By Chryshane Mendis


The Jail cell of the last King of Kandy, King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha in Colombo ft is a rather widely known monolith. Although the majority of people operating in the Ft location do not see it, it is a renowned location for travelers. It is positioned within the properties of the Ceylinco Home developing down Janadipathi Mawatha (Queen’s Road) at the turn off to Financial institution of Ceylon Mawatha. The objective of this write-up is to see if this is truly the jail cell of the last King or another thing; as there show up presently 2 customs to this tale, a typical custom and also a scholastic custom.


The here and now monolith remains in the form of a fifty percent pill with the rounded fifty percent encountering north including the chamber. The framework is about 12 feet in size, 11 feet in size and also concerning 8 feet in elevation. The entryway to the chamber is 3 feet large encountering north with 2 tiny upright openings on either side with 2 iron bars; the size of the wall surfaces is roughly 2 feet. The external surface area is embellished with 6 straightforward pilasters. The framework has a vaulted roof covering with the outside embellished in ranges with a round air flow air duct figuring plainly on the top. At the back side of the framework is a sculptured breast of King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha with an engraving below. Near the entryway repaired onto the wall surface is an additional engraving in Sinhala and also English which mentions the capture of the King and also his jail time in this chamber. Better within the chamber are pictures of the King and also Queen, that of Guv Robert Brownrigg and also Adigar Pilimatalawe. Additionally is a paint of the burial place of the King in Vellore and also the ship on which he was deported to India.

The Examination

The King in Colombo

The preferred tale goes that the King was maintained in a cell within the ft of Colombo prior to his separation, yet is it the real tale? Was he put behind bars or put under residence apprehension as claimed by some?

King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha was recorded on the 18 th February 1815 in Madamahanuwara and also was moved to Colombo without going into Kandy. On the sixth of March the King and also his companion got in the Colombo ft where they were gotten by Colonel Kerr, the commander of the fort. Below the King stayed for virtually a year till the 24 th of January 1816 when he and also his household was deported to Vellore aboard the HMS Cornwallis.

According to the Authorities Federal Government Gazette and also the works of Dr. Henry Marshall, he was maintained in a home and also put under residence apprehension, and also not in a cell.

To price estimate the Gazette No. 704, Wednesday, 15 th March 1815:

“On the Monday following Major Hook with the Detachment under his command escorting the late King of Kandy and his family entered the Fort…He is logged in a House in the Fort which has been suitably prepared for his reception and is stockaded round to prevent any intrusion on his privacy”

This being a main Federal government paper seals the reality that he was put in a home specifically gotten ready for him as pointed out over. Better the account of Dr. Henry Marshall as well is to be kept in mind right here.

Dr. Henry Marshall was a British Military doctor that offered in the island from 1806 to1821 He is a well known Military Physician and also is taken into consideration the ‘Father of Army Medicine’, retiring as the Replacement Assessor General of Military Hospitals of the British Realm. In his well known job Ceylon: a basic summary of the island and also its citizens, with a historic illustration of the occupation of the nest by the English released in 1846 and also reprinted by Tisara Prakasakayo in 1969, he provides an exact and also neutral summary of the island and also the occasions in its occupation, also being important of his very own, the British, in their conduct of the 1818 disobedience. In the above job he provides a comprehensive account of the last King, his look, his personality and also a really neutral consider his fluctuate. In it he mentions that

“ the prison or house provided for him was spacious, and handsomely fitted up. He was obviously well pleased with his new adobe, and upon entering it, observed, “As I am no longer permitted to be a King, I am thankful for the kindness and attention which have been shown to me”

Including better in his publication he additionally provides a dialog in between him and also the King in Colombo, whom he was asked for to go to properly; he mentions that he discovered the king honest and also obliging and also ready to chat on any kind of topic. It is considered that in addition to Kandyan issues, the previous king additionally asked Dr. Marshall elements of his individual life such as the period of his remain in the island, and also his house in England.

The works of Dr. Marshall, a modern of today occasions at conversation, additional verify definite, of the King being put within a home in the ft and also not in a jail cell.

Having actually provided realities that eliminate the misconception of the late king being put in a cell, it is very important to see the location of the claimed residence. With a short research done by the author, just the recommendation from R. L. Brohier’s Altering Face of Colombo was discovered showing the area of the claimed residence. He mentions it to be a Dutch residence residence, which was later on inhabited by the Darley Butler company; this is today website of the Ceylinco Home, the area of today monolith.

