Fonseka Families

Fonseka Parapurawal

An analysis of the various Fonseka families from the book ‘Kurukula Charithaya’

  • Gampolage Fonseka.
  • Gampolawaduge Fonseka.
  • Gama Maalage Fonseka.
  • Guardiyawansa Hewafonsekage Fonseka.
  • Gallege Fonseka.
  • Hewafonsekage Fonseka.
  • Hewapathiranage Fonseka.
  • Senadirage Fonseka.
  • Sellapperalage Fonseka.
  • Paskul Fonsekalage Fonseka.
  • PodiMarakkalage Fonseka.
  • Kalutarawedage Fonseka.
  • Varnage Fonseka.
  • Merennage Fonseka.
  • Jayaraja Jayawarna Gampalanage (Gampolage)

From information available to us it is evident that the Kaurava Gampolage Fonseka families have a history of over 400 years. Panditha D. M. Silva Sri Vijaya, under the instructions of Sir Wilfred de Soyza of the distinguished de Soyza family has copied some important documents relating to the history from the British Museum. These documents are presently with the V. S. M. de Mel family of Moratuwa.

‘Gampalanage’ was one of the people of eighteen castes that accompanied the venerable Sangamitta, daughter of King Dharmasoka who brought the sacred bo sapling (Jaya Shri Maha Bodhi) to Sri Lanka. In the ancient Sinhalese Kingdom, these caste members earned for themselves honorary titles such as ‘Rate Rala’, ‘Game Rala’ and ‘Gamarala’.

However during a time of persecution by the Portuguese and Dutch administrations, that saw them as loyalist to the Sinhala Kings, these families who used the name Gampalanage, took on the name of Fonseka and changed their names to Gampolage Fonseka and some to Gampolage de Fonseka.

In later years some of the Gampolage de Fonseka families started using de Fonseka Jayasuriya, de Fonseka Varnadeeptha Jayasuriya, de Fonseka Abhaya Karunaratna, de Fonseka Samarasekera and de Fonseka Dissanayake at the end of the name. There is also evidence that some of these were honorary names taken when the colonial Governments bestowed on them Muhandiram and Mudaliyar titles.

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The above chapter in the book ‘Kurukula Charithaya’ gives us an idea how the Gampolage de Fonseka families derived their name. Also listed are the other known Karava Fonseka families of that time. It seems that some of the families that prospered under colonial rulers and were bestowed titles and posts, took on the more aristocratic ‘de Fonseka’ name. This has been mostly during the British times. The established Karava family of Varnage (Varnakula Additya Arasa Nillayitta) family of Kalutara has a recorded ‘de Fonseka’ ancestry running to the Portuguese period.

Translated from ‘Kurukula Charithaya – II’, A. S. F. Weerasuriya 1960, Page 280