Memorial of Henry John St. John (Hambantota)

Memorial of Henry John St. John, Hambantota
Memorial of Henry John St. John (Sinhala: හෙන්රි ජෝන් ශාන්ත ජෝන් ස්මාරකය) is a monument in Hambantota District, Sri Lanka, erected for the remembrance of Henry John St. John attached to the Royal Ceylon Civil Service. He died of a fever on 7 August 1821 at the age of 23 while he was in the Palatupana area. This monument was built by friends and relatives of Henry to show their sorrow upon his unfortunate death.

Henry had been travelling on hunting by shooting as a hobby. He arrived in Sri Lanka just before a close time period to his death. He also had been appointed as the assistant to the tax collecting officer on 1 February 1821 (Lewis, 1913). A note about him appeared in the Gazette paper published on 14 August 1821 with the following short description; "The many amiable traits in his character and disposition had already acquired him the goodwill and regard of all who knew him and the friendship and attachment of his more immediate intimates. He can be remembered by the former as the gentleman in every act of his short career among them, while his constant cheerfulness, great obligingness of disposition, and the liberal character of his sentiments and conduct will long preserve in the recollection of the latter the loss they have sustained in his death".

This monument is located opposite the Assistant Government Agent's Residence and close to another grave without inscription (Lewis, 1913). The inscription on Henry's memorial can be read as follows;
Sacred to the memory of Henry John St. John, Esquire, late of his Majesty's Civil Service in Ceylon, third on of Lieutenant-General the Honourable Frederick St. John, and nephew of Earl Craven and Lord Viscount Bolingbroke and St. John, who died at Paltoopane of a bilious fever on the 7th August, 1821, aged twenty-three. Most deeply regretted by his numerous friends and acquaintances. In Celo Quies.
A protected monument
The tombstone of Henry Jones St. John at Towerhill road in Hambantota town west No. 09 village situated in the Grama Niladhari Division of Hambantota in the Divisional Secretary’s Division of Hambantota is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government gazette notification published on 24 March 2016.

1) Lewis, J. P., 1913. List of inscriptions on tombstones and monuments in Ceylon, of historical or local interest with an obituary of persons uncommemorated: Colombo. p.213.
2) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1960. 24 March 2016. p.227.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 15 January 2023

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