Hampstead Great House
Mike Schwartz told me that in order to get to the Potosi Estate I needed to turn on the marl (weathered limestone) road and follow it to the River Bumpkin Farm, an adventure concession owned by Sandals Resorts. I made my way down the five kilometers to the adventure company and was then told that they couldn’t give a tour of the Potosi Estate but if I could come back tomorrow, they would be glad to help me. I told the office girl about what I was doing and she suggested I go look at Hampstead Great House back on the same road. I back-tracked to the great house and there I met Paul Robinson who gave me a tour of the exterior of the great house and the sugar factory.
Hampstead was a property owned by Jane Stone who was a slave and became the wife of Jonathan Barnett who owned the Barnett Estate. She also owned the Retreat Estate nearby the great house. The Retreat sugar mill (I will cover it in another blog) ran using a water wheel on the Martha Brae River. The Hampstead sugar mill ran by cattle power. In 1850, the owner consolidated the two mills at Hampstead using steam power. At the time of emancipation, the estate had two hundred slaves.
The great house is remarkably nondescript. At the time, it was a really great house, but today, I’m afraid that it would be considered a middle class house. I drove to the top of the hill and as I started to take pictures, Paul Robinson, the caretaker, met me. He was unwilling to let me enter the house but gave me a first class tour of the property. We viewed the original kitchen outbuilding with a brick baking oven, as well as the barracks, where the house slaves lived. We then left the top of the hill and drove down to the ruins of the old sugar mill and rum distillery. I saw the furnace that both boiled the cane juice as well as made steam to run the steam powered mill. He also showed me the well, the water tank, the factory pond and the ruins of the building where the sugar was processed.
In order to get to this great house, take the Martha Brae exit from the north road, drive through Martha Brae on the way to Perth Town and follow the signs to the River Bumpkin Farm (to be described in a later post). Turn off the paved road, at the River Bumpkin Farm sign and about a mile up the road, you will see a coconut plantation on the left and a narrow track up the hill to the great house.
Hampstead Great House Photo Gallery
Hampstead Great House Location