The Earliest Missionary English Schools: Challenging Shirley Somanader

Ananda Jayasinghe

Mr. Shirley Somanader’s (SS) article titled “Methodist Schools in Batticaloa and Galle are the earliest schools to sustain their continuity to the present” is subterfuge. Mr. Somanader has ‘cherry picked ‘ and compiled the history of the Batticaloa Central College.

Mr. Somanader had started a series of postings on the Facebook, and the article appeared in Mr. D B S Jeyeraj’s blog. To the writer the article is a ‘tunnel minded’ compilation.  This is an esoteric subject and needs much holistic research. An ad nauseam topic but the writer is responding in good faith in an attempt to make Mr. Somanader realise that his postings are deceptive.

Mr. Somanader says that the “Methodist Central College, Batticaloa is specifically mentioned as an English School” and sites a publication by the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka, the first edition of ‘A History of Methodist Church in Ceylon’ edited by the Rev W J T Small came off the press nearly fifty years ago. A revised version was reprinted in 2015. The writer through sheer curiosity researched the history of his alma Mater ‘Richmond College’. The information gathered over several decades proved very valuable and taught him that not everything he learnt in school about the beginning and the progress of the college was not the absolute truth. The history that appeared in school magazines presented by different writers was sheer deception, to glorify a persona or the author of those articles. To share the information with those who were interested in the history of the college he published an oeuvre “The forgotten history of Richmond College – a documentary survey” in 2014 the year Richmond became 200 years old and earned him a State literary award in 2015. As expected, the publication generated much interest, and the insinuations the writer had to bear outweighed the accolades and bouquets. The publication made many people stand up and take notice of Richmond. It also generated interest among past pupils’ of other schools to re-examine their school histories. The interest mainly came from schools that began in the year 1814 or in the early parts of the Wesleyan missionary enterprise in the country. Methodist Central College, Batticaloa is one such school and the other is the Jaffna Central College (JCC) although another school had her beginnings in 1814 from Matara.

A careful analysis of the postings on Mr. Somanader’s Facebook postings shows that the motive behind them were to more to find fault with others not contributing to his views.  One reader posed the question “When did the Rev Asiri become a Bishop?” something inapposite to the article.

To answer Mr. Somanader, the writer will concentrate on his main grouse or arguments without trying to analyse any of his hidden agendas. Repeating his first comment “1.  Methodist Central College, Batticaloa is specifically mentioned as an English School from August 1814 as a separate institution apart from any Vernacular school.” Says he that the official publication on the history of the Methodist Church Sri Lanka say so. The writer has copies of both editions in their final copy edited form, and in the print form. A meticulous search of his claim about BCC the writer drew a blank. To the contrary, the writer found 81 instances of the term ‘English School’ appearing in each of the said publications, the majority of which are pertaining to the many schools the Wesleyan Mission opened in the country.  In as much as it refers to the school in Batticaloa, as an English School it identify the Schools in Galle, Matara and Jaffna too as English schools.

According to official missionary documents published in the second decade of the 19th century, the Wesleyan Missionaries were destitute, living on borrowed money when they landed in the country. In as much as all other European religious societies that came to this country, the Wesleyan’s too came to propagate Christianity and their denominational tenets, not teach the natives secular subjects and English. The governors of many of the colonial states did not have a sympathetic view towards the missionaries and disallowed establishing societies in the colonies under their command, although, the English governors were adherents of the high church or the religion of the King or the Queen or simply put the reigning monarch. It is on record that even the, Church Missionary Society (CMS) that works with the Anglican Communion was not allowed to establish a society by the Governor of India and they had to leave and then accidentally came to Ceylon in 1818. General Brownrigg the Governor of Ceylon at the time the Wesleyans arrived was of liberal views and more sympathetic towards religious societies, even the American Missionaries. He allowed religious crusaders to establish themselves in the country because his primary concern was the progress of the country. It is for that reason that he allowed the Americans’ to establish a mission.

The writer believes to establish a single semantic or grammatical interpretation of the American Revolution a brief explanation is not out of place. General Brownrigg played it safe by allowing them to start their mission in the North keeping them distanced from the seat of governance. For geopolitical reasons for almost four decades, the colonial government in Ceylon restricted them to the relatively small Jaffna Peninsula. The English did not trust the Americans although they too had their origin in England. The American Revolution was a colonial revolt that took place between 1765 and 1783. The inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies in America supported the American Revolution are primarily referred to as “Americans” or “Patriots,” and sometimes as “Whigs,” “Rebels,” or “Revolutionaries” in American terminology and the Colonists supporting the British monarchy  are called “Loyalists” or “Tories”. The General Brownrigg took this calculated risk because his concern was making the natives literate and being able to converse and understand the English language to help with the governance and the progress and development of the country and not for any religious reasons.

During this era, the lingua franca of Ceylon was low Portuguese as opposed to the native tongues, Singhalese, and Tamil. The British officials found the inability of the natives to communicate with them hampering government plans. Thus, Brownrigg offered the missionaries a monthly stipend on condition that they will start schools to teach the natives English. Nevertheless, Mr. Somanader not mentioning the other schools, stratagem others to believe that it is the only English School. In referring to the first Asiatic minister Don Cornelius de Silva Wijesingha, the [A] History of Methodist Church in Ceylon of the Wesleyan Mission say “…had been a pupil of Clough’s first English school at Galle”.  Then on page, 85 of the First edition it is stated clearly and specifically, that “The Government paid a small sum to the Galle and Matara English schools, begun in 1814 at Governor Brownrigg’s suggestion.” Thus, it defeats the writer to understand why Mr. Somanader try to accentuate the Batticaloa native school as an English school.

Do the writer need more citations to prove that Mr. Somanader is writing about the Methodist history and the School from his decrepit knowledge of history, or is he attempting to promote some other personal cause or trying to vilify his own Shepherd?

Mr. Somanader is claiming that Ault on arrival at Batticaloa had in writing to his mother said that he has opened an English school is questionable. According to the ‘The History of the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society Volume V by George G. Findlay” at page 28 it says quoting from a long letter (the same letter now with the SOAS that Mr. Somanader is citing) to his mother, written three months after his arrival at Batticaloa, Ault describes his position” which is something conflicting and pushing the date when Ault started the school into the month of October. Thus making the Batticaloa School, the fourth school started by the Missionaries after Galle, Matara and Jaffna.

By his, own admission Mr. Somanader is at variance when he speaks of  “The Second Missionary Principal of the school (in reference to Batticaloa Central) and his contribution…” but takes exception that the first 24 names of the list provided by the writer are Methodist missionaries stationed in Galle from 1814–1875. They were the superintending missionaries in the station who supervised the schools. Until the Galle school was elevated to a high school or to the status of a college, they were under the care of the superintending missionary. The superintending missionaries were not educational missionaries although some of them were academics.

Mr. Somanader says, “In 1819, the Rev. Thomas Osborne, the Station Superintendent had started a new English School with about 21 boys…” and by his own admission is a discontinuation of the BCC, Lynch started. From the entry made in relation to Batticaloa in the Wesleyan Missionary school Reports of 1821, it is clear that the station has been long vacant after Ault’s death but recently re-occupied. In a letter dated 16th September 1814 the Rev Mr Twisleton the colonial chaplain, writing to the Rev Lynch and Squance says, “Mr, Ault wrote to Mr. Armour, and mentioned a few-of his wants in the stationary line, and the great difficulty of getting a house. I shewed the letter to the Governor, who has written to the Collector at Batticaloa, to supply him with materials and workmen to erect a bungalow (or house.)” Thus even by that time the Rev Ault had no place to conduct his school. All this time Ault lived with the collector in the house in the picture.

 The Collector’s Residence in Batticaloa c. 1819 where the Rev. William Ault resided, until his untimely demise in 1815 by an unknown painter.

Provenance: Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, Sydney, Australia

After the government of Ceylon took an interest in the education of the natives, accepting the Colebrook recommendations, the government instituted the Central School Commission and offered a grant to any school that wished to profit from a grant offered by the government. Most denominational schools took advantage of the offer, and ‘The Eighth report of the Central School Commission for the Instruction of the Population of Ceylon 1848 that appear in House of Common papers – Volume 36 of 1852, lists the schools, that received the grant including the Galle School. (see below) The Second list shows the missionaries in charge of the various schools in the list and for the Galle Boy’s School and the Girl’s School it was the Rev William Bridgnell.




