The period from 1814 to 1876 is hardly spoken of in Richmond College Magazines, publications or for that matter all websites and Facebook® pages. There has to be a reason for not publishing the 62 year history of the school. Was it that there was no school during this period or was it ignorance or even some other reason.
This website gives a comprehensive help in cv and resume writing and record of the 62 year period of the school prior to 1876 that was almost forgotten. Since there were lot of feedback, some disbelieving and others with genuine concern this explanation should be ‘food for thought’. Knowing there would be sceptics every effort was made to get at original mission records which are authentic rather than depending on school magazines.
Speaking to many people and engaging in a dialogue it was found that most did not know about the period before 1876. The Magazines and other school publications only considered about the history after 1876 when the first school became a superior school. However the Diamond Jubilee Souvenir published in 1951, perhaps is the only publication that mentioned of the beginning in 1814. If not for that souvenir the history prior to 1876 would have been lost for good forever. At least there were three old Richmondites namely Mr. E. R. de Silva the incumbent Principal in 1951, Mr. K. Dahanayake the twin brother of Dr. W, and Mr. S. I. Perera a longstanding staff member who cared to find something about the College. Although it was a nebulous statement it was indeed a good clue.
Most feedback were queries; whether the first school could be either St. Aloysius or All Saints or even Sacred Heart Convent. As at present there are only three schools in Galle that were started by the Wesleyan Methodist Mission; Richmond, Rippon and Southlands. The others were started by different sects; St. Aloysius was established in 1895 by Jesuit Fathers; Sacred Heart Convent one year later in 1896; All Saints in 1867 by the Anglican Church. The forerunner to All Saints was the Galle Central School which was in existence even in 1803 though closed down for sometime. Thus it should be clear to the reader that the first Wesleyan Methodist Mission School is the current Richmond College although it was known by different names until 1876.
Up until Richmond was upgraded in 1876 it was an Anglo-vernacular school although for a while an English School too was in operation attached to the first Galle school. This is the only reason that could be thought of why we went wrong. A comprehensive supportive argument is given here…
Methodist Schools in Ceylon
Methodist Mission Schools came into being in Ceylon after the arrival of the Missionaries. Though the Missionaries came here to propogate the gospel, they took upon themself to start schools. When they first landed in this country a request was made by the then Governor, General Sir Robert Brownrigg requesting the Missionaries to go to several places and start English Schools for which they were offered payment. After Rev. Dr. Coke’s death the Missionaries had no money and it is stated that in Bombay they did not have the money to even buy their breakfast. When they came to Ceylon, the situation was much improved but the offer of the Governor to pay them had a bearing on their starting schools. If the missionaries went to various stations without the intention of starting schools they would have had a hard life during their early years. The stations suggested by the Governor were, Galle, Matara, Jaffna, Batticaloa and Mannar. They went to all stations except Mannar for want of another Missionary.
When the Missionaries left Galle Rev. Squance and Rev. Lynch went to Jaffna and they reached Jaffna several days later. In the mean time Rev. Ault went to Batticaloa and it took him about eight days to get there and after about three days that he found a place to start a school. Rev. Clough who remained in Galle started the school immediately as he was provided with a suitable place by the Maha Mudliyar of Galle. Logically the Missionaries could not have gone to start schools outside these stations at a time when transport was difficult. Hopefully we will add another page to this website giving the History of other schools started by the Mission from the information gathered from Mission records with reference to the record.
One reader (perhaps an old boy) anonymously sent us information about a hilarious statement in a book published by Tissara Publications. This book named “Sri Lankave Adyapana Ithihasaya (1796 – 1965)” published in 1993 which is a translation of the English Edition “The History of Education in Sri Lanka” published in 1968 and authored by Mr. K. H. M. Sumathipala; published in 1993 claims in page 65 that the Wesleyan High School in Ambalangoda is the first Methodist School in South Ceylon and supposed to have started in 1869 and was situated at Randombe a suburb of Ambalangoda between Balapitiya and Ambalangoda. It was started in May or June 1818 on land provided by the then Magistrate Mr. Henry Roosmalecocq. Some years later it was given up but re-opened in 1835. Where this information was found is a mystery. Nowhere in any of Mission Records such a claim is made. We had a look at this book and it appears that the editors of Richmond Magazine published after 70’s has depended on this publication which wrong and warped historical data of Richmond. We are not questioning the entire book which we should be proud of having being dedicated to a brilliant Richmondite the late Dr. C. W. W. Kanangara. In the Preface author himself says “This is essentially a book ‘on the contribution made by C. W. W. Kannangara to the educational development in Ceylon“. Thus the title of the book can be somewhat misleading as a narration of the history although a good part of it gives the history of schools during the period 1796 – 1965. We have not fully gone through it as yet but will make our comments known in the near future.
We found a copy of the Sinhala translation of the above bookbook which again gives same fictious history. Here is the images of the cover and the page where the wrong information appears. We leave it to the readers to decide for themself.
Please read through the History pages and other historical notes to get a clear understanding of the Richmond’s history including those years when it was not known as Richmond.