.Chatrath
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