Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library
Continued from Trelawny 5
Let us describe the entire lands by location and after separate so as to assess them in relative importance. These lands lie to the north of the Main Road from Half Moon Bay to Falmouth and we will say enclosed by Newton Street. That section to the West would now surprise many when it is known that a hill of Marl existed on it but by slow process removed by the prisoners for building the streets of Falmouth. All those days were before the year 1897 after that date the Falmouth District Prison ceased to exist. Depressions in the land at various spots was the result. It is remarkable that after the wet seasons an abundance of Salt deposit could be found on the surface of the land to be scooped by the humble lot. To them it was a gold mine. The purity or other wise has never been questioned but no one has ever suffered ill health by its use as far as we are aware. This incident refers particularly to that section parallel to the Main Road to Falmouth. As a part of Cave Island Pen it was purchased in the year 1802 from the estate of Mr. E. M. Barrett for £300, whose family previously owned all the lands in this area. The extent of the land acquired by the justices and Vestry for public utility included from a point at the intersection of the coast road (which has since the 1903 hurricane been reduced from a pleasant promenade to a waste) with the Main road, going east to Victoria Street across the large Pond to Cornwall Street on the South and back to the Main road cutting off about half a dozen small holdings --- may have been squatters as far as we know or could have been given possession for faithful services in Mr. Barrett's employment. The largest Pond was at one time allegedly owned by John Robey along with Cave Island Pen, and who bequeathed it to his paramour, Elizabeth Cohen, who became the wife of Frederick Walcott and eventually under the Poor Relief Law was taken over by the Parochial Board. We do not believe that the Pond was ever owned by John Robey. We can find no trace of it being made a Pond and the obvious conclusion is that the depression was natural. The water from this pond also covered lands parallel to Newton Street which at one time claimed by the Lyons family now residents of Kingston, but as the Parochial Board was in a dilemma for a Deposit ground for the debris and fallen trees the outcome of a Hurricane on the 11th August, 1903, it resorted to this site and made it what it is today but not without some cost. Labourers were employed weekly to spread and level the rubbish for a period of years until about the year 1942, when it was no longer necessary and a switch over to the Quarry lands was made.
In the days of the Falmouth District Prison all these lands contiguous to the Prison were well looked after and was a rendezvous as the Superintendents, Messrs. Kidd and, latterly, Humphreys were greatly interested and evinced pride in having the surroundings spick and span.
December, 1837. With regard to the incurable people your Committee sees no necessity for putting the Parish to any expense than that of allowing them to employ negroes to clear the ground, collect wood and build and thatch 6 or 8 new huts at the old Salt Works for the removal of unfortunate persons now on the roadside, 4 in number and 3 or 4 others who are said to be skulking in or about the toen. The probable expense of this removal will be about £40. Agreed. This refers to that depression now reclaimed, lying on the Main at the junction of Half Moon Bay or a part of the Quarry lands to the South. An abundance of Salt is to be found there. Before it was reclaimed the poor people resorted there for a free supply of salt, may getting enough to exchange for foodstuffs with the country folks.
We have been often asked for what purpose was this Dome erected. With changed conditions generally in Falmouth it is obvious that the new generation would be ignorant of its origins. It was constructed in or about the year 1810 as part of a Foundry [see photograph] by one Mr. Field, an Engineer, whose daughter was the mother of the late Dr. S. T. Vine, who is well known to this generation. As will be seen the building extends to the Public Works Office or as in those days, Tharpe's Wharf. The roof was entirely of slate until sometime between 1905-10 when the building was bought by Messrs. Delgado Bros., and attached to the wharf premises "Central Wharf." The workmen in this factory comprised Scotsmen in the majority. They were capable of taking care of the repairs to all the machinery of the Sugar Estates in this and adjoining parishes as well as the needs of shipping. Not many chains from this Foundry was another operated by one Mr. Smithers, along Upper Harbour Street and directly opposite 'Jarrett's Wharf," now "Hampden Wharf." This latter Foundry appears to have survived Field's Foundry as we find reference of it somewhere around 1850. Continuing on Foundries, it ought to be refreshing to note that one was established by Mr. Robert Taylor, a Scotsman and the father of Mr. George Taylor, late of Long Pond, in Sea Board Street, on that open land on the sea between Government Wharf and Falmouth Street. The owner of premises on the opposite side of this Street, which by the way, was then called "Strand Street," was Mr. L. J. Preston who in later years became Resident Magistrate. Mr. Preston complained that the smoke from the Foundry was damaging his premises. With no immediate abatement of the nuisance an action at Law was filed against Mr. Taylor. After taking legal advice Mr. Taylor decided to compromise the suit and as consideration gave Mr. Preston the land as his own. Mr. Taylor later installed himself on a mangrove clearance on premises no known as "Scotts Ville," where his operations would create the minimum disturbance to householders. After his death Mr. Matthew Scott, a Scot Engineer acquired the rights and continued operations until his death about the year 1903. In consequence of changed and altered conditions consonant with modern inventions of steam engines and steamships which affords expeditions transportation, the local works became uneconomical.
This Street runs along the seacoast from the Court House to a wall dividing "Jarrett's Wharf" now Hampden Wharf and Davis' Wharf, now Central Wharf, ending as a cul de sac. Sometime in 1905 the eastern end of this Street was sold to Messrs. Delgado Brothers for the sum of Ten Pounds. This firm, to enlarge their wharf premises had acquired the Foundry the MacDonald's Lodging and Agnes Holder's premises along Upper Harbour Street, therefore it served no further purpose as a right of way to other householders and of the utmost facility to the Wharf owners. This street was in the old days of singular importance and a popular rendezvous. There was no open space to the south side as all lands available had two storied buildings. In our time we recollect two Spirit Licensed shops, one a Tavern on this street. Invariably they were never without a constant stream of patrons. Those were the days when 20 to 25 ships were at once in the Falmouth harbour taking in or awaiting a cargo of Sugar and Rum from the 88 Sugar Estates. The night life was not a sober one. The police had their work in removing drunken sailors and others to the cage, now extinct. In April 1843, a petition was submitted from the Masters of Ships in the port to a meeting of the Justices and Vestry praying for the erection of a public landing place to facilitate embarkation when the wharves were closed. It was decided to construct one alongside the eastern wall of Trelawny Wharf at a cost of £40. This land, which was then open and called "Slip Dock," was then owned by the Barrett's family and later given to the Roman Catholics to found a Church. The Church sold it to A. D. Jacobs & Sons who constructed a pier and filled the land with coral rocks from the harbour. It was used for the purpose of shipping bananas. It was by that firm sold to Delgado Brothers. This impoverished landing place became unsuitable and in April 1847, Mr. Scott submitted to the Vestry the draft of a petition to the House of Assembly requesting that a Bill be passed for the purchase of a part of the beach in Sea Board Street for the erection of a public landing place for the Town. It was moved by Mr. Castello. Seconded by Mrl. Lyons that the Clerk of the Vestry be directed to write to the members of the Parish by the next post requesting them to try and get the Bill passed during the present Session. Mr. Castello also gave notice of his intention at the next quarterly Meeting to move for a sum of money to carry out the passing through the House of Assembly of such a Bill.
Mr. Joseph Roberts handed in the following Protest. . . I protest against any application being made to the House of Assembly to compel Mr. Barrett to sell land for a public landing place on the ground that Mr. Barrett has not been applied to sell the land required and that until this is done I do not think the Parish should be put to the expense contemplated by Mr. Castello's Motion, and further that the present Landing place which has been in use for upwards of 20 years may be easily repaired and improved upon which will be a considerable saving to the Parish.
In July, 1847, it was decided to request the Committee to confer with the Parish Solicitor as to the nature of the Bill to be applied for at the coming Session of the House of Assembly for the purpose of repealing certain Acts Reserving to Mr. Edward Moulton Barrett a Right to the Sea beach in this Town, for obtaining same for public purposes, for making proper compensation and that the Parish Solicitor do serve a Notice of the same on Mr. Barrett or on his representative. The Committee to consist of Messrs. Scott, Kitchen, Emery, Kidd and Harris.
On the 3rd August, 1847, the following Notice was served on Mr. E. M. Barrett: Sir, As Parish Solicitor I have been desired by the Justices and Vestry of Trelawny to give you notice that at the ensuing meeting of the Hon. House of Assembly of the Island, application will be made on behalf of the inhabitants of the said Parish of Trelawny for an Act of the Legislature to enable them to purchase that part of the Sea beach lying between Tharp's Wharf (now Government Wharf) and Barrett's Wharf (now Trelawny Wharf) for the purpose of erecting a public landing place to facilitate the communication of the inhabitants to and from the shipping lying in the harbour at Falmouth, for making public promenade and for such other purposes as the welfare and convenience of the inhabitants may require. Signed Thomas Whiteside, Solicitor.
A Law for the purpose was enacted under 11 Victoria Cap. 37 Sec. 7.
On Mr. Barrett agreeing to sell, the sum of £40 was paid him through his Attorney, Mr. Roberts, on the 6th April, 1848.
The Committee recommended that jetty be run out from high water mark 100 feet long by 12 feet wide with pitch pine piles 12 feet apart properly placed and covered with pitch pine planks. This pier was constructed by George Atkinson at a cost of £219. In later years an additional 100 feet was added. This pier lasted until the 11th August, 1903, when it was completely destroyed by a hurricane which destroyed and wrecked hundreds of buildings along the Sea Board Street and other parts of the Town.
The unauthorized sale of the salvaged lumber to a member of the Parochial Board caused the officer involved to be suspended from his duties and was saved from dismissal by a legal technicality.
The beach along this street was claimed by owners of lands on the opposite side but in consequence of continual erosion of the sea the street was deteriorating which led the Parochial Board in the year 1905, to construct at a cost of £600, the present Sea wall running from the Manse to Falmouth Street to meet the abutments of the old pier above referred to. The enclosed space was filled with coral rocks from the outer reefs and street sweepings and other garbage.
While dealing with this street we may as well clear up the reason for the presence of a cylindrical mason work in the sea opposite to the Manse. This construction controlled the water supply to the shipping. A two inch leaden pipe was laid from the junction of Falmouth Street along the sea coast and suspended on a low jetty 12 inches wide to the mason work above mentioned. Ships boats with containers were allowed to take as much water as was needed. The rate of payment was regulated by the tonnage of the ship. Further details will be found under Falmouth Water Company.
The entire Wharf premises of Barrett's wharf, now "Trelawny Wharf" was enclosed along the sea coast by a formidable wall but was destroyed by a hurricane which started up on the 31st October and lasted until the 2nd November, 1874. It was in this unexpected hurricane that wrecked the Barque "Fontabelle" off Salt Marsh when all aboard, including three Captains, lost their lives. Details of which will be given under its appropriate heading.
By Law of 1812 the Justices and Vestry were appointed and incorporated as Commissioners to purchase not exceeding 50 acres of land appertaining to Foss' settlement or to Robert Hume Gordon or in the vicinity whereon to lat out a Town and establish Bye Laws and ordinances for the prevention and extinguishment of fire and laying out streets etc., repairing the same and removing and preventing nuisances suppressing noxious trades, establishing and regulating markets and the trade and traffic in shops, government of taverns etc., sell or lease lots of lands --this to be done for the purpose of encouraging the growing of Coffee--a market for which invariably arise and became established on the great interior road now called Foss' shop, that the said Commissioners may hold property real and personal not exceeding £10,000.
Stewart Town, 20/8/1815. At a meeting held at the Market Cave in the Parish of Trelawny in accordance with 53 Geo. 3 Chap 19 held on Saturday 20/8/1815, present James Stewart, Custos, Thomas Munro, John Stockdale Brown and Cas. Reynolds... In pursuance of the Order of the Justices and Vestry (who are appointed Commissioners for carrying out the above mentioned act into execution) on the 4th April, 1815, the Commissioners proceeded to carry into effect the object of establishing the said Town and bargained with John Bailie, Esq., Representative of Thomas Gordon, Esq., Proprietor of Georgia Estate for 21 1/2 acres and proposed to purchase from Mark D. Cave 5 1/4 acres of land at the same rate the value of which reference must be had to a Jury agreeable to Law, there being no competent authority at present to convey.