Several old boys of the Jaffna Central College engaged in a conversation with the writer seeking more information about their alma mater as there are three different schools of thought as to when the Jaffna English School started – 1814, 1816 and 1825 or thereabout.

They including the previous President of the Methodist Church the Rev Dr Jabanasen were more amiable in their discussions, than Mr. Somanader, which made the task of assisting them a wonderful exercise.  It would be of interest to Mr. Somanader to know that JCC has started between 15th 1814 and November 24, 1814 according to official missionary records established by the dates two letters lynch sent to his brother and a friend, whatever others may have written of the date of starting. The writer leaves it to those coming from the North and East to decide which of their schools started first, Jaffna or the Batticaloa in the light of the writer’s revelations in this reply.

Mr. Somanader says “I wonder whether anyone can give such details re: the first 62 years of Richmond College.” The very details he is seeking is in the writer’s work mentioned elsewhere as well as in the Missionary literature the notices and the Missionary Magazine for the period concerned. It is evident that Mr. Somanader knowingly or unknowingly is making use of his article to promote several selected individuals or is attempting to reinforce his position among the BCC community and attack others not to his liking. As for statistics of the period, Mr Somanader or any of his cheering squad is seeking, the writer invites them to read the Missionary records for the period of interest, available with the WMC or read the writer’s composition on the forgotten History of Richmond.

In reply to Mr. Somanader’s cogitations about the continuity of the Galle School, until renamed Richmond, the writer invites him and any others interested to read the school reports and official mission records for the era of interest.  Official mission records does not speak of English Schools in Ceylon, rather they refer to them as the Native Schools of the First Class, Native Schools of the Second Class and Native Schools of the Third Class Class. Native writers have introduced the term English Schools perhaps to glorify their alma maters’ where they had their education. The writer does not see anything wrong in doing so but disagree with people like Mr. Somanader, who try to portrait that theirs is the only English school while the rest are vernacular schools.

Rather than give the writer’s interpretation, it is best to quote from the original source, ‘The First Report of the General Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society 1818’ verbatim.


These are purely native; and the instructions which are given in them are such as to qualify the scholars for the common routine of native life. They are taught to read their own language, whether it be Tamul [sic] or Cingalese [sic], and to write the same, with a steel or iron pen, on ollas, [sic] or Palmyra [sic] leaves, after the manner of the country: and – thus they are more fitted, in their attainments, to their situation in life, which precludes their access to paper and pens, and other European articles: these, in this country, it may be supposed, are always at a price which is above the reach of the lower classes of society. A system of native arithmetic is likewise in preparation for our schools in general; and which will be especially advantageous to the first class of schools, both in the habit of close thinking which such a study will induce, and the general strength which it will add to their intellects, independent of the service it will render them in their future dealings in life. The want of such a system is at present supplied by oral instructions in the science,—an exercise which appears uncommonly to interest and amuse them.

In addition to these subjects, the first class schools, of course, receive regularly instructions on moral and religious subjects. Several useful books have been translated from the English into the Cingalese [sic] language, which are in daily use among them; and the most of them can repeat the lord’s Prayer, Ten Commandments, and the Apostles’ Creed, in English, in Cingalese [sic], and in Tamul [sic]; besides reciting largely from Mr. Wood’s and other catechisms which have been given them in their own tongue.


These are regulated by a compound of native and European economy. The first branch of learning is the same as that in the schools of the first class. Their attention to this occupies one half of their school hours; the other part is employed in the rudiments of English learning, in reading, writing, &c. in each of which several have already made good proficiency.

The Spelling-books which are in use are those published by the Sunday School Union in England; the reading lessons in which have this excellency, that they are selected from the Bible. By these means, the first impressions made upon the mind of the native scholar are from the purest source, and direct him in his duty to God and to his connexions in life. Under the superintendence of Brother Callaway, some portions of the reading, and all of the spelling lessons of the first part spelling-book, have been translated into Cingalese [sic]; and, when entirely completed, will be very greatly serviceable to all our schools, as well as to the Ceylonese youth universally.

