Friends of the British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy
Friends of the British Garrison Cemetery in Kandy is a voluntary group which is
endeavoring to preserve the heritage of this colonial cemetery, to keep the
records of the graves and to maintain and restore the tombstones and their
surrounding on a regular basis.
request we are prepared to locate family tombstones, report on their condition
and take photographs which may help family members intending to visit. The
Friends will also assist with research where they can.
caretaker, Mr Charles Carmichael, would be pleased to show you around, and
provide information on many of the graves.
are entirely dependant on donations for our upkeep expenses and your help in the
collection box at our museum, or by cheque in favour of "The British
Garrison Cemetery, Kandy" would be most gratefully received. The Friends of
the British Garrison Cemetery are grateful for the support they receive from
volunteers, well-wishers, the business community, the Municipality, and the Sri
Lanka Army and Police. We are particularly grateful for the grant received for
the printing of this leaflet from ANZ Grindlays Bank, 7 Temple Street, Kandy.
Tel. +94-(08)-224963-4 & +94-(08)-232860 - the International Bank in close
proximity for your Travellers Cheques, Foreign Currency encashment and
International ATM facilities.
The Honorary Secretary
Anagarika Dharmpala Mawatha
the very heart of Kandy, behind the Kandy National Museum and practically
adjacent to the Law Courts and the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, lies a ¾
acre plot of land wherein rest many men, women and children, mainly colonial
British, cut off from life, many in the flower of their youth, others blossoming
into manhood, and with only a bare handful reaching the proverbial three score
years and ten. This is the British Garrison Cemetery, which was opened in 1822
and closed by Governor's Proclamation in the mid-1870's, except for those with a
relation already buried therein.
recent restoration, anyone interested is now more than welcome to visit this
slightly bizarre reminder of the past, where chattering monkeys and the acrid
smell of elephants mingle with the peace and quiet of this tranquil spot.
you will find fine examples of table tombs, raised tombs with inscribed side
tablets, obelisks, a fluted column and many more of the more mundane head and
rarer foot stones; a good number of these have their own stories to tell
(details in our museum).
name but a few of the 195 graves:
Spottiswood Robertson, b. 1823 d. 1856. A table tomb.
seventh and last recorded death of a European in Ceylon killed by wild
John Fraser, aged 72 years. A table tomb.
known for his satinwood bridge, which spanned the Mahaweli Ganga at Peradeniya.
This graceful single arch with a span of 205 ft. was in use from 1833 to 1905.
It was built with not a single nail or bolt. He was also renowned as a road
builder and cartographer, apart from being a strict disciplinarian.
Ann Philpotts, raised tomb with side inscribed tablet.
tomb was badly damaged by a tree growing through it, and had to be dismantled
before restoration work.
John D'Oyly, b. 1774 d. 1824, Fluted column with marble tablet.
represented the British Government at the 1815 Convention whereat the Kingdom of
Kandy was annexed to the British Crown. Fluent in Sinhala, he acquired great
influence over the local population. A set of verses was addressed to him by
Ganjaman Nona, the Matara poetess.
Robert Lyte, b. 1846 d. 1865.
of the Rev. Henry Francis Lyte, author of the hymn "Abide with me"
Findlay, b. 1823 d. 1861. A fine granite headstone with carved Grecian urn.
was killed when the Mullegodde (sic) House, owned at the time by Advocate J. A.
Dunuwille, collapsed on him.
Mackenzie, b. 1841 d. 1869.
headstone has been badly broken and now lies flat. Nine randomly drilled holes
for embellishments can be seen, the significance of which is not known. Any
assistance would be most welcome.
Elizabeth Gregory, b. 1817 d. 1873. Carved granite raised tomb with iron railing
surround including a small visiting gate.
was the wife of the Rt. Hon. William Henry Gregory, Governor of Ceylon 1872 -
James McGlashan, b. 1791 d. 1817. This tombstone was brought to the cemetery in
the late 1880's from Lady Longden's Drive. Distinguished himself at the Battle
of Busaco, Albuera and Waterloo. With reckless disregard of precautions he
walked from Trincomalee, drenched with rain, wading, sitting and even sleeping
in saturated clothing; not surprisingly he was seized with violent fever and
accepted his end with manly fortitude.
Charles MacReady, b. 1832 d. 1871.
of the celebrated actor William, known to Charles Dickens, W.C.M. held many
civil servant positions. In 1865 he published a translation of the Sinhalese
poem "Sela Lihini Sandese: the
Sela's message, with Notes and Glossary, for the use of Students" by Sir
Rahula of Totagamuwa.
Watson Mackwood, b. 1847 d. 1867.
from his horse, he was transfixed by a stake placed to mark out the ground.
Rudd, b. 1829 d. 1867. A table tomb.
husband, Billy, was one of the first planters to be sold up in the 1847-48
coffee crisis, losing thousands of acres originally worth many thousands of
Pounds, for a few hundred paltry Rupees. He was reduced from living in princely
state to not even owning the chair on which he sat.
& M. Wait
small Memorial stone for their five infant sons.
Thompson, P.M., P.Z., b. 1831 d. 1881. A carved granite raised tomb.
by his Masonic Friends in Ceylon".
Stewart b. 1806 d. 1830. All the above-ground bricks were missing, and the side
tablet was found buried face down during restoration work. This whole grave has
been remade with old bricks by one of our masons using a degree of licence in
the absence of records.
inscription on one of the other graves is for James McPherson of Kingussie N. B.
Died Kandy 12 August 1859. The caretake would be most interested to know the
meaning of the initials N. B. - can anyone help?
note that some of the details given above are significantly more than one would
expect to be written on a grave - you'd be right - someone has researched the
occupants of many of the graves and the information is held on cards in the