Prince of Wales' College, Moratuwa

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Prince of Wales' College
වේල්ස් කුමර විදුහල
Prince of Wales's feathers Badge.svg

Coordinates6°47′07″N 79°52′58″E / 6.785199°N 79.8827°E / 6.785199; 79.8827Coordinates: 6°47′07″N 79°52′58″E / 6.785199°N 79.8827°E / 6.785199; 79.8827[1]
MottoLatin: Ich Dien, Nihil per Saltum
(I serve, not at a leap)
FounderSir Charles Henry de Soysa
PrincipalKusala Fernando
GradesClass 1 – 13
Age5 to 19
Color(s)Purple Gold and Maroon

Prince of Wales' College (Sinhala: වේල්ස් කුමර විද්‍යාලය Wels Kumara Vidyalaya, Tamil: வேல்ஸ் கல்லூரி அதிபதி) is a selective entry boys' school situated in Moratuwa, a suburb of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Prince of Wales' College, Moratuwa (along with Princess of Wales' College), was founded and endowed in 1876 by Sir Charles Henry de Soysa, a famous 19th century Sri Lankan philanthropist. The school became fully government-controlled school in 1962. As of 2016 over 7100 boys are studying in the school in grades 1 to 13 including all main streams of secondary studies which include biology, mathematics, commerce and arts.

The first Minister of Education, Dr. C. W. W. Kannangara and Dr. T. B. Jayah, a senior minister, have both served on the staff of Prince of Wales College. Sir James Peiris was a former trustee of the college.[2]

For a very long time the school has created a niche for itself in the field of sports. Prince of Wales College has produced many exceptional cricketers who, at one time or another, played for the national team. It won the Herman Loos Cup for cadeting many times in the past and has won international championships in rowing.[3][4]



The founding patron of the school was the philanthropist, Sir Charles Henry de Soysa. Following the arrival of the then Prince of Wales (Edward VII) in Colombo in 1875, he wanted to name the two schools he intended to build – Prince of Wales’ and Princess of Wales’. As a result of a letter sent on 27 November 1875, he received permission to name the two schools the Prince of Wales’ and Princess of Wales’.[5]

14 September 1876 was a memorable day for the Moratuwa community; the school, which was built on a picturesque 15-acre plot of land facing the Galle Road, and bordered by the Lunawa Lagoon, was ceremonially opened. The then governor of Sri Lanka, Sir William Gregory, graced the occasion as the chief guest. The school was designed by Mr. Muhandiram Mendis Jayawardena, and about Rs. 300,000/= was spent on its construction. The school buildings were one of the most elegant in the country at that time. The ceremonial opening of the St. John's Church and St. John's College Panadura built by Mudliyar Susew De Soysa were also conducted on the same day.[6][7][8][9][10]

Sir Charles Henry De Soysa completed five school buildings over an area of five acres and, along with all the necessary equipment, opened the school to the public as a secular institution.[11] He also carefully oversaw the administration, management, and maintenance of the school until his death. In his last will, he requested that his eldest son Mudalier J. W. C. de Soysa take over responsibility for the school, and asked his wife to pay Rs. 3000/= to the school annually, for maintenance work. After Lady Catherine De Soysa died, Sir Charles Henry De Soysa's seven sons took over stewardship of the school. They also obtained their education at Prince of Wales’ College, and their aid was vital for the school. They endowed the school with two plantations for its maintenance and recruited principals who were Oxbridge graduates.

Mr. W.S. Gunawardena (B.A. Calcutta) was the first principal of the school and served from 1876 until 1891. At first, it was not operated as one school, but as four educational institutes with a total of 1000 students and 40 teachers. They were:

  • Prince of Wales’ College
  • Princess of Wales’ College
  • Prince of Wales’ College (native language)
  • Princess of Wales’ College (native language) [11]

The first school prize giving was held in 1883 with Sir John Douglas as the chief guest. There were prize records for all four schools. Prince of Wales’ College and Prince of Wales’ College (native) only had classes up to Grade 7. Prince of Wales’ College was the higher school; it had two divisions named Upper and Lower. Apart from this, there were two classes for undergraduates.

3 March was selected as the Founder's Day. Students attend the service at the Holy Emmanuel church and pay respects to the tomb of Sir Charles Henry de Soysa. Since the 1960s, Buddhist students have commemorated the Founder's Day by engaging in Buddhist rituals.


W. S. Gunawardena (first principal 1876–1891)[edit]

W. S. Gunawardena (B.A. Calcutta) was the first principal and served from 1876 until 1891. The school hostel was started in 1882 and cricket was also introduced to the school during this period.[12]

Philip Lewis (principal 1892–1896)[edit]

Philip Lewis became the second principal and served from 1892 until 1896. Although there were many difficulties, a rapid development of the school could be seen during this period.

