Four Kandyan Families: A Genealogical Study (1600-2000)
by Sunil. J. Madugalle
From the Maha Disawani of Matale, Uva and Dumbara Pasrata ;

Vijitha Yapa Publications


# Prologue # Genealogy in Abundance and Pitfalls # Of Systems Successions and Traditions # Of Simple Defects and Worthwhile Observations

Chapter I: Men with historical reputations. Common deficiencies in pedigree charts. A Wasama, a Wasagama and a family name. Garu and Patabandi Names and variations. An early family Sannasa. King Senerath and the forming of the Principality of Matale. Rajasinha II and the Maha Disawes of Matale. Early Maha Disapathivaru. A first Ehelepola Maha Disawa of Matale.

Chapter II: Early inter-family relationships. A Medabedde Ekanayaka Mudiyannehe. A settlement at Waradamuna. A Wijesundera Mudiyanse. A Hannas Maha Nilame. A Hulangomuve Rate Adikaram. Ambokke Sannasa. Rajapaksa Wikremasinha Mudiyanse Ralahami and the village of Monaruwila. Comes from Keppitipola in Sathara Korale. Marriage to Waradamune Loku Mahatmayo. Monaruwila the villages in Sath Korale and in Matale. A first and a second Monaruwila Disawa. Monaruwila- Pilimatalawe-Keppitipola relationships. Sons of Keppitipola the rebel. An Ehelepola Maha Disava of Matale. A First Pallegampahe Adikaram from the Ehelepola Family. Serves three Kings. A senior and a junior Ehelepola Maha Adikaram. Waradamune Wijayasundera Mudiyannehe. A second Sannasa. Marriage to Dumbukola family. Great Great Grand father of last Ehelepola Adikaram.

Chapter III: An Udagampahe Adikaram in 1706. A Pallegampahe Adikaram in 1716. A Maha Basnayaka Nilame. Waradamune Wijesundera Mudiyannehe. Disawa Madakalapuwa. Succeeds Rammolaka. Witness Ola 1706. Certify Tal Path 1711. Demise 1717. The second Ehelepola Nilame. With King Narendrasinha. Brings queens from Madura. Receives Sannasa of 1722. A Second Pallegampahe Adikaram from the Ehelepola family. A Wijayasundera Wikremasinha Chandrasekera Seneviratna Mudiyannehe. A father and a son. Supports King Sri Vijaya. Brings queens from Madura. Receives Sannasa of 1745. Last known holder of Sannasa. The second Udagampahe Adikaram from Ehelepola. Rivalry with Leuke senior. Relieved of office. New appointments.

Chapter IV: More Inter-Family Connections. Ehelepola Sannasa. A Palkumbura Vihara Sannasa. King Buwanekabahu VI of Kotte. Sinhala Peraliya. A family migrates to Udunuwara. Rajasinha I and Ganninnanses. A tutor to King Senerath. Elamaldeniye Wikremasinha Chandrasekera Mudiyanse 2nd Adikaram. Ehelepola Pallegampahe Adikaram1734-1737 and 1747-1759. Relationships between 1st and 2nd Adikaram. A senior Leuke Disava and a relative named Samarankodi. Internal political situations. Sri Vijaya Rajasinha and his Adikarams. An Adikaram relieved of office. Conspiracy. An Adikaram recalled. Galagoda Munwatte Adikaram becomes powerful. Ehelepola Adikaram and Sri Vijaya Rajasinha. Ehelepola serves King Kirthi Sri. Leads revolt 1749.Wijayasundera Wikremasinha Chandrasekera Seneviratna Mudiyannehe and possible marriage. His descendants. Ehelepola ‘Jayatilleke Disawa.’ Parents of the last Ehelepola Adikaram. A Pata Bandi Nama. A Maha Disawa of Uva. The succeeding generation.

Chapter V: Mystery surrounds the ascent of Raja Adhi Rajasinha. A son of the second Pallegampahe Adikaram from the Ehelepola family. Ehelepola Paindakara Nilame. Maha Disawa of Uva 1780 for King Kirthi Sri. Rivalry that manifests on successions. Removed from Uva. Appointed Disawa of Nuwarakalaviya twice. Becomes Sulu Disawa of Wellassa, Walapone Viyaluva. Re-appointed Maha Disawa of Uva twice. Appointed Ran Ayuda Mandape Lekam. Marriage to Pilimatalawe Kumarihamy. Mama-Bena relationships of Pilimatalawe Maha Nilame and Ehelepola last Adikaram. Four children of Jayatilaka Disava. A family name and usage between a father and a second son. Grand children of the second Ehelepola Maha Adikaram.

Chapter VI: An Ehelepola Nilame Born in 1773. Becomes Udagampahe Adikaram 1803.Udagampahe for a second time. An unstable political climate. His usage of family name. Relieves uncle and becomes Maha Disawa of Sath Korale. Sath Korale divided into Ihala and Pahala Dolos Pattu. Pilimatalawe and Ratwatte Devamedde Disawa. Uncle nephew Relationships. An Udagampahe becomes Pallegampahe. Succeeds father as Maha Disawa of Uva. Maha Disawa Sabaragamuwa. Marriage to a Golahela- Keppitipola Kumarihamy. The tragedy of the family. Varying details of a tragedy. Lack of first hand information on the tragedy. Second Marriage of Ehelepola Maha Nilame. Defection of Maha Nilame. The last generation. Brother of Maha Nilame. Two nephews of Maha Nilame. Ehelepola juniors. The last female members of the family. The Maha Nilame’s deed. Sister’s Marriages. Sole heir and cousin. Her husbands. Ehelepola Manika adopts children. Heirs to the Ehelepola Estate. Ehelepola Tikiri Manika. Niece of Maha Nilame. Her Husband. Adopts Dullewe Loku Banda. Relationships to Unambuwe Disava. The execution of remaining males. The death of Ehelepola Junior Disava. A family extinct.

Chapter I: A wasagama in Udukinda. A way to the village. Another wasagama in Lower Uva. A family name. A Katugaha Mohottala sent to Akiriya. Katugaha Disave Mohottala the elder son of senior Katugaha Rate Adikaram. Katugaha Mohottala aware of plundering. Warns the people of Uva. Symptoms of insurrection. Senior Katugaha Rate Adikaram of Uva. The difference between a third Adikaram and a Rate Adikaram. Senior Katugaha appointed by Sri Wikrama. A Tal Patha from Mahawalatanne Mohottala. Katugaha Nilame and seniority in Uva. Uva ranks third among the Maha Disawani. The Ira-Handa Kodiya. Molligoda surrenders the flag. The Flag with the Maha Vishnu Devale in Aluthnuwara. The sub-divisions of Uva. Upper and Lower Uva. Antecedents of Katugaha Bandaranayake Herath Mudiyanse’s family. Possible migration from Halawatha? Possible binna Marriage to daughter of Wijayasundera Mudiyanse? An Ehelepola Nilame Maha Disawa of Uva 1716.Lack of documentary evidence. Power struggle between Rajasinha II and Brothers. Daughters of Prince Kumarasinha. A Katugaha Lena in Lower Uva. A Bandaranayake Mudiyanse from Weligama. Befriends Galagoda Disava in Matara. A Bandaranayake Mudiyanse from Hakuruwela Walauva. Marries a daughter of first known Ehelepola Adikaram. A sister of the second Ehelepola Adikaram 1738/58. The Senior Katugaha Rate Adikaram at the beginning of the 19th century.