Number 1– Dutch strategy of Colombo, 1756 (from Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch United East India Firm)

An examination right into the area of this website with the maps in National Archives and also the Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch United East India Firm Vol. IV Ceylon, discovered undoubtedly this area to be a property block. From the maps of 1733 and also 1756-59 from Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch United East India Firm Vol. IV Ceylon, it is clear that the block along the Janadipathi Mawatha from Ceylinco Home to the National Mutual Structure (Facility Factor Structure) was a house for policemans of the Dutch East India Firm.

Therefore it is clear that today website of the Ceylinco Home was the website of a Dutch residence throughout the 1700 s and also would certainly have more than likely existed in 1815, which is simply 19 years after the requisition of the Colombo ft by the British.

The identification of this structure

Having actually verified the keep of the king in a home and also not a cell, the following concern elevated is regarding real identification of today monolith which is claimed to be the cell of the king. When was it developed? What was its objective? R. L. Brohier mentions the complying with in his Altering Face of Colombo:

“a quaint concrete cubicle in which a man can barely sit, is displayed in the court-yard off the foyer of Ceylinco House. It is popularly accredited to have been the cell in which King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha was restrained- mind you, for nearly one year. On the face of the written word and evidence of once own eyes, the assumption is a travesty. The monument has no greater significance possibly than that of having been a sentry box set up at the gate-way to the adjoining garrison building erected by the British in 1875 (Echelon square buildings- now demolished)”

Therefore R. L. Brohier asserts that this was a guard residence of the adjacent Tier barracks. To better examine this, the author carried out a much deeper questions utilizing 2 strategies, one, to take a look at on the area of the website and also 2, to the nature of the structure.

The very first method is an exam on the area of the website and also its developed background.

Number 2– Strategy of 1904/ 5 from the National Archives. BLUE reveals block with Darley Butler structure; ECO-FRIENDLY reveals Dutch Medical facility.

In between the timeline of the Dutch residence and also today Ceylinco structure on this block, is an additional structure, that of the Darley Butler developing possessed by the business of the exact same name (plus some unknown smaller sized structures adjacent the eastern of Darley Butler structure on the exact same block). Mapping the monolith right here can assist fit it in a certain context.

By the 1860 s, before the elimination of the ridges, the Darley Butler structure had actually been developed on the website based on an old photo, and also proceeded till 1960/61 when it was destroyed throughout the structure of today Ceylinco Home. The structure for today Ceylinco Home was reduced on 21 st October 1955 and also finished on 20 th October1962 According to number 3, a 1960 airborne picture, and also contrasting the ground strategy with the 1904/ 5 map, the superstructure of the Ceylinco structure was built on the south-east area of this block, while the Darley Butler structure (on the northwest area of the block) stayed standing. Nevertheless it might have been destroyed in between 1961 and also 1962 and also would certainly currently consist of the location of the parking area positioned simply behind the Ceylinco Home.

Number 3– extracted from the Baur’s structure in1960 RED circle reveals today monolith (from publication The Faithful Immigrant)

It interests keep in mind right here as pointed out in guide ‘When the going gets tough, the tough gets going: a history of Ceylinco Insurance’ that throughout the building of today Ceylinco Home, within the 8 foot deep structure, there had actually been a viaduct concerning 6 1/2 feet in elevation as well as additionally was discovered the remains of human bones without the head; as well as additionally that engineers validated that the Darley Butler structure was improved the website of an old Dutch residence.

Appropriately before the elimination of the ridges, to the northeast of this block was the Dutch Medical facility, to the southern the Middleburg stronghold and also to the southwest the Galle entrance. After the elimination of the ridges, surrounding this website to the south was the Tier barracks.

Comprehending the context of the Darley Butler structure and also the Ceylinco Home, currently the monolith in its developed context will certainly be taken a look at. The map of 1904/ 5 of Colombo reveals a little box designed framework simply surrounding the Darley Butler developing to the south, a more detailed assessment of it from a much more clear map of 1938 revealed this certain framework within the border of the Tier barracks, it shows up to have actually been a guardroom as there is an entryway to the barracks simply by it encountering Queen’s roadway.

Number 4– Strategy of 1904/ 5 from the National Archives. RED-Darley Butler structure; GREEN-Dutch Medical facility; BLUE-Echelon barracks; RED CIRCLE- reveals a square framework which becomes part of the entryway to the barracks from Queen’s Road.

Number 5– BLUE arrowhead reveals entryway to barracks. Picture extracted from Chathams Road Clock tower c.late 19 th century (from 20 th Century Impressions)

The Tier barracks improved Tier square was the brand-new army barracks developed by the British in1875 It was built on the location which included the Middleburg and also Rotterdam strongholds and also the adjacent parapet and also moat. The barracks included 4 huge barrack obstructs placed in the tier development and also various other structures with a huge ground in the facility. Its existing location includes the residential properties of the Globe Profession Facility, BOC Tower, the Galadari and also Hilton.

