Trinity College, Kandy

Trinity College, Kandy, is a private school for boys in Sri Lanka founded in 1872 by Anglican missionaries, that offers primary and secondary education. It is considered to be a leading public school in Sri Lanka.


In 1857 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 [1][8] 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 enrolments 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. In 1889 Dr. Hodges was appointed as the Anglican Bishop of Travancore and Cochin, and his post at Trinity was taken by 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.

The school was headed from 1925 to 1935 by Cannon John McLeod Campbell (who later served as Chaplain to the Royal Family) . McLeod Campbell retired in 1935 and was replaced by Rev. Robert Stopford. 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. Simithraaratchy, the first old boy and Ceylonese born principal, who ran the school from 1941 until 1951, including the Second World War years. His successor was Mr. Norman Sydney Walter, from 1952 to 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. Brig. Udaya Aryaratne  was the principal from 2008 – 2015 and the current principal is Andrew Fowler-Watt.


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 Cricket Captain 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, Olympic Silver Medalist Duncan White and former Major General and Ambassador Niranjan A Ranasinghe. 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.

T +94 81 223 4297

Trinity College, Kandy
262, D S Senanayake Veediya, Kandy 20000, Central Province, Sri Lanka


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