In the process of teaching we chiefly follow the method of Mr. Lancaster. For much assistance in the introduction of the Lancastrian system we were greatly indebted to James Nicholle, Esq. a junior merchant of Calcutta, who made some stay at Colombo, oh his way to Bengal; and who, in his friendly zeal for the prosperity of our Colpetty school, kindly superintended the making of the first sand-desk and other apparatus gave suitable instructions to the monitors, and suggested several improvements in our method, which have been essentially useful to the learners. Since then the system has been introduced into all our second class schools; and we feel it a grateful duty thus publicly to record our obligations to Mr. Nicholle, for the generous assistance he has rendered us in a department which we know it will be gratifying to him to reflect, is likely to produce consequences so lastingly beneficial to the rising generation.

At the conclusion of the other exercises of the school, some portion of time is generally occupied in the recital of passages which have been committed to memory, from the Scripture and other useful books, which have been, selected for the purpose; in which exercises the tenacity of memory displayed by the native youth is oftentimes surprising.

Some of our more advanced scholars have made some progress in English grammar and arithmetic; but the scarcity of books in these sciences is uninsuperable [sic] barrier to our making these studies general through all our schools. Being unwilling to invade the property of any person, by reprinting any grammar at present in circulation, a grammar on a small scale is in a course of preparation, with examples and other lessons, more localized, and hence more easily understood by the native student, than any compiled for the use of the English youth.

We intend to enlarge and extend our plan of education, in proportion to the increasing capacity of our scholars, and the increasing supply of books for their use. A concise general geography compiled by Brother Fox, is in the press, and will shortly be ready. A small portion of it, relating to the geography of Europe, has already been stitched up and introduced, and has excited considerable interest among the better informed of the native young men; who, in the general, have little or no idea of any other place besides their own country. What makes this work particularly interesting to them is, the introduction of many very interesting particulars relative to India, and particularly to Oriental geography, not found in any other similar publications; with the distance calculated of each principal place in the world from Colombo, the capital of this island. This serves to exhibit a kind of connexion [sic] between this country and a number of other countries hitherto unknown to the inhabitants; which will, we hope, excite their waking curiosity,

After the Geography, it is intended to furnish our native youth with-a series of similar publications on all the other principal sciences; which are at present in their process of compilation and arrangement, and which will successively issue from our press.


Includes those for the education of females. This department will, we trust, be as interesting to the British ear, as it, is novel to the Oriental eye; the education of the female part of the Indian population having been very partially indeed introduced even in Ceylon. The great ascendancy which, by common consent, is allowed to the female character over the other sex, and the influence which women, in all civilized communities, have upon the tone of morals, renders it of the last importance that those who have so much influence over others should themselves be properly influenced, and that the seat of power should be likewise the source of purity and goodness.

All the arguments for female education which are adduced in Europe, may be brought forward with double force in Ceylon. The influence of the softer sex upon the other part of society is almost complete; and a man will be a Heathen or a Christian, a Papist or a Protestant, according to the bias of his wife, or of the esteemed and beloved female whom he is desirous should stand in that relation to him. Under the entire control and superintendence of ignorant, and, in some cases, perhaps, heathen mothers, is it surprising that the rising generation imbibe the most incorrect notions on all subjects of importance, and form an unbending predilection for those idolatrous ceremonies to which maternal tenderness has led them, or perhaps carried them even before they were capable of being led? Is it surprising, under these circumstances, that the moral principle of such is so want, not to say depraved, in its operations, and that the pure religion of Jesus Christ should meet with so limited a reception among them?—The wonder certainty is, that it is not more completely, and universally so. The evil has been at the source, and that has been so difficult of access not to admit of any adequate remedy: but we hail the dawn of a memorable and happy day for Ceylon from the commencement of day-schools for the instruction of native females.

