|WAT RONG THAM (วัดโรงธรรม)
|Wat Rong Tham was a monastery situated off the city island in the eastern area of
Ayutthaya in present Phai Ling Sub-district.
The monastery stood (likely) south of Wat Pradu on the south bank of the today defunct
Khlong Wat Pradu. The premises of Wat Rong Tham and Wat Pradu were merged to
become Wat Pradu Rong Tham, presently known as Wat Pradu Songtham. (1)
The monks of Wat Rong Tham next to the monks of Wat Pradu, played a role in the
city's history, as a group of eight monks from both temples, summoned to read the
Buddhist Law to King Songtham (reign 1610/1611?-1628) at one of the throne halls in
the palace, rescued the king and escorted him away in front of 500 rebellious Japanese
merchants, angered by their treatment in conducting trade. The Japanese were thereafter
routed by Phra Maha Ammat - the later King Prasat Thong - and his troops, the
remaining merchants boarded their junks and fled Ayutthaya. In reward, Phra Maha
Ammat was granted the title Chao Phraya Kalahom Suriyawong, while a royal
proclamation was made on a standing basis to present food and alms to the monks at
Wat Pradu and Wat Rong Tham. 
Dutch merchant Jeremias Van Vliet, one of our oldest sources of that period, reported
another version of this event, without mentioning the monks of Wat Pradu and Wat Rong
Tham. He wrote that the king was effectively seized by the Japanese.
But as the confluence of Japanese increased considerably their natural pride and
impudence grew so great that at last, they dared to attack the palace and to seize
the king in his own room. They did not let him free again from their tyrannic hands
before his Majesty had sworn that he never would remember the harm done to him
nor take any revenge and that he would take the Japanese in his service as
soldiers and as bodyguards to the end of his life. These promises remained in force
by which the rogues, not only enjoyed the usurped advantages, but they practised
also great impudence and violence against the natives and against the foreign
His Majesty was considered so holy that the Siamese claimed that he had no
enemies in the world nor could he acquire any. The contrary, however, appeared
to be the case, for His Majesty was seized in his palace by the Japanese living in
Siam. These desperate villains would not free him until he offered them many
benefits and swore that he would never retaliate for their wicked deed. 
The site is indicated on Phraya Boran Rachathanin's [PBR] map drafted in 1926. PBR
indicates Khlong Pradu south of Wat Rong Tham, but this might be incorrect and
possibly be another canal. Kaempfer positions Khlong Pradu north of Wat Nang Chi
and above the mouth of Khlong Pratu Ho Ratanachai on the opposite side on his map
drafted in 1690, hence Wat Rong Tham and Wat Pradu were separated by the canal.
Wat Rong Tham must have been located approximately in geographical coordinates: 14°
21' 48.61" N, 100° 35' 14.79" E.
(1) The renaming of "Rong" by "Song" seems to come from the following: "rong" which
means building, sounds also as coffin (Th: long). The word "rong" was not felt as a very
auspicious name for a temple, hence the name change. The same occurred to Wat Wong
Khong, before known as Wat Rong Khong and later changed into Wat Wong Khong.
Other Ayutthayan temples which were merged at a certain stage are Wat Sri Pho (Wat
Sri Pho & Wat Phrom Kalayaram) and Wat Tha Ka Rong (Wat Tha & Wat Ka Rong).
|(Detail of Phraya Boran Rachathanin's map - Anno
|Text and maps by Tricky Vandenberg - Last update 30 January 2019