Chapter II: An influential Katugaha Senior Rate Adikaram. Plunder of residences and places of worship by the 4th Division. Substantial reparations to senior Katugaha Rate Adikaram. Brownrigg’s failure. A sad phase in the history of Uva. Interim distribution of prize money. Villages deserted. Reluctance of inhabitants to return. Katugaha Disave Mohottala had conceived the plight two years before. Ill-conceived actions of the British. Commission on looting. A Maha Betme Rala in hiding. A matter of keeping High-Blood uncontaminated. Unforeseen problems. Queen Charlotte’s birth day celebrated. Celebrations attended by the highest ranking Chiefs. A matter of intimate contacts. A question of duplicity in authority. Risks of conflict. Keppitipola’s views on Kingship. A question of transit duties. Separation of Kandapalla and Kadawatu Korala. Katugaha Bandaranayake Herath Mudiyanse and two sons. Their attitudes and loyalties tested.

Chapter III: Sons of Katugaha Rate Adikaram Senior. Elder Katugaha Disave Mohottala promoted Rate Adikaram. Offerings made to invoke blessings to get rid of the British. Keppitipola quarrelling with the new Katugaha Rate Adikaram. Keppitipola refuses to recognize appointment of Katugaha. Uva going under the influence of Keppitipola. Katugaha elder Disave Mohottala acting under British authority. Keppitipola a prisoner among the rebels. British replace Keppitipola. British interests in Uva attacked. A Proclamation of 1818. Katugaha Brothers and Dimbulana considered for appointments. Uva dismembered by the British. Elder Katugaha Disawa of Udu and Medakinda1818-1825. Younger Katugaha Disawa of Kandapalla1818-1820. Senior Katugaha Rate Adikaram killed by rebels. appointments confirmed by Brownrigg. Lands granted to the family. Fate of Katugaha brothers in a balance. Some chiefs come over to the British. Katugaha Brothers on either side of the divide. Palle and Hela Katugaha divide. Elder Katugaha not favoured by the British. Survives up to 1825. A second Katugaha Walauva at Badulla. British proposals to divide Uva. Successors to elder Katugaha Disawa. younger Katugaha in his official capacity. Two sons of younger Katugaha Disawa. Lack of vacancies in the administration of Uva. Two Katugaha Basnayaka Nilames.1826-1834, and1845. Children of Katugaha Bandaranayake Herath Kuda Mudiyanse Basnayaka. Nilame.

Chapter V: Tikiri Bandara Katugaha elder son of Basnayaka Nilame. T.B.Katugaha in Public Service. A Ratemahatmaya1900-1916.T.B.Katugaha Disawa retires from Public Service. Demise of1916 .T.B.Katugaha. Married to Rambukpotha Kumarihamy. Children of T.B.Katugaha. Two sons and two daughters. Punci Bandara Katugaha President Village Tribunals1900. Recollections of P.B.Katugaha. T.B.Katugaha and the education of his two sons. Heen Bandara Katugaha enters Trinity College Kandy. Marries Rupawathi Rambukpotha. Obtains Letters of Administration. A Ratemahatmaya. H.B.Katugaha chief occupant of Katugaha walauva in Badulla. H.B.Katugaha and Lewwegoda Estate. Recollections on the life at Lewwe walauva. Children of H.B.Katugaha. Four Daughters and a son. Amitha Katugaha. Swarna Katugaha. Subadra Katugaha. Manel Katugaha. V.K.B.Katugaha. Sons of V.K.B. Katugaha. Gunadasa Bandara Katugaha. Enters Trinity College Kandy. Obtains Letters of Administrations. In Public Service. A Ratemahatmaya. G.B.Katugaha Basnayaka Nilame of Ruhunu Maha Kataragama1924-1944. “Uncle Bosse.” A fascinating tale. The origins of the Sri Ramakrishna Mission Madam at Kataragama. G.B.Katugaha marries Elapatha Kumarihamy. An adoption. Upali Katugaha. Son of G.B.Katugaha. Dr. Indra Katugaha.

Chapter I: A Family name and Sakya Vamsa claims. Uva in ancient Ceylon. Uva derives its name. Early annexations to Uva. The forming of the Principality of Uva. The Maha Disavani of Uva. Kings of Kandy and Lambakanna lineage and dynastic claims. A Rambukpotha Seneviraja. Hostilities between Kandy and the Portuguese. Battle at Randeniwela Rambukpotha “Rampot” Disawa Matara. Rambukpotha Maha Disawa of Uva. The fall of the fort at Bibilegama. The building of the Rambukpotha Maha Walauva Dutch built Rambukpotha Maha Walauva Rambukpotha Seneviratna Mudaliyar. A wasagama in Uda Dumbara. Migration to Uva Proper. The strategic importance of Uva. Among a chosen few. A Royal grant. Rambukpotha Vasana Hamy Etana.

Chapter II: A son of Rambukpotha Maha Disawa. Rambukpotha Seneviratna Mudaliyar. A son and a Daughter of Rambukpotha Seneviratna Mudaliyar. A Rambukpotha Rate Adikaram of 1803.Appointed by Sri Wikrama. Continues under the British. Basnayaka of Ruhunu Maha Kataragama. Marries Dimbulana Manika. Alias Mirahawatte Lekam. Alias Hetapenage Kankanema. Last Kuruwe Lekam. Mirahawatte Rambukpotha joins freedom fighters. Outbreaks of violence. A vital supply route between Uva and Sabaragamuwa. Sons of Rambukpotha Rate Adikaram. Rambukpotha alias Kattakelle Mohottala. Rambukpotha Rate Adikaram concerned about the fate of the family. Compelled to go with the freedom fighters. Younger son Rambukpotha Disave Mohottala. Marries Wariyagama Kumarihamy. Kadawatu and Meda Korala divided. The trust-worthier local chiefs appointed. Leaders of the freedom fighters in Sabaragamuwa. Rambukpotha Kattakelle Mohottala appointed Disawa of Panama by pretender Prince. Rambukpotha family becomes suspect. Fate of freedom fighters decline. Many persuaded to return to the British. Dambawinne Disave’s call. Rambukpotha Rate Adikaram and junior surrender. Elder Rambukpotha continues the struggle. Retires to Panam pattu. Captured by the people of Magam pattu. Banished for life. Rambukpotha junior and Dambawinne reveal the facts about the disappearance of the Danta Dhatu. New administrative proposals of Brownrigg. Rambukpotha Junior appointed Disawa.

Chapter III: New divisions of Uva. All new appointments by Governor. The need to re establish authority. The spirit of 1817-1818.Rambukpotha Seneviratna Nilame new Disawa of Kandapalla. 14 new divisions of Uva. Disava of Yatikinda Palatha. Disawa of Polwatta and Wellassa. Succeeds father as Basnayaka Nilame of Maha Kataragama. Children of Rambukpotha Disawa and Wariyagama Kumarihamy. Two sons. Loku Bandara and Cuda Bandara. New era after the Colebrook reforms. New economic avenues. Opening of Uva. Marriages of the brothers. An interesting anecdote. Marriage of two brothers. Rambukpotha Loku Bandara. Ratemahatmaya Yatikinda. Rambukpotha Kuda Bandara Ratemahatmaya Wellawaya & Buttala A carefree life. Living in the family manor house. No issues. Demise of Kuda Bandara. Uva opened up. Coffee Mania. Education in Uva. Rambukpotha Loku Bandara and his children. Five sons and two daughters. Daughters marry Katugaha brothers. Into the second half of the century. Gam Sabahava Ordinance. Village Tribunals. J.A.C.Rambukpotha. at Palmadulla. Marriage to Iddamalgoda Kumarihamy. Children-Four daughters. Their identity. Alice Rambukpotha. Somawathi Rambukpotha. Leelawathi Rambukpotha. Swarnalatha Rambukpotha Their Marriages. Their Children. A cousin remembered. “Huppy” Molamure and uncle Rambukpotha Bhodiseeha. Children of Prini Molamure. Divisions of the Island in1890. M.B.Rambukpotha Ratemahatmaya Buttala. Marriage to Molamure Kumarihamy. Children Two sons and two daughters. J.A.Rambukpotha. J.G. Rambukpotha. Education of the brothers. J. A Rambukpotha. Marriage to Molamure Kumarihamy.J.G.Rambukpotha marriage to Dullewe Kumarihamy. Daughters of M.B.Rambukpotha. Kuda Bandara Rambukpotha. Ratemahatmaya Hewahetta. Serves the Sasana. Marriage to Mampitiye Kumarihamy. An early demise. His children. Rupa, Cuda Bandara, Bennie, Seelawathi, Sumithra, Buddhadasa.

