|THUNG PHO SAM TON (ทุ่งโพธิ์สามต้น)
|Thung Pho Sam Ton or the "Field of the Three Fig Trees" (1) was an area north of the city of Ayutthaya bordered in the west by Khlong Bang
Phaeng, a stretch of the defunct Bang Kaeo River; in the north by Khlong Thon above Wat Muang (2); in the east by Khlong Ban Muang, a stretch
of the old Lopburi River and in the south by Khlong Chang, also a stretch of a loop in the old Lopburi River. Whether or not the area between the
old and the new Lopburi River, an extension of Thung Phaniat north of Khlong Chang, should be included, I am not quite sure, but I add it for the
record. The whole area is low land and prone to flooding.
Following were the temples in alphabetical order, located in above area:
Wat Chedi Hak (mound), Wat Dao Khanong, Wat Hong (restored ruin), Wat Kamphaeng (mound), Wat Khok Kham (mound), Wat Krang
(mound), Wat Muang, Wat Nonsi, Wat Pa Fai (mound), Wat Pa Nai (no traces), Wat Pho Hom, Wat Pho Sam Ton (mound), Wat Sing (ruin), Wat
Sop Sawan, Wat Ton Satu and Wat U Taphao (mound).
Pho Sam Ton was the location were a dispute occurred between Prince Si Suphannamathirat, younger brother of the King of Lawaek Cambodia
and Prince Naresuan. The Cambodian Prince came to the help of Siam with an army to fight a Chiang Mai incursion. After the battle he moored his
royal barge at a landing in Pho Sam Ton area to rest. When Prince Naresuan passed by, he expected that Prince Si Suphannamathirat paid homage,
but the latter did not. Prince Naresuan was so enraged, ordered the beheading of a captured Lao prisoner and impaled the head in front of the
Cambodian Prince's royal barge. The latter was seriously offended but kept quiet. The issue would at later stage turn into war between the two
Pho Sam Thon was used for Mon settlement. In one of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab's works we read that when the Burmese King Alaungpaya
(r.1752-1760) attacked the Mons and sacked Pegu in May 1757, many migrated into Siam to seek protection. The Siamese Court received them
well and offered land for settlements in the outskirts of the capital, as for example at the village of Pho Sam Ton (3). 
Thung Pho Sam Ton was a notorious battlefield used by the Burmese to encamp when attacking the city of Ayutthaya. On both sides of the old
Lopburi River, just north of Wat Pho Sam Ton, the Burmese set up a military camp. The river was used to transport troops and logistics.
Monasteries in the vicinity were stripped of their bricks in order to establish the fortification of the camps. Remnants still can be found on the spot.
After the siege and plundering of the city of Ayutthaya for more than a week, the Burmese kept here a "pied-à-terre" and stationed about 3000
Burmese and Mon to continue the arrest, torture and plunder. The members of the royal family which were sick and unable to make the travel to
Burma, were kept at the camp. It was also here that King Ekathat (r. 1758-1767), the last king of Ayutthaya was brought, after he was found at Ban
Chik near Wat Sangkhawat. King Ekathat died at the camp and his body was buried at the royal cremation grounds opposite Wat Mongkhon
Bophit.  It was likely also here that ex-King Uthumphon (r. 1758) was kept prior his compulsory evacuation to Sagaing.
Phraya Tak (4), who escaped with his adherents through the Burmese encirclement in January 1766, gathered an army in Chantha Buri and returned
to chase the Burmese out of Ayutthaya with some 5,000 soldiers and 100 warships. He first took Thon Buri and then headed up to Ayutthaya to
attack the Pho Sam Ton Camp, north of the city. He attacked the Burmese camp in the month of November from the east, pushing the Mon and
Burmese soldiers back to seek retreat in the camp. Phraya Tak seized the Pho Sam Ton Camp within two days. In the end the Burmese surrendered.
Unfortunately the Thai Government invest nothing in up keeping the area of the Pho Sam Ton Camp as an historical place, being ultimately the
location where Siam regained its independence. Nothing is left from the camp with exception of some bricks still visible in the soil. The area has been
excavated and is now a large pond. Old people still recall that in the fifties of last century they dug out the bricks of the camp to sell and found next to
remains of fallen soldiers (Hua Kralok), a lot of objects belonging to the latter. The bricks, even broken, were loaded on boats accosting near Wat
Dao Khanong and which brought the bricks to Bangkok. In that period there was massive digging in the area. 
A commemoration shrine of King Taksin had been set up in situ. Prior the large flooding of 2011, there was a meeting at the location in were was
suggested to construct a chedi on the premises; but in 2012 people started a triage for garbage in the vicinity, polluting the area.
(1) Ton Pho = Ficus Religiosa or Sacred Fig is species of fig native to Indian peninsula, Sri Lanka, southwest China and Indochina. It is also known
as Bo-Tree - from the Sanskrit Bodhi: "wisdom", "enlightened".
(2) A connective canal between the defunct Bang Kaeo and old Lopburi Rivers.
(3) See the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - "Furthermore, Phraya or Phra Ram, Phraya Klang Müang, and over four hundred followers of
Saming Thò, were routed and fled on in to seek the protection of the Holy Royal Accumulation of Merit by way of the Municipality of Tak.
They were directed to establish homes at the Three Fig Trees." [The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 446 /
Source: Phan Canthanumat, British Museum & Royal Autograph - Mon Refugees Flee to Ayutthaya]
(4) Phraya Tak at that time was awarded the title of Phraya Kamphaeng Phet. In order not to create confusion I kept using his old title, as he became
later King Taksin.
 The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya - Richard D. Cushman (2006) - page 111-2 / Source: British Museum, Reverend Phonnarat, Phra
Cakkraphatdiphong & Royal Autograph - Naresuan and the Lawæk Army.
 Our Wars with the Burmese - Prince Damrong Rajanubhab (1917) - White Lotus, Bangkok (2000) - page 295.
 Ibid - page 356.
 Interview in Tambon Khayai, Bang Pahan - April 2011.
|Text & photographs by Tricky Vandenberg - December 2012
|(Taksin shrine at the Burmese fortress location)
|(Brick remnants in situ)