Bog Great House
After leaving the Monymusk distillery and great house, I drove out through the main gate to the great house (now a school) and noticed a windmill tower and the first floor of what appeared to be a great house. After talking to the locals, I discovered it was indeed the ruins of Bog Great House which burned down approximately five years ago. An eight year old boy testified that he had been born in that house but he now appeared to living in the kitchen out building. The house appeared to have had a pillared portico that was accessed by double flight of stone stairs. The bottom half, made of square-cut stone, would have been used for storage and a hurricane shelter. The second story was gone but would have contained a drawing room, dining room and several bedrooms. The windows were probably louvered which would allow the cooling breezes to flow through the house in this very hot parish.
Nearby was the ruin of a windmill that would have powered the sugar mill rollers. The sugar mill had been converted into an office and I learned at one time the sugar workers would receive their pay at one of the windows. The mill is now abandoned and the roof has blown off.
The first recorded owner of Bog Estate was John Morant in 1811 who owned 493 slaves and 160 livestock. However, the Morant family had vast sugar estates in Vere Parish, where Bog Estate is located, at least as early as the eighteenth century. He was born in Clarendon Parish to one of the oldest British Colonial families. He was educated in England, moved back to Jamaica and upon the death of his father inherited his vast estates. This allowed him to move back to England and upon his death the Jamaican estates became John’s (the boy in the painting). Bog Estate remained in the family at least until 1878. The Bog Plantation is recorded to have been in sold to Alfred Pawsey by 1900. The 1904 Jamaican Almanac records that the Owner was Alfred Pawsey and the Attorney was W.J. Noad. During that year, 450 acres of land were in cane and 3,579 acres in other uses. The sugar mill was steam powered using a centrifugal process. It produced 210 hogheads (one hoghead equals 238 liters/62 gallons) of sugar and 264 (one puncheon equals 318 liters/84 gallons) puncheons of rum.
James Mitchell Gibb was born about 1807 and lived in the Bog Estate with his wife Mary Ann in 1855. His son John James Gibb was born in the house on 25 September 1854 and died at the age of four months. Two years later Mary Ann died in child birth on 20 June 1856 and the daughter, Jessie Mary Ann died at the age of three months. Due to the deaths of his younger siblings, the oldest son, Robert Charles Gibb trained to be a medical doctor in London and then moved to Jamaica to specialize in tropical fevers. James Mitchell Gibb died in the Hermitage Great House on 10 November 1890 at the age of 83 years. During his life he also owned Hermitage Estate, Banks Estate, Carlisle Estate and Salt Pond Pen.