May we not anticipate the period when our female scholars shall properly fill the important stations of wives and mothers; and when at least a part of them, profiting by the instructions they are now receiving, shall reward our liberalities and our toils morality; and, by training up their children in early habits of piety and virtue, obliterate, by their influence on society, the remembrance of that age of darkness and vice becoming helps meet for their husbands in the way of Christian faith and which, we trust, is passing to return no more.

It is a gratification to us, that our Mission was favoured to behold the commencement of this important agency. It is due to justice to mention the names of the generous individuals with whom this moral and benevolent work originated among us. We believe Lady Brownrigg, the consort of our present Governor, has the honour of commencing the first school for the education of Malabar girls in this island: and the first regular school which was ever established, to our knowledge, for the daily education of native Cingalese females, honours the memory of Lady Johnston; as it was begun by her ladyship, and continued under her auspices and constant inspection, until the state of her health occasioned the Chief Justice to remove to England. The name of the school is the Colpetty School. We trust it will be a model on which many similar institutions will be founded: and may the impulse which Lady Johnston has given to the native Cingalese [sic] members of her own sex, in the sanction of the first Cingalese [sic] female school, continue to operate until female education shall become universal throughout the whole of Ceylon.

In our schools, the girls are taught to read and write either the Tamul [sic] or Cingalese [sic] languages, and to commit to memory suitable prayers and portions of Scripture, such as the Miracles and Parables of our Lord, &c. They besides receive other instructions on moral and useful subjects. English reading and writing is taught to those who desire it, which the majority of the female scholars hitherto have done, and in which many of them have made considerable progress. Even some who, from apprehension of the difficulty of learning a new language, requested an exemption on their entrance into the schools, have, after their admission, contracted a fondness for it, and have outstripped the rest in their acquirement of English. This has determined us to leave it to the option of the girls themselves whether they shall learn English or not. The consequence has been, we have very few, if any, who do not eagerly apply themselves to that as to any other branch of learning.

In addition to the improvement of their minds, their future usefulness and domestic comfort is consulted, by being instructed in needle-work of various kinds, and likewise in lace making &c. Rewards of clothe are given to those who are most expert at their needle, which they make up into articles of clothing for themselves, and wear with a peculiar sense of honour. It is in contemplation to introduce the spinning of cotton, as a variation in female exercises of our schools; and as we confess it to be quite a new untried department, we shall diligently observe wherein we may improve on our present plan, and shall gladly adopt any hint which will render it more conducive to the present mental and moral improvement, and future industry and welfare, of this interesting part of our charge.

We have thus gone through, though in a desultory manner, our plan on Native Schools, which will derive its interest from the novelty and importance of the undertaking, and the opening prospects of success with which it is favoured, united with the strong and prevailing feeling, which exists at home in behalf of the benighted inhabitants of these distant regions. We commit the whole into the hand of Him in whose name we have solemnly entered upon the work, and to whom shall be all the glory, forever and ever.

Mr. Somanader claims that the official history of the Methodist Church of Ceylon speaks of a “Dickson Road vernacular school, which has been recently re-christened ‘Galle school’ by interested parties”. From the outset, this school was referred to as the Galle English School. It is something that Mr. Somanader has manufactured himself and added to his article, which appears to the writer as the sole interested party, who is out to depreciate the history of the first English School by the Wesleyan Missionaries. Every station had vernacular schools and they served the purpose of feeder schools to the  Anglo –vernacular schools and the  English Schools.

 Doornberg – the house where the Galle school had her beginnings on 25th July 1814

Like all other English Schools that the missionaries started, the Galle school had several feeder schools that functioned from different locations. Galle had many abandoned Dutch buildings of the VOC and the Wesleyans made use of them to conduct the Galle School. However, a Singhalese came forward and offered a mansion to the Rev Clough to start a school and to live.  Such gestures were only in Galle and Matara. In the North and the East if not for the support of the European officers, the missionaries would have had great difficulty in starting schools. Initially the school operated from the Upper Dickson Road, Galle. The original house for many years thereafter became the temporary residence for the Wesleyan and several other Christian Missionaries arriving in Galle before they went to their respective stations.

