TOLFREY, William

TOLFREY, William. 1778 — Colombo 4.1.1817. British Colonial Officer in India and  Civil Servant in Sri Lanka. Son of a colonial official (in India?), grew up in England. He came to the island in 1805, after having served in army in India in 1794–1805, participating in Mysore and Maratha wars. He is said to have known Sanskrit, Hindi and Tamil, and learned now Pali and Sinhalese. He started to translate the New Testament into both Pali and Sinhalese (revising the old version made by the Dutch). With his own classical education he saw the Sinhalese text too colloquial, began to translate the text also to Pāli and at the time of his death had prepared it as far as the Letter to Timothy. The work was continued by Wesleyan missionaries (—> Clough, Gogerly). Clough also used his material for his own Pāli grammar (1824).

Publications: Nothing found.

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; briefly in G.P.V. Somaratna, “The History of the Sinhala Bible”, JRAS-CB 34, 1989/90, 41-64 on p. 48; C.B[endall], D.N.B. 56, 444; Wikipedia.

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