The British Garrison Cemetery – Kandy

British Garrison Cemetery is a must visit place if you ever visit Kandy. This properly-maintained cemetery includes 163 graves from colonial instances.  A number of the deaths have been due to sunstroke, elephants or ‘jungle fevers’.

How to go there

It is located very close to The Temple of Tooth Relic. If you are visiting the temple from the front entrance, you will definitely not miss the signboard of the British Garrison Cemetery. You have to walk along that road for 500 meters to enter the cemetery.

History of the British Garrison Cemetery

The British Garrison Cemetery was constructed for British nationals who died in Ceylon. It turned into installing in 1817 just after british captured the Kandy. Since it was closed in 1873 because of a ban on burials in the municipal limits, the last person buried there being annie fritz in 1951. The cemetery carries 195 graves of men, ladies and kids. The most not unusual reasons of dying had been tropical illnesses which include malaria and cholera. During that time, they have not found a medicine for malaria.

The caretaker of the cemetery is a very friendly person. He is called Harsha, a young gentleman with a wide knowledge of Kandyan History. Since the cemetery is located in a peaceful environment you can actually spend a quality time here. Harsha will tell you the each and every story of the tombs. Also, he was very proud of being the guide for the UK’s Prince Charles here during his visit. While sweeping the garden, he walked to each tomb with us.

While walking around we saw lots of graves for the infants who never celebrated their first birthdays. And also lots of young wives of British soldiers are hidden under these tombs. I felt very sorry for them, hiding in a land far away from the relatives. Only a few of them were lucky enough to make it to retirement.


Notable graves

There are some notable graves from the British Era in the British Garrison Cemetery.

  • Sir John D’Oyly (1774-1824), a British colonial administrator and liable for drafting the Kandyan conference of 1815, which resulted in the British takeover of the Kandyan kingdom.

  • Lady Elizabeth Gregory (1817-1873), the first wife of William Henry Gregory, governor of Ceylon (1872-1877).

  • John Spottiswoode Robertson (1823-1856), the seventh and last recorded loss of life of a European in Ceylon killed by wild elephants.
  • William Robert lyte (1846-1865), grandson of the rev. henry Francis lyte, creator of the hymn “Abide with me”

The Cemetery is managed by the Trustees of St. Pauls Church and is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm. Harsha or his uncle Mr. Charles is always there to help you. Since it is closed for the burials, blood relatives of those already buried there were still admitted after that date.

But It is still worth a visit to see these Interesting stories with a sad history.


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