Founder and the First Principal of Christ Church Boys’ College

Honourable Reverend Robert Mayor


Honourable Reverend Robert Mayor can be introduced as the founder and the first principal of the college. The leader of the Missionary Group that came to Srilanka to preach the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ was Hon. Rev. Robert Mayor. He sailed into Galle Port on June 29th, 1818.Later he had gone along the River Gin Ganga in a boat up to Mapalagama and returned to Baddegama looking for a suitable land to build a church. Seeing the wonderfully beautiful two hills located over the left bank of the river had got attracted to them and had decided to build the church on one of them. It was named Church Hill. The other hill was called Palm Hill. It was decided to build a school on this hill.

As mentioned in the Church Property section of the book The Church of Ceylon’, the land extent of 11 acres, where the two hills were located, Hon. Rev. Robert Mayor was able to get it free from the Government. The Governor during this period was Sir Robert Brownridge. Hon. Robert Mayor had got the fullest support from the Governor for both, to obtain the land and build the School.

Honourable Reverend Robert Mayor was the son of Reverend John Mayor of the town Shorbary. He had under gone training in Medicine and Surgery. Later he had studied Scripture and had become a priest. Most Honourable Bishop Heber, in his letter on his travel in Srilanka had said the following about Hon. Rev. Robert Mayor:

“He is the son of Honourable Reverend John Mayor of Shorbary City. First he was a medical professional. His professional ability in Medicine and Surgery gave him an added value to be accepted by the community and to do his mission. To win the souls of the people, he has used his medical knowledge to the maximum by treating sickness.” It had been an extremely difficult task for Hon. Rev. Robert Mayor and the Missionary team to clear the thick jungle and rocky hills infested with wild animals. According to legends this problem had been solved by the strategies introduced by Mrs. Mayor. She had become friendly with the women who came to the hills to gather firewood. She had given them cloth and silver coins. Not only that but also she had started to teach them English, which was in high demand. Mostly locals wanted their children to learn English. This way through the women friends Mrs. Mayor made, it was possible to get men to work to clear the land. Realizing the value of teaching English to the children of the workers Mrs. Mayor had started an English Class. It is suspected that at the They had no guts to refuse Christianity. They wished to teach their children to read and write. These children had the intelligence to develop a very rich civilization.”

This letter is enough to understand the primary goal of Hon Rev Robert Mayor. He together with supporting missionaries after discussion with the Government decided that Baddegama was the most suitable for the Missionary work and had informed the CMS mother office in England about the developments here.“Baddegama appeared to be most suitable. People though converted to Christianity are actually Buddhist. The Local Mudliar had come to forward to collect funds to build a church and a school. I believed that the Mudliar approved to reside with the locals with harmony” Hon Robert Mayor after arriving the Island , travelled along the River Ging Ganga to Mapalagama and while returning to Baddegama selected a beautiful land with two hills and had taken steps through the then Governor Robert Brownridge to get 11 acres free and to buy the adjoining land too. This was reported in the Church Property Section of the document The Church of Ceylon.’ It appears as follows:

“The earliest traceable document of transfer goes back to 1819, within a few months of the arrival in the country by the first four missionaries sent out by the Church Missionary Society. The document is a Crown Grant covering about 11 acres in Baddegama, where Missionary work in Srilanka began. On this land and another which they bought nearby, the Missionaries built a Church, a school and Alms houses - Alms houses were held in trust for the poor Christians of Baddegama.” It is seen that the above mentioned school is our school, and the church is Baddegama Christ Church, and Alms house is the former Pin Bungalow, known as Parsonage, the present Sumaga Complex. This land with the beautiful two hills on the left bank of the river Gin Ganga must have been a joint land during Hon Robert Mayors time in 1819.The river GinGanga must have been used as the main means of transport. Over the time the roads must have been developed and the two hills must have got separated. The missionaries first selected the beautiful hill called Palm Hill as their residence. Our school too was started on this land.

As Palm Hill was a thick forest with rocks the missionaries needed a large number of labourers to clear it. During this period the Mudliar in Galle was Don Abraham Dias Abeysinghe.During the construction of the School and the Church this Mudliar had given his fullest contribution to Hon Rev Robert Mayor. This fact was confirmed by the letters the Hon Rev Mayor wrote to CMS head office. Wife of Hon Rev Robert Mayor had conducted English classes to the children of the workers who constructed the buildings and cleared the jungle. The motive to start the school had been the outcome of this English class and its gradual expansion. The school under the name ‘Christ Church Boys’ School’ was started in March 1819. Exact date, when the school was started is not found in any of the historical reference documents found so far. This information is found in the Wikipedia web page as follows: