NEVILL, Hugh. 19.6.1847 — Hyères, France 10.4.1897. British Civil Servant in Sri Lanka. Came to Ceylon when 17 as private secretary to Chief Justice and served 27 years there, finally (1895-97) District Judge in Batticaloa. He achieved valuable collections both of naturalia and antiquities (Kandy silver work) and 2227 manuscripts mainly in Pāli, Sinhalese and Tamil. He left Ceylon because of severe illness and died soon. As a scholar he was a mere dilettant, but nevertheless a pioneer of Sinhalese studies. Also interested in malacology, together with his brother Geoffrey.
Publications: Articles and notes on Ceylon birds and molluscs in JRAS-CB, on molluscs JASB.
– “The Ancient Emporium of Kálah &c., with Notes on Fa-Hian’s Account of Ceylon”, JRAS-CB 7:24, 1881, 57-84.
– Oriental Studies. 1-2. Colombo 1882.
– Edited and published (and to a great extent wrote) the journal The Taprobanian. A Dravidian Journal of Oriental Studies in and around Ceylon. 1:1-4. 128 p. Bombay & L. 1885-86; 2. 1887, 3, 1888.
– Sinhala Verse (Kavi). Collected by H.N. Ed. by P. E. P. Deraniyagala. 1. 11+352 p. Ceylon National Museums Manuscript Series 4 Ethnology 1. Colombo 1954.
Sources: Obituary from the *Athenæum 1.5.1897 quoted in the JRAS 1897, 700; briefly in JRAS-CB 15:49, 1898; *K.D. Somadasa, Catalogue of the Hugh Nevill Collection of Sinhalese Manuscripts in the British Library. 1-6. 440+316+318+465+473+728 p. London 1987-93, 7. Index. 13+217 p. 1995; Wikipedia.
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