Ackendown Great House


 On the way back to Kingston, after a weekend hunting great houses in Hanover, we decided to track down Ackendown Castle which is supposed to be located across from the entrance of Whitehouse Sandals. Sure enough, we turned onto a road between two posts, headed up the hill and found the Ackendown Great House. The chain link gate was standing open so we parked our vehicle and headed toward the most obvious structure on the property, the great house. The house is abandoned, so I dutifully took pictures of the great house from all directions and even drew out a house plan.

The house appears to have had major modifications over the years. The original house was built (1750) prior to Archibald Campbell’s birth (1781-1833). It consisted of the back rooms on a square-cut stone and brick foundation that made up the original house. On top of this building appears to be wood and lime plaster construction (Spanish walling). It was connected by a paved courtyard to the kitchen outbuilding. It had a semi-circular stairs at the front of the house. The original roof was probably a gable roof that ran east and west. The back rooms which don’t have a basement are presently being used as a horse barn. More than a century ago (1878) Andrew Stephen Aguilar added a front wing with its separate east-west gable roof. This wing had a full basement made of cut stone and contains an oven on the east wall. Sydney Aguilar added east and west wings and converted the gable roofs into hip roofs (1920). Further additions were made at a later date to the rear on both the east and west (1950).   Most of the wood flooring is missing, leaving the basement open to the second floor of the south addition. In the living room, the wall wood supports are exposed and painted brown, with white plaster between the boards. The house is painted white with brown louvered windows. There is a large porch with stone steps on the front forming an arch beneath the floor.

It is thought that John and James Guthrie owned the property between 1710 and 1757. The Guthries were an important historical family in Jamaica. Between 1757 and 1784 the property was owned by William Beckford. From there the ownership gets somewhat muddled but eventually the property ends up in the ownership of the Campbells who supposedly built the Ackendown Castle. From 1869 to 1878, R. F. Thomas was the owner and then from 1978 to recently it was owned by the Aguilar family.

There is evidence of numerous buildings scattered around the property, including several storerooms connected by a pimento barbeque (a flat area for drying pimento). This would indicate that at one time, the plantation was used to produce pimento. West of the house is the Negro house piece where mounds of the previous houses are still visible. The July 1837 plan shows 32 structures averaging 15 feet x 20 feet in size scattered over nine acres. The plan also shows the fourteen acre provision grounds where the slaves grew their own food.

The great house is easy to find, directly across from the Whitehouse Sandals Resort gate. I wonder how many people, staying at the resort know that such an interesting structure is within a short walking distance?


Ackendown Great House Layout

Ackendown Great House Layout

Ackendown Great House Photo Gallery

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About A Magnificant Journey

My “claim to fame” is being married to Bonita, an amazing artist and a father to three great sons, all who have endured my wanderlust. I have visited 87 countries and one or more of the family have accompanied me on many of the trips. My youngest son had visited over 30 countries before he was a teenager. Along with Jamaica, I have worked on construction projects in Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Peru, Haiti, Slovakia and of course the United States. I enjoy introducing people to overseas travel and most of the time the trips are “working vacations.” I have lead over 60 volunteer construction teams to the most jungely, deserty, mountainous areas of the world. If I'm not constructing a clinic, school or church building in a developing nation, I'm out scaling cliffs, paddling down remote rivers or mountain climbing. If I'm not working, you can find me roaming the remote corners of the world. I refuse to live a sedentary life and finds joy in helping people, less privileged then myself, in places that challenge my abilities to cope in a strange culture and environment. This blog is to chronical my amazing and exciting life. Join me in this ongoing tremendous journey through life and find out about the people who make it possible.

9 responses to “Ackendown Great House”

  1. neffy93 says :



  2. Karl Aiken says :

    Here was I thinking there was nothing on our old great houses! Very informative stuff. Great reading. Thank you.


  3. Bill Wedenoja says :

    Auchindown I am told was purchased by Mr. Ronnie Thwaites, former Minister of Education, from the Aguilar family, and totally restored by Mr. Thwaites. Then it came into the hands of Sandals, after which it was vandalized by local residents who stripped it and even pulled the floorboards up, due to lack of security. After which a guard was posted there. There has been talk of Sandals restoring the building for tourists and building a golf course on the property. I have some documents on the history of the property if you would like more information.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathleen VanLangen says :

      My husband’s 3rd great grandfather is the R.F.Thomas mentioned as a property owner. His name was Robert Francis Thomas. I would love to add more to the family history and this property.


    • Kathleen VanLangen says :

      My husband’s 3rd great grandfather was an owner of Ackendown – Robert Francis Thomas.

      Liked by 1 person

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