Chapter IV: Cuda Bandara Rambukpotha. Marriage to Sisilawathi Weragama Kumarihamy. Children of Cuda Bandara. H.B.Rambukpotha. T.B.Rambukpotha. A spirited second son of Hewahete Ratemahatmaya. A second daughter of Hewahete Ratemahatmaya. Seelawathi Rambukpotha. Her early life. Marriage. Life at home. A regular visitor to my mother. A third daughter of Hewahete Ratemahatmaya. Sumithra Rambukpotha. Marriage. An early experience in life. William Doratiyawe. Back to the older generation. P.B.Rambukpotha Ratemahatmaya of Wellawaya. Youngest brother assigned to the Sasana. P.B.Rambukpotha Marriage. Taldena, Bibile and Jayawardena marriages. Children of P.B.Rambukpotha. G.C.Rambukpotha an academic, Member State Council. Children of G.C.Rambukpotha. Swarnalatha Kumarihamy. Senehelatha Kumarihamy. Prematissa Rambukpotha. Albert Rambukpotha. Marriage to Katugaha Kumarihamy. Surviving child, Muriel Rambukpotha. Marriage to a Parliamentarian. J.A.Rambukpotha. An outstanding personality. Basnayaka Nilame Ruhunu Maha Kataragama. The Sri Ramakrishna Mission Madam. A legend and an anecdote. A Member of Parliament. Children of J.A Rambukpotha. Nanda Rambukpotha. Chandra Rambukpotha. Daughters of J.A.Rambukpotha. Cyril Rambukpotha. Alick Rambukpotha. A Trek to an ancestral village. Elizabeth Rambukpotha. In far of places. A lady attached to the family. Children of Elizabeth Rambukpotha. Back to the elder generation. Venerable Rambukpotha Pragnasara. A succeeding Generation. Grand Children of M.B.Rambukpotha. S.J.Rambukpotha. Percy Rambukpotha. Marriage and children. Sumedha Rambukpotha. Vimala Rambukpotha. Children of J.G.Rambukpotha. Hector Rambukpotha. Sunethra, Prabaha and Damayanthi Rambukpotha.

Chapter V: Rupa Rambukpotha enters Clarence Memorial School. A school to educate Kandyan boys. Educated girls as wives. Values of a new generation. Faith in the service of the missionary. A child handed over. A portrait of a six year old. A Royal reception A royal visit. Heroics of a little girl. Hillwood a hundred years ago. Our ready reckoner. Advantages of classical learning. A devout Buddhist. Missionary zeal and concepts. Kandyan gentry and a cultural reserve. Rupawathi and her nephews. Educating the nephews. From the bottom of her heart. Rupawathi and her contemporaries. Early life at maternal home. In later years. A queen to all. Bennie Rambukpotha. A spirited lad. A fancy for a trapeze artist. In Singapore. An unexpected end. Buddhadasa Rambukpotha. Assigned to the Sasana. Monastic education. Head priest of Seneviratna Mudalindaramaya. Three monks of the family. Uva and the Siyam Nikaya. Patronage to Amarapura Nikaya. Nayaka of Uva Amarapura sect. All included in the fold.

Chapter I: A village and a wasagama in Dumbara. Making history and the exceptional persons. Creating events. Public revenue administration. Different forms of revenue. An Uda Gabada Nilame. Esela Mangalya. Pitisara Devala Perehera. Lore and an effigy. The need to expel the British. Bhikkhu in the forefront. Providing information. Securing divine assistance. An Eknaligoda Mohottala. Capture of the Bhikkhu. The first layman to be implicated. An informant. A Maha Naduwa. Attempts to remove the Dhanta Dhatu. Charges established. Principles of Kandyan law. A question of allegiance. An imprisonment. All the way to Jaffnapatam.

Chapter II: A King captured. An Eknaligoda Mohottala and a first demand. The question of the Crown and State Sword. Suspicion of substitutes. Significance of the disappearance of the Sacred Relic. Brownrigg back in Kandy. Madugalle Uda Gabada Nilame released. A request from Ehelepola ignored. Some chiefs recommend themselves. Question of unacceptable kings. The availability of an alternate King. Madugalle Uda Gabada Nilame supports a people’s right. A British resident Killed. A prince installed. Keppitipola’s claims. More informants. Keppitipola, Millewe and Kobbekaduwe assist the British. Keppitipola captured. Appointed Pallegampahe by the Prince. Ehelepola consulted, Madugalle Uda Gabada Nilame summoned. Does not respond. Precautionary measures. Madugalle Gajanayaka Nilame appointed Disawa. Brownrigg’s assessment of Chiefs. A Nations owes so much. Gajanayaka Nilame joins the freedom fighters. Other districts join Uva and Dumbara. Power had changed hands. A share in the affairs of a Kingdom. The legacy of Don Juan. The burden of deceit, artifice and intrigue.

Chapter III: The City of Mahiyangana. A Lambakanna Lamani Kula descent. An Ankura Sirisamgahbodhi Parapura. A Bodhi Raja Vamsa. Three Lambakanna Princes from Mahiyangana in Anuradhapura. A Madugalle Ekanayaka Mudalindu. In the war front. A Garu Nama bestowed. Folk lore and a king’s maiden. A Giddawe Bandara and relatives in Matale. A Madugalle Mohandiram Nilame. A Meda Maha Nuwara Adikaram. Sons of Meda Maha Nuwara Rate Adikaram. In the war front. A Madugalle Disawa of Bintanne. A daughter married to Talagune. A variation in the Garu Nama. Sons of Bintanne Disawa. Children of Disawa and identifications. A Madugalle Gajanayaka Nilame. The second son of Bintanne Disawa On the warfront. Grants lands in Naranpanawa. The identity of Madugalle Wellasse Disawa. A Madugalle Uda Gabada Nilame. Wellasse Disawa of the Prince. Marriage and identities. Madugalle Uda Gabada Nilame’s marriage and the wife’s family background.

Chapter IV: Disturbances spread fast. Extension of Martial Law. An aborted attempt to capture the Pretender Prince. The living King. Madugalle Uda Gabada Nilame and the need for the living King. Pilimatalawe junior joins the freedom fighters. Rewards for the capture of leaders. Fighting under the Kukul Kodiya. Failure of Millewe Disawa. Millewe’s son taken prisoner by Madugalle. Madugalle appointed Siyapatthuve Adikaram. An uncle and nephew maintain the struggle. Revelations on the removal of the Dhanta Dhatu. Dhanta Dhatu being displayed. Udunuwara joins the struggle. The freedom fighters retreat. Revelations on Keppitipola’s and Madugalle’s role. Surrender of some chiefs. Pilimatalawe wishes to surrender on conditions. Madugalle takes a Prince and Keppitipola prisoner. The fate of the Pretender Prince. Pilimatalawe grooms another prince. Keppitipola and Madugalle continue to hold out. A place for traitors. An aborted attempt to capture Madugalle Nilame. Madugalle Gajanayaka Nilame and family betrayed. Eknaligoda captures Kahande Adikaram. Execution of Ellepola Kahande Adikaram. Kobbekaduwe helps to locate Madugalle and Keppitipola. Keppitipola pleads and wishes to explain. Pilimatalawe and Keppitipola betrayed. A village named Paravahagama. A man who never discussed terms of surrender. An uncompromising son of Sinhale. Treachery a must. Pilimatalawe banished. Keppitipola and Madugalle executed. Victims of propaganda. A lime light denied.