Your committee directed Mr. Nicholas Smith, the Surveyor, to run out or mark and prepare a plan of the said quantities of land and to lay out the same into proper lots reference to the plan of which will more particularly appear. . . Your committee also employed Mr. John Cowper to clear the woods from the said lands at the rate of £3 per acre which is partly done. Resolved that it is expedient to employ a jobber to make the road into the town to form the main streets and Market place and also to make the road out of the said town to intersect the Great Interior road according to Plan. Resolved that the 4 Lots Nos. 59, 60, 67 and 68 be appropriated for the Market place. Resolved that a Shade 60 ft. by 20 ft. be erected in the centre of the Market place. Your Committee recommend that £25 be demanded for each of the first sold Lots as an encouragement to those speedily offering. Resolved that it be recommended to the Justices and Vestry that Mr. Michael Lyon be appointed Head Constable and Clerk of the Market is opened the amount whereof to be hereafter fixed. Resolved that the following Lots be sold to the following proposed: James Phillips Utten No. 58 and 69; Miller and Cowper, 63 and 64: Michael Lyon, 52, 53, and 54; John Francis Turnstall, 79, 80 and 81. Your Committee recommend that Mr. Nicholas Smith be empowered to dispose of or bargain for the sale of any of the Lots and to run out the square, the expense whereof to be at the charge of the purchaser.
As we have already stated, this Town is named after the Honourable James Stewart, the then Custos of Trelawny, and who identified himself so much in its progress and welfare. Stewart Town is the only other corporate Town besides Falmouth in the Parish. It was a great place for Coffee when the price for this produce was sufficiently remunerative. The land is exceedingly fertile and the people are well to do and happy. It has a population of over 1200. The Dornock river which rises about 2 miles from the Town was the locality selected some years ago to project the Cinema picture "A Daughter of the Gods." Within the Township are located the Episcopal Church of St. Thomas and the Webb Memorial Baptist Chapel, [see commemorative stamp] as well as a Methodist Chapel. We should here give more than passing remark to the Founder of this Baptist Church, the Honourable and Reverend William Menzie Webb [see Webb photo], a Jamaican of whose work and worth we are justly proud. This Minister of the Gospel had in him the true old Baptist spirit. Not alone did he attend to the salvation of the Souls of his flock, but to their general welfare. As a worthy testimony of his zeal and perseverance the Westwood High School for girls situate on a hill in the salubrious climate of Stewart Town is a prominent monument to the Rev. W. M. Webb.
West Wood High School. . . We are indebted to Miss May Jeffrey Smith, B. A., J. P., for the following notes on this School. It states that this School for girls was commenced in January 1880. It had its origin in the prejudice prevailing at that time which strongly objected to a black or darkly coloured girl being educated with those of fairer complexion -- a prejudice now happily passed away. This prejudice was manifested a few years earlier, when a well established school conducted by the Misses Knibb (descendants of the famous William Knibb) in Falmouth, was entirely broken up, because they admitted as pupils the daughters of two native Ministers, the one a Baptist and the other a Presbyterian, both of whom are recognized and respected gentlemen. As the ladies refused to dismiss these girls simply on the ground of their colour, the other girls were withdrawn and these ladies had to suffer some privation on account of their heroic attempt to stem the current of race antipathy then prevailing. It was about this time that the Rev. Mr. Webb visited England and was the guest of Dr. Frederick Trestrail of Bristol, a former Secretary of the Baptist Missionary Society and a warm-hearted friend of Jamaica. On being asked one evening by Mrs. Trestrail what he considered the greatest need of Jamaica, Mr. Webb replied, "A High School for the training of native girls along with others regardless of class or colour." He told the story related above with reference to the experience of the Misses Knibb. Mr. Webb thought nothing further of the matter until at breakfast the following morning. Mrs. Trestrail said, "Mr. Webb, we will have that School in Jamaica. I have been planning it all night. You go and manage the Jamaica end and I will raise the funds."
Mrs. Trestrail, it is narrated, gathered a band of ladies of kindred spirit and moved the public to practical sympathy and those ladies became the "promoters of the school."
Mr. Webb returned to Jamaica to do his part in starting the school. For fully two years (1878 and 1879) the Baptist Union discussed the scheme propounded by Mr. Webb, but decided not to make the attempt in establishing the School. Under these circumstances, Mr. Webb who possessed a fixed and determined character, asked the Reverend Henderson, another Baptist Minister residing at Brown's Town in the Parish of St. Ann to join with him in leasing the House at Manchester Pen near Stewart Town. Mr. Henderson readily agreed to cooperate and the School was opened with one teacher in the person of Miss Annie Fray and six little scholars in the year 1880. It was then called "The Manchester Girls' School." The school had a rapid growth, demanding extension of the buildings. So as to identify it with this Parish after a year's operation it was changed to "The Trelawny Girls' School." The School progressed insomuch that it was desirable that a permanent Home be procured and so on the advise of the Ladies in England it was decided to build. The site was chosen and about nine acres of land was purchased in the names of the Reverend Webb and Rev. George Henderson and the buildings erected thereon at a cost of approximately £3,000.
In the years preceding the ladies in England had sent out one Miss McKenzie, an experiences lady, as Principal Teacher. Applications for entrance to the school were now coming in from all parts of the Island as its reputation and stability were established. Under circumstances so favourable it was decided to (1) change the name of the School for the second time to "Westwood High School" as the pupils coming were not only from Trelawny but from all parts of the island. (2) put the School on a distinctly unsectarian basis and a Trust Deed was accordingly prepared to ensure this and providing for four Jamaica Trustees to be appointed to represent the leading denominations in the Island, viz., Baptist, Anglican, Wesleyan and Presbyterian. The new buildings were completed in 1895. Miss Alice Townsend was sent out as Lady Principal by the Ladies in England. She had a great experience in School management and the School prospered during her regime. The School, now being securely established in the year 1913, the Committee of English Ladies brought to an end their financial support and Westwood had to depend on its own resources. A sound Secondary Education combined with a certain quality of domestic training is given here. Miss May Jeffrey-Smith, B. A., J. P., who succeeded Miss Townsend did much to enhance the School's popularity. It is recognized by Government and receives a Grant from Public Funds.
