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Hyde Hall Great House

It is sugar cane harvesting time in Trelawny. I can smell and see the burning fields, just before they are harvested. The harvesting machines are cutting cane and I pass loaded trucks along the back roads between Falmouth and the Long Pond sugar mill outside of Clarks Town. Approximately, two kilometers from Clarks Town, I turn the corner and there before my eyes, in the middle of cane fields is a magnificent example of 18th Century Jamaica Georgian architecture. It looks so out of place in this day and age. I pulled my pickup truck under a large cotton wood tree next to a woman washing clothes in a plastic bucket. I got out of the truck and was approached by a man walking by with a machete in his hand who said, “Hey mon. I’m hungry. You got any food?”

I replied, “I don’t have any food, but if you give me a tour of the house, I’ll pay you for the tour.”

“Sure mon. Come wit me.”

“First I want to get photographs of the outside and then I want to see the inside.”

“No problem mon.”

I took numerous photos on the outside. The design of the Hyde Hall Great House is very different from the beam and column type of earlier great houses. The three large arches on the ground level, allowed carriages to pass under the house in inclement weather and the passengers could disembark and enter the house via a winding stairway to the second floor. The house is two stories and constructed of cut-square stone for both stories. There are three hip roofs in the typical “M” shaped found in many Jamaica great houses. At one time the roof was cedar shingles, but today is corrugated metal. The impressive cut stone grand stairway with wooden balustrades, at the front of the house that leads to the second story, is slowly collapsing under its own weight.

We passed under the north arch of the ground floor carriageway. The large paving stones were polished smooth from years of use.   I noticed several huge sacks of charcoal stacked in the carriageway and judging by the smoke encrusted stones, it was obvious that this was the only means of cooking in the house. My guide pointed out a stone marked 1820, the date of the construction of the house. I peeked in several rooms on the ground floor and they were full of wooden bunk beds. I found out that during harvest time, the great house is used as a dormitory for the employees of Everglades Sugar Company. We passed on to the second story via a rickety wooden stairway and the great room on the second floor was filled with the same type of wooden bunk beds as I saw on the first floor…in fact every available space in the house was occupied by beds and people. As I walked around and through the house, it was not too hard to imagine what it must have been like in the 1800’s.

Hyde Hall Plantation had it’s origin in the history of two families, the Hydes and the Halls.  William Hall arrived in Jamaica in 1687 as secretary of Christopher Monk, the Duke of Albemarle who was the new Governor of Jamaica.  Before becoming secretary to Christopher Monk, William was the British Council in Balboa, Spain.  William Hall had only one son James and when he died in 1699, his son married Elizabeth Crossley.  Elizabeth’s sister was married to Edmund Hyde, the Chief Justice of Jamaica, hence the name Hyde Hall.  The estate that Hyde Hall Great House presently occupies was first owned by James Hall.  The family also owned Hall’s Delight in Saint Andrew which had the only silver mine in Jamaica.

At some point, the plantation was passed on to George Clarke (1676-1760) who was related to the Halls. He moved to New York for a short time and upon returning to England, moved up the social ladder by marrying Anne Hyde, heiress of Hyde Hall in Cheshire, England. She was related to the Earls of Clarendon and to Ann Hyde, wife of King James of England and mother of Queen Mary and Queen Anne. Not only did George marry well, but managed to get himself appointed Royal Lieutenant Governor of New York and got several hundred thousand acres of upstate New York thrown in for good measure. He named his estate in New York Hyde Hall after the English Estate of his wife and one of his Jamaica estates in the same manner. Lt. Governor Clarke’s elder son George Hyde Clarke eloped with a neighboring squire’s daughter, deserting his first wife and was disinherited. Lt. Governor Clarke’s younger son Edward died before his father so the inheritance went to Edward, his nephew and son of his brother also called Edward. So Edward the younger inherited Swanswick (see my previous post) from his father and Hyde Hall from his Great Uncle Lt. Governor Clarke in 1777. I think I have that whole sorted mess figured out but I could stand to be corrected. In any event, that is how Hyde Hall got its name.

