Cinnamon Hill Great House
Ever since I visited the Greenwood Great House in 2007, I have known about the Cinnamon Hill Great House. I just didn’t know how to access it. I finally figured out how to see the great house. The Cinnamon Hill Golf Course winds around the Cinnamon Hill Great House and around and through the ruins of the Cinnamon Hill Sugar Works. It was named for the wild cinnamon trees that grew on the property. Not being a golfer, it was obvious that the way to see the great house and ruins was to hire a caddy as a tour guide. We first headed up the hill on golf carts, past the Barrett’s cemetery to the ancestral home of the Moulton-Barretts. The house was built during two time periods. Edward Barrett, Esq. (1734-1798), a wealthy sugar planter, built the house in two stages. The one-story West Wing on the left was the original house, built between 1764 and 1765. It contains the drawing room and dining room and originally had four bedrooms in the attic. The two- story east wing on the right was added between 1780 and 1785 to provide more space for the growing family and to provide six cooler, larger bedrooms. It also contains a sitting room and a library. The house is constructed of square-cut stone as is the kitchen outbuilding. The gable roof on the west wing and the hip roof on the newer east extension are covered with cedar shingles. The west wing has a stucco treatment but the east wing is exposed stone. There is a large verandah to the rear, which in the past, provided a terrific view of the sugar works and the Caribbean Sea below. The Barretts were ancestors of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the poetess (see my post on the Greenwood Great House). After over one hundred years, the family was forced to sell Cinnamon Hill Estate in 1878. It has been owned by George Robertson, Joseph Shore, the Henderson family and finally John Rollins who presently owns the property. For over thirty years, the home was owned by the country musician Johnny Cash but has since reverted back to John Rollins.
The photo to the below is a view of the drawing room in the 1765 portion of the house. It had three-foot thick walls with gun-ports in case the house needed to be defended from a slave rebellion or an attack from pirates. The plantation was also defended by a cannon battery during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The area around the great house has become wooded since the 1973 photograph. After a photo tour around the house, our “tour guide” took us down to view the old aqueduct and sugar mill ruins. We followed the golf cart paths around the ruins The most obvious remnants of the sugar works is the remains of the aqueducts which carried water from the Little River to the water powered cane mills. At hole number 17, the aqueduct funneled water into a Mirrlees and Taft horizontal cane mill.
The old 18th century sugar works was powered by water from the aqueduct, built in 1764 by Edward Barrett, Esq., which brought water from the Little River across the road to the water mill. The mill also contained the trash house, the book-keepers barracks (see my posts on sugar plantation management), the large two story curing house and the boiling house with its tall stone chimney. The sugar mill and rum distillery was closed down in 1912 when the Central Sugar Factory was opened at the adjoining Rose Hall.
A close-up of the ruins of the 18th century water mill, shows the rusting remains of the old machinery inside. A 19th century newspaper advertisement for the sale of Cinnamon Hill Estate, published in The Colonial Standard on the 24th of April, 1874, describes this water mill as follows: “There is a powerful horizontal cane-mill by Mirrlees and Taft driven by a fine iron wheel, the later being worked by a never failing stream of water which after leaving the mill is utilized for irrigation purposes.” The firm of Mirrlees and Taft was located in Glasgow Scotland.rlees and Taft driven by a fine iron wheel, the latter being worked by a never failing stream of water which after leaving the mill is utilized for irrigation purposes”. The firm of Mirrlees and Taft, which was located in Glasgow, Scotland, made sugar mill machinery for many Sugar Plantations in Jamaica during the 19th Century.
Locating the Cinnamon Hill Golf Course is easy to find east of Montego Bay. The club house is located on the south side of the main north highway. There are many resorts in the area offering lodging.