The buildings are all of stone and the appointments are a credit to architecture. The School has accommodation for 120 Scholars. Dozens of girls are turned out annually to fill prominent places in the communal and social life of this country. Were it not for the moderate fees charged, many of our girls would not have had the opportunity of securing the education, which is of a high order, that this School gives.
Permit a short biography of the Reverend William Menzie Webb. He was the son of an Overseer and was born in the year 1839, at a little district near Brown's Town in the parish of St. Ann. He was a Member of the Parochial Board of Trelawny and was its Chairman from 1906 to 1909. In 1901 he was elected a Member of the Legislative Council and served for two terms. He was responsible for the transferring of the Rights of the Falmouth Water Company to the Parochial Board in the year 1902, the first dredging of the Falmouth Harbour, 1901 and an Amendment to the Marriage Laws whereby children born out of wedlock whose parents subsequently marry being regarded as legitimate children. Those are only a few of his achievements which we can at this moment recall. He had three daughters. One of his grandsons, Mr. H. L. Arnett, has been filling the position of Chairman of the Trelawny Parochial Board from July, 1935, and is also a member of the Board of Supervision. Mr. Webb died in July 1912 at the age of 73, beloved by all, and whose death was universally lamented.
In the absence of reference in our records we conclude that the Parish of Trelawny possessed no Church before the year 1795, when the Falmouth Parish Church was completed. Martha Brae, the first capital of this newly formed parish, had no such institution. We dare not venture to suggest that it was the lack of spiritual inclination but would assess it to be the want of leadership. It is obvious that land for the purpose was made available in Falmouth by Mr. Edward Bolton Moulton Barrett years before any definite move was made for the erection of a Church. Possibly from the year 1771 which was immediately after the Parish was established. Mr. Barrett who owned "Palmetto Point Pen," had made a plan of a Township of this Pen and in it allocated half an acre in the centre for the establishment of a Church.
On the 14th March, 1791, at its meeting held at Martha Brae it was Resolved by the Justices and Vestry that in its opinion a Church or Chapel should be built at the Town of Falmouth on land engaged to be given by the Honourable Edward B. M. Barrett for the purpose, with such materials that the land affords. Ordered that Tradesmen and Masons to contract for the building to accommodate 300 people be invited. There was at that Meeting the following: The Hon. John Tharpe, Custos; John Stogdson, John Whittaker, George Gordon Barrett, Herbert N. Jarrett, James Virgo Dunn, John Gaynor, Robert Minto, James Galloway, Thomas Reid, Urquhart Gillespie, Malcolm Beveridge, Edward Knowles and David Meredith (Clerk).
The matter was in abeyance for three years as it was not until the 9th of January, 1774, when it was again brought up. It was then Resolved that the several orders passed at the former Vestry respecting the building of a Church at Falmouth be rescinded--there being an Act which was passed during the sessions in December last appointing certain Commissioners for that and other purposes.
In that same year the contract was awarded to William Danny for the sum of £9,000. It was specified that the foundation of the building must be no less than 3 feet deep and to rest on bed rock. Walls to be 3 feet in thickness, 20 feet in height, enclosing 50 feet all to be done in the best white lime, mortar and the best stones available. The appointments to be done according to plan and specifications, and to be completed within 18 months. Payments to be made in instalments of £3,000. The building was completed in the year 1796. Mr. Danny received his final instalment of £3,000 on the 31st July, 1797. It is apparent that at the time awarding the contract no provision was made for a Belfry and or Clock Tower, as on the 29th June, 1796, it was ordered that the Church Wardens do employ a skilful person to erect a sufficient Belfry for suspending the Town Bell and Clock and pay the expenses thereof. The Tower was constructed, going up to about 60 feet. An eight day three dialed Clock and three bells were installed in that Tower in the year 1796. The Clock was only once repaired at a cost of £40. Two bells got cracked within the last 40 years and had to be recasted. The flooring of the tower was flat and covered with thick lead sheeting did not seem to give satisfaction and was subsequently altered into a conical shaped roof with shingles. In the year 1942, it was again remodelled during the incumbency of the Reverend S. P. Hendrick, M. A., as it now appears and which is less hazardous and expensive when reshingling becomes necessary. As will later be noted, the building comprised only that section to the east. The organ was located in the vicinity of the Tower, and the Pulpit nearer to the altar. The first priest was the Reverend Adrian Reid, who interested himself not only in spiritual matters but took a practical part in the development of the Town and Parish. He identified himself very prominently in the founding of the Falmouth Water Company. He also possessed lands from the Market Square to the sea, which he acquired from Mr. Barrett.
On the 5h February, 1798, it was by the Justices and Vestry Resolved that William Stephenson be paid £150 per annum as rent for his house as a parsonage. Houses then were at a very high premium in this Town and of course money was cheap. The Salary of the Clerk to the Church was £70, Sexton £30, Organist £150, Bellows Blower £10, Keeper of Clock £50. On the 8th October, 1798, it was ordered that a good and substantial Dome or Cupola be constructed over the Belfry, it being open to rain and injury and that plans and estimates be invited. The Contract was awarded to Messrs. Burmingham and Robertson for the sum of £750. We have already explained the difference in the design then and now.
In September, 1800, it was ordered that the Commissioners under the Church Law be requested to apply to the representatives of Mr. William Danny in order that the Capitols for the four columns in the Church may be sent out according to the original Contract. The Capitols were later received and affixed to the columns.
The Reverend Adrian Reid was paid £500 per annum in lieu of Glebe Lands. Mr. Reid, being a State paid priest, was by the terms of his service entitled to this perquisite. The Church lands comprised then only one acre. The Reverend Reid died in the year 1811, much regretted by the Church and people of the Town and by all those who knew his work and worth. The Rev. William Fraser, M. A., succeeded to the office.
The following fees were determined by the Vestry: For Christening Slaves up to 20, 6/8d each, over that number 3/4d each. It was ordered that the Rector should not baptise Slaves without the consent and approbation of their proprietor or possessor. For Christening White and coloured people 13/4; Public Banns 5/8: Marriages 26/8; Burials 50/-; Graves for strangers 20/-; Inhabitant of Parish 10/-. As a result of the illness of the Reverend William Fraser, M. A., the Reverend Walter Johnson acted as Rector in the year 1830.
Before the year 1836 no one could be legally married except by a Clergyman of the Church of England, which condition was an intolerable insult to the religious feelings of Protestant Dissenters and still more to the Roman Catholic Church. This change was a notable reform consonant with civilisation.
In consequence of the congested state of the burial ground in December, 1837, a Committee was appointed to report on the matter and the following was submitted: Your Committee to whom was referred the necessity of seeking land for an additional burial ground to the Established Church and for removing deceased negroes further from the roadside beg to report that they have gone over the ground with some attention and found that the square of 8 lots of land next and adjoining the street (Victoria Street), westward of the Church is the only place suitable for such purpose and although part and parcel of the said lands are said to have been sold, yet your Committee recommend the Vestry to five them full power to treat for and purchase the said block as in the even of failure you will have to resort to land a considerable distance from the Church which will be attended with great inconvenience and expense to the public. The probable expense of this purchase will be about £560. Your Committee therefore relies that the Vestry will not lose sight of an object so indispensable for sacred purposes.
On the 23rd March, 1838, a further report was presented, viz: The Committee to whom was referred the necessity of purchasing lands to extend the burial ground at the Parish Church beg leave to report that they have arranged for the purchase of 12 Lots of land to westward of the present ground for the sum of £700. The Committee particular recommends the purchase of the whole 12 lots as a part of the same would answer well for the erection of the contemplated National School.
The Vestry accepted the Committee's report and resolved that the land be purchased but that no wall should be built around it for the present. The Committee for the National School also agreed to the above Report and suggested that the cost of building the School be not more than £1,510. The School Committee also reported on the existing school located in Market Street: "The success that has attended this institution in having 112 scholars within only a few months, and the pecuniary side promised by His Lordship the Bishop of a grant of £300, induce your Committee to be more earnest in the recommendation. Until the proposed building be completed, your Committee will in the meantime continue to pay for a hired house at the rate of £60 per annum.
Be it Resolved that His Lordship the Bishop having engaged to grant £500 be granted from local funds for the same purpose, the School to be erected on part of the land to be purchased for an additional burial ground, that the Committee be authorised to import bricks etc. for the said extended building and that a plan of the same be submitted to the next quarterly Vestry. On the 7th January, 1839, it was noted that a supply of bricks had arrived costing £277.13/6.
In July, 1839, the Vestry had no funds and had to negotiate a loan of £5,000.
On the 24th January, 1840, Mr. T. R. Vermont was paid £548, being amount of his Contract for the National School and for repairs to the Rectory, £333.7.6.
The following notes relative to the interest taken by the Church and State in education may be of some little interest. . .
In January, 1837, We the undersigned members of the School Committee after a minute examination of the pupils numbering 68, viz., 55 boys and 13 girls in the several branches of their education, cannot withhold our unqualified praise of the manner in which they have acquitted themselves. We think much commendation due to the master, Mr. Evans, for his unremitting labour in thus qualifying so many young persons for useful and creditable stations in future life, while we cannot but consider him so inadequately remunerated as to justify our recommendation that his salary as master be augmented to £230 per annum. The Vestry adopted the report but regretted that in view of the finances of the Parish it was unable to increase Mr. Evans' salary.
In January, 1840, it was resolved that the Parish Solicitor be directed to prepare by next Vestry the Title for the land on which the new National School is erected as well as of the additional Burial ground to enable the Vestry to receive from the Lord Bishop the £300 sterling towards the building of the School and that the Church Committee do advertise for tenders for enclosing the new school and burial ground to erect two privies, and for painting the whole of the wood work at School. In February, 1840, the sum of £27.10/- was paid for painting the School and £73 for the erection of the two Privies.
In June it was agreed to adopt the Committee's Report that the old National School house in Market Street be hired as a Police Station or Barracks for the Police who should be removed from Southfield.
In January, 1846, the sum of £9.12/- was paid the Registrar of the Diocese for registering the new Burial Ground in Falmouth and the new Church at Stewart Town.
In July 1860, it was ordered that £200 be added to the Estimates of Expenditure for Educational purposes at the National School and that the Rector with the Committee of Vestry of 6 members be appointed to select fit and proper persons as Matron and Assistants and Mistress. The Committee to consist of the Custos Cunningham, Messrs. Fred Castle, Kidd, Clerk, Preston and McLaughlin.
For the construction of a Wall enclosing the School and burial ground, the sum of £1,080 was paid. This school became one of the most famous on the Northside, children from other parishes became scholars. Its reputation was at a very high standard thanks to the untiring efforts of men who devoted much of their time and talent to its success. When these notes are published we hope there will be a few men alive to recollect the happy days we enjoyed in this faculty. The only drawback we suffered was a circumscribed playfield but the best was made of it. Many of us may remember the practical jokes played on our last Master, Mr. Benjamin Powell. The Flying horse in his Chair, then the plastering of it with Cobbler wax which to the amusement of all rendered the old man's old serge pant unfit for further lectures on the durability of wool--the seat was left in the Chair! Who can forget esprit de corps when the whole school suffered rather than divulging the culprit. The exploits of we boys if put on record would equal to any "Tom Brown School Days." Frank Humphries was the brain of all our pranks. The boys, however, as men, always remembered old "P" on his birthdays, which came around every month, with a donation. He lived to a good old age and died somewhere around the year 1909. The School was closed in about the year 1902, when all the three Denominational Schools in the Town were amalgamated and became the Government School at the Soldier's Barracks.
We lament to see the ruin of the old National School buildings. No roof but the brick walls serve as a monument to its past greatness.
In April, 1838, it was resolved that the salary of Mr. Hodge, the Organist, be increased from £150 to £200.