J. G. C. Mendis (principal 1896–1917)[edit]

J. G. C. Mendis (B.A. Cambridge), son-in-law of the founding patron, rendered a valuable service to the school for two decades, from 1896 to 1917.[13][14] During his tenure a school cricket society was formed and the school ground was further developed.[12] The school magazine: The Cambrian (first issued in 1897), the debating team, cadet corps (1903), library, laboratory, commerce section, tennis and soccer teams, and a children's park were some of the elements added to the school during this era. Another important milestone was the formation of the Old Boys’ Association in 1904. After 21 years of service, Mendis had to retire from his post as principal due to deteriorating health.

P. T. Jayasuriya (principal 1917–1925)[edit]

P. T. Jayasuriya [B.A. Hon.(Lond)] became Mendis' successor as principal. During his time at the school, the academic aspect of the school improved significantly, with students obtaining great results. Under Jayasuriya the science section and the school cricket ground were developed further and a separate children's park for the school was built. In 1922, The Cambrian was published again and the infrastructure of the school was also enhanced by the addition of three more class rooms. A house system was initiated and four houses were named, after the founder and the first three of the principals: namely, Founder's, Gunawardena, Lewis, and Mendis.

L. E. Blaze (principal 1926)[edit]

In 1926, Louis Edmund Blaze (B.A. Cantab) was appointed principal. He was the founder of Kingswood college, Kandy, a former student of Trinity College, Kandy and the father of school rugby football in Sri Lanka. He was a very dynamic person and the "Golden Jubilee Prize Giving" was held during his period. The English College anthem was also written during this period.

L. G. Crease (principal 1927–1931)[edit]

L. G. Crease (M.A. Oxen) headed the school from 1927 to 1931. He was from Europe and was very strict when it came to student discipline. He was a competent administrator and there was a marked development in cadetting and sports.

Rev. F. R. E. Mendis (principal 1931–1932)[edit]

Rev. F. R. E. Mendis (M.A. Cantab) served as the principal from 1931 to 1932. He started the library fund and developed cricket, soccer, boxing, and athletics.

H. Samaranayake (principal 1932–1933)[edit]

H. Samaranayake (B.A.) who was appointed as the principal in 1932 was the first Buddhist principal.

J. B. C. Rodrigo (principal 1933–1959)[edit]

J. B. C. Rodrigo (M.A. [Oxen] J.P.U.M.), was a very capable administrator and blessed with a great personality. The Teachers’ Guild, Cinema Association, Science Association, Drama Association, Red Cross branch, Sinhala and English Literary Associations, Debating Team, Co-operative Association, and hockey were initiated for the benefit of the students and new class rooms were built.[15][16][17][18][19]

In 1933, the inaugural Battle of the Golds (Prince of Wales’ College vs. St. Sebastian's College) was held at the school grounds.

S. C. H. De Silva (principal 1959–1973)[edit]

S. C. H. De Silva (B.A., Dip. in School Admst) served the school for 14 years and there was a notable progression in the development of the school. Scouting was introduced and the Buddha shrine was constructed in 1967, ceremonially opened by Governor William Gopallawa. The Sinhala college anthem was written by B. Godahewa in 1967. Tissa Gunawardena joined the staff during this time. His works include the statues of the Buddha, the founding patron, and the largest Sandakadapahana in Sri Lanka.[20] The Art Society and the Drama Club showed remarkable progress under his guidance. Gunawardena presented many stage plays, bringing out students' hidden talents.[21]

L. H. Gunapala (principal 1973–1977)[edit]

L. H. Gunapala, who had served previously as a school inspector and as a district education inspector, was the principal during the school's centennial anniversary. The school was improved to a high standard and Hevisi and Western bands were formed during this time.

M. E. C. Fernando (principal 1977–1988)[edit]

M. E. C. Fernando, a former student and teacher succeeded Mr. Gunapala as principal.[22] The H. R. Fernando Pavilion was gifted by former student Mr. H. R. Fernando. The cricket score board, library buildings, science and commerce buildings were some of these new additions. The sculpture of Sir Charles Henry de Soysa (sculpted by Mr. Tissa Gunawardena) was unveiled during this time. The venue of the annual Big Match was changed and was arranged to be held at De Soysa Stadium.

