Holy Trinity Church (Nuwara Eliya)

Holy Trinity Church (Nuwara Eliya)
Holy Trinity Church (Sinhala: ශුද්ධ ත්‍රිත්ව දේවස්ථානය, නුවරඑළිය) is an Anglican church situated in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka. It is considered the oldest Anglican church in the city (Abeyawardana, 2004).

The history of this church runs back to the 19th century. On 5 May 1843, a committee meeting for erecting a church was held in Nuwara Eliya and the meeting was attended by Rev. H. von Dadelszen, Colonel Campbell, K. H., Colonel Slade, R. E., Captain Nelson, Lieutenant Watson, C. R. R., and Messrs. E. R. Power, C. C. S., H. C. Selby, C. Temple and E. F. Gepp (Lewis, 1913). The estimated cost for the new church was £900 and the engineer Nelson was chosen as the architect (Lewis, 1913).

Building operations of the church commenced in 1845 and the church was consecrated on 24 February 1852 (Abeyawardana, 2004). The Colonial Chaplain Rev. John Vice is said to have pioneered the project (Abeyawardana, 2004). In 1899, the church was enlarged resulting in its present shape (Abeyawardana, 2004).

Royal visit
On 18 April 1954, Queen Elizabeth II (21 Apr 1926-8 Sep 2022) and Prince Philip (10 Jun 1921-9 Apr 2021), Duke of Edinburgh attended services at the Holy Trinity Church and the Queen gifted a blue carpet and a stained glass window in remembrance of their visit.

The church
The cruciform church building with a conical-shaped roof is embedded with colourful stained glass windows. The lectern (Bible stand) is said to have been donated to the church more than 100 years ago in memory of a young British planter who died at the age of 25 (Abeyawardana, 2004). Also, the pulpit was donated to the church 100 years ago by friends in memory of a young female parishioner Maryann Susich (Abeyawardana, 2004).

There are a number of memorial plaques on the church walls as well as in the churchyard of the Holy Trinity Church. It is probably the largest 19th-century cemetery in the Nuwara Eliya District and it provides a glimpse of the contemporary history of the life of Europeans who lived in the country during the colonial period (Siriwardana, 2013). The oldest tombstone in the possession of the church denotes the date 10 March 1949 (Lewis, 1913).

A protected monument
The building known as “Holy Trinity” Church bearing Assessment No. 1/6 on Wederban road in the Administrative Limits of Nuwara Eliya Municipal Council in Nuwara Eliya Divisional Secretariat Division is an archaeological protected monument, declared by a government notification published on 23 February 2007.

Holy Trinity Church (Nuwara Eliya) Holy Trinity Church (Nuwara Eliya)

1) Abeyawardana, H.A.P., 2004. Heritage of Kandurata: Major natural, cultural and historic sites. Colombo: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka. pp.216-217.
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.360-371.
3) Siriwardana, T. M., 2013. Material Culture of Death, Grief and Memory: A Case Study. Asian Art, Culture and Heritage, International Association for Asian Heritage, Centre for Asian Studies, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. pp. 335-348.
4) The Gazette of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. No: 1486. 23 February 2007. p.126.

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This page was last updated on 19 August 2023

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