As specified over, the tiny box on map of 1904/ 5 seems a guardroom to the entryway of Tier barracks positioned simply behind the Darley Butler structure. This can be plainly seen from the listed below photo of a day around the 1920 s/30 s( number 6). It shows up square in type and also is plainly seen beside the tiny entryway to Tier barracks. When examining the placement of this guardroom and also today monolith, they drop flawlessly in the exact same area.

Number 6– RED circle plainly reveals the Guard residence with entryway (from Essence from Sea Ports of India and also Ceylon)

Additional taking the 1904/ 5 map, when attracting a straight line from it in the direction of the west, it drops precisely to the turn off to Flagstaff Road. This coincides when a straight line is attracted from today monolith in the direction of the west. And also additional examining the placement of the guardroom and also today monolith from the 1904/ 5 map, an airborne photo of 1960 and also an existing satellite picture in connection with the Darley Butler structure and also the Ceylinco Home, it plainly reveals that both the guardroom and also today monolith coincide.

However after that this brings us to an additional trouble, the expectation of today monolith looks entirely various to the guardroom. From the map of 1904/ 5 and also number 6, it plainly reveals it to be a square designed structure with a tiled roof covering. However number 3 extracted from the Baur’s structure in 1960 reveals today monolith with its noticeable vaulted roof covering and also air flow air duct.

This gives final thought that as both the guardroom and also today monolith fit to the exact same area, there shows up to have actually been an adjustment or full improvement impacted to the guardroom by1960 The objective of this we do not understand. A debate can be tossed at this right here is that, if that was the guardroom of the Queen’s Road entryway of Tier barracks, what was it doing within the Ceylinco Home properties when the Tier barracks existed well past the building of the Ceylinco Home (Tier barracks were destroyed in the 1980 s). For this, a more clear assessment from the strategies, maps and also pictures by the author revealed that the Ceylinco Home properties had in reality a little expanded southwards to the properties of the barracks; this might have held true throughout the procurement of the building, yet the precise nature of which we do not understand. For that reason the when guardroom of the Tier barracks was currently within the properties of the Ceylinco Home.

For the 2nd method, the nature of the structure can be taken a look at; is it a jail, a sentry box/guardroom, or perhaps a storage space chamber? The author contacted the Citadel Study Hall UK, which is a specialist body on the research of weapons and also strongholds, on the feasible recognition of this structure. They reacted stating that “it does not look like a prison” which it might well be a guard residence.


Finally, and also pertaining to the identification of this monolith, both strategies utilized, determined it to a guard house/guardroom; with the very first method being the a lot more definitive. For that reason today monolith was undoubtedly a guardroom of the Tier barracks as specified by Dr. R. L. Brohier. So regarding why its look was transformed and afterwards being connected with being the jail cell of the last King, we might never ever understand. Someplace down the line for political factors or either, this insurance claim was raised and also acted on formally by the authorities. This is a safeguarded historical monolith presently and also has the main Division of Archaeology summary in addition to a granite engraving mentioning the exact same.

Additional as pointed out in the intro, the tale of this website as the jail cell of the last King has 2 customs, the usual and also the scholastic. According to the usual custom and also based on the engravings on the monolith, it is the cell of the last King; yet this is verified incorrect as pointed out over. In the scholastic custom, it is popular that the King was put in a home and also not a cell.

It is clear from this write-up that the King was not maintained in a cell which today monolith comes from a later duration. This write-up targets at altering this popular opinion and also bringing it according to the approved scholastic custom, by offering proof to sustain the insurance claim.

This is a simple demand to all fanatics and also scenic tour drivers– do not misdirect the traveler on this website as the cell of King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha; yet it still can be taken as a ‘Monument’ to the Last King of Sri Lanka of the area where he last remained in the island prior to his separation to India.


  • Brohier, R. L., Altering Face of Colombo, 1984.
  • Macmillan, A., Essence from Sea Ports of India and also Ceylon, 2005
  • Marshall, H., Ceylon, 1846, (reprint 1969).
  • Pieris, P. E., Tri Simhala: The Last stage, 1939.
  • Perere, J. G., When the going obtains difficult, the difficult starts: a background of Ceylinco Insurance policy, 2011.
  • Ranasinghe, D., The Faithful Immigrant, Thilo Hoffmann, The Guy That Conserved Sinharaja, 2015
  • Van Diessen, R., & Nelemans, B., Comprehensive Atlas of the Dutch United East India Firm Vol. IV Ceylon,
  • Wright, A., 20 th Century Impressions, 1907.
  • British files and also maps from the National Archives
  • Gazette No. 704, Wednesday, 15 th March 1815