So it now rests as the beating heart.. Where the river, lake, and mountain meet

Trinity College Chapel


On the 19th of August 1855, a church was opened in Kandy on exactly the same site that the Trinity College main hall stands now. Built by Rev. Oakley, it was a prominent landmark in Kandy and was known as Oakley’s church. It was pulled down in 1939 to make way for the Trinity College Main Hall, but one of its original doors, which had been donated by Mr. A. S. Samarasinghe in 1885, now marks the entrance to the College Archives in the College Library. In the early years it was recorded that Trinity was better known as ‘Oakley’s School’ among the people of Kandy. The present chapel of Trinity College is the result of the untiring efforts and dedication of many over the past century. Rev. Fraser, whose immense service to the school is recorded elsewhere on this site, conceived the idea of a new chapel for Trinity as far back as 1915.

The Metropolitan of India and Ceylon, the Most Reverend Foss Wescott DD, Bishop of Calcutta, laid the foundation stone, on the 19th of August 1922, during the course of the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of the school. The original stone was laid in front of the present main hall, but it was later shifted to a more suitable site, located below the Principal’s Bungalow and construction finally began in 1923.

The grand design of the chapel was that of Rev. Gaster, the then vice-principal, who was a qualified architect and draftsman. His technical skill and ability permitted him to express his ideas and aspirations in accordance with the traditions of the country. The chapel depicts the grandeur and loveliness of the ancient capitals of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa. It denotes the vision and purpose of religion in collaboration with artistic merit, and marked to a great extent by the standard reached in architecture.

The masons and carpenters, who were already working in the school, were used in the building process. Great quantities of granite were brought from Aruppola, only two and a half miles away from the college. The timber was brought from Mawanella and Kekirawa and Iron from Messers Walker & Sons. On the 3rd of March 1935, the Bishop of Colombo dedicated the chapel. A timeline below highlights the major steps in the construction and renovation of the chapel during its formative years.

1923: Work commences in accordance with the design and plans of Rev. Gaster
1929: The side chapel is completed. Mr. David Paynter begins work on the first mural on its southern wall using local modals and Sri Lankan setting like the murals followed
1930: The side chapel is dedicated as “the chapel of the light of the world”
1933: The Chancel, the Sanctuary and the Main Altar are completed. Mr. Paynter paints “The Crucifixion” above the main altar and “The Story of the Good Samaritan” and “The Washing of the Feet of the Disciples by Jesus Christ”
1935: The work on the rest of the chapel (vestry and the nave) is completed and the chapel is dedicated to the glory of the god and is used as a place of regular worship.
1954: The original roof of the chapel made of corrugated Zinc sheets is replaced with Calcut tiles, during the course of which the two murals depicting “The Story of the Good Samaritan” and “The Washing of the Feet of the Disciples by Jesus Christ” are badly damaged and have to be redone.
1957: Mr. Paynter completes the present painting of the “Parable of the Good Samaritan” using different colors, models and background in order to provide an indigenous character to the biblical story.
1965: Mr. Paynter redoes “The Washing of the Feet of the Disciples by Jesus Christ” along with “The Story of the Good Samaritan”. The pulpit is constructed and dedicated to the memory of Mr. Walter Senior, author of the hymn for Ceylon and the College hymn.
1967: The lectern is installed
1969: The bell tower is completed


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Location Summary

Inauguration : 1855 Initiation : Rev. Fraser and Rev. Gaster

Location Map

Location :: Trinity College Chapel
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