In January, 1839, Mr. Hodgson gave notice that he would move for the purchase of a new Organ for the Falmouth Parish Church.
In January, 1840, a petition from the parishioners and others attending Divine Service praying for increase in accommodation in the Church having been received, it was Resolved that the following gentlemen be a Committee to report to the special Vestry meeting to be held this day fortnight on what improvements and alterations are required for the further accommodation of the parishioners attending Divine Service at the Established Church at Falmouth: the Rector, Church Wardens, Messrs. Dunstone Scott, Campbell, John McKenzie, King, and Rev. Stone to meet next Monday. One the 3rd February, 1840, the Committee in its report stated that they had directed two plans to be prepared which they hoped to present to the Vestry at its next Meeting. As regard the Organ, your Committee think that the Organ is quite unfit for any place of worship and recommend the purchase of a new one and that the present one be repaired and sent to the Swanswick Church. This was done in the year 1941, after a new Walker's Organ was obtained and erected under the steeple. The cost of the Organ was £500.
Drapery for the Church were imported at a cost of £500.
In January, 1841, with Mr. Samuel G. Barrett in the Chair, Tenders were opened for enlarging the Church. One from Mr. James Gerard for £1,570 sterling was accepted as the most eligible tender subject to a more binding specification and any alteration in the plan of the roof, that Mr. Biggs, the Engineer mat suggest to the approval of the Committee. Mr. Gerard's tender to do Mason work for £1,300 sterling was also accepted. Fourteen months were given for completion of the work. Total cost £2,870.
In April, 1842, the sum of £1,200 was advanced to Mr. Gerard on account of his contract as the work was almost completed. On the 16th January, 1843, James Gerard was paid a further sum of £1,700 (the sum of £72.15/0 being still reserved until the steps and some other decorations according to the plan are properly completed) which brought the total cost to £2,972. 15/9.
Beneath this extension of the Church can still be seen tombstones of the departed who were interred before the work was contemplated.
Remarkable it is to see the paucity in attendance in these days compared with those of which we are writing. The capacity of the building before its extension would be more than ample to accommodate those now attending divine services. Except at special services, e.g., Confirmation, services of the State or Funerals of noted citizens are all the pews filled. There are pews to seat 1,000. It is quite true that the population of Falmouth has declined to 2,500 from that of over 3,000. We are of opinion that the cause of this decline is not attributable to the quantum in population, or the lack of appreciation of religious faith but the distribution to other Churches. Be it remembered that the Church of England was in those days the only Church in Falmouth. The Baptists extended its operations to this Town in 1814, when it was given permission to open a School on the application of the Rev. Mr. Rose, who was a much liked man. The Presbyterians next came in the year 1831, and the Wesleyans in 1834. The Baptist drew on the black population, the Presbyterian on the Scots and the people of colour became members of the Wesleyan. The English whites only remained in the Established Church. The monopoly was broken by these noncomformists. The real missionary zeal was lacking in the Church of England in those days and we regret to say that even in these latter days the improvement is negligible. The Priests were State paid and they carried on their duties in a stereotype manner: they cared more for the Church as an institution than for the souls of men and generally on the social climb. It distresses us to write thus, but out observation is true. We have never been able to find in any record not has it ever been revealed by tradition that this Church was ever dedicated to or given the name of "a Patron Saint." We have no record of the consecration of this Church which must have taken place after the arrival of the Right Reverend Bishop Christopher Lipscomb, D.D., to Jamaica as its first Bishop on the 11th February, 1825. Be that as it may we have found recorded in the Minutes of the Justices and Vestry dated 1st March, 1845, copy of a letter addressed to the Custos of Trelawny and it appears to us sufficiently illuminating to warrant reproduction herein:-
Manchester Mountain Convisitaton,
Sir,--As the principal Magistrate for the Parish of Trelawny and as deeply interested in the welfare of the Parishioners, I venture to address you on a project of some importance to the whole community and in the advancement of which I rely much on your assistance. One of the most distressing and acknowledged deficiencies in the Island of Jamaica is the want of adequate education for the working class of the people, and of competent school masters for their instruction.. . The depressed state of the Colony and other urgent remands on the public purse and on private charity preclude the possibility of obtaining from any source at present open to us, such large stipends for school masters, as would afford sufficient inducement to well qualified strangers from Europe to undertake an office of great labour and difficulty in a country where the necessaries of life are costly and the climate not without peril. Under these circumstances it is to nation teachers that we must look for the tuition of our people and to qualify such person for the task we must have Institutions accessible to those who without the pecuniary means of educating themselves are desirous and prepared to be so instructed as to become efficient teachers of religion and morality as well as of simple elements of learning. . . With this view I propose to revive in an improved principle the Normal School in the Parish of St. Andrew and for that purpose have already received from King's College, London, a person in all respect fitted for the work of training such a class of Teachers as appears to me the most needed in the existing condition of the Colony. I have admitted the gentleman to whom I refer into the lower Order of the Ministry and have every assurance and proof that I can desire of his integrity and competency. . . The Salary of the master will be defrayed from funds and the premises which are admirably suited for the purpose have been provided by the Church Missionary Society. The only expense I should wish to devolve is the maintenance of One Normal scholar at the rate of £25 per annum, a sum in itself not considerable and for which each Vestry might select and send a pupil to the Institution before the 1st April next at which period the master will be prepared to open the School with such scholars as he shall have admitted. In requesting you to bring this matter to the consideration of the Vestry for the Parish of Trelawny I would stipulate that the pupil selected should not be less than 15 or more than 20 years of age. That he should be able to read and write with facility and to be of sober habits and with some aptitude for acquiring the degree of learning necessary for his future profession. If I am so fortunate as to procure of all or most of the Vestries (parochial) of the adoption of this measure, I have no doubt that with God's blessing I shall be enabled to infuse new vigour into our present schools and gradually to supply the districts of the Diocese with teachers who may be the happy instruments of improving the rising generation and adding materially to religion, honesty and industry of the working classes of this noble though depressed land.
Resolved that the Clerk of the Vestry do reply to the above and state that the Vestry will gladly accede to the proposal contained therein and will provide £25 for the maintenance of a pupil, and that the Rev. E. Griffiths, Rector, had been requested to select a person suitable for the purpose.
