History of the Trinity College Crest

Apr - 2 - 2017
Y. Dahanayake

The Legacy of the Lion, the Three Crowns, the Cross, and the Shield

The Lion – hovering atop the Shield, the Three Crowns, and the Cross.
Roaring Red, Glorious Gold and Brilliant Blue – etched throughout in colorful fashion.
The Scholastic Scroll – bearing a scroll of wisdom.

The Trinity College Crest on a School Officer’s Tie Pin. Photograph by Amila Alahakoon.

The great Abraham Lincoln once said “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it. The tree is the real thing.” An insignia is a shadow of what it diligently stands for. Its foremost priority is not to imitate, but represent. And so has this crest signified the true dignity of a very prestigious institution it so humbly and yet meticulously represented for more than a century. Instigating in her scholars time and time again, the ideology that they are molded by the very best. This emblem speaks of a very rich legacy itself, knowingly or unknowingly it maybe, to the thousands of youthful feet to walk the school’s hallways. In a history spanning more than 14 decades, it has evolved not only once, but twice, since its initial inception. The Trinity College Kandy Crest is more than a mere sight for sore eyes. Nor is it merely a superficial representation of the school’s spirit. It is a vivid expression of the school’s history and pride experienced by those privileged enough to witness and wander her lands for 14 long years.



The initial crest for Kandy Collegiate School


Kandy Collegiate School was founded within the glorious borders of 1857 A.D. Kanda Udarata by the very great Rev. Ireland Jones. It was foretold that a humble beginning is an evidence as to how the future is to be. The Collegiate Crest was designed by Principal Rev. Richard Collins. This primitive logo of the College hence set the pedestal for the future crests to follow.

Crouching Lion: Represented the Sinhalese people of Ceylon.

Adam’s Peak: The background’s line depiction of a mountain represented a place of utmost historical value and worship in Ceylon.

The Sun: Depicted the College’s welcomeness toward Orientals.

College Name: Encircled the Logo.

College Motto: Beneath but yet bestowed was ‘Respice Finem’, meaning ‘Look to the End’.



The 2nd version of the crest with the new College name ‘Trinity College Kandy’


Collegiate lasted not more than a few years. Yet in its place was to be reopened the College which went on to become the epitome of brotherhood. Reborn on the 17th of the first month in 1872 A.D, she was given a new name: Trinity College Kandy. Come 1878 A.D, the successor’s insignia was too initiated.

Palm Tree: Placed as the background, representing the people of Jaffna.

Nominal Change: The college title subsequently renamed Trinity College Kandy.


The currently used iteration of the Crest of Trinity College Kandy

In 1912 A.D. the debut college magazine was published by visionary Rev. Gaster. In it appeared a colorful new depiction (depicted on the right). Inspired by the English crest of Clifton College (a boarding school based on Rugby) and by Trinity College (in University of Cambridge). Rev. Gaster thus created the emblem as seen today. The Lankan Lion crouches atop the shield bearing the great sword in the right paw. The shield arrowhead borders were then too influenced by the majestic Sinhalese flag.

Crest of Clifton College

The Chevron seen on Clifton College’s Crest (depicted on the left) in Blue and on Trinity College Cambridge (depicted below on the right) Crest’s in Red was replaced by the Cross to reflect the Christian Missionary roots. The 2 Blue Shamrocks of Clifton, the 3 Red English Roses of Trinity College Cambridge, were replaced by 3 Gold Crowns.

These 3 Gold Crowns were borrowed from the Coronets of Oxford University. They represent ‘The Trinity’ or ‘The Holy Trinity’, the noble fundamental base of Christian worship. Trinity College Cambridge, nurturing aristocrats and noblemen hereditary at the time, aptly resembled royalty through its Crest’s Coronets. The Coronets were worn by princes. Hence, the 3 Gold Crowns proudly reflect a sense of royalty in the noble sons of Kandy as well. The Trinity College Kandy Crest Cornets’ semblance to an exemplary is unsurprising amongst all her glory.

Crest of Trinity College Cambridge

Were the Trinity Colors derived from the Red, Gold, and Blue of Clifton and Trinity Cambridge? Or by ‘The Trinity’, the rudimentary color roots of all presence in the world? A query for the ages indeed. Rev. Gaster chose the union of colors well. Complete and whole, with a sublime pride of its own, the mighty crest so did speak forth: “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”.



A graphic design for Trinity’s 140 year anniversary by Y. Dahanayake


Now, today in 2017, the realism of an age of innovation and technology has dawned. Yet here we stand, when we celebrate more than 14 decades of existence of our glorious alma mater, we cannot help but gaze and wonder of the rich heritage inherited to us by our forefathers whom have not only talked the talk, but have walked the walk. Nothing but pride enriches the hearts and souls of those who know of the true legacy symbolized by the Trinity College Crest. He who travels the road yonder molded by the best shalt thrive to greatness just as the test of time shalt stand witness to bequeathing her legacy from one generation to the next. As much as form is temporary.. class shalt be permanent. The spirit not only lives in her lands, walls and halls, but also within her children throughout the ages. We are but one generation of her royalty. And proudly we shalt speak of her. For after all, “the crest and crowning of all good, life’s final star.. is BROTHERHOOD.”

Article Written By Yashwanth Dahanayake
Historical Information Sources:
‘History of Trinity’ by Valesca Reiman, ‘Trinity’ by Ramya Chamalie Jirasinghe, ‘Of Kings, Crowns & Crests’ by Hiran Lal Tennekoon

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Published 7 years ago by Yashwanth Dahanayake

Posted in History, News

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