Saturday, 19 March 2022

Tomb of Thomas William Rogers

Tomb of Thomas William Rogers
A view from Nuwara Eliya Old Cemetery (Photo credit: DaRcAssan Zirekile, Google street view)

Thomas William Rogers Tomb (Sinhala: තෝමස් විලියම් රොජර්ස් ස්මාරකය) is located in the burial ground behind the Prime Minister's residence close to the Golf Club building in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka. 

Major Thomas William Rogers (1804–1845) was a British colonial administrator, soldier and sportsman. He joined the Ceylon Rifle Regiment on 7 January 1824 as a 2nd Lieutenant and was appointed as the Assistant Government Agent at Badulla in 1834 (Lewis, 1913). During his tenure of office as Assistant Government Agent, he had rendered yeoman service for the development of the area (Abeyawardana, 2004). As found in records, he had killed as many as 1,500 wild elephants, which made him unpopular among people although he had earned a reputation for his services (Abeyawardana, 2004; Lewis, 1913). On 7 June 1845, he died struck by lightning at the Haputale Pass bungalow (Lewis, 1913). His body was buried at the cemetery at Nuwara Eliya. The Anglican St. Mark’s Church in Badulla was erected by locals in 1857 in the memory of Rogers (Lewis, 1913).

The tombstone of Rogers lies broken along with several other tombs on the cemetery ground (Lewis, 1913). The English inscription on it can be read as follows;
In memory of Major Thomas Willium Rogers, of Her Majesty's Ceylon Rifle Regiment, many years Commandant at Badulla. Striken to death by Lightning at the Happootalle Pass on the 7th of June, 1845, aged 41 years.
The stone is cracked diagonally just below this inscription and the gap made by it has been filled with cement. Although there is no conclusive evidence, locals believe that the crack was caused by lightning that occurred as a sign of God's wrath over his killing of elephants (Lewis, 1913).

A protected monument
The tombstones of the English, Thomas William Rogers, Lieutenant Colonel Monroe, Sir William Rogith, Henripale and the wife of Major Bailey are buried near the Golf Club House of Nuwara Eliya on No. 535 of the Nuwara Eliya Grama Niladhari Division in the Nuwara Eliya Divisional Secretary’s Division are archaeological protected monuments, declared by a government gazette notification published on 30 December 2011.  

References
1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. p.211.
2) 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. pp.291,323,357-359.
3) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1739. 30 December 2011. p.1090.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 26 April 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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