In 1779, the estate passed back to the Halls by inheritance, in the person of William James Hall (1725-1779) and was inherited by his younger brother, Cossley Hall (1728-1790).  By 1788, Cossley Hall was deeply in debt and sold the 2,000 acre estate to Henry Shirley, a fellow sugar planter, who owned Spring Garden Estate in Portland Parish. Hyde Hall was the principal residence of the Shirley family until 1914. It was during the ownership of the Shirley’s, the great house was construction in 1820. This was possibly one of the last great houses constructed in Jamaica.

In 1790, a sugar refiner by the name of Millet came to Jamaica from ST. Domingo (later called Haiti) and introduced the use of limes and lemons to produce white sugar.  This white sugar was first produced at Hyde Hall.

Nearby, in front of the house, are remnants of the wind powered sugar works (the tower still stands) and a cattle mill (now a ruin). The stone windmill is almost entirely hidden by the trees and ferns growing out of its many cracks. My guide took me over to the tower and we checked out the interior. Then we struck off through the undergrowth and checked out the ruins of the rest of the sugar mill, with walls crumbling through the years.

As a bonus, the good folks of Hyde Hall pointed to a nearby hill and there was what I assume was the overseer’s house. The two story house was also constructed of square-cut stone, with three equal sized rooms on the first floor and an apartment on the second floor. The whole was topped off with a corrugated hip roof. I can imagine the overseer living upstairs and the bookkeepers living in the three rooms below (see my post on sugar estate management). As I walked up the hill to the house, I realized not much has changed for these cane workers since the nineteenth century. Yes, they do run mechanized equipment instead of hoes and machetes but they still get around by walking, they still wash their clothes in a bucket and they still cook over a charcoal fire.

Hyde Hall Great House Photo Gallery

Hyde Hall Great House Location Map

Jamaica-Trelawny

Cinnamon Hill Great House

Hyde Hall & Cinnamon Hill 048

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 Cinnamon Hill Johnny CashSea 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.

Cinnamon Hill Water MillA 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.

Cinnamon Hill Great House Photo Gallery

Swanswick Great House

The good folks of Hampshire Great House directed me to Swanswick Great House, which was on a hill overlooking the Clarks Town. I turned left (south) off the paved road (B-1) and wound up the hill to the great house perched on top. Here another employee of Everglades Sugar Company met me and gave me a tour around the property. It is a two story house with living quarters on the second floor and an attached kitchen to the rear (unusual for colonial times). The kitchen was the same level as the house, built on pillars. The house is painted white and the roof has been replaced with corrugated metal. There is a large set of stairs in the front to the second story and a verandah across the entire back. One has to cross the covered verandah to access the kitchen. It is obvious, by a damaged wall that the builders constructed the house with timber supports, filled in with rock rubble and then they applied a coating of stucco.

Clark’s Town Township was a part of Swanswick Sugar Estate, owned by Mr. G. H. Clarke and from whom it derived its name. In fact, the Clarke family owned the whole of that area. Edward Clarke owned Swanswick; G. H. Clarke owned Long Pond, Hampshire and Mahogany hall and Sir S. H. Clarke owned Hyde. All these properties adjoin each other and my assumption is that the Clarkes were all related. These belonged to the Hyde-Clarke family of Hyde Hall in Cheshire, England, and Hyde Hall, Lake Otsego, New York. The Hyde-Clarke family continued to own Swanswick and Hyde plantations in Jamaica until as late as 1863. The plantations in Jamaica seem to have been originally owned by the Hon. George Clarke (1676-1760), who was Royal Lieutenant-Governor of New York from 1736 to 1743. He was the son of George Clarke, Esq. of Swanswick, near Bath, in Somerset, England and went out to New York in 1703, returning to England briefly in 1705 to marry Ann Hyde, the heiress of Hyde Hall in Cheshire, who was related to the Earls of Clarendon and to Ann Hyde, wife of King James II of England, the mother of Queen Mary and Queen Anne. Returning to New York, the Hon. George Clarke spent the next 40 years in America and established a vast estate of several hundred thousand acres in upstate New York, which he named Hyde Hall after his country estate in England. He eventually went home to England in 1745, with a fortune of 100,000 pounds sterling and, dying in 1760, was buried in Chester Cathedral. George Clarke’s elder son, George Hyde Clarke, inherited Hyde Hall in Cheshire, England, and his younger son, Major Edward Clarke (1716-1776), inherited Swanswick and Hyde plantations in Jamaica, and came out to Jamaica, where he married, about 1742, Elizabeth Guthrie Haughton, the daughter and heiress of James Guthrie of Auchindown Castle Estate, Westmoreland, Jamaica.