H. L. B. Gomes (principal 1989–1998)[edit]

H. L. B. Gomes (M.A.), who was an old boy, a teacher and vice principal (during Mr. M. E. C. Fernando's reign as principal), was appointed as principal in 1989. In his time, the school became one of the 15 National Schools in Sri Lanka. A new auditorium with the latest facilities and a computer department were introduced. Amongst other developments seen at the school during his tenure were making a qualitative improvement in education, expanding the school further by adding more facilities, namely: three, three-story buildings for Grade 11, the commerce section, and the primary grades; a new auditorium with the latest facilities; the canteens for students and teachers; initiating the construction of a new hostel; construction of the school office, principal's office, meeting hall and, toilets; the introduction of the Media Unit; and the construction of two playgrounds and a cricket ground for the primary grades.

In 1998, the Western Band of the school had the rare privilege of welcoming the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, who visited Sri Lanka in order to be part of its 50th Independence Day celebration. The school's cricket programme showed tremendous growth during this period, and this was reflected with Captain Suranga Wijenayake representing the National team.

Recent years[edit]

The 14th principal, D. A. Ramanayake, improved the computing department. S. J. P. Wijesinghe was the next principal and he was followed by K. Ratnaweera Perera and Rohana Karunaratne correspondingly. After tenures by W. Jayasena, Sampath Weragoda(Acting Principal) & J. W. S. Siriwardhana respectively. Kusala Fernando is the current principal. In 2014 the Hon. Jeewan Kumaranatunga allocated funding for the swimming pool project. The swimming pool was opened by the prime minister Hon.Ranil Wickremesinghe on 1 August 2017.

Past principals[edit]

Many distinguished men have served as the principal of Prince of Wales' College since the inception. Listed below are the names of these principals.[23]

W. S. Gunawardena 1876–1891
Philip Lewis 1892–1896
J. G. C. Mendis 1896–1917
P. T. Jayasuriya 1917–1925
Louis Edmund Blaze 1926
L. G. Crease 1927–1931
F. R. E. Mendis 1931–1932
H. Samaranayake 1932–1933
J. B. C. Rodrigo 1933–1959
S. C. H. De Silva 1959–1973
L. H. Gunapala 1973–1977
M. E. C. Fernando 1977–1988
H. L. B. Gomes 1989–1998
D. A. Ramanayake 1998–2001
S. J. P. Wijesinghe 2001–2005
K. Rathnaweera Perera 2005–2007
Rohana Karunarathna 2007–2011
W. D. Jayasena 2011–2012
Sampath Weragoda 2012–2013
J. W. S. Siriwardane 2013–2016
Kusala Fernando 2017–present

Old Boys' Association[edit]

In 1904 when J. G. C. Mendis was the principal, he commenced the Old Boys' Association. By now[when?] the membership has risen to around 4,000.


Cambrians are famous for cricket.[24] When the college was founded the game was introduced in 1876. During this period only the staff members took part. In 1896 organised school cricket was introduced and the first-ever inter-school cricket match was played against Royal College, Colombo.[25] Cambrian cricket players have made significant contributions in all sectors of the sport in Sri Lanka including schools, mercantile clubs, government services, defence services, corporations, and in the field of cricket administration. Some have gained fame and figured prominently as representatives on national and international cricket teams.[24]

Cadeting was introduced to college in 1904. Later athletics and football and, some time[when?] later, volleyball was introduced. In 2012, Prince of Wales College made history by winning two gold, four silver, and nine bronze medals at the 4th Asian Schools Rowing Regatta held in Karachi, Pakistan.[4]

Annual sports events[edit]

Battle of the Golds[edit]

Prince of Wales' College plays its annual Big Match with St. Sebastian's College, Moratuwa. It is also known as Battle of the Golds.[26] Cricketers to have captained the school team include Wirantha Fernando and Kusal Mendis.[27]

Notable alumni[edit]

See Category:Alumni of Prince of Wales' College, Moratuwa for full list

Name Notability Reference
Somaweera Chandrasiri member of parliament Moratuwa (1947–56), Kesbewa (1960–71) [28]
Philip Gunawardena member of parliament Avissawella (1947–48, 1956–1970), co-founder of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party [29][30]
Sam Peter Christopher Fernando member of Senate of Ceylon (1960–65)
Meryl Fernando member of parliament Moratuwa (1956–60, 1960–65)
A. J. R. de Soysa member of Legislative Council of Ceylon (1911–31)
Vernon Mendis Sri Lankan High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (1975–77), Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Canada (1977–80)
Nirmal Ranjith Dewasiri Head of department of history University of Colombo, author, ex-president of The Federation of University Teachers' Association (FUTA)
Clancy Fernando   Admiral, Commander of Sri Lanka Navy (1991–92)
Wilfred de Soysa planter, businessman, philanthropist
Arjuna Kamalanath Actor, director (1998–present)
Kumara Thirimadura journalist, actor
Punsiri Soysa singer, musician
Warnakulasurya Wadumestrige Devasritha Valence Mendis Catholic Bishop of Chilaw (2006–present)
Swithin Fernando Anglican Bishop of Colombo (1978–87)
Kenneth Fernando Anglican Bishop of Colombo (1992–2001) [31]
Lahiru Thirimanne International cricket player (2010–present)
Amal Silva International cricket player (1983–88)
Somachandra de Silva International cricket player (1975–85)
Kusal Mendis International cricket player (2015–present) [32]
Shehan Jayasuriya One Day International cricket player (2015–present)
Chaminda Mendis One Day International cricket player (1995)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Coordinates of School". Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  2. ^ Life of Sir James Peiris, W. T. Keble and Devar Surya Sena, p.112 (University of California)
  3. ^ Prince of Wales is striding forward with great vision - Sujitha Miranda (Sunday Times)
  4. ^ a b Cambrian rowers do well in Pakistan, Sunday Times. Retrieved 18 November 2012
  5. ^ The Prince of Wales in Ceylon by Tuan M Zameer Careem Ceylon Today Sep 30 2019, Retrieved 5 August 2020
  6. ^ Remembering Sir Charles Henry de Soysa by Dilwin Mendis The Island (Sri Lanka) Retrieved 05 December 2014
  7. ^ The Prince and Princess of Wales Colleges - Moratuwa: The seeming endlessness of the Soysa legacy by Malathi Perera, Daily News (Sri Lanka), Retrieved 05 December 2014
  8. ^ A century and quarter of St. John's College... : Its great contribution for the development of education in Sri Lanka, by L. Panditharathna Daily News (Sri Lanka), Retrieved 05 December 2014
  9. ^ The Prince of Wales College: History (Official Website) Archived 1 January 2015 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 05 December 2014
  10. ^ The Princes of Wales College: History (Official Website) Archived 28 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 05 December 2014
  11. ^ a b Twentieth Century Impressions of Ceylon, by Arnold Wright, pp. 117-8 & 552 (Lloyd's Greater Britain Publishing Company) ISBN 978-8120613355
  12. ^ a b Cambrians field a formidable team this year - Dilwin Mendis (Daily news)
  13. ^ The De Soyas of Alfred House by Rupa de Soysa, p.56 (Karunaratne & Sons)
  14. ^ Gate Mudaliyar Amarasekara unfolded treasures of Eastern art, Chelvatam Maniccavasagar (Daily News) Retrieved 28 October 2015
  15. ^ A lasting legacy from the 19th century (Sunday Times) Accessed January 15, 2015
  16. ^ My prayer for my alma mater is let there be another JBC era, Hyasti Aponso (Sunday Times)
  17. ^ Remembering Rodrigo, a principal with a passion for cricket By Hyasti Aponso (Island Cricket)
  18. ^ …a friend in deed By Upali Salgado (Sunday Times)
  19. ^ Sri Lankan Schools Association: The foundation for the nations success- Errol Seneviratne (ESPN Cricinfo)
  20. ^ Uththareethara, Retrieved 09 June 2015
  21. ^ Award winning actor Jagath Chamila with Tissa Gunawardena, ....., The Island, Retrieved 09 June 2015
  22. ^ He was an erudite scholar, Eng. B. R. O. Fernando (Sunday Times) Retrieved 18 November 2015
  23. ^ "History of PWC". OBA of Prince of Wales' College. Archived from the original on 1 January 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  24. ^ a b "Cricket at Prince of Wales' College -140 years". Dailynews.
  25. ^ "College Sports". OBA of PWC. Archived from the original on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  26. ^ Cambrians-Sebs clash in 63rd Battle of the Golds Archived 20 June 2013 at
  27. ^ Daily News,"Kusal – first Cambrian to lead Sri Lanka under 19 team", 26 August 2013
  28. ^ Abeynaike, H. B. W.; Ameratunga, H. P. (1970). Parliament of Ceylon, 1970. Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Limited. p. 59.
  29. ^ Fernando, Weerahennedige Theodor Wilfred Meryl (1923-2007),, Retrieved 01 November 2015
  30. ^ Meryl Fernando stood for working class - Prof Tissa Vitharana (Daily News), Retrieved 01 November 2015
  31. ^ Not one Bishop, but two R.A. Piyadasa (Sunday Times), Retrieved 29/08/2015
  32. ^ "Kusal Mendis, Student Prince of Wales' College, Moratuwa". ESPN (ESPNcricinfo). Retrieved 6 November 2015.

External links[edit]