Chapter V: Nobility of birth and merit but not of wealth. Lands confiscated. Lands partly restored. Wife and children of a hero. Living in Matale. A branch of the family identified with a prefix. Four sons and the daughter of the Uda Gabada Nilame. Loku Banda the Vannaku Nilame. Serves the King. Alias Madugalle Basnayaka Nilame. Marriage to Halangoda Kumarihamy. Two sons. Medduma Bandara the second son of the hero. Lives at Udispattuwa. A Notary Public of Dumbara. Marries Poholiyadde Kumarihamy. A third son of the hero. Marries widow of eldest brother. A fourth son of the hero at Kotuvegedera.

Chapter VI: A separate administration for Uda Rata continued. A secret Despatch. The power of the Kandyan nobility. Amidst socio-economic changes. Two sons of Madugalle Loku Bandara Basnayaka Nilame and one son of his widow and the younger brother.One son of Madugalle Kotuvegedera Nilame.Kotuvegedera Madugalle Punchi Bandara. Children all females.Madugalle Tikiri Bandara, Medduma Bandara and Punchi Bandara three half brothers. Tikiri Bandara President Village Tribunals. Marriage, daughters and grand children. Medduma Bandara, marriage and no issues. Punchi Bandara and English education at a public school. A Korale and a Ratemahatmaya of Uda Dumbara. Marries Nugawela Kumarihamy. Builds Madugalle walauva at Udispattuwa. A corresponding generation at Kotuvegedera. Punchi Bandara Madugalle Marriage to Thalgahagoda Kumarihamy. An only son and two daughters. No male descendants. A second Marriage to Angammana Kumarihamy. Three sons and two daughters. Robert Madugalle senior. Marries Wijekoon Kumarihamy. Descendents. Clarence Madugalle. Marries Weragama Kumarihamy. Children. A family in big business.

Chapter VII: Children of Punchi Bandara Ratemahatmaya. Five sons and three daughters. Educating children in best of Public Schools. Arthur Madugalle. A Korale Mahatmaya and his father planting family property. Marries Moonamale Kumarihamy. An elder daughter. A second daughter. A third daughter. The last two daughters. An only son. A.T.J Madugalle. A Second son of the Ratemahatmaya. George Madugalle. Education at Trinity College. An Agriculturalist. A Friendship with a future Prime Minister. Serving the Department of Agriculture. First Trinitian from Kolonna Korale. A pioneer in Colonization. Marries Rambukpotha Kumarihamy. My experience in traveling with father. A daughter-in-Law and a grand son. Third son of the Ratemahatmaya. In public service. Marries Rambukpotha Kumarihamy. Two sons. Third generation Trinitians. A forth son of P.B.Madugalle. Edmund Madugalle. An agriculturalist and social worker. A Madugalle walauva in Nugawela. An extraordinary inheritance. Marries Golahela Keppitipola Kumarihamy. Two sons and two daughters. Theodore Madugalle a youngest son. Living at Udispattuwa. Marries Dodanwela Kumarihamy. Visiting Grand father’s walauva. Children of Theodore Madugalle. Two sons and three daughters. Sumanawathi Madugalle Kaduruweve Kumarihamy. Life at Aunt Sumana’s home. A unique war time experience. Meeting an Allied Supreme Commander. Life at Sumanagara. Knowing a future Bishop. Youngest Daughter of P.B. Madugalle. Aunt Ellen in Ratnapura. An Attygala Kumarihamy. Great entertainers. Children two sons and a daughter.

Chapter VIII: Scarcity of authentic records. Genealogical tables available. Madugalle senior Salu Wadana Nilame. His eldest son alias Kahambiliyawela Nilame. Alias Paindakara Nilame. Marries Pitawela Kumarihamy. A Pitawela Lekam banished. An only son. Married Pallewela Kumarihamy. Second son of Saluwadana Nilame Medduma Bandara. Marries Rambukwelle Kumarihamy. Three sons and two daughters. Daughters married into Mediwaka and Rambukwella families. Son Ran Bandara marries Rambukwelle Kumarihamy. A Third son of Medduma Bandara. Alias Ven. Madugalle Siddhartha. Anu Nayaka of Malwatta Chapter. Principal of Sangaraja Pirivena. Son of Ran Bandara. Alias Wijeratna Bandara. Educated at Dharmaraja College and Trinity College. In Public service. Ordained Madugalle Dhammasiddhi. Succeeds to the senior Karaka Sabaha. Becomes The Maha Nayaka of the Malwatta Chapter. A third son of Saluwadana Nilame. Marries from Balagolle Walauva. A second Marriage.

Chapter IX: The painstaking work of A.C.Lawrie. Identity of the two sons of the Madugalle Gajanayaka Nilame. A mix up of the two Vannaku Nilames. Gajanayaka Nilame a Ratemahatmaya of Dumbara. Marries Pitawela Kumarihamy. An Elder son Vannaku Nilame of Ulpen Ge. Imprisoned with father. Family lands restored. Spirited sections of the nobility. Father and son pardoned. Son Ratemahatmaya of Lower Dumbara. A second marriage to Amunugama Kumarihamy. Alias Rambukwelle Ratemahatmaya. Second son of Gajanayaka Nilame. Kuda Bandara Ratemahatmaya of Udu Nuwara. A Basnayaka Nilame. Brothers as associate husbands of Hali-Ela Kumarihamy. Two sons of associate marriage. Loku Banda and Kuda Banda. Eldest son Ratemahatmaya of Uda Dumbara (jnr). Basnayaka Nilame of two Devales. Marries Eriyagama Kumarihamy. Two daughters married to Molligoda and Kehelpannala families. Kuda Bandara marries Wattegama Kumarihamy. Two sons and one daughter. An associate Marriage between Ratemahatmaya of Lower Dumbara and of Udunuwara. Three sons and a daughter. Second son marries Haliyadde walauva. A second marriage from Mediwaka. A son Medduma Bandara alias William Bandara. A Ratemahatmaya of Bintanna. Marries Mediwaka Kumarihamy. Sons C.B.Madugalle. Education. Public service. Marriage to Rambukpotha Kumarihamy. Children three sons. Second son of Bintanne Ratemahatmaya. L.W.Madugalle. Education. Public service. Marries Ratwatte Kumarihamy. One son and two Daughters. Third son of Ratemahatmaya. Education, Public service. Marries Ratwatte Kumarihamy. No issues. Four daughters of Bintanne Ratemahatmaya.

Chapter X: Elder son of Madugalle Gajanayaka Nilame. Alias Rambukwelle Ratemahatmaya. Second marriage to widow of Ratwatte Adikaram. One son Tikiri Bandara. Two daughters. A variation in the Garu Nama carried on. A third marriage of Ratemahatmaya. A Makuloluve Kumarihamy and children. Two sons and a daughter. Associate husbands of a Miniwangomuve Kumarihamy. Two sons and two daughters. R.B.Madugalle marries Mediwaka Kumarihamy. S.B. Madugalle. Public school education. A sportsman. Marries Mediwaka Kumarihamy. Gajanayaka Nilame’s heritage. In Public service. Three Sons and two daughters. P.Madugalle. A son in his father’s footsteps. Serves his Alma mater. Married to Delvita Kumarihamy. Two sons. A second son of S.B.Madugalle. Public school Education. An excellent sportsman. A professional. Honoured with Garu Nama. Married Udalagama Kumarihamy. Two daughters. A Third son. Public School Education. Another sportsman. Rugby his favourite. Married Ratwatte Kumarihamy. A son and a daughter. Two daughters of S.B.Madugalle. Married into Ratwatte and Hulangomuve families.