George M. Clarke gave the land for a mission near Swanswick and soon the congregation swelled so that in 1838 an Anglican stone church building was erected. This Church, built entirely of stone of the very best quality, has accommodation for 600 persons. The architecture is the old fashioned type, a miniature of the Falmouth Parish Church. The chancel, though small, is very artistic with stained glass depicting the saints. On entering this Church, one experiences an atmosphere charged with religious fervor for devotion. The church was originally named Swanswick Church but later the name was changed to Saint Michael’s which it is called to this day. On the walls of St. Michael’s will be found Tablets in memory of some of the illustrious departed. The first was George Marrett who died at Ashton Pen on 25th May, 1851. Aged 63. His sister, Sarah Marrett at Forrest Estate, October 1856, age 68. Charles Clarke at Falmouth in June, 1858, age 34; Paul King in 1859. Age 55. William Dalrymple, M.R.C.S., London, 1860, age 57; John Wilson, 1878, age 39, and the Hon. Leicester Colville Shirley of Hyde Hall and Etingdon, Custos, on the 21st October, 1914. Age 78.

Floor Plan of Swanswick Great House, Trelawny, Jamaica. From an Original Drawing by Kirsten Sparenborg Brinton, 2011.

Swanswick Great House Photo Gallery

Swanswick Great House Location Map

Jamaica-Trelawny

Green Park Sugar Estate | The History

This is the first of two blog posts on the TheLastGreatGreatHouseBlog.wordpress.com. The first post will discuss the history of the estate and second post will discuss the great house itself. Much of the information is derived from the excellent research by Brett Ashmeade-Hawkins into the estate.

Green Park Estate was located approximately ten kilometers from Falmouth in Trelawny Parish. A portion of it was originally the Bradshaw Estate, named after James Bradshaw. Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of England granted to it to James Bradshaw in 1655 for the part his Father or Uncle (it is uncertain) John Bradshaw played in signing the death warrant of King Charles I. In 1660, King Charles II granted an adjacent estate to Richard Barrett and in 1706, Queen Anne granted 248 acres to Francis Egg who sold it to George Collier who renamed it Green Pond. George Sinclair bought the property from George Collier in 1740 and then built the first great house. In 1743, he sold it to William Clarke who built the second great house on the property, which was now 300 acres. He used is as a cattle operation. In 1759, Clarke sold the property to Edward Barrett who had inherited the Barnett Estate, increasing the property size to 742 acres. In 1759, Edward Barrett sold the property to James Peterkin who resold it to two Kingston merchants named John Kennion and Thomas Southworth in 1761. Thomas Southworth moved to the plantation, changed the name to Green Park and changed it from a cattle operation to sugar estate. Construction began on the present great house in 1764 by Thomas Southworth but he died before it was completed. William Atherton, Southworth’s heir, moved to the estate, took over the operation and completed the great house between 1768 and 1769.