On the first March, 1845, His Lordship paid his first visit to this Church and at a meeting of the Magistrates and Vestry and other inhabitants of the Parish, the following address was presented him: To the Right Reverend Father in God, Aubrey George, Lord Bishop of Jamaica. . . My Lord, We the Magistrates, Vestrymen and other inhabitants of the Parish of Trelawny tender our sincere congratulations to your Lordship on your first visit to this portion of your Diocese and beg to express the great pleasure we feel in welcoming you among us. We are fully alive to the important results likely to emanate from your personal supervision of the condition and spiritual requirements of the Diocese important to the further extension of religious zeal and teaching as well as the diffusion of educational benefits throughout the Island both of which will be advanced by the influence of your lordship's bright example, and your Lordship may depend that we will at all times cheerfully cooperate with you in promoting the spread of Christian knowledge in this Parish.
We fervently hope that your Lordship and family may continue to enjoy good health and that you may be long spared to fulfil these high offices committed to your charge. (Signed on behalf of the meeting) James Dunston.
The following reply was made by His Lordship on that red-letter day for the Church: Gentlemen, I sincerely thank you for the honour which you have conferred on me ny an address, the substance and manner of which must be equally gratifying to my own feelings and to that portion of the community belonging to the established Church which I represent: of the great liberality and apparent unanimity that have characterized all the proceedings of the Magistrates and Vestry of Trelawny in reference to the National Church: of the large and sustained assistance which they have given to many institutions having for their object the advancement of religion and education. I cannot but avail myself of the present opportunity to express my grateful acknowledgement. Gentlemen, while I warmly reciprocate with you the kindly sentiments with which you are pleased to congratulate me on this my primary visit to your parish, I must beg you to believe that if the immense extent and multifarious business of my Diocese preclude me from that frequent personal intercourse with you which I should desire, I shall never overlook the claims of this important portion of my charge nor intermit the use of such means as may be afforded me for contributing under God's blessing to the increase of the welfare and prosperity of the people with whose interest my own are identified and by whom I have been so courteously received.
In January, 1845, the Rev. Griffith Griffiths, Rector, called the attention of the Board to the necessity of having the Decalogue, the Lord's Prayer and Creed put up in the Church and also that the Pulpit and Reading Desk required to be removed--this matter was referred to a Committee consisting of the Rector, Messrs. Heinghton, Kitchen, Castello, Moorish and Fry and to report at the next meeting. In February 1845, the Committee reported and recommended that the necessary Tablets--Decalogue, Lord's Prayer and Creed be forthwith imported and that a sum of money not exceeding £200, be placed at the disposal of the Committee to be appointed by the Vestry towards the expenses thereof and of such alterations as may be required agreeably to the plan accompanying the report. The Committee are induced to recommend strongly this measure in consequence of the great disadvantage arising from the present position of the pulpit and Reading Desk affording a very imperfect light with the additional inconvenience of excessive heat and as a further inducement for the adoption of the recommendation contained in the Report the Committee have to state that a large increase of sittings will be obtained for a gradual increasing congregation. In April the sum of £100 was granted to remove the Pulpit and the Reading Desk.
In November, 1845, Messrs. Langley & Kerr's tender for £790 for rebuilding the Rectory which was to be completed in 10 months. This was situated at Officer's Alley. It was a two storied house, commodious, and enjoyed the full force of the prevailing sea breeze but was completely destroyed by fire in August, 1826, when an adjacent Dry Goods store owned and managed by one E. D. Arscott was fired. The reverend J. T. H. Chandler was then Priest in charge--fortunately for this venerable gentleman he was not at home, he being on a short holiday. An account of this Fire Works will be found elsewhere.
While the Rectory was under repairs in 1846, the Great House at Florence Hall was rented as a parsonage from Mr. Richard Wilson at £90 per annum, which included 25 acres of Guinea grass. In that year the Rector was paid £138, in lieu of Glebe lands. This recurring expenditure let Mr. George Lyons to give notice that he would Move for the purchase of a Pen or suitable acreage of land for the Parish as Glebe. An estoppel was however placed in the way in April 1846 when a Protest was handed in, signed by Messrs. Edward Knibb, Rev. J. E. Henderson and Mr. Alfred Rodgers stating 'We Protest against all Grants for Schoolmasters, Beadles and Organists or for any other officer that is not provided for by Law" and it was Moved by Mr. Rodgers Seconded by Mr. Henderson that the matter be referred to the Solicitor to advise whether the Board had any power either inherent or by Statute to raise Taxes for the payment of Schoolmasters, Organists and Beadles. Moved by Mr. Castello, Seconded by Mr. Charles E. Fray, as an amendment that the Report of the Committee of Accounts in which the salaries of the Church Officers were involved be received. The Amendment was put which resulted in 12 for and 4 against. The Amendment was declared carried.
In August, 1832, it was ordered that the Honourable William Miller, Custos, be requested to order a Tombstone and a Monument to the memory of the late Honourable James Stewart, Custos Rotulorum, with suitable inscriptions and that the sum of £80 sterling be passed for the purpose. The actual cost was £101. 1/3, and was erected in July 1846. The Township of Stewart Town, the founding of which he deeply identified himself and the inscription on the Table at the Magistrates' pew in the Church gives an ample testimony of his popularity and worth: "Sacred to the memory of the Honourable James Stewart, Custos Rotulorum and Representative in the Assembly of this Parish, Judge of the Supreme Court and Major General of the Militia who departed this life on the 4th day of August, 1828. Aged 66 years. He devoted his life to the public service of this his native country. As a Legislator he was no less distinguished for his eloquence than for the wise policy of his measures. As a Judge he adorned the seat of justice by the dignity of his character and the integrity of his decisions. As Chief Magistrate of the Parish he endeared himself to its inhabitants not alone as the watchful guardian of the public peace but as the beneficent promoter of their private interests and individual happiness, and in testimony of the grateful feelings with which they revere his name, they have erected this monument for his memory."
To the south-east of the Churchyard where he was interred will also be found over his grave a Tombstone of Slate with inscriptions.
