S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia

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S. Thomas' College
S Thomas College ML crest.png

Coordinates6°50′14.64″N 79°51′54.12″E / 6.8374000°N 79.8650333°E / 6.8374000; 79.8650333
TypePrivate School
MottoEsto Perpetua Prodeo et Eclisias
(Be thou forever For God and For Church!)
Established3 February 1851; 169 years ago (3 February 1851)
FounderJames Chapman (bishop)
PrincipalRev. Marc Billimoria
Colour(s)Dark blue and Black.    
SongCollege Song
Former pupilsOld Thomians

S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia (STC), is a selective entry boys' private Anglican school providing primary and secondary education in Sri Lanka. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious schools in the country; notable alumni include four former Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka.[1]



The Rt. Rev. James Chapman

S. Thomas’ College was founded by the first Bishop of Colombo, the Rt. Rev. James Chapman, D. D. It was his foremost vision to build a college and cathedral for the new Diocese of Colombo of the Church of Ceylon. Chapman's objective was to train a Christian clergy and to make children good citizens under the discipline and supervision of Christianity.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] An old boy of Eton College, Bishop Chapman founded the college on the Etonian model, and even borrowed the school motto, Esto Perpetuas from the prestigious English Public School.[9] In 1852 Bishop Chapman laid the foundation stone of the college chapel on a hill in the school grounds. The chapel became Christ Church Cathedral of the Colombo Diocese of the Church of Ceylon when it was dedicated on 21 September 1854.[10]

Mount Lavinia[edit]

S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia

In 1918, the school moved away from the "dusty environs" of Mutwal, which was near the Colombo harbour, to a more picturesque location near the sea in Mount Lavinia.[8] Here, on 13 October 1923, the foundation stone for what would become The Chapel of the Transfiguration was laid by the Bishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Ernest Arthur Copleston, and the chapel was completed on 12 February 1927, when it was consecrated by the Rt. Rev. Mark Carpenter-Garnier, Bishop of Colombo.[10] In 1968, well known Sri Lankan artist David Paynter completed his mural of the Transfiguration of Jesus upon the interior of the East wall of the chapel, which included a then unusual "beardless Christ".[10]

In 1951, S. Thomas' became a private fee-levying school.[8]


The College which is under the Anglican Church of Ceylon, is run by a Board of Governors which is chaired by the Anglican Bishop of Colombo, who is also known as the "Visitor of the College". The administration of the College itself is headed by a warden. Admission to the College is at the sole discretion of the warden.



There are five houses at STC, four of which are "day houses", for those who do not live in the Boarding House. It was in the time of Warden McPherson that an organized house system was introduced, so to encourage boys to take part in extracurricular activities. In 1926, the day boys were divided first into 5 houses, namely Wood, Buck, Stone, De Saram, and Miller-Copleston. Boys were allotted in them according to the location of their residences. Wood house consisted of boys from Ratmalana, further south and from Nugegoda and Borella. Stone and Buck housed children from Mount Lavinia, the former consisting of those whose surnames starts from A to M, while the latter of the rest. Baly housed boys who lived in Wellawatte and Bambalapitiya. Children who were from Dehiwala, Slave Island & Fort were allotted in Jermyn House. This system was not found successful.

De Saram House[edit]

  • Colours : Green, Black
  • Motto : Strive, Achieve, Preserve

Wood House[edit]

  • Colours : Sky Blue, Maroon
  • Motto : Fulfillment of Prophecy

Buck House[edit]

  • Colours : Sky Blue, Silver Grey,
  • Motto : Mens Sana in Copore Sano (Sound in mind & body)

Stone House[edit]

  • Colours : Maroon, Silver Grey
  • Motto : Sauitier in modo; Fortiter in re (Gentle in manner, Brave in action)

Boarding House[edit]

  • Colours: Maroon, White
  • Motto: Ducimus Nos Sequnter Alli (We lead, others follow)


The most prominent sports are those classified as the "Royal-Thomian". These sports take precedence because of the importance given to the clash between S. Thomas' oldest rival, the Royal College, Colombo.