During the 1770s, William Atherton expanded the estate by purchasing the adjoining Bradshaw Estate in 1771, which increased the size to 1,315 acres, and he added a second sugar mill in 1773 with an imposing stone windmill, which supplemented the mill powered by cattle. He imported hundreds of slaves from Africa to work in the cane fields and sugar factories of what was now the third largest estate of the eighty-eight estates in Trelawny Parish. William Atherton established himself, not only as one of the wealthiest sugar planters but also established himself as a merchant in the nearby towns of Martha Brae and Falmouth. Additionally he acted as the attorney for William Gale who owned the Gale Valley estate and Edward Hyde who owned the Swanswick Estate as well as several other planter families. (I will report on the existing Gales Valley and Swanswick great houses in a later blog. He also owned the Spring Valley Pen, which I will report on, in a later blog.) This made him an immense fortune and allowed him to purchase Prescott Hall, a country estate near Preston in Lancashire and retire to England in 1783. He died in 1803 and left the Green Park Estate to his nephew, John Atherton.

In 1810, the plantation records listed the estate having 550 slaves and 302 head of cattle. Green Park Estate stayed in the family until 1910, when the family decided to sell it to their Planting-Attorney, Walter Woolliscroft who had managed the estate for many years. In 1920, Mr. Woolliscroft made a fortune in the “Dance of the Millions.” In 1919, sugar sold for US$0.05 per pound:

1919 Average- US$0.05
January 1920- US$0.06 1/2
February 1920- US$0.095-the highest sugar had ever sold
March 2- US$0.10
March 18- US$0.11
March 27- US$0.12
April 8- US$0.15 1/2
April 18- US$0.18
May 19- US$0.22 1/2 this was the high when Mr. Woolliscroft sold his crop
By December the price was US$0.03 3/4

The price of sugar continued to fluctuate radically but usually higher that the average 1919 price which made Mr. Woolliscroft very wealthy but following the stock market crash of 1929, the price of sugar plummeted sending the Green Park Estate deeply into debt and forced Mr. Woolliscroft into bankruptcy. He sold the estate to Guy Milliner. Eventually the estate and sugar works were closed in 1957 and the last sugar cane crop harvested in 1963. Kaiser Bauxite Company bought the property to resettle farmers on five acre plots.

Green Park Sugar Estate Photo Gallery

Green Park Sugar Estate Location

Jamaica-Trelawny

Craighton Estate Great House and Coffee Company

Our Visit to the Craighton Estate Great House

The day started out as a day trip to Holywell Recreational Park high above Kingston, with lunch at the world famous Strawberry Hill boutique hotel. On the way up Highway B1, I saw sign for Craighton Blue Mountain Coffee Estate. I had previously read about the great house but there was no indication of its location except that it is in Saint Andrew Parish. At that point, the day’s itinerary was completely turned on its head as I turned the truck up the narrow one lane road to the great house. I drove onto a gravel parking lot (car park in Jamaican) in front of the wood pink with white trim Georgian great house. Bonita and I climbed the stairs to the large front porch. There we met Alton (Junior) Bedward our tour guide and Craighton coffee expert. The sun was shining brightly, but mists were rolling down from the mountains above. Junior explained that the mist, along with the volcanic soil, cool temperatures, high altitude and steep slopes combine to make a world renown coffee that is alkaline, full bodied, naturally sweet with no bitter after-taste. Only Arabica Typica coffee plants produce this type of coffee…a type for which Starbucks is famous.

Junior then took us on a short tour of the three hundred acre estate where 400,000 coffee plants are grown. He explained that the best coffee is produced by new growth, so every seven years the trees are cut down and allowed to sprout new growth. The tree is finally dug up and a new seedling is planted every thirty-five years. The plants are fertilized with either chicken manure or leaves from the Gongo trees planted among the coffee trees. The Gongo tree is a legume and the falling leaves fertilize the plants with nitrogen. The coffee is harvested by hand between September and January every year by two hundred harvesters who scramble up and down the steep hills. The permanent labor force runs between thirty and fifty. Following the harvesting, the cherries are placed in water and the “floaters” are skimmed off and discarded. Junior then went into detail about the processing of the beans through roasting and bagging for export to Japan. For those mortals who would like to purchase the coffee in their local supermarket, are sure to be disappointed unless they live in Japan. The entire crop is shipped off to Japan to be sold for ten times the price that could be gotten at a supermarket in the United States. The Jamaica Blue Mountain Number One coffee is sold in Japan for US$1,500 for a five-pound bag.

