Anglican presence in Sri Lanka dates back to the arrival of the British in 1796 when the first services were held for the civil and military personnel of the island, then called Ceylon. The first Colonial Chaplain was appointed in 1799 and missionaries of the CMS and SPG began their work in 1818 and 1844 respectively.
From 1796 to 1818 the Church of England in Ceylon was part of the Diocese of London, from 1818 the Diocese of Calcutta and from 1835 the Diocese of Madras. In 1818 with the institution of the Archdeaconry of Colombo within the Diocese of Calcutta the first steps towards diocesan organization were taken.
The Diocese of Colombo was inaugurated in 1845 and disestablished with its own constitution, Diocesan Council (initially called Synod) and Incorporated Trustees in 1885. In 1930 as the Church of Ceylon, the Diocese became part of a new Province, that of India, Burma and Ceylon. In 1950 the Diocese of Kurunegala was formally inaugurated as a second diocese but was only legally recognized in 1972. After the dissolution of the Province in 1970 the two dioceses became extra provincial under the metropolitical care of the Archbishop of Canterbury, as a temporary measure, as Anglicans in Sri Lanka looked forward to going in to the united Church of Lanka. Sadly the plans were aborted in 1974 due to legal complications and the Church of Ceylon has journeyed as an extra provincial national church to date.
The two dioceses cover the entire island, Colombo includes the Western, Southern, Eastern, Northern and Uva provinces and the Ratnapura, Nuwara Eliya and Puttalam districts, while Kurunagala covers the Kurunagala, Kandy, Matale, Kegalla, Anuradhapura, and Polonnaruwa, districts.