# Appendices # Maps And Notes

Chapter I
A Family From the Ehelepola Wasama and
The Forming of the Maha Disawani of Matale

Though authors of the caliber of Paul. E. Pieris and Wimalananda Tennekoon have left behind many authentic records on the political life of the last Ehelepola Pallegampahe 1st Adikaram, many feature articles written on the descent and the life of the dismissed Ehelepola 1st Adikaram of 1814, are full of deceitful information. This happens invariably when some writers look for legends and find heroes, while others look for heroes and find legends. The most curious thing about these heroes is that, in the process they become men without a past; men beyond tradition and habit, and only become ‘men with historical reputations.’ Eventually personalities like “Ehelepola Adikaram” end up becoming that legendary liberator or the despicable traitor. Similarly the much discussed Pilimatalawe Pallegampahe 1st Adikaram for nearly 19 years from1790 –1811 becomes the most powerful personality ever to have presided over a Nation’s future, or the most avaricious Chancellor - or “ Maha Amathi” in the history of a Nation. In the process, the lesser mortals who were their contemporaries follow them into either of these categories. Though it is true that every generation gets the heroes they deserve, some of these writers ultimately succeed only in providing the requirement of some publishing houses, scandal and sensation.

The most common deficiency found in almost all pedigree charts related to the ‘Ehelepola family’ is the recurring limitation of the family history only to one, or at the most, two generations. This shortcoming could be avoided if the descent of this family is studied by way of the “Wasagama” or the village of origin, from which the forefathers of this family had emerged. This approach would certainly show that contrary to the limitation to the two generations, this family does have a past though unfortunately no future since that fateful year of 1814. Furthermore, it will enable us to trace the history of this family to the days before it came to be popularly known as the “Ehelepola Parapura.”

The history of the ‘Ehelepola family’ is best traced by avoiding the legends, but by exploring the historical background to the preamble of the ‘Ehelepola Sannasa’ or Royal grant in the year 1745. The descents and inter family connections of some of the closely related families to the Ehelepola clan, both within and without the Maha Disawani of Matale help in good measure to affirm much of the information found in the narrative of the family Sannasa. The village or wasagama of Ehelepola is situated in Udugoda-Udasiya Pattu of Matale North. In fact, Ehelepola is not only a village by itself, but a wasama or a cluster of villages under a single Arachchi or a Headman. The wasama includes the villages of Kinigama, Urulemulla, Kohona, Koholanwela, Dalupota, Walmoruwa, Demeda-Oya, Homapola and Ehelepola. Four of these villages and ancestral residences are connected to the antecedents of this family, and they are situated in close proximity to each other. One of these villages is identified at present by the name of ‘Monaravila’ [Mondaruvila] which is in the Koswatta Wasama of Udugoda-Udasiya Pattu Matale North, and it comes under the Arachchi of Beligomuva. The others are the villages of Medabedda in Pallesiya Pattu-Udugoda Matale, and the villages of Palle and Uda Waradamuna in Gampahasiya Pattu Matale South. Of the four ancestral residences, ‘Ehelepola Walauva’ and ‘Monaravila Walauva’ were in Udugoda-Udasiya Pattuwa. The ‘Hulangomuve Walauva’ was in Kohona Siya Pattuwa and the ‘Nugahapola Walauva’ was in Udugoda-Pallesiya Pattuwa.

The immediate Pata-Bandi Nama by which this family should be identified is that of - Wijayasundera. However, it is important to be aware that the usage of the full family name inclusive of the wasagama, the garu nama and the patabandi nama not only varies by the generation but also by the individual, and that some of these names are used alternatively by the members of succeeding generations. These varied usages sometimes help to identify certain members of this family, and at others, tend to make things difficult for anyone who would try to pursue their ancestry. The full family name with all its complimentary and varied usages appears as Wijayasundera- Wikramasinha Chandrasekera Seneviratna / var. Senanayaka Jayatillaka Ekanayaka/ Amarakoon /Rajapaksa (Wahala) Panditha Mudiyanse. It was customary to bestow different honorifics on chieftains as a King would please, and the second member of the family to be an Adikaram had the honorifics Rajakarunayaka and Seneviratna too bestowed on him. The senior Ehelepola Maha Disawa of Uva up to the year 1807, who was the father of Ehelepola 1st Adikaram of 1811-1814, used both variations of the full family name. On most occasions he used both honorifics (garu nama) of Jayatillaka and Ekanayaka, together with the full compliment of garu and patabandi names of the family. This varied use of the full family name obviously led to confusion even during the life time of the Disawa. This is why some have resorted to identify the father of the last ‘Ehelepola’ Pallegampahe 1st Adikaram as “Ehelepola Jayatillaka Disawa.”

The early descent and certain parts of family history are recorded in a Sannasa dated Monday the twentieth day of the waning moon of the month of Nikini, Saka 1667, which is the equivalent of August-September 1745 A.D. This is the particular royal grant that is popularly known as the “Ehelepola Sannasa.” The family had previously received another Sannasa dated Saka 1644 (1722 A.D.) which grants a different set of lands within the Maha Disawani of Matale. [Please refer to appendix B on pages 79-80] In either case the grantee has been a particular ancestor of the last ‘Ehelepola Adikaram’ who is identified by a different wasagama or residential village name in the preamble of the Sannasa. The Sannasa of 1745 included the grant of many lands in the Arachchi Wasama (the smallest administrative sub division) of Ehelepola, and it is after that the recipient family came to be known as the “Ehelepola family.”

The forming of the Principality of Matale took place during the last years of the reign of King Senerath [1605 –1635]. The two Principalities of Matale and Uva were formed by the King, in order to accommodate his two nephews, Prince Vijayapala and Prince Kumarasinha. These two were half brothers of King Senerath’s own son Rajasinha II, begotten from the common mother Kusumasana Devi, alias Princes Dona Katharina, the daughter of once deposed sub-King of Kanda-Uda-Rata, Jayavira Bandara III (1551-1561) alias ‘Karaliyadde Bandara.’

King Senerath commenced the division of the Kingdom among his nephews and his son between the years 1620 and 1627.The relevant part in the Matale Maha Disave-Kada-im-Poth narrative states that “Aluvihare Wanisekera Mudiyanse received eight Muhandiramships and the flag” and that the “Ira Handa Kodiya, (the Sun and Moon Flag) and the Kasa-Vevela, (the Staff of Office), was handed over to Udupihille Kulatunga Mudiyanse.” This means, that the former was appointed the Maha Disawa of Matale and the latter was appointed Rate Adikaram of the Principality, by King Senerath circa 1613. In the same narrative it is stated that the “Ratemahatmayaship of Udugoda and two Muhandiramships were given to ‘Ehelepola’ Maha Disawa of Matale.” By the year 1613,Wanisekera Mudali of Aluvihare was the Maha Disawa (Governor) of Matale, while Kuruppu Mudali had been appointed the Sulu Disawa for the sub divisions of Udugoda and Asgiri Korales of the Maha Disawani of Matale. Due to constant warfare against the Portuguese precipitated by the actions of Portuguese Captain Generals, like Jeronimo de Azavido and Constantine de Sa, and the continuous political strife within the Maha Disawani itself, there had been many a change in high office between 1613 and 1638. No less than nine successive appointments of Maha Disawes had been made during this short period of 25 years. Wanisekera Mudali had been replaced with Kahawatte Maha Disawa, succeeded by Kudalama, Poiyagoda, Kiriwawula, Bellantuduwa, Kotuwegoda (Kotuvegedera), Poiyagoda, Morahera and lastly by Etipola as Maha Disawes of Matale.

