WAT SANGKHAWAT (วัดสังฆวาล)
Wat Sangkhawat is located in a very remote area southeast of the main island. This ruin
is surrounded by rice fields and framed by train tracks that pass close by it. A large with
the area around the
Japanese village. Khlong Rong Wari also passed beside it forming
one portion of the moat.

This temple is mostly comprised of a large brick mound. However, there have been some
attempts to partially renovate this monastery. The central mound has been capped by a
thick layer of cement and a small shrine appears on top of this. At the eastern entrance of
the mound, a large sala has been constructed to house a Buddha image that is resting in
the Subduing Mara pose. This shrine includes various parts of other Buddha images.
There are also fragments of sema stones and geometric designs in stucco. Although
erosion has taken a heavy toll, there is evidence of some toppled boundary walls and the
crumbled remains of collapsed chedi.

There isn't must know about this monastery's history. Royal Chronicles do refer to the
"Monastery of the Sangkawat Tree". At the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767, Phraya Tak, who
would later become king, was appointed brigade master of a boat army set up to attack
the Burmese. The Burmese led their boat army onto open plains east of the main island.
The Phraya of Phetburi advanced forth to attack, but died on the battlefield near the
"Monastery of the Sangkhawat Tree".

There has been some recent construction at this site. Bulldozers are plowing up the area,
and it looks like there have been attempts to drain part of its moat. This activity reveals
that Wat Sangkhawat was much larger than one might expect. A larger number of bricks
and pottery shards can be seen at a great distance from the central mound.
Text by Ken May - April 2009
Addendum

1766 - The battle near Wat Sangkhawat

"At that time the fighting boats of the brigades of a Burmese and Raman army
advanced on up from the stockade at the Hamlet of the Banyan and the stockade
at the crown tax station of the Monastery of the Manifestation of Mercy to
Creatures and came out into the open plains right by the Monastery of the
Hermitage of the Monks. The Phraya of Phetburi, the [master of the] front
brigade, had the five fighting boats within the brigade belonging to his person
rowed forward to attack the Burmese fighting boats. Now the boats of the
members of that Burmese and Raman army, being numerous, were able to advance
and completely surround the boats of the brigade of the Phraya of Phetburi and
they fought together in capable fashion. Now the troops of the Thai army and the
Burmese and Raman troops slashed and slew each other and [people] died on both
sides. The brigades of the Phraya of Kamphaeng Phet and of Luang Saraseni
moored [their boats] and merely paused to watch, and they did not advance and
help to reinforce each other at all. The Burmese took a pot of gunpowder, lit [a
fuse attached to] it, and threw it down into the boat of the Phraya of Phetburi. The
[exploding] powder scalded and hurt his retainers and troops and they leaped into
the water. The Burmese, gaining the advantage, slashed, stabbed and slew the Thai
in the boats and in the water and they died in great numbers. [The Burmese] were
able to capture the person of the Phraya of Phetburi [named] Rüang, but he held
firm and they slashed and stabbed him without penetrating him. They thereupon
took a sharpened stick and thrust it up his rectum and he met his death. Now while
they were fighting together on that day, forty-one persons died on the Burmese side
and over seventy died on the Thai side. Now the brigades of the Phraya of
Kamphaeng Phet and of Luang Saraseni accordingly advanced on up and
encamped at the Monastery of the Cone Tree and at the Monastery of Victory.
They did not go back inside the Capital at all and consequently established
stockades in those places."
[1]

The battle near Wat Sangkhawat, where the boat army of the Phraya of Phetchaburi was
slain, played an important role in the decision of Phraya Tak to leave Ayutthaya for what
is was, and in his plan to escape through the Burmese encirclement of the city. The royal
reprimand he received for firing the large guns of Ko Kaeo without notification and the
seemingly incoherent command of the Siamese defensive forces, made Phraya Tak
realize that the loss of Ayutthaya to the Burmese was only a matter of time. He
concocted a new strategic plan. Phraya Tak set up his headquarters at the fortification of
the slain Phraya Petchaburi near
Wat Phichai after the battle. [2] It is from here he would
fight in January 1767 his way east through the enemy dispositions, with thousand Siamese
and Chinese troops, including some Portuguese soldiers.

Another historical fact in relation to Wat Sangkhawat is given by Prince Damrong
Rajanubhab. The night the Burmese entered the city of Ayutthaya on 7 April 1767, King
Ekathat (1) was smuggled out of the Grand Palace by his royal pages; put into a small
boat and brought to Chik Village near the Sangkhawat Monastery. There the pages,
afraid to fall in the hands of the Burmese, left him alone. After the retreat of the Burmese
army, the rear guard discovered him at the village. King Ekathat was out of food for
more than ten days. The Burmese brought him to the fortification at Pho Sam Ton, where
he died shortly after. [3]

Footnotes:

(1) also called King Suriyamarin (r. 1758-1767).   

References:

[1] The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman & David K. Wyatt (2006)
- The Siam Society - page 512-3.
[2] Our Wars with the Burmese - Prince Damrong Rajanubhab (1917) - White Lotus,
Bangkok (2000) - page 350.
[3] Ibid - page 357.
Addendum & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg
April 2011, December 2012
(View of the area of Wat Sangkhawat)
(Buddha image in situ - photo Ken May)
(Buddha image in situ)
(View of the mound)