|BAN CHAO PHRAYA WICHAYEN
|Text & maps by Tricky Vandenberg - October 2019
|In order to look into the subject of the Chao Phraya Wichayen's lodge in Ayutthaya, it might be good to make a very short description of this
historical person. Constantine Phaulkon, was born at Argostoli on the Island of Cephalonia in 1647, and arrived in Ayutthaya in the service of the
English East India Company in the 1670s. He ingratiated himself with the "Phra Klang", who introduced Phaulkon at the Court. Phaulkon worked
alongside the Phra Klang and at the latter's death, King Narai wanted to confer that title on him, which he declined. In 1683 the King ennobled him,
giving him the title of "Chao Phraya" and a new name, so that he became now "Chao Phraya Wichayen". He enjoyed the King's confidence and
exercised almost unlimited power until his tragic death in June 1688.
It stands to reason that Phaulkon had a residence in Ayutthaya, as he had a high function at the court and dealt with foreigners. The house of
Constantine Phaulkon is shown on many modern maps. The earliest modern map in my possession indicating Phaulkon's house was published in
1957 by the Archaeological Exploration Section, Division of Archaeology, Department of Fine Arts. Based on an overlay, the map indicates
Phaulkon's residence in the location of the Saphan Talat Jin (Chinese Market Bridge), north of U-Thong Rd (approximate geographical coordinates
14° 20' 56.43" N, 100° 34' 11.36"E). Maybe the brickwork of the bridge was considered as part of Phaulkon's house at that time.
|A map dating back to 1974 situates Ban Chao Phraya Wichayen behind OK Kai Fortress along what was called before Chinese Road
(approximate geographical coordinates 14° 20' 56.37" N, 100° 34' 18.62" E).
|A Fine Arts Department map drafted in 1993 shows Ban Chao Phraya Wichayen, west of Khlong Pratu Jin, at the present location of the Phra
Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Governor’s Residence (approximate geographical coordinates 14° 20' 52.88" N 100° 34' 5.12" E). In fact, this was likely the
position of the lodge of the visiting French Ambassador in 1685.
|A digital Fine Arts Department map made in 2007 positions Ban Chao Phraya Wichayen near the Chinese Gate, but south of present U-Thong Rd,
close to the river (approximate geographical coordinates 14° 20' 53.17" N, 100° 34' 14.66" E) and likely outside the old city walls.
|We have thus four different positions for Ban Chao Phraya Wichayen on modern maps. Let us look now at some older maps drafted at the end of
the 17th century. The earliest data found with the location of the residence of Phaulkon dates back to a survey made in 1687 by a French engineer,
but only published more than half a century later. The French engineer was likely Lieutenant de La Mare, part of the first French Embassy to Siam in
The map "Plan de la Ville de Siam - Capitale du Royaume de ce nom Levé par un Ingenieur Francois en 1687" was drawn by Jacques Nicolas
Bellin (1703-1772) and published as plate No. 4 in Volume 9 of the 1752 French edition of Abbé Antoine François Prévost's " l'Histoire Générale
des Voyages." The map indicates "Hotel de Phaucon" in the legend marked with the letter "O". From the detail, we can see that Phaulkon's
compound consisted of two structures and was situated along Chinese Rd, as the notation "YY Rue Chinoise" shows in the legend of the map. The
compound was situated north of Ok Kai Fortress.
|Three years later we have the data of Engelbert Kaempfer (1651-1716). Kaempfer was in the City of Ayutthaya in June/July 1690 and made a
couple of surveys on foot. He made detailed sketches of his ventures in the city, sometimes mentioning the distances by a number of paces and
directions based on the compass. From Kaempfer we have detailed information as we have his sketch or field map (Sl 3060, fol. 429r), secondly a
draft map (Sl 3060, fol. 428) based on those sketches likely made on his return to Europe, and at last the posthumously published map by
Scheuchzer in "The History of Japan, Together with a Description of the Kingdom of Siam" in 1727 . From Kaempfer's sketch, we know that
Phaulkon's residence was situated along Chinese Rd (indicated by Sinensium Sinensi), East of the Chinese Market Bridge. On his sketch, he marks a
distance of 150 paces, which corresponds approximately with 110 m (150 x 0.73 cm). I presume this was the distance from the Chinese Bridge to
|Kaempfer mentioned in his "Miscellanea Notitarium Regni Siamensis" (Mixed notes about the Kingdom of Siam), that Phaulkon's residence was built
in a western-style and in stone. On his field map (Sl 3060, fol. 429r), he marked its position with the letter "u" and the notations on this map showed
"Faulcons ind[…] Rondeel". Rondeel or "roundel" in English is a strong fortification with a rounded or circular plan of a similar height to the adjacent
On Kaempfer's draft map (Sl 3060, fol. 428) we find a detail of Phaulkon's residence, seemingly having a wall around his house with on top
battlements in lotus-form identical to the ones on the city wall. His residence is here drawn adjacent to the city wall and also consisted of two
|Kaempfer mentioned in his Mixed notes (Sl 3061 fol. 16r): "Diese schone Maure so Nebst dem Neuen bolwerk von Faulkon restituirt, …" (These
beautiful walls, as in addition to the new bulwark of Faulcon, appears…). The definition of bolwerk or "bulwark" in English, is "a solid wall-like
structure raised for defense"; Phaulkon's house seems to have been fortified. From the 1727-published map, reading the legend "F. The house which
formerly belonged to Constantin Faulcon" we can reconfirm it was Phaulkon's residence.
Below you will find my tentative map with the location of Phaulkon's residence based on Kaempfer's inputs, a result that is very similar to the 1974
Map detail FAD 1957: Amatyakul, Tri (1957) - Guide to Ayudhya and Bang-Pa-In - Prachandra Press, Bangkok.
Map detail 1973: Courtesy of Dr. Surat Lertlum, Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy.
Map detail FAD 1993 & 2007: Courtesy of 3th Regional Office of the Fine Arts Department.
Map detail Kaempfer: Terwiel, Jan Barend (2003) - Kaempfer Werke 4 - Engelbert Kaempfer in Siam - IUDICIUM Verlag GmbH