On Sunday, September 7, 2014, The St. Ann/St. Mary Chapter, along with visitors from other chapters, visited Rockfield House, Seville Great House and the Seville Excavation site.
Rockfield House is the home of Jamaican artist, Judy Ann MacMillan. Located high on top of a mountain in Higgin Town, St. Ann, the house offers stunning panoramic views of the countryside. Judy Ann MacMillan gave us free run of the home and the members delighted in every charming nook and cranny. Our host then treated us to an array of mouth-watering snacks topped off by an incredible lychee and coconut water drink.
Seville Excavation Site
After enjoying lunch on the expansive veranda at Seville, the tour continued across the street to the Seville excavation site. On this final leg of the tour, former president of the Georgian Society and archaeologist, Ivor Connelly took over.
He pointed out the first settlement in Jamaica by the Spanish in 1508, which was a fort that included the governor's house, a well and cistern as well as a water wheel. Off in the distance, an artisan's shop was discovered fairly recently by an archaelogy team.
In this artisan's shop, many artifacts from the Abbey Church were found and are now housed in the museum.
Written by Lena Rose. Photos by Lena Rose and Jane Rosen
"Located high up in the Don Figueroa Mountains in Manchester is the Maidstone free village, established by the Moravians in 1840 on more than 340 acres of a former coffee estate.
The Nazareth All-Age School in the community boasts a small museum with several items from the pre-Emancipation era. Among them are branding irons, corn mills, coffee pumpers, pots, and several other items.
Erstwhile principal Garth Smith told The Gleaner that some of the artefacts were excavated from former slave sites, while others were donated by residents. He lamented, however, that one of the prized pieces in the collection - shackles - went missing after the old slave hospital in which they were previously housed was damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.
Another community stalwart, Enue Davey, admitted there is one major challenge in preserving Maidstone's heritage.
"We have to contend with the scrap metal trade," he told The Gleaner. "When the scrap metal people came here, several pieces of artefacts were sold to them by people who were either looking for a quick dollar or not appreciating the historic value of what they had. If that hadn't happened, we would have had a much richer collection here."
Throughout the years, in addition to establishing the primary school, the Nazareth Moravian Church played a key role in shaping the community.
"The Moravian Church took on the role to teach people how to govern, how to be leaders in their own homes, how to conduct community meetings, how to be in charge," Smith told The Gleaner.
Today, employment opportunities in the village are very limited, with the primary school being the largest employer. A cheese factory which was opened in 1990 as the only cheddar cheese-manufacturing business in the island under the Three-M project, saw production declining within a few years and in 1998, Alcan reached out to help rescue the factory.
Since the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004, the factory, located on lands owned by the Moravian Church, has remained closed. However, Davy said the plant and equipment are still in good condition "and could be opened tomorrow". He believes the reopening of the factory, a cultural tourism project and a training centre are at the top of Maidstone's wish list to breathe new life into the village.
"We have a gold mine here but we have not been capitalising on it," Davey said of the village's history."
From the wattle and daub of the Tainos to the cement and steel of contemporary society, the various building designs in Jamaica define our architectural heritage, each providing vital information on the different periods of our past . . . Read more
Near the small village of Cave in the Parish of Westmoreland lies the Chebuctoo Great House. The house is set on a high bluff overlooking the ocean . . . continue to read more about this property as well as learn about transportation in Montego Bay one hundred years ago. Read more
The Chebuctoo Great House built in the 18th Century
The Friends of the Georgian Society of Jamaica (FGSJ) are mounting a London exhibition showcasing Jamaica’s fine historic buildings and the FGSJ’s and the Georgian Society of Jamaica's work to preserve and restore them.
Friends of the Georgian Society of Jamaica exhibition, 11-12 June, to include:
Venue: Hogan Lovells, Atlantic House, Holborn Viaduct, London.
Entry by pre-purchased tickets only. Bookings on the attached form below must be received by June 2nd. Also download the flyer for more details and the tweetable suggestions .
Download flyer Download booking form Download tweets.
On Sunday, May 18, the St. Ann and St. Mary Chapter members had an enjoyable excursion to Worthy Park Estate and Distillery in the parish of St. Catherine.
We took the scenic route, driving through quaint villages along narrow, winding roads. Many "oohs and aahs" could be heard as our members appreciated the breathtaking scenery of the surrounding mountains.
Upon entering the estate, we headed directly to the main house. Our charming hostess, Joan McConnell, who owns the estate with her husband, gave a warm welcome. She ushered us into her lovely home and to a comfortable outdoor patio. The group expressed more collective "oohs and aahs" as we took in the majestic garden. See slideshow/gallery below for a pictorial journey:
Ladies of the Georgian Society Enjoying the Landscape
The name "Worthy Park" was patented in 1670 - this land was given to a Lieutenant Francis Price for his services to Cromwell during the English invasion and ultimate capture of Jamaica from the Spanish in 1655. The commercial production of cane and sugar began fifty years thereafter, in 1720, and the production of cane and sugar has continued in every year to the present day.Since 1670 Worthy Park has been owned by three families including the present proprietors. The Clarke Family acquired the Estate in 1918. Since the time of acquisition by the Clarkes, the Estate has remained private and has always been owner-operated and managed.
The Worthy Park brand is "Rum Bar", an easily recognizable icon of Jamaican life and culture. The end products of the Worthy Park operation are: Rum Bar White Overproof Rum, Rum Bar Worthy Gold, Rum Bar Rum Cream and Rum Bar Vodka. To the delight of of our members we tasted them all and were very glad indeed that we didn't have to drive home.
Written by Lena Joy Rose. Photos by Jackie Prendergast and some by Lena Joy Rose,
The St Ann/St Mary Chapter Invites you to our First Annual Easter Tea Party on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014 at 2:30 p.m., Coyaba Gardens, Ocho Rios.
Join us for a relaxing afternoon of live mento music with Allan Swymmer, former lead singer of the original Jolly Boys; Andrew Roblin, international recording artiste; and Roy Harris on rumba.
As part of the festivities, author Fay Pickersgill will be the keynote speaker. Attendees will get a chance to purchase an autographed copy of her book at the signing.
About the Author: Fay Pickersgill is a former Director of Tourism for Jamaica. Once listed among the 100 most powerful women in the travel business by the influential Inter-national Travel Agent Magazine, she has served the industry for over 30 years. In 2001, she was awarded a National Honour, Commander of the Order of Distinction, by the Government of Jamaica for her outstanding contribution to the tourism industry.
"All Proceeds Benefit the Annotto Bay Baptist Church Restoration Project"