Parish Facts – Westmoreland, Hanover, St James & Trelawny

This week, we continue Parish Pride month by venturing further into the county of Cornwall, with Westmoreland, Hanover, St James and Trelawny.

Westmoreland

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  1. Formed in 1703, the parish is called Westmoreland most likely because it was created out of the lands in the west of Jamaica.
  2. Around five per cent of the parish, or 10,000-12,000 acres, make up a large freshwater wetland called the Great Morass. The Morass and much of the land around it are protected under the Negril Area Environmental Protection Trust.
  3. The Frome Sugar Estate, the largest in the parish, was the site of the 1938 Labour Riots. The riots, which spread to many parts of the island, led to many major changes in the political development of the island. Most important of these changes was the advent universal adult suffrage in 1944.
  4. Parish capital Savanna-la-Mar, founded in 1730, has been inundated three times during hurricanes. In 1780 “the sea rose and left two ships and a schooner stranded among trees,” and in 1912 the schooner Lationia ended up in the middle of town.
  5. Jamaica National Building Society was originally the Westmoreland Building Society, founded in 1888 by Rev Henry Clarke, as part of his campaign to assist the “small man.” In 1971 it merged with other rural building societies to form Jamaica National.

Hanover

blenheim

  1. Formed in 1723 out of parts of Westmoreland and St James, the parish was named November 12, 1793. It was named for the British monarch George I, who was from the House of Hanover in Germany.
  2. The famous Lucea clock is said to have been intended as a gift from Germany to the people of St Lucia in the eastern Caribbean. However, the captain of the ship confused both places and it ended up in Hanover, where the townspeople refused to give it up. The still fully functional Lucea clock tower was built in 1817 and stands in the town center near the courthouse.
  3. This small, hilly rural district of Blenheim is the birthplace of National Hero, Sir Alexander Bustamante. Blenheim is believed to be named after Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England, the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.
  4. Henry Morgan, the notorious pirate and later Lieutenant Governor of the island, sheltered in Lucea Harbour and later acquired 4,000 acres of property in the area.

St James

sam sharpe

  1. The parish was created after the British captured Jamaica in 1655 and named for James II, the Duke of York.
  2. Parish capital Montego Bay could have been named for Montego de Salmanca, an early colonizer, or from the Spanish word “Manteca”, meaning lard or butter since lard was exported from here.  An early map of Jamaica has the Montego Bay area listed as “Bahia de Manteca” or “Lard Bay.”
  3. Montego Bay is the site of one of the largest slave uprisings in Jamaica’s history – the Christmas Rebellion of 1831-32, led by Sam Sharpe.  Sharpe’s plan of passive resistance did not work and the slaves became violent and burned buildings and canefields in several parishes. He turned himself in and was charged and hanged in Montego Bay marketplace. He was later was named one of Jamaica’s National Heroes.
  4. Montego Bay was accorded city status on May 1, 1981.
  5. In 1906, Dr Alexander James McCatty donated his beach property to be used as a bathing club. The name Doctor’s Cave is derived from the fact that it was frequented heavily by Dr McCatty and his colleagues who entered through a cave (later destroyed by a hurricane in 1932)  The beach became famous when Sir Herbert Barker, a famous British osteopath, published an article claiming the waters had curative powers, could cure ailments and restore good health.

Trelawny

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  1. The parish was created in 1770 and named for Sir William Trelawny, then the Governor of Jamaica.
  2. Much of Trelawny is occupied by one of the world’s noted limestone Karst features, the Cockpit Country. Dense with vegetation, caves, sinkholes, and underground passages, the remote area was chosen by the Maroon people for many of their larger settlements.
  3. One of the first ever piped water supply systems in the Western Hemisphere originated in Jamaica, in the town of Falmouth. With the Martha Brae River as its source, in 1799 the Falmouth Water Works Company was established to supply the town of Falmouth and visiting ships.
  4. Trelawny is the birthplace of many of Jamaica’s most notable athletes, including World, Olympic and Commonwealth Games champions and medallists Merlene Ottey, Usain Bolt, Veronica Campell-Brown, Warren Weir, Michael Frater and Lerone Clarke. Sanya Richards-Ross, the 2011 World Champ and 2012 Olympic gold medallist was also born in Trelawny. She attended Vaz Preparatory and Immaculate Conception High School, before migrating to the United States. Disgraced sprinter, Ben Johnson who was also born in Trelawny.
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