In 1815, the Galle School moved to a large Dutch house in Galle Fort, which is the current main Hall of the Southlands Galle. (see below)

  Main hall of Southlands Girls’ School

The Rev McKinney who went to South Africa, to establish a station returned to Galle in 1815, because the South African governor did not permit him to establish a station. Rev Erskine too had returned to Galle by then abandoning the Matara School due to lack of interest shown by the natives to make use of the school for education. Lynch and Squance too had returned to Galle due to indisposition and Harvard soon joined the others in Galle. While Clough and others looked after the Galle school McKinney built four structures perpendicular to each other forming a quadrangle in the center, in Mágálla and started the Second Wesleyan English School in Galle, a vernacular school, a female department and a caste based school. In 1815, both Harvard and Clough moved to Colombo leaving Galle in the hands of Erskine, McKinney, Lynch and Squance. Harvard and Clough established the Dam Street School and the mission headquarters in Pettah. Lady Johnston the wife of the Chief Justice gave Clough and Harvard the mixed English school that she had started in Colpetty, to look after as she was about to leave the country. This school many years later became the Methodist Girls’ School.

All the while, the school in Batticaloa was inactive for the want of a Missionary superintendent. Several more missionaries were sent to Ceylon during the 1815~1816 period by the mother society to expand their enterprise. In the year 1816, the missionaries had their second conference and reallocated brethren to the hitherto unoccupied stations and to several other principal towns to establish new stations. Lynch and Squance returned Jaffna and revived their English school they started in 1814 (no exact date could be established but) from the communications by Lynch it is established the day they revived the school is between September 15th 1814 and November 24, 1814. According to the official Wesleyan missionary records the date the BCC started is at best is on a date after the JCC had started but became inactive after Ault’s death. Given the statement by Mr S about the Rev. Thomas Osborn starting a new school in 1819, then the current BCC is the school Osborn started perhaps amalgamated (?) with the school Ault started in 1814.

The 1817 Extracts of Quarterly Reports of by the Wesleyan Mission does not show any schools in Batticaloa. It speaks of schools in Galle, Hikkaduwa, Weligama, Matara, Colombo, Negombo, and Jaffna, and they were  English, Anglo-vernacular and vernacular schools  while it says no reports from Point Pedro and Trincomalee leave alone Batticaloa.

According to the 1818 Quarterly reports, there were schools as in 1817, in every station as mentioned earlier. The Rev Erskine and the Rev Thomas Osborne operating from Trincomalee overseeing Trincomalee and Batticaloa says that they were readying to erect a bungalow and a schoolhouse but does not say in which station.   The Rev Erskine writing of Batticaloa says that there is a government school with 20 children that he supervises but says that there are no scholars in the mission school so much so for Mr Somanadar’s statistics. It is only the report of 1819 that speak of the Batticaloa School.

The Rev Osborne writing in 1820 describes his difficulty in finding scholars to attend his school in Batticaloa because the natives say that they have to send the children to the fields and he laments not having any assistance and say that he cannot continue with the English and Tamil schools without any assistance from Jaffna. The quarterly letters for the period 1817 to 1826 hardly speak of a school in Batticaloa. There are reports and information about all schools in the stations mentioned above with several new stations like Kurunegala and Chilaw added.

 The Galle School, the Mission house and the female school in 1860 from a painting by the Rev Jobson

The Galle school continued to flourish and develop. In 1857, the Rev Joseph Rippon purchased an abandoned Dutch enclave known as Mt Seymour on behalf of the mission. He applied to the society to start a new school, but permission denied at the1857 Conference and was directed to relocate to the hill, the Anglo-vernacular school, the female department (the present Rippon Girls’ School), of the Galle English school operating in Magalla and several other vernacular schools operating from domestic residences in several villages in Galle.

The directive appears to be to save the mission the rent paid to the natives for occupying their premises to conduct schools. In 1874, a decision was made to elevate the Galle School to a High School and rename it Wesley College in Richmond Hill but it did not materialise due to the pressure applied on the mission to elevate the Dam Street School. The Dam Street School was elevated with the Rev Samuel Rowse Wilkins taking over as the first principal. In 1874, the Rev George Baugh had returned to the country and tasked with looking after the Richmond Hill circuit. Before coming to Galle, he looked after the Kandy station.  In 1871, he started a small mixed school in Katukelle. This school then known as the Katukelle School was reorganised in 1879 by the Rev Langdon after his transfer from Galle to Kandy.  He renamed the school the Girls’ High School Kandy.

