Trinity College, Kandy

Trinity College, Kandy, is an independent elite private school for boys in Kandy, Sri Lanka. It was founded in 1872 by Anglican missionaries, and offers primary and secondary education.


Trinity College, Kandy

In the 1850s the local Anglican community in Kandy urged the Church Mission Society (CMS) to establish a school for boys in the area. On 16 October 1857 the Rev. John Ireland Jones arrived from England, establishing the Kandy Collegiate School. The school operated for approximately six years. On 18 January 1872, it was re-opened as the Trinity College and Collegiate School, with the Rev. Richard Collins as Principal and by the end of that year there were 120 enrolled students. The school library was opened in 1875. Early in 1877 the Collegiate School name was dropped and it simply became Trinity College. Rev. Collins left in 1878 and Mr. Thomas Dunn became acting principal of the school. In 1879 the college was affiliated to the University of Calcutta.

In 1880 the Rev. John G. Garrett was appointed as principal of the school and by the following year enrollments had increased to 238 students, with 30 boarders. In 1885 Garrett had to resign due to ill health and was replaced by the Rev. Dr. E. Noel Hodges, formerly the principal of the Noble High School, Machilipatnam, became the principal. In 1889 Dr. Hodges was appointed as the Anglican Bishop of Travancore and Cochin, and his post at Trinity was taken by the Rev. Edward John Perry, who had been a master at Merchant Taylors' School. On 2 April 2, 1890, Perry was accidentally shot dead near Alutnuwara, whilst on a visit to the Vedda people in the area. The Rev. J. W. Fall, who was the vice-principal, became the acting principal until the arrival of the Rev. Henry Percy Napier-Clavering, in June 1890. At that time Trinity had 298 students, of whom sixty-three were boarders.

In August 1900 Napier-Clavering resigned to return to England and attend family matters. He was replaced by Rev. Robert William Ryde, who had previously been the vice-principal at the school from 1895-1899 before becoming the principal at St. John's College, Jaffna. Rev. Ryde held this post for a brief two years, leaving in 1902. In 1902 the Rev. J. Carter became the temporary principal followed by a succession of temporary principals, including the Rev. Napier-Clavering and the Rev. A. MacLulich. On 5 November 1904 the Rev. Alexander Garden Fraser was appointed as the principal of the school. During Fraser's tenure he transformed a provincial school into a nationally recognised institution. His educational reforms included the introduction of Sinhalese and Tamil into the curriculum and increased its involvement in the local community. He was responsible for a number of building projects, including the Asgiriya Stadium and the Trinity College Chapel. He served continuously as the principal for eighteen years until 1922, his service only interrupted by two years where he served as an army chaplain with the British Expeditionary Force in France during World War I.

In the subsequent decades the school was headed from 1925 until 1935 by Cannon John McLeod Campbell (who later served as Chaplain to the Royal Family) . Upon McLeod Campbell's retirement the CMS appointed Rev. Robert Stopford as the head of the school in 1935. Stopford was the last English born principal of the school,remaining in the position for five years. He later became Bishop of London. During his tenure the college hall was gifted by former student Mr. A. H. T. De Soysa. In 1940 the Church Missionary Society handed control of the school to an independent board of governors. The board's first appointment was Mr. C. E. Simithrarachchy, the first old boy and Ceylonese born principal, who ran the school during the Second World War from 1941 until 1951. His successor was Mr. Norman Sydney Walter, who was the principal between 1952 and 1957. Walter returned to England and later became the headmaster of Loughborough Grammar School. The responsibility for the school was then passed onto Mr. Cedric James Oorloff (formerly the principal of Wesley College, Colombo) between 1957 and 1968. In 1968 Mr. E. Lionel Fernando became the second former student to be appointed as the school's principal. His tenure ran for nine years, until 1977. At which time Rev. Dr. W. G. Wickremasinghe (the principal of Carey College, Colombo) was appointed as principal of the school. He was followed by Lt. Col. Leonard M. De Alwis in 1988 who was responsible for the Pallekele Rugby Stadium. He administered the school until 1998 and resigned to take on the role as the inaugural principal of Springfield College, Kandy. De Alwis was succeeded by Dr. Warren Ranjithan Breckenridge. Breckenridge was a former student at Trinity and a Professor of Zoology at Peradeniya University, a post he held until 1998, when he was appointed the principal of Trinity. Following Breckenridge's retirement the College in 2003 appointed Roderick Gilbert as the school's principal. Gilbert, an Indian-born Englishman, who was previously the principal at the Hebron School in Ootacamund, India. The present principal is Brig. Udaya Aryaratne.

Principals of Trinity

Trinity College, Kandy

School song and hymn

Trinity College, Kandy

The school song, "The Best School of All", was written by Sir Henry Newbolt, and the school hymn by Rev. Walter Stanley Senior. Rev. Senior was the vice-principal at the College for ten years (1906-1916), he also deputised as acting principal for a short period in the absence of Rev. Fraser.


Ryde Gold Medal

The Ryde Gold Medal is awarded each year to the "best all-round boy" at Trinity. The Ryde Gold Medal is the highest honour that the School can bestow. It is awarded on the result of a secret ballot conducted among the senior boys and the staff whose votes, together with that of the Principal, each count as one. While this system makes deadlock possible, it is only on four occasions that the Medal has not been awarded as a result of the three votes going to three different people. The medal cannot be won more than once.

The Ryde Gold Medal was first presented in 1908 to John Andrew, but he was not the first boy in the history of the school to be adjudged the best all-rounder. Historical records show that such a prize has been awarded as early as 1894. The Ryde Gold Medal is named after Rev. R. W. Ryde, a former Principal of Trinity (1900-1902).

Notable winners of the Ryde Gold Medal include former Senior Special Advisor to both Presidents Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapakse, Under Secretary General of the UN Dr Jayantha Dhanapala(1956), former Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar(1949), Former Vice President and CIO of the World Bank; M.V. Muhsin (1962), first Ceylonese IGP and Ambassador Sir Richard Aluwihare (1915) and Sri Lankan Cricketer Kumar Sangakkara(1996).

Trinity Lion

The Trinity Lion is the most prestigious award a sportsman can achieve at Trinity. Rugby Lions were awarded in 1915, to A. Halangoda and R. Ondaatje. Since then there have been 129 Rugby Lionsmen (until 2004). Notable awardees of Trinity Lions includes former Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar; former Lieutenant General Denzil Kobbekaduwa: Sri Lankan Cricketers Kumar Sangakkara, Ravi Ratnayeke and Olympic Silver Medalist Duncan White. There have been two Triple Lions in Trinity's history: Sydney Ratwatte who won his 'Lions' in Rugby, Cricket and Boxing during the late 1920s; and Thushara Weerasuriya who achieved this feat in 1987, winning 'Lions' in Cricket, Rugby and Athletics.


The senior school students are divided into five houses. Their names are derived from past principals and teachers of the college. There are three boarding houses however due to low numbers of boarders they collective compete as the Central Boarding House. The houses are led by House Captains, competing in all major games to win the inter-house competitions. The houses are:

Garrett House
  • Colours : Green
  • Established : 1910 (named after the third principal, Rev. J. Garrett)
Lemuel House
  • Colours : Blue
  • Established : 1954 (named after Mr. C. N. Lemuel, a long serving teacher at Trinity College)
Oorloff House
  • Colours : Purple
  • Established : (named after the thirteenth principal, Mr. C. Oorloff)
Simithraaratchy House
  • Colours : Yellow
  • Established : (named after the eleventh principal, Mr. C. Simithraaratchy)
Central Boarding House (comprising Napier, Alison & Ryde Houses)
  • Colours : Red and White - Napier, Blue and White - Alison, Black and Yellow - Ryde
  • Established : 1898 - Napier, 1909 - Alison, 1911 - Ryde


See also

  • Asgiriya Stadium
  • Bradby Shield Encounter
  • The Ryde Gold Medal
  • Trinity College Chapel, Kandy
  • Trinity-Antonian Cricket Encounter



  1. ^ Rev. Jones was the principal of the Kandy Collegiate School, the predecessor of Trinity College.
  2. ^ Rev. Perry was the first experienced teacher to become principal.
  3. ^ In 1890 Perry was accidentally shot by a pupil.
  4. ^ During 1900 through to 1904 Trinity College had six Principals - one permanent and five acting.
  5. ^ Mr. Simithraaratchy was the first Ceylonese and the first old boy to become principal.
  6. ^ Mr & Mrs Gilbert's visas was cancelled by the Sri Lankan Government in 2008 (7 months prior to its expiry) forcing Gilbert to resign and leave the country.
  7. ^ Brig. Aryaratne's actual rank in the Sri Lankan Army was as a Colonel and he only served as a temporary Brigadier.

Further reading

  • Valesco L O Reimann (1922). A history of Trinity College, Kandy. Madras: Diocesan Press
  • Trinity College Kandy Official Website
  • Trinity College Kandy Worldwide Website

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