S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia

"S. Thomas' College" redirects here. For other uses, see Saint Thomas.
S. Thomas' College, Mount Lavinia

Esto Perpetua
Be thou for ever
Mount Lavinia, Colombo
Sri Lanka
Coordinates 6°50′14.64″N 79°51′54.12″E / 6.8374000°N 79.8650333°E / 6.8374000; 79.8650333
Type Private
Established 3 February 1851
Founder James Chapman (bishop)
Principal Rev. Marc Billimoria
Grades 1-13
Gender Boys
Colour(s) Blue and Black         
Affiliation Anglican
Former pupils Old Thomians
Website www.stcmount.edu.lk

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 and its former pupils include four former Prime Ministers of Sri Lanka.[1]

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 & Cathedral for the new Diocese of Colombo of the Church of Ceylon. Thus on the 3rd of February 1851 the College of St .Thomas the Apostle, Colombo was opened with the objective of training a Christian Clergy and to make Children good citizens under the discipline & supervision of Christianity.



S. Thomas' College dates back to 1851 when it was founded in Mutwal as the College of St .Thomas the Apostle, Colombo.[2][3][4][5][6][7] The Rt. Rev. James Chapman, the first Bishop of Colombo, started the school to train Christian clergy and "to make children good citizens under the discipline and supervision of Christianity".[8] An old boy of Eton College, Bishop Chapman founded the college on the Etonian model, and even borrowed the school motto, Esto Perpetua 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

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.[11] 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.[12] 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".[13]

In 1951, S. Thomas' became a private fee-levying school.[14]


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.


School terms

There are three academic terms in the year

Scholastic division

The College consists of three schools - Upper, Middle, and Lower and the College Forms.


There are 5 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

Wood House

Buck House

Stone House

Boarding House


The College has many sports and games for its students.

  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • Hockey
  • Karate
  • Rowing
  • Rifle/Pistol Shooting
  • Rugby Union
  • Soccer

  • Scrabble
  • Scouting
  • Squash
  • Swimming
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Water Polo
  • Wrestling
  • Fencing
  • Sailing

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 encounter for the R.L. Hayman trophy.[15]


Main article: Royal-Thomian
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.[16] The original match was played between the Colombo Academy and S. Thomas' College, Mutwal[17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27] 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 Encounter

The Royal Thomian rugby encounter 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.

Trinity Thomian Rugby Encounter

Traditional encounter played for the R. S. de Saram Trophy.

Royal-Thomian Regatta

Main article: Royal Thomian Regatta

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.

Royal-Thomian Tennis Encounter

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

Royal Thomian Water Polo Encounter

The Royal Thomian Water Polo Encounter is the annual Water Polo fixture between Royal College, Colombo and S. Thomas' College, Mt Lavinia. While Water Polo encounters between the two schools have been held on and off through the annals of the two schools shared histories, the encounter was standardized as part of the two schools sporting calendars in 1991 as the Dr.R.L.Hayman Trophy Water Polo Encounter. 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 encounter, it is now held at the Sugathadasa Aquatic Complex allowing for much larger participation and making it the best patronized Water Polo encounter in Sri Lanka if not Asia.

Clubs and societies

College has many clubs and societies which students can join. Many of these clubs and societies organize several projects on an annual basis. The Computer Club, The Interact Club, The Radio Club, The Aeronautical Society, the Stamp Club, the Senior Science Association and the Red Cross Society are just some of clubs and societies at S. Thomas'. All of the above are fully or partially funded by the College. Joining and actively taking part in club activity is strongly recommended. All such clubs and societies are supervised by a Master-in-Charge and have their respective President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer elected from among the students.

  • Art Club
  • Association of Science and Technology
  • Astronomical Society
  • Automobile Club
  • Bridge Club
  • Buddhist Students' Association
  • Cadetting
  • Carom Club
  • Choir
  • Chess Club
  • Classical Association
  • Classical Music Association
  • Commerce Society
  • Computer Club
  • Culinary Arts Society
  • Current Affairs Forum
  • English Drama Society
  • English Literary and Debating Society
  • Environment Conservation Society
  • Gavel Club
  • Hewisi Band
  • Health Club
  • Hindu Society
  • Interact Club

  • Islamic Society
  • Junior Science Association
  • Kennel Club
  • Leo Club
  • Library Club
  • Model Parliament
  • Model Railroad Club
  • Numismatic Society
  • Philatelic Society
  • Photographic Society
  • Physical Culture Club
  • Productive Citizens Society
  • Quiz Club
  • Radio Club
  • Red Cross Unit
  • Road Safety Patrol
  • Senior Science Association
  • Servers Guild
  • HNB Students' Savings Unit
  • Sinhala Literary and Debating Society
  • Society for the Preservation of Thomian Traditions
  • Society for Social Work and Welfare

  • Spelling Union
  • Student Christian Movement
  • Sub Aqua Club
  • Tamil Drama Society
  • Tamil Literary Society
  • Thomian Chamber Orchestra
  • United Nations Club
  • Western Band
  • Wild Life Society
  • Royal Thomian Society

The Radio Club in College is regarded as one of the oldest societies, as archives show that the club has been in service since 1926. The club was also one of Sri Lanka 's first organisations to acquire the HAM radio license, that being 4S7TC.

Bursaries and Scholarships

The following bursaries and scholarships are available;

Wardens of S. Thomas' College

  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

  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

Old Thomians

Past students of S. Thomas' are referred to as Old Thomians. STC educated the first Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.[29]

See also


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