Free To Live – Jamaica’s Free Villages

Maidstone, Manchester

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This building housed the slave hospital in Maidstone.

This is a small historic village in the cool hills of northwestern Manchester; it was originally a coffee plantation. The township was created as Maidstone, a free village, in 1840 by the Moravians to settle former enslaved African displaced after emancipation. The estate comprised 341 acres but when it was purchased it was subdivided into 98 lots ranging in size from 1-15 acres.

Goodwill, St James

Goodwill, a Presbyterian village, was established after the abolition of slavery and in 1840 it was still in its infancy. It was settled on a small piece of fifteen acres, on the border of St James, bounded by the Kent and Orange Valley estates. The lots were divided into one quarter of an acre of land each, and the township was under the direction of Reverend George Blyth, a minister of the Scottish Missionary Society. He bought the place out of funds amounting to 900l currency, subscribed by the congregation for the purpose… Read more

Stony Gut, St Thomas

Stony Gut was the home of National Hero Paul Bogle, and the genesis of the Morant Bay war of 1865, which had significant political consequences for the country. It is also one of several independent free villages which emerged after emancipation.

Salem, Westmoreland

Salem was born out of the need to relocate the Moravian congregation at New Hope in Westmoreland. The church building was but a small school-house which was in a state of disrepair. Added to this, New Hope had gained the reputation of being an unhealthy place. Hence, it seemed desirable, from every point of view, to remove the station to a better locality.

In 1860, AB Lind purchased from his own resources a property at Beeston Spring in Westmoreland. Beeston Spring estate was located a few miles to the north-east, and about 750 feet above sea level, and it contained many acres of splendid woodland. Lind sold back to the mission about forty acres for a mission station and then sub-divided and sold the rest to members of the church and to others… Read more