A cricket match between these colleges takes place in the first term of Lent every year. As the rains begin in Michaelmas Term, the rugby season has kicked off and the main encounter is the Royal-Thomian Rugby match. As the year ends with the term of Yuletide, the highlights are the Royal Thomian Regatta and the Boat Race for the oarsmen of the two Colleges and simultaneously the two leg Water Polo matches for the R.L. Hayman trophy.[11]

Royal-Thomian cricket match[edit]

A Thomian flag at the 129th Royal Thomian

The Royal-Thomian, is the annual cricket match between the Royal College, Colombo and S Thomas' College, Mt Lavinia is the second longest uninterrupted cricket match series in the world and, first and oldest in Sri Lanka, even older than the Ashes, having been played for more than 130 years continuously.[12] The original match was played between the Colombo Academy and S. Thomas' College, Mutwal[13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23] in 1879, with schoolmasters participating as well as schoolboys. From 1880 onwards, only schoolboys were allowed to play in the match. The match is played for the D.S. Senanayake Memorial Shield, which was first presented in 1928. From 1979 matches were played for 3 days except in 1985 which was a 2-day match. A limited overs match (50 overs) was introduced in 1975 and is played for Mustangs Trophy.


Royal-Thomian rugby match[edit]

The Royal-Thomian rugby match held annually in the Michaelmas Term of S. Thomas. and between the two sessions of Bradby Shield Encounter of Royal since 1955. It is played for the Michael Gunaratne Trophy.[citation needed]

Royal-Thomian rowing regatta[edit]

The Royal-Thomian Regatta (or Boat Race) is the annual rowing race between Royal College, Colombo and S. Thomas' College, Mt Lavinia, having begun in 1962 the event has evolved into the Royal Thomian Regatta or The Regatta in 1966 and now is made up of 8 events which carry points and 3 exhibition events. The races are rowed over a distance of 1000 yards and take place on the Beira Lake in Colombo. The regatta takes place in the month of October and is usually held on the last Saturday of the month at the Colombo Rowing Club. The Royal Thomian Regatta is the oldest inter-mural rowing regatta in Sri Lanka.[citation needed]

Royal-Thomian tennis match[edit]

The Royal Thomian Tennis is the annual tennis tournament between Royal College and S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia.

Dr. R.L. Hayman Trophy Royal-Thomian water polo matches[edit]

The Dr. R.L. Hayman Trophy is the annual 2 leg Water Polo fixture between Royal College, Colombo and S. Thomas' College, Mt Lavinia. While Water Polo matches between the two schools have been held on and off through the annals of the two schools shared histories, the matches were made a permanent fixture as part of the two schools sporting calendars in 1992 as the Dr. R. L. Hayman Trophy Royal-Thomian Water Polo matches. The event was initially played in two legs much like the Bradby Shield in home and away pools. However, while it is still a two leg event, for the past several years it has been held at the Sugathadasa Stadium Swimming Pool allowing for much larger participation and making it the best patronised Water Polo matches in Sri Lanka and Asia. As of 2019 the tally stands at S.Thomas' winning 16, Royal winning 8 and 3 matches drawn.

Wardens of S. Thomas' College[edit]

  1. The Rev. Cyril William Wood D.D. 1851 - 1853
  2. The Rev. Joseph Baly M.A. 1854 - 1860
  3. The Rev. George Bennet 1863 - 1866
  4. The Rev. James Bacon B.D. 1871 - 1877
  5. The Rev. Edward Miller M.A. 1878 - 1891
  6. The Rev. Philip Read M.A. Lit.Hum. 1892 - 1895
  7. The Rev. W. Armstrong Buck M.A. 1896 - 1901
  8. The Rev. William Arthur Stone M.A. 1901-1924
  9. The Ven. Kenneth C. McPherson M.A. 1925-1931 (Archdeacon Emeritus of Bombay)
  10. The Rev. Canon Reginald Stewart de Saram M.A. O.B.E. 1932-1958 (The First Ceylonese & Old Boy Warden)
  11. Mr. Charles Henry Lambert Davidson M.A. Dip in Ed. 1959-1965 (The First Lay Warden)
  12. The Rev. Anton John Chandiah Selvaratnam B.A. B.D. Dip. in Ed. 1965-1970
  13. Mr. Samuel James Anandanayagam B.Sc. 1970-1977
  14. Mr. Michael Llewelyn Christopher Ilangakoon M.Sc. 1977-1982
  15. Mr. Wilfred Michael Neville de Alwis B.A. L.L.B. L.L.M. 1983-1998
  16. Dr. David Arjunan Ponniah B.Sc. M.Eng. PhD. MBA. CEng. MICE. 2001-2008
  17. The Rev. John Charles Puddefoot M.A. (Oxon) B.D 2009 - 2011
  18. Prof. Indra De Soysa 2012-2014
  19. Rev. Marc Billimoria 2014-