The demise of King Senerath and the ascent of Rajasinha II took place in 1635. The last mentioned ‘Etipola’ Maha Disawa fits in to the reign of Rajasinha II of Kandy, who was at the time, engaged in war with the Dutch to expel the Portuguese. According to the Matale Kada-im-Poth narrative, ‘Etipola Disawa’ is supposed to have contributed much to the storming of the Portuguese fort at Trincomalee. This took place around the months of March and April, and the Portuguese capitulated on the 2nd of May 1639, while the fort of Batticaloa had fallen a year earlier on 18th April 1638. Though Lawrie states in his Gazetteer that “Then after the lapse of nearly a century: - Ehelepola-1711 A. D. was Disawa of Matale,” other records show that between 1638 and 1709 there were at least eight men who succeeded Etipola Disawa as Maha Disawes of Matale. They were Dullewe, Ratwatte, Etipola, Udugama Appuhamy (executed in 1680), Migastanne Vijeyaratna Mudiyanse, Morahera Mannapperuma Mudiyanse, Yalegoda (executed in1709) and Monaruvila Maha Disave. Of these, the Nilame resident at Monaruvila was Maha Disawa of Matale for the years 1709 and 1710 before the first Nilame identified with the wasagama or the village name of Ehelepola succeeded him in 1711 AD.

Early Inter-Family Relationships and
A First Pallegampahe Adikaram from the Family

There is a reference to an Ekanayaka Mudiyannehe from the wasagama of ‘Medabedda’ in the Ehelepola Sannasa of 1745. The specific part of the Sannasa of 1745 reads:- “Whereas Medabedde Ekanayaka Mudiyannehe having served the Great Gate (Maha Wasala) with true loyalty and sincere affection obtained the office of Disawa of the Seven Korale and in consideration of his military exploits and the victories he gained in battle he obtained the presents of an elephant and a chain of four strands, and continued to serve His Majesty.” The identification of this Mudiyannehe is the only indeterminable factor in this particular family descent. A.C.Lawrie refers to a ‘Medabedde Ekanayaka Mudiyannehe’ under the village of Medabedda, and says that he is “an ancestor of Ehelepola,” meaning that of the Pallegampahe1st Adikaram from 1811-1814. The identity of this ‘Medabedde Ekanayaka Mudiyanse’ could neither be confirmed, nor his official record of being the Maha Disawa Sath Korale be specifically acknowledged, with dates and times. However, there is a possibility that he may have been a Maha Disawa of the Sath Korale sometime between 1681- 1692 A.D., serving King Rajasinha II and then Vimaladharma II in the early years of the latter’s reign. This is why the scholar K.P.Vimaladharma records ‘Medabedde Ekanayaka Mudiyannehe’ as a possible Maha Disawa of Sath Korale under a question mark in his work A Directory of Office Holders of The Kandyan Kingdom.

The records of A. C. Lawrie show that the very first attempt to form a settlement in the village of Waradamuna in the District of Matale was by one “Hannas [Sannas] Maha Nilame during the reign of Prince Vijayapala.” The same record states that the settlement was abandoned and that a more successful attempt at forming the village was made later by one ‘Wijayasundera Mudiyanse.’ Chronologically, this first mentioned attempt to form a settlement by this Hannas Maha Nilame at the village of Waradamuna, should fit into either the last years of the reign of King Senerath, or to the early part of the reign of Rajasinha II when his half brother Prince Vijayapala, (1634-1654) ruled the Principality of Matale from Godapola. Hence, the ‘Hannas Maha Nilame’ associated with the aborted settlement at the village of Waradamuna in Matale should belong to the seventeenth century and perhaps be a member of another family that had a close relationship with the family formerly from the village of Waradamune and latterly resident in the wasama of Ehelepola. However, the only Hannas Walauva (Sannas Walauva) of Matale in contemporary times, belonged to a prominent family from the wasagama of Hulangomuva in Kohona Siya Pattuwa Matale South.

The Ambokke Sannasa of 1708 A.D. (Saka. 1630) for lands in the village of Ambokke situated in Udugoda Siya Pattu Matale North has been granted to a ‘Hulangomuve’ Wijesekera Rajapaksa Ekaneka Wahala Mudali for “ his services to the Great Court and his embassy to Madura Pura to bring wives for the King.” This statement is historically acceptable as, the mother of King Narendra Sinha was from Madura Pura and that there was a mission to bring wives for the young King from the same source. Hence, the grantor of the ‘Ambokke Sannasa’ of 1708 would be King Narendra Sinha, and the grantee ‘Hulangomuve’ Wijesekera Rajapaksa Ekaneka Wahala Mudali should be a descendant of the earlier mentioned ‘Medabedde’ Ekanayaka Mudiyanse who was probably a Maha Disawa of the Sath Korale some time between 1680 and 1693. Taking into account the chronological errors and repetitions in the narrative of the Matale Maha Disave Kada-im-pot, the conclusion would be that this “Hannas Maha Nilame” who made the abortive attempt for a settlement at Waradamuna during the reign of Prince Vijeyapala is Rajapaksa Wikremasekera Mudiyanse Ralahami and that he should be to a common ancestor of both families, the one from the wasagam of Hulangomuve and the other from that of Ehelepola.

In the alternative, records available on the inter-family connections between the family at ‘Monarawila’ (Mondaruwila) and the family at Keppitipola in the Sathara Korales may shed some light on the antecedents of the ‘Ehelepola’ pedigree. According to which, Rajapaksa Wikremasekera Mudiyanse Ralahami came from the wasagama of Keppitipola in Galboda Korale-Keeravali Pattu of the Sathara Korale, and settled down in the village of Monarawila in Sath Korales about the year 1700 A.D. This means the migration had taken place during the latter part of the reign of King Vimaladharmasuriya II. This record concludes with the information that this ‘Monarawila Ralahami’ married a ‘Waradamune Loku Mahatmayo’ and that he died circa 1720.

This ‘Monaravila Ralahami’ was the Nilame who, between 1708 and 1710, held office as the Bath Wadana Nilame at the Royal Palace, Diyawadana Nilame of the Dalada Mandire, Maha Disawa of Sath Korale, Disawa of Tamankaduva and Maha Disawa of Matale. The last mentioned office is the one, which made him to reside subsequently at a village which, at present is found in Udugoda Siya Pattu of the Koswatta Wasama Matale North and is named ‘Monarawila.’ This is the village which, according to the prevailing tradition or the ‘the pattern of the past’ came to bear the name of the Maha Disave’s former residency, ‘Monarawila’ in Sath Korale. This traditional method of identification is what P.E.Pieris refers to as “Great men were identified by the village they came from.” Lawrie’s records show Monarawila Ralahami and wife Waradamune Loku Mahatmayo has had two daughters married to the Thalgahagoda and Etipola families of Matale. According to the record in the work The Kandyan Kingdom 1707-1760 by L.S. Devaraja, there is a third daughter of ‘Monarawila Disawa’ who was once a concubine of King Narendra Sinha but later married to the first known Maha Adikaram Nilame from the Pilimatalawe family. This reference should be to the Pilimatalawe Udagampahe Adikaram of 1742, who held the same office once more from 1760-1766. Dunuwilla Mohottala writing the ballad Kalingu-bo-da in praise of Pilimatalawe Pallegampahe 1st Adikaram says that the Adikaram was the grand son of the daughter of the ‘Monaravila Disawa.’ Dunuwilla Mohottala’s reference should be to the last Pilimatalawe 1st Adikaram who was executed in 1811, and the relationship mentioned must be based on the aforementioned Monaravila- Pilimatalawe marriage. The important question in this context would be, of which Monarawila Disawa’s daughter is the executed Pilimatalawe Adikaram a grand son? Is he the grand son of the daughter of the Monarawila Maha Disawa of Matale from 1709-1710 or of the daughter of the Monarawila Maha Disawa of Matale in 1798? Obviously, it should be of the former. This means that the maternal linage of both the executed Pilimatalawe ‘Maha Nilame’ and that of the beheaded ‘Keppitipola Maha Disawa’ is common. The records in Lawrie’s Gazetteer on the ‘Monarawila’ – ‘Keppitipola’ family descent too refer to a Nilame by the name of a ‘Hulangomuve Rate Adikaram’ who had held office prior to 1670, during the reign of Rajasinha II of Kandy.

