Today’s Neyyoor is a small town
sandwiched between the picturesque Western Ghats and the blue
Arabian sea, in the middle of Kanyakumari District (Cape Comorin)
which is the southern most district of India and Tamil Nadu State.
Today it can boast of two Higher Secondary Schools, Ms. McIlroy
English Medium School, a Nursing School, a Nursing College and a
Railway Station hardly a kilometre away. It has a General Hospital
of great repute started in 1838, with an adjacent ‘International
Cancer Centre’. All these developments are due to the visionary
Rev.Charles Mead who with great difficulty acquired enough bushy
forestland from generally hostile caste Hindus with the help of
Mr.Raman Thambi who, though a caste Hindu was a great friend of
Christian Missionaries and of early Christians. Missionary Mead then
cleared the area and Neyyoor came into existence.
As the number of
churches grew, the need for a Second Mission Headquarters was felt
for administrative reasons and Neyyoor was chosen (1828). A church
became imperative and 1829 saw the first Neyyoor Dartsmouth Chapel,
which faced north. From a few homes in Rev.Mead’s time the
congregation grew and by the turn of the century its extension
became a dire necessity. In 1901, after closing the northern side
the church building was extended towards the east and Rev. I.H.
Hacker completed the structure with the bell-fry
in 1904, before the retirement
of Rev. S. Zachariah, the first native missionary,
belonging to Neyyoor.