Sub-wardens of S.Thomas' College[edit]

  1. The Rev. G. Bennet B.D. (Lambeth) 1870-1871
  2. The Rev. T.F. Faulkner B.A. F.S.A. (Cantab) 1872-1879
  3. The Rev. P. Gethen M.A. (Cantab) 1888-1892
  4. The Rev. G.A.H. Arndt B.A. (Calcutta) 1892- 1908
  5. The Rev. J. Parker M.A. (Oxon) 1908-1910
  6. The Rev. O.J.C. Bevan M.A. (Cantab) 1911-1917
  7. The Rev. Canon P.L. Jansz M.A. (Oxon) 1917-1919
  8. The Rev. G.M. Withers M.A. (Oxon) 1919-1926
  9. The Rev. R. S. de Saram B.A. (Oxon) 1926-1932
  10. Dr. R.L. Hayman D.Phil. M.A. (Oxon) 1935-1957 (The Longest Serving Sub-Warden)
  11. Mr. C.H.L. Davidson M.A. (Lond.) Dip-in-Ed. 1957-1958
  12. Mr. F.J. Senaratne 1959-1962
  13. Mr. S.J. Anandanayagam B.Sc. (Lond.) 1962-1966
  14. Mr. F. Jayasinghe B.A. (Lond.) 1968-1971
  15. Mr. E.St.P. Gunawardene B.A. Dip-in-Ed. 1972-1977
  16. Dr.D.Salitha Siva
  17. Mr. O.A. Abeynaike 1977-1981
  18. Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha D.Phil. (Oxon) 1981-1982
  19. The Rev. D.K. de Chickera B.Th. (Cey) M.Sc. (Oxon) 1983-1989
  20. Mr. D.A.Pakianathan M.Sc. (Lond.) Dip-in-Ed 1991- 2002
  21. Mr. H D Perera L.L.B 2002 - 2011
  22. The Rev. Marc Billimoria 2011-2014
  23. Mr. Asanka. Perera 2016-

Old Thomians[edit]

Past students of S. Thomas' are referred to as Old Thomians. STC educated the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Saravanamuttu Prize at S. Thomas College, Daily News". Archived from the original on 2005-01-05. Retrieved 2008-10-20.
  2. ^ Reminiscences of a teacher Archived 2005-08-28 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Hundred and twenty fifth anniversary : St. James Church, Mutwal Archived 2004-10-27 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Romancing Gurutalawa
  5. ^ The Cathedral of the Diocese of Colombo Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "The Sunday Times News Section". www.sundaytimes.lk.
  7. ^ "The Sunday Leader Online". www.thesundayleader.lk.
  8. ^ a b c http://www.stcmount.edu.lk/index.php/college-history.html
  9. ^ "The Arms and Motto - Eton College". www.etoncollege.com.
  10. ^ a b c http://www.stcmount.edu.lk/index.php/about-chapel.html
  11. ^ "Thomian win Dr. R. L. Hayman Trophy19th Royal - Thomian water-polo annual encounter". stc62group.org. Retrieved 2014-04-10.
  12. ^ a b "134 unbroken years: The historical Royal-Thomian encounter (2013) :: The largest library of cricket videos". cricketcrowd.com.
  13. ^ "The Island". www.island.lk.
  14. ^ "Funday Times". www.sundaytimes.lk.
  15. ^ "Battle of the Blues".
  16. ^ S. Thomas' College
  17. ^ "sports04". www.island.lk.
  18. ^ "A Tribute to C.E.L. ("Kalla") De Silva on his 100th Birth Anniversary".
  19. ^ "Ranjan Madugalle, A fine Cricketing Ambassador".
  20. ^ So, Royal really lost 1885 match to S. Thomas' Archived 2011-06-05 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ "The College History". Archived from the original on 2013-05-08. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  22. ^ "OBA History". Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2013-05-28.
  23. ^ "The Royal – Thomian - 130 Years on". www.sundaytimes.lk.
  24. ^ Another first by St Thomas' - "Blind student Ishan Jaleel first to row", The Sunday Observer

External links[edit]