Uva rebellion remembered

by S. B. Karalliyadda DN Mon 29 Nov 2004

The Kandyan Convention signed on March 2nd, 1815 brought the entire country under British rule. Yet by 1816 December and beginning of January 1817 William Tolfry, the Chief Translator of the British government gathered intelligence that there was dissatisfaction among the natives and that at any time there would be an uprising against British rule.

A scene from the Wellassa region.

This information was conveyed to the Commissioner in-charge of Kandyan affairs, Mr. Sutherland. The British ignored their pledge to uphold the conditions laid down in the treaty. The high appointments in the Kandyan kingdom, such as Adigar, Koralas, Muhandirams etc. were exclusively reserved for Kandyans, but Major John Wilson, Resident of Badulla appointed one Hadji as a Muhandiram to Wellassa.

There was tension brewing against the British administration. The "Gangoda" concept of the villager (Cluster Villages) was disturbed when lands were opened for plantations. The villager found his energy from the firewood picked from the jungle, his needs for timber for household furniture etc. were restricted, the canals that brought water for the paddy fields were cut open which affected the paddy cultivation of the villager. His chena cultivation too was affected due to opening of new plantations in the hills.

There was trouble brewing in Tunkorala and troops under the command of Major O'Brien were sent on 18.10.1817 to contain the situation. David, the Rate Mahattaya of Dolosbage, reported that some rebels were seen marching towards Dolosbage in Gampola. Investigations revealed that it was only a rumour. But in Kinigoda Korale, which was under Golahela Rate Mahattya, father of Keppetipola there was trouble and the British had to use force to bring the situation under control.

The people of Sat Korale and Hatarakorale did not join the rebellion as a favourite of the British, Molligoda was administering the area. To show their gratitude to the people of this Korale, the British reduced the grain tax from 1/10 to 1/14 by gazette notification No. 19 of 1918. By Sect. 22 the land tax was totally abolished. In terms of clause 53 a civil administration was proclaimed under three English Civil Servants with headquarters in Kandy.

In the meantime, a pretender to the throne known as Wilbawe entered Uva and proclaimed himself King on 17.09.1817. He declared that he was the son of Kalu Nayakkara - direct descendent of the clan of the deposed King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha and mustered the support of the people to revolt against the British. He called himself the King of Wilbawe.

The resident in Badulla, Major Douglas Wilson sent a Muslim decoy, the brother of slained Hadji to monitor the situation in Wellassa. The rebels of Wellassa caught Hadji and produced him before Wilbawe King.

A rebel leader Butawe Rate Rala and his brother Upasaka Mudiyanse caught hold of Hadji and beheaded him.

The Sinhalese were already unhappy with the Muslims as the Muslim traders disrupted the supply of salt and dry fish to the Kandyan kingdom. When the news of this tragedy reached Wilson in Badulla he himself came to Wellassa on 12.10.1817 with troops under the command of Lt. Newman.

On their way to Bibile Wilson was shot with an arrow by the rebels near Etanawatte and succumb to his injuries. His dead body was taken by the assailants and hung on a tree near the palace of Wilbawe. The British troops set fire to the houses, chenas, livestock and everything possible. Major Mac Dowell mobilised the services of the most cruel army officers such as Col. Hook, Lt. Kelley, Lt. Newman, Col. Hardy etc.

The British had to bring down additional troops from India through Batticaloa. Simultaneously by Proclamation No. 6 of 1817 the British government announced a reward of two thousand Rix dollars to anyone who produced the heads of the rebel leaders. The rebellion spread to Matale, Dumbara, Denuwara, Hewaheta, Walapane, Kandy and Hanguranketa. Pilimatalawa, the Dissawe of Hatkorale produced one Weerabahu as the king and led the rebellion under Weerabahu who was supposed to be a relation of the deposed king.

The British government confiscated the properties of eighteen rebel leaders. They appointed Keppetipola who was in Kandy at the time as the Dissawe of Wellassa and sent him to contain the rebels on 17.10.1817 with British troops.

Keppitipola went up to Alupotha and joined the rebels having returned to all arms and ammunition of the British. Rev. Wariyapola Sumangala of Asgiriya fled to Hanguranketa with the relics casket which resulted in a more vigorous phase of the rebellion. By September 1817 two rebel leaders Madugalle Basnayake Nilame and Ellepola Adikaram surrendered to the British and Pilimatalawe led the rebellion. The British captured Ellepola who was the Dissawa of Viyaluwa and a brother of Maha Adikaram Ehelepola and beheaded them in Bogambara on 27.10.1818.


The leaders of the rebellion were Wilbawe Disawa of Walapane, Kiulegedara Mohattale, Ellepola Disawe of Viyaluwa, Ehelepola, a brother of Maha Adikaram Mattamagoda the Disawa of Tunkorala, Kobbekaduwa Disawa of Udapalatha, Dambavinna, Dimbulawa, Basnayake Nilame of Kataragama, Godagedara Adikaram, Butawe Rate Rala Ihagama, Badalkumbure Rala etc.

But most of the writers who write to commemorate the Uva rebellion forget the ordinary commoners who joined the aristocrat in the rebellion. To be fair to their descendants, who live to-date, mentioned must be made to those heroes as well. They were Madulle Aruma, Nindegama Dinga and Paliya Maha Duraya, Badulla Kiri Naida and Ganitha, Diyakele Pinhele and Helegiri Menikrala etc.

The Sinhalese found it difficult to face trained soldiers. They did not have enough arms and ammunition to meet sophisticated and modern British arms. Some of the rebels surrendered by now Keppitipola and Madugalle Uda Gabada Nilame were captured. Both these leaders were beheaded on 26.11.1818. Forty seven who were involved in the rebellion was sentenced to be hanged.

Twenty eight out of them were hanged, sixteen were exiled, two acquitted and one died a natural death while in prison. The last remaining rebel Kirulegedara Mohottale too was put to death.

It is said that ten thousand Sinhalese youth died in the battlefield. No paddy or chena cultivation was done in the area for ten years due to lack of manpower. Davy records that on a journey he made to Uva with Governor Brousing they saw only thatched houses in Uva. Governor Ward recorded that during his inspection tour he had not seen a single person throughout his journey for seven days.

Major Skinner has recorded that the population has decreased and immediate steps should be taken to repair the damaged village tanks and settle people on the land. The most appalling minute is made by Herbert White, a Government Agent, after the rebellion in the Compendium of Uva Journal:

"There is no record of the population or agriculture development of Uva after the rebellion. No record is left about Uva before the rebellion. If thousands died in the battle field they were all brave fighters.

If 4/5 of the remaining population after the rebellion is considered as children and the old, the damage done is unlimited. Not only the lives of people but all their belongings have been devastated. I doubt when Uva can recover from this catastrophe.

185th Death Anniversary fell on Nov. 26 : Vira Keppetipola of the Vellassa rebellion

by Aryadasa Ratnasinghe DN Wed Dec 10 2003

Heroism is a genetic condition blended with courage and fortitude, and in all societies and nations there had been heroes distinguished for their bravery and valiance. Keppetipola Rajapaksha Wickremasekera Bandaranayaka, popularly known as Keppetipola Disawa, was one among them. He was born at Galboda of the Four Korales. His younger sister was Ehelepola Kumarihamy the spouse of Ehelepola Wijayasundera Wickremasinghe Chandrasekera Amarakoon Wasala Mudiyanse, who rose to the prestigious position of Maha Adikaram of the Kandyan court.