History of Coffee

Junior then gave us a history of coffee:

  1. Kaffe is indigenous to the highlands of Ethiopia.
  2. The Ottoman Empire monopolized the coffee trade in the 1500’s.
  3. It was against Roman Catholic doctrine to drink coffee because it was under the control of Muslims. In 1615, the Pope blessed and baptized some coffee, making it legal to purchase and drink.
  4. Coffee is only produced between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  5. Seven plants were loaded on a ship and brought to the Caribbean. Only one plant survived the trip to Martinique but from there the coffee spread to the other French countries and eventually found its way to Jamaica from Haiti.
  6. The growers first exported coffee from Jamaica in 1737. Over 85% of coffee grown in Jamaica is exported.

After the informative climb to the nearest mountain top we walked back down and roamed through the beautiful, well cared for house. We first entered into the living room. To the right is the dining room with a large chandelier over the dining room table. To the left are the bed rooms. The kitchen is in the back of the house. A spectacular stairway leads to the first floor. The Craighton Estate was established in 1765 by a Scottish-Italian emigrant. George Craighton built the great house in 1805 at 2,600 feet elevation. The house has been privately owned since its construction and today, Tatsushi Ueshima, the largest coffee importer in Japan, owns the building and estate. Several Jamaican governors have used the house as a retreat from the summer Kingston heat. The house is used for the tours and offices.

Following the tour, Junior treated us a sample of the Craighton Blue Mountain coffee and we were able to purchase bags of the products. We sampled the famous beverage, which was brought out in white cups and saucers. True to Junior’s description, according to Bonita, it had a smooth, rich taste with a distinct aroma. There is a mild bitterness (“it is never sour,” Junior says) a bit like chocolate and it is naturally sweet with no lingering aftertaste. One cup of Blue Mountain coffee contains less than 25 mg of caffeine, far less than the 150-175 mg in the average cup of Robusta, grown in lower elevations. You can contact the Jamaica UCC Blue Mountain Coffee Company by phone: (876) 944-8033. You can contact Junior Bedward by cell phone: (876) 292-3774 or email: beddalton@hotmail.com

To get to Craighton Estate, take Highway B1 from Old Hope Road, past Redlight, Irish Town and Strawberry Hill. The entrance will be well marked, on the right, if you are coming from the south. If coming from the north, it is below the New Castle Army Post. The road is narrow and winding so be prepared for anything coming at you from the opposite direction.

Following the tour, you can enjoy lunch at the incomparable Strawberry Hill Hotel restaurant or better yet stay in one of their magnificent cottages.

 

“Mountaineering in Jamaica”. From an Engraving by S. T. Dadd after Sketches by B. S. Tucker, published in The Illustrated and Sporting News, February 23rd, 1888. Collection: Brett Ashmeade-Hawkins.

A Party of Gentlemen are shown mustering at Craigton Great House, which is described as “the Governor’s cottage”, then start off on the road past St. Mark’s Anglican Church near Irish Town, skirt some dangerous precipices, and then arrive at their final destination which I assume must be Blue Mountain Peak.

Craighton Great House, near Irish Town in St. Andrew, was originally known as Creighton Hall and was built between 1790 and 1805 by George Creighton, Esq., a Scottish Coffee Planter, on his 400 acre Coffee Plantation. Perched over 2,700 feet up in the cool, misty Blue Mountains of Jamaica, it has one of the most panoramic views in the Island. In 1810 George Creighton was listed as owning 39 Slaves at Creighton Hall, but he died later that same year and by 1811 the plantation had been purchased by Sir Edward Hyde East, who also owned the vast adjoining Maryland Coffee Plantation with over 2,700 acres and more than 260 slaves. Creighton Hall, later renamed Craigton, remained in the possession of the East family until 1842 when the Hon. Hinton East, Custos of St. Andrew, finally sold the plantation to the newly arrived British Governor, the 8th Earl of Elgin. Anxious to escape the heat and humidity of Spanish Town, the official Capital of Jamaica located on the St. Catherine plains far below, Lord Elgin purchased Craigton Great House as a Summer Residence and it later became a favourite Summer Residence of the British Governors of Jamaica. Tragically Lord Elgin’s beautiful new young wife, Elizabeth, Countess of Elgin, died while at Craigton on the 7th of June, 1843, aged only 22. Her Duppy (Ghost) is said to still haunt the house and she has sometimes been seen descending the grand mahogany staircase. When Lord Elgin left Jamaica in 1846 he sold Craigton to a Mr. Edwards, a British Coffee Planter, who was probably a relation of Sir Bryan Edwards, Chief Justice of Jamaica from 1855 to 1869. His widow, Mrs. May Edwards, was the owner of Craigton Great House, (which she renamed The Medici), when this Watercolour was painted in 1862. She died in 1866 and left Craigton to her daughter, Marjorie Grant Edwards, who through her Trustee, John James Henry Edwards, sold it in 1867 to another newly arrived British Governor, Sir John Peter Grant. Sir John loved Craigton and he spent a great deal of money enlarging the Great House and also improving the Garden, filling it with rare Trees, Plants and Flowers imported from all over the world. Sir John also purchased two pet Sheep to keep the grass short on the Front Lawn. The famous English Victorian Painter, Marianne North, who was a guest at Craigton in 1871, wrote that Sir John had actually trained these two Sheep to come up to the verandah of the Great House and stand on their hind legs to beg for carrots, a trick which amused him to no end. Subsequent British Governors of Jamaica, Sir Henry Norman from 1883 to 1889 and Sir Henry Arthur Blake from 1889 to 1898, also made Craigton their Summer Residence and many elegant Dinner Parties and Garden Parties were held there during those times. The next occupant of Craigton Great House was a Judge Curran who lived there from 1891 to 1901 and he was followed by Sir Charles Lumb, Senior Puisne Judge of the Supreme Court of Jamaica, who lived there from 1901 to 1905. On the 29th of September, 1905, Craigton Great House, with its 29 acres and all is furniture and glassware, was transferred to the Hon. Archibald Edmund Henderson Haggart, Custos of Kingston, of Ruthven Lodge, St. Andrew, for the sum of 420 pounds sterling. Haggart used Craigton as his Summer Cottage. When the firm of Haggart and Company went bankrupt in 1917, Craigton was then sold to Franz X. Knecht, the Managing Director of the West Indies Chemical Works Ltd. near Spanish Town. In the early 1930s Craigton was resold to Judge Seaton, who in 1938 leased it for 5 years (at 100 pounds sterling a year) to Sir Robert Kirkwood, the nephew of Lord Lyle of Tate and Lyle Ltd., the British company which owned vast Sugar Plantations in Jamaica.(Their Partners, the Tate family of Tate & Lyle, were the Founders of the famous Tate Gallery and Museum in London). Sir Robert was the Managing Director of the West Indies Sugar Company (WISCO) and also the Chairman of the Jamaica Sugar Manufacturers Ltd. When the lease on Craigton ended after the 5 years, he bought the property from Judge Seaton for 5,000 pounds sterling. Sir Robert and Lady Kirkwood entertained many famous guests at Craigton during the 1940s and 1950s, including members of the British Royal family, before finally selling the Great House in 1956 for 25,000 pounds sterling, making a hefty 20,000 pounds profit in the bargain. Later occupants of Craigton Great House have included Lord Hailes, British Governor-General of the short-lived West Indies Federation, who made it his official residence in Jamaica in 1958. In 1981 Craigton was sold to the Ueshima Coffee Company of Japan who still own the plantation. They grow Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee, the finest and most expensive Coffee in the world, for export to Japan. They have restored the 18th Century Craigton Great House and furnished it with a fine collection of 18th and Early 19th Century Jamaican Colonial Prints and Antique Mahogany Furniture.

Craighton House Photo Gallery

Location Map | Craighton Estate Great House

Craighton-Estate-Great-House