New Yarmouth Sugar Estate-Clarendon Parish
Every day that I spend on my construction project in Clarendon Parish, I look out over the Wray and Nephew New Yarmouth cane fields and in the background the rum distillery. During certain times of the year, when the wind blows from the west (very unusual) and the rum distillery is in operation (part of the year) the distinct smell of fermentation reminds me that a rum distillery is in the neighborhood. This distillery is not a newcomer to Jamaica.
John Carver owned sugar estates in the old Vere Parish in the early 1700s and when John
Ward, Second Viscount of Dudley and Ward (1704-1774) married Mary Carver, the Jamaica sugar estates passed onto the Viscounts and Earls of Dudley and Ward. The family owned the New Yarmouth sugar estate in Vere Parish and the Rymesbury and Whitney sugar estates in Clarendon Parish at least until the mid 1800s, well after the slave emancipation. Upon the death of John Ward, the estates passed onto John Ward, the Second (1725-1788). Since John Ward had no sons, the title and the estates passed on to his half brother, John William Ward (1781-1833). John William Ward eventually served as the British Foreign Secretary between 1827 and 1828 and was admitted into the Privy Council as Earl of Dudley. Additional information about the Ward family is easily found online. I find no evidence that the Wards ever visited Jamaica and would therefore be considered absentee landlords.
According to the 1817 Jamaica Almanac, the New Yarmouth Sugar Estate had 220 slaves and 203 cattle. The sugar mill was extensive and the cane rollers were driven by wind power provided by a substantial stone wind mill tower. By 1831 there were 236 slaves, in 1838 there were 186 apprentices and the 1845 Jamaica Almanac reported that the estate consisted of 852 acres.
The ruins of the sugar mill are easy to find today nestled in the shaded hamlet made up of Wray and Nephew employee houses. The stone tower is now used as a water tank tower and the brick and stone sugar works are easily found in the underbrush.
New Yarmouth Sugar Estate Photo Gallery
New Yarmouth Sugar Estate Location Map