Vira Keppetipola hailed from the aristocratic Monaravila ancestry, reputed for intrepidity and heroic valour. He was frank and affable and conducted himself with a remarkable degree of decorum and dignity. The colonial governor, Sir Robert Brownrigg (1812-1820), famed as the conqueror of the Kandyan kingdom, has described Keppetipola as "active, valiant, enterprising, energetic and an ambitious person, who was always ready to face any opposition".

After the downfall of the Kandyan kingdom on Mar. 2, 1815, the British who were administering the maritime settlements of the island, became rulers of the whole country. Between March 1815 and October 1817, the Kandyan provinces remained quite tranquil, and the terms of the Convention were strictly adhered to, both by the British and the Kandyan chiefs, as well as by the people, who were contented under the new indulgent government of the British. But, soon they found that the British were elusive and the Sinhalese repulsed the attitude of the alien rulers.

Keppetipola now prohibited the collection of tolls at the entrance to Idalgashinna in the upland country, and prevented the revenue from the Kataragama Maha Devale in the South, reaching the hands of the British tax collectors. This led to displeasure between the British and Keppetipola. The British were also unsatisfied of what was boiling in the political pot, and were lukewarm about the whole situation in the country.

The appointment of Hadji Muhandiram, a Muslim, by the British, as Village Headman of Wellassa, created much dissension among the patriotic Sinhalese who were all out to remove him from the post. In the meantime, a pretender by the name Doresamy, brother-in-law of king Rajadhi Rajasinha of Kandy, became enthusiastic to gain power in Wellassa, and organised a rebellion against the British, who were responsible for the appointment of Hadji Muhandiram as Village Headman of Wellassa, purely because they were antagonistic towards the chiefs.

Governor Brownrigg became seriously worried over the rebellion. He knew that the pretender Doresamy was a Malabari related to the Nayakkar dynasty. On October 1817, Major Sylvester Douglas Wilson, Assistant Resident in Badulla, had received information as to what was going on at Wellassa, and despatched another Muslim Headman to investigate into the matter. He was waylaid and killed. Major Wilson, while returning from Wellassa, was shot down.

In no time, Hadji Muhandiram was seized and produced before Doresamy, who condemned him to death. When the British heard what had happened, they were seized with rage, and sent Lieut. Newman to investigate into the incident, along with a band of soldiers for protection. Newman soon realised that the Sinhalese were up in arms to protect Doresamy, and they were averse to any sort of negotiation with the British officials.

The governor was now convinced that the Kandyan chiefs were, without exception, treacherous and jealous of each other, and would betray one another, to suit their ends. The governor observed "These faithless politicians are influenced by discordant motives, and however they may agree in their ambitions and desire for power and honours, they widely differing their view of the means to acquire, and the manner to divide the prize".

The governor, now desirous of getting rid of Doresamy, who would be a treat to the British, proclaimed that a ransom of 2,000 'pagodis' (a gold coin to the face value of Rs. 4), would be offered to anyone who were to produce the head of Doresamy. But it proved futile because Doresamy had won the goodwill and confidence of the Sinhalese, and there was none to assassinate him.

When the British found that they were unable or powerless to curb the uprising, they took advantage of Keppetipola, then Maha Disawa of Uva, and directed him to proceed to Wellassa and control the rebellious situation.

He was given men to enhance manpower. Arms and amunitions were supplied from the armament depot at Badulla. On arrival at Wellassa, he saw a different picture. Although he was sent to arrest Doresamy he found that the people were on his side. Backed by patriotism, he refused to carry out the orders of the British Resident in Badulla. All the arms and amunitions, along with the men given to him, were sent back to Badulla, to the great annoyance of the British Resident, with the words "I do not want to attack my countrymen, or use them against those who supplied them."

Keppetipola was backed by every patriotic citizen of the country, except those of Lower Sabaragamuwa, the Three and Four Korales, Udunuwara and Yatinuwara, and those detained under arrest by the British for suspected treason. With the outbreak of the rebellion, the governor declared martial law, but a great offensive battle raged between Keppetipola and Major MacDonald, for nine days, that took a heavy death toll on both sides. The fighting took place at Paranagama. The declining strength of the British troops was soon supplemented with reinforcements from Madras and Bengal.

The fighting was so grave, and Major John Davy says: "Our little army was much exhausted and reduced by fatigue, privation and disease. The rebellion could not be easily checked. All our efforts have been apparently futile, for not a leader of any consequence was arrested nor a single district subdued." His opinion was that "if not for reinforcements from India, Keppetipola would have secured a decisive victory, because he was so tactful and knew how to be offensive or defensive at the battle front."

When British troops began to gain strength, with the arrival of reinforcements from India, Keppetipola thought that further attempts to fight the British troops would only result in the death of the Sinhalese rebels.

Thinking so, he temporarily abandoned his offensive, disbanded his men, and went in the direction of Nuwarakalaviya in Anuradhapura. Having come to know of his movements, Capt. O'Neil followed him with intent to arrest him. Having come to know that British troops have come to Nuwarakalaviya in search of him, he dauntlessly went to meet Capt. O'Neil, shook hands with him, and identified himself as Keppetipola.

The captain later said that Keppetipola's words were vibrant, firm and clear of any fear to face the charges of manslaughter. He stood before him as a formidable foe but relaxed of feelings of subjugation. The captain was surprised to meet the man unawares.

Keppetipola was produced before Lieut. Col. Kelly in Kandy, for trial and sentence for high treason. His accomplice Madugalle Disawa shared the same fate, for aiding and abetting Keppetipola to fight against the British forces. Death sentence on both was passed on Nov. 13, 1818, and to be beheaded on Nov. 26, 1818. On the previous day, both were taken, at their request, to the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy for religious observances, prior to execution. It is said that Keppetipola walked languidly, followed by two executioners, to the Kumarahapuwa executive grounds, where noblemen were beheaded. At the Dalada Maligawa, Keppetipola met the Anunayaka thera of the Malwatte vihara.

At once he prostrated before the thera in obeisance, saying "After my death, may I be reborn in the Himalayas as a god, so that I could listen to the discourses of the future Buddha Maitreya, and thus attain Nibbana". The thera blessed him so by pronouncing a benediction. Lastly, he requested Simon Sawers, whom he knew well and who was at one time, officially connected, to be present at the scene of death. Keppetipola getting ready to face justice, tied up his hair on the head to a knot, without allowing a single hair to fall behind the neck, so that it may obstruct the blow as the sword falls on his neck.

Then he sat down near a bush to place his neck on the 'dangediya' (a log used to behead those sentenced to death). He asked for a short interval to read some passages from the book Dhammapada, which he had in his possession. It was allowed. Thereafter, he gave the book to Simon Sawers to be kept with him as a souvenir. As the executioner's sword fell on the neck, the word 'arahang' (word to mean Buddha), came out of his mouth.

"According to custom, the severed head was kept on his breast," says Dr. Henry Marshall, Medical Officer and Deputy Inspector of Services Hospital, who was present at the occasion. The Chief Executioner, Iriyagama Kankanama, who was assigned to deal the blow, could not do it, as his hands began to tremble at the sight of the neck of the hero Keppetipola. The blow was later dealt by the second executioner, who had the courage to do so.

Dr. Henry Marshall, who witnessed the execution, is said to have had a great reverence for Keppetipola for his bravery, forwardness and courage. He considered such rare qualities as exceptions worthy of praise. With due respect to the deceased, he took the skull of the hero Keppetipola to England, to be displayed in the Edinborough Craniological Laboratory, where skulls of exceptional characters are deposited. It was returned to Sri Lanka in 1952, and it now lies deposited in Kandy at the Mahamaluwa Memorial erected in honour of Vira Keppetipola.