Presentation of the first copy of a new publication “Forgotten History of Richmond College – A documentary survey“, to HE the President Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Hon. Speaker Mr. Chamal Rajapaksa two distinguish old boys of Richmond by the author Ananda Dias-Jayasinha, marking the bicentenary (200 years) falling on 25th July 2014, of the first Methodist Mission School in Sri Lanka and Asia now known as Richmond College, Galle.
The book is the result of more than a decade of conscientious research of colonial papers, imperial government dispatches, Methodist Mission documents and rare publications about Sri Lanka found in several university archives in England, Australia, Canada, Denmark and the New York Public Library. The book will be available in bookshops once launched in the near future.
Richmond College by misjudgment took 1876 as her birth date the year when it was raised to a collegiate school by the superposition of the upper school on the existing school in the hill. It is the date the school was upgraded to a high school by merging the Anglo-vernacular and the English schools of the Wesleyan Mission in Galle. The two schools and several other vernacular schools were collectively known as the ‘Galle School’. The English school was at Mágálla and the Anglo-vernacular School at Minuwangoda. The latter was moved to Mt. Seymour later renamed Richmond Hill in 1858 and the former was connected in 1876 and the Galle School became the Galle Boys’ High School and in 1882 it was renamed again as Richmond College. It is on record in a letter the Rev. Samuel Langdon sent to the Missionary Society in 1878 to say that Anthoniz (from the family who gave the clock tower to Galle) and another gained entrance to the Medical College in 1877. Thus, rebutting the notion that Richmond College was born in 1876; it is the year the school became a high school. No school in the country started as high or collegiate schools. The only Methodist school that is known to have an authentic chronicle is Kingswood College, Kandy. Every other school went by vestiges of lore that had become fossilised.
The Batticaloa Methodist Central claims that it was started by the Rev. Ault one of the pioneer Missionaries on 29th July, 1814. The Wesleyan Methodist Mission records state that he left Galle on 31st July, 1814 to Batticaloa and reached the spot on 8th August 1814. Thus the correct date should be 29th August 1814. Another Wesleyan school in the south claimed a school was started in the year that the Mission started a chapel. The Methodist Girls’ School say it started in 1866 but the Mission Documents say it started in 1817 as a mixed school. Similarly the Kandy Girls High School was started in 1870 by the Rev. George Baugh and the Rev. Samuel Langdon transformed it to a high school in 1879. Edification of the chronicles of schools was never carried out by the Missionaries but by old boys and girls and was published in school magazines from time to time without any verifiable authentic sources.
s first Wesleyan Methodist School, Richmond College, and the first Buddhist Theosophical School (BTS), Mahinda College both started in Galle.