Parish Facts – Clarendon, Manchester & St Elizabeth

This week, we continue Parish Pride month with some quick facts about the parishes of Clarendon and Manchester to wrap up the county of Middlesex, then venture into neighbouring St Elizabeth in Cornwall.


Milk River Hotel and Spa in the early days
  1. The parish was named for Lord Chancellor Sir Edward Hyde, the Earl of Clarendon.
  2. Clarendon was formed through the combination of three older parishes, including one formerly known as Vere.
  3. Physically Clarendon is dominated by the Vere plain and the Rio Minho with the Bull Head and Mocho Mountains at its northern end.
  4. About ten miles south of the capital town, May Pen, is the Milk River Bath, one of Jamaica’s great spas. The radioactivity of the water is many times greater than many of the world’s famous spas. The relative radioactivity of the water has been found to be:
    • 9 times as active as Bath, England
    • 50 times as active as Vichy, France
    • 5 times as active as Karlsbad, Australia
    • 54 times as active as Baden, Switzerland


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Kirkvine Bauxite Plant
  1. Established in 1814, Manchester was formed from parts of the parishes of St Elizabeth, Clarendon and Vere. It was named for the Duke of Manchester who was then Governor of Jamaica.
  2. Over 90 per cent of the parish’s surface is limestone, so there is an abundance of cockpits, sinkholes, caves and underground passages.
  3. Most of the parish’s rivers flow underground due to the limestone.
  4. Almost all of the parish is between 2,000 and 3,000 feet above sea level. The main mountain ranges are the Carpenters, May Day and Don Figueroa Mountains.

St Elizabeth

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Lover’s Leap
  1. St. Elizabeth is one of the Jamaica’s largest parishes. Prior to 1814, it used to incorporate parts of the parishes that are now Westmoreland and Manchester.
  2. Capital town Black River is one of Jamaica’s oldest towns. Its record of existence dates back to 1685. During the heyday of colonialism, records show, it was one of Jamaica’s wealthiest urban centres, prospering from an extremely profitable logwood trade, as well as exports of rum, pimento and cattle skin from the Holland, Vineyard and Fullerswood estates.
  3. The Waterloo House, which now operates as a guest house, was also the first in Jamaica and among the first in the western hemisphere to have electricity. The house is believed to have been originally owned by relatives of English playwright William Shakespeare. Black River was also among the first towns in Jamaica to have piped water.
  4. The parish has three mountain ranges – the Nassau Mountains, the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Lacovia Mountains.
  5. The Mexico cave is said to be the longest in the island.

For more parish facts, see: