The Alley Saint Peters Anglican Church-Clarendon Parish

On Sunday, I headed for a friend’s church up in the mountains of Clarendon.  I figured I would swing by The Alley to get some photographs of the interior of the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church building.  I had previously taken photos of the exterior during a weekday so I figured I’d take this Sunday to get see the inside.  I arrived at 9:00 and stayed until 10:00 o’clock when I had to leave.  Alas, no one showed up on the Sunday morning of my visit.  However, I did manage to get some decent photos through the windows, which you can view below in this post.  I had a particular interest in the church building because it contains many monuments to the past owners of the local sugar estates, on the interior walls.

Post Photo

Saint Peter’s Church is located in the town of The Alley (yes that’s right THE Alley).  From what I understand, The Alley was quite the town in the 1700’s; in fact, it was called the Paris of the New World.  Today, it is a sleepy town where most residents are employed by the local Monymusk sugar plantation or work in the Monymusk sugar mill and distillery.  If the church building is any indication of what the town looked like in the past, it was certainly a beautiful town.  I saw other evidences in the area of the grandeur that once was a town fitting the name of Paris of the New World.  The Vere Parish sugar belt brought the prosperity to the region.

Saint Peter’s Church is the third oldest Anglican Church on the island of Jamaica.  The church, originally built in Withywood (now Milk River) was founded in 1671 as the parish church of Vere Parish (now a part of Clarendon Parish).  After the 1692 earthquake, the church moved to The Alley and they constructed the building in 1715.  In 1722, a hurricane partially destroyed the building.  The church rebuilt the existing building on the existing foundations and completed it in 1735.  They constructed the magnificent building of red brick and stone quoins brought over as ballast in ships from England.   The brick tower forms the entrance to the building and is accented by quoins, arched windows and crowned with castellation all painted dazzling white.  The original slate roof has recently been replaced with a shingle roof, as evidenced by the piles of slate remaining along the exterior walls.  Most of the windows are arched at the top.  Unfortunately, an addition has been added to the back of the building constructed of unpainted concrete block.  The stairs in the tower lead to a three-quarter ton bell cast by Mears of Whitechapel, London in 1857.  This same foundry cast Big Ben in London.  The massive organ was installed in 1847 and is said to be the oldest organ in the Commonwealth Caribbean.    There are magnificent stain glass windows.  The window on the east side of the building depicts the life of Jesus and the window on the west, the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed and the Ten Commandments.  Graves of colonialists and members that are more recent surround the building.

Exquisite marble monuments are on the walls and set into the floor.  One wall monument calls attention to the one below as:

BENEATH THE MARBLE

IN THAT PEW HATH BURIED THE BODY OF

THE HONOURABLE JOHN MORANT ELDER

WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE

OCTOBER THE 7 ANNO DOMINI 1710

IN THE 44TH YEAR OF HIS AGE

AND HIS SON JOHN MORANT YOUNGER

WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE

FEBRUARY THE 6 ANNO DOMINI 17—

AND ALSO ELIZABETH

THE WIFE OF JOHN MORANT

 

In addition, the monument that bewails poor wretched survivor Elizabeth Osborn:

 

TO THE MEMORYOF

THE HON. KEAN OSBORN

OF CASWELL HILL IN THE PARISH OF VERE

AND OF MONPELIER SAINT THOMAS IN THE EAST

LATE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY IN THIS ISLAND

WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFETE 4TH OF SEPTEMBER 1820

AT SAINT MONT SUR VAUIRAY IN FRANCE

ON HIS WAY TO ITALY

FOR THE HEALTH OF WRETCHED SURVIVOR

ELIZABETH OSBORN

 

Monuments in the church building commemorate the following families (dates of death): Alpress, Collman (1840’s & 1850’s), Douet (1900’s), Edwardes (1820’s), Fowles (1900’s & 1910’s), Gale (1740’s & 1750’s), Gibb (1900’s), Gibbons (1710’s), Hannaford (1870’s), Husband (1900’s), Lewin (1970’s), Lewis (1830’s), McGilchrist (1760’s), Mitchell (1890’s), Morant (1720’s to 1750’s), Murdock (1930’s), Osborn (1800’s to 1820’s), Plummer (1970’s),

Pusey (1760’s & 1780’s), Read (1740’s & 1770’s), Robinson (1970’s), Scott (1970’s), Sympson (1840’s), Tillman (1910’s) and Wilson.

The church built the Mike Robinson Hall above the old rectory but it has since burned down.  Just the stonewalls remain.  It would have been great to ask who Mike Robinson was, but alas, I had miles to go and there was no one around to ask…maybe some other day.  Therefore, I shall leave the long dead colonialists to stand guard until I return.

Photo Gallery

Location Map

Clarendon-Parish

 

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About Dr. Raul A. Mosley

Raul is the founder of the Fort Worth Portrait Project (FWPP). He holds a Ph.D. in Public Affairs & Issues Management from Purdue University. After teaching for 16 years as a university faculty member at both Purdue and Indiana University, Raul moved to Fort Worth and founded the FWPP in 2014.

7 responses to “The Alley Saint Peters Anglican Church-Clarendon Parish”

  1. Anne Thornley-Brown says :

    Thank you for this. This is where one branch of my family got started in Jamaica. The death certificate for my great-great-great grandfather’s brother indicates that he was buried in the church yard. I also have christening records for my family listed on christening records for this church. I also visited (in October on a Sunday) but figured I arrived too late for the service. I got great photos of the exteriors and the grounds but I never thought to shoot through the window. Thank God you did.

    Like

  2. Anne Thornley-Brown says :

    Did you ever find out when the church is open. I also went on Sunday in October and it was closed. I figured I arrived too late but you were there from 9:00 AM.

    Like

  3. Angela Williams says :

    Church services at alley starts at 6 am

    Like

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