The Reverend D. R. Littlejohn, Rector, on the death of the Honourable George Cunningham, Custos, in August 1865, delivered an oration on the death which is worth recording; "Gentlemen, since the last Quarterly meeting of this Board it has pleased the Almighty disposer of all events to remove from amongst us the Chief Magistrate of this Parish. His place here knows him no more, but that vacant Chair which he was wont to occupy possesses a silent eloquence which we cannot disregard. It calls upon us as a body to remember him who has held rule here so long and to record this day the sense we entertain of the value of our departed Custos. I therefore at once "careless his merits or his faults to scan" Move the adoption of the Resolution placed in my hands believing that every heart here will beat in unison in the act of placing on his Tomb his simple tribute to the memory of George Cunningham--Resolved that the Members of this Board at their first quarterly meeting after the lamented death of the Honourable George Cunningham, Custos of this Parish desire to record their deep regard at the loss they have sustained, their high appreciation of his valuable services to the Parish and the watchful interest he took in its affairs for a period upwards of twelve years during which he acted as Custos and member of the House of Assembly." It was unanimously carried with members standing with bowed heads.
The Rev. Littlejohn, Rector, fell ill and proceeded to England and died.
The Rev. John McGrath succeeded him as Rector in 1847.
At the meeting of the Vestry in January, 1847, the Rev. J. E. Henderson, R. D. Dexter, Edward Knibb and George Lyons protested against the sum of £120 being allowed the Rector in lieu of Glebe for this Parish considering the same as being illegal and unjust. These gentlemen also protested against salaries to Beadles and other Church Officers for Falmouth, Stewart Town, Swanswick, Rio Bueno and Good Hope, and against the financing of the National School by the Vestry. They were however somewhat premature as it was not until the 1st December, 1866, that a letter was received from the Hon. T. Irving, the Financial Secretary for Jamaica, informing the Vestry that after that date no provision would be made by the Government for the services heretofore included under the head of "Church purposes" except for the repairs of Churches etc.
In 1848, the Church Steeple was repaired and sheet lead was laid around the Cupola after its height had been increased to permit of the Clock running for 8 days without winding.
On the 25th January, 1854, it was decided by the Vestry that owing to its bankrupt financial condition it will be unable to fill the positions of Organists, Beadles and Keeper of the Church Clock at Falmouth and the Rio Bueno Schoolmasters. The savings would amount to £400. Such was the state of its finances that the Custos was authorized to obtain a Loan of £90 from the Bank for the purpose of paying Paupers. The Justices and Vestry was dissolved and the Municipal Board came into being on the 3rd April, 1867.
The Reverend John McGrath died and was sometime about the year 1865 succeeded by the Rev. Ernest E. A. Stewart. Mr. Stewart, an Irishman, was Rector at Rio Bueno. He was requested by His Lordship Bishop Nuttall to act in Falmouth for a short while until another Rector was appointed. When the time arrived and Mr. Stewart was ordered back to Rio Bueno, he refused to leave Falmouth and defied His Lordship's command and remained in the Falmouth Parish Church until advancing age compelled him to retire in the year 1901. He died at Armagh, his country residence, on the 10th August, 1905, and was interred in the Churchyard. Mr. Stewart was one of the old time bearded priests. His sermons were all read and its length and monotony had the marvellous effect of sending us to sleep. He was a matter of fact sort of a person with an extraordinary strong will. His word was Law. He had quite a large family the members of which were honoured and respected on their own merit as well as on the cherished memory of their forebear.
It was during the incumbency of the Reverend Stewart that the Endowment Fund was inaugurated. He being a State paid Clergyman and paid from the coffers of England at the rate of £360 per annum, the Subscriptions, donations and other Church revenues which were substantial were handed over to the Diocesan Board to be invested. The capital now amounts to about £5,000 and yielding 3 per cent. Half per cent was, however, deducted a few years ago as a contribution towards the debt on St. Hilda's School at Brown's Town. The available interest is only about £115 per annum. Occasionally additions are made to the Capital Endowment.
Among the Tablets erected in the Church in memory of the departed are:
"Near this spot lies the body of Captain Herman B. Harris of Concord, New Hampshire, North America, who died in this Town on the 17th June, 1795." It appears that he was the first to have been interred in the Church yard.
John Marnock of Garredu, died 1st February 1815.
James Galloway of Unity Hall Estate, St. James, died 28th August, 1893.
Robert Christie, Colonel of the Trelawny Regiment of Militia, died 19th August, 1817, age 49.
Joseph Hodgson, J.P., Church Warden, Lt. Col. of Militia, age 46.
Samuel Harnshaw of Colchis Estate, died 19th June, 1824.
Thomas Whiteside, Solicitor, died 2nd July, 1850, aged 47.
Henry Moulton Shirley, Custos and Member of Assembly for Trelawny, born in England 11th November, 1825. Died at Spanish Town 2nd December, 1856. To the memory of one whose short public career marked his rising ability, independence of action and integrity of purpose too briefly expressed in his devotion to the best interests of the Island with whom affability of intercourse and sincerity of attachment won further grace from the various sources.. .
Mr. Henry Shirley was the older brother of the Honourable Leicester Colville Shirley who inherited Hyde Hall, Eddington and Glamorgan estates as well as other properties in Trelawny. This Church exhibits a masterpiece of masonry of the middle ages, and not without well considered architectural appearance. Efforts have been made to establish Missions at Crawle and Litchfield, but from lack of continuity and sacrifice of those responsible, they have turned out failures.
Continued at Trelawny part 7
SEARCH THIS SITE
Plan of this website
Help - Frequently Asked Questions
Jamaica Almanacs Slave-owners, Civil & Military officers, Magistrates etc.
Items in the Samples Directory
Items in the Members Directory
Transcriptions from Registers and Wills (Church of England, Dissenters, Civil Registration)
Jamaican Roman Catholic Church Registers - transcriptions
Jamaican Methodist Baptisms - transcriptions
Jewish births marriages deaths - transcriptions
Slaves and slavery in Jamaica
Photographs, maps, prints, etc.