To dispel any myths about a new school being started in 1876. The extract from an official document explains what took place in the hill. The Galle High School is the amalgamated Mágálla and the Richmond Hill school. The Anglo-vernacular school became an English school in anticipation of the upgrading of the Galle School to a High school, as ‘oil and water’ does not mix, an Anglo-vernacular and an English School cannot connected.

 RCG Magazine 1926

The BCC chronicle that Mr. Somanadar has built is based on lore, hearsay and subterfuge.  The writer has no intention to go into what happened in Galle in 1876, as it is already an established fact although there are people of Mr. Somanadar’s ilk in Galle who are attempting to move heaven and earth to deny the actual event that took place in 1876 in spite of written evidence. Their stance is that the Galle High School started in 1876 was a new school.

High schools did not start overnight. High schools are the result of schools that started many years before that progressed and developed to a point, making it imperative for the Mission to elevate their status. Not elevating schools to a higher status the mission would lose the scholars, which in turn was a loss of income. In contemporary times, the natives sought higher education to help them to gain entry into the haute bourgeois. The first missionary principal of the Galle High School the Rev Langdon, writing to the mother society informed that two scholars had gained entry to the Medical School in 1877 from the so-called newly started High school in 1876. There is no school in the country that had her beginning as a high school.

The writer wonder whether the Wesleyan Methodist Mission or the Society ever declared the [A] History of Methodist Church in Ceylon as the official historical record of the Ceylon Methodists. Although it is an excellent compilation of hitherto unknown historical events, the writer finds many historical revisionisms that rather than enhancing the history has deride. Before the time the revised second edition was published, the Methodist church was provided with an enormous amount of official missionary documents and official documents of the colonial government in 2013, which has not being used to correct the history. Until the writer published his book that challenged some of the information in the book the Rev Small edited pertaining to the Methodist church none did so. The Rev Dr A. W. Jebanesan, President, Methodist Church Sri Lanka in September 2013 contributing a message wrote, “This book contains a great deal of information derived from a collection of original historical documents” and concluded his message by saying “I hope that this new contribution will throw new light on the available information.”

Prof. G. P. V. Somaratna the historian of the Methodist Church in providing the foreword writes, “His thesis is that the founding of Richmond College goes to the very beginning of Methodism in Sri Lanka. It precedes all the other Methodist schools in the Island. In fact, it is the first Methodist educational establishment in Asia since the British Methodists came first to Sri Lanka to embark on their missionary work in the East. Critics may find their views on the origins of Richmond College challenged. Some may even be displeased as the notions held unchallenged so far being questioned. As he justly says the beginning of Richmond is not when it changed name, status, or location.”

If Mr. Somanadar, is inclined to, the writer is certain that he can produce a magnum opus about BCC and he can count on the writer for any assistance required. However, credit is due to Mr. Somanadar for his chronicle although derelict who has a better understanding of the BCC and Methodist Mission history than an anti-Missionary  person who studied in Richmond for only two or three years after the vesting of schools and now trying to re-write the history. He has now come up with a theory that the school on Richmond Hill before 1876 has no connection to the present Richmond. Whereas Mr. Somanader is a Mission School product, the historian at Richmond is a product of a vested school who has a stake to maintain a wrong history lest his monetary inflow dry up. With the government vesting the schools in 1962 without any collaterals, the newly appointed principals went on a deplorable, despicable mission to destroy all missionary literature. However, some of the principals and teachers saved the old records.

Mr Somanadar is a former Assistant Director of Education (English) in Batticaloa.  It is amusing that being a Methodist himself and having held a high position in the Education Ministry/Department that he could not grasp the responsibilities of a Superintending missionary of a station/circuit. The writer cannot expect a scholarly well-researched academic paper about the BCC from him. The reason the writer, termed his article a subterfuge.


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