About

Michael W. Mosley

Michael Mosley’s “claim to fame” is being married to Bonita, an amazing artist and he is father to three great sons, all who have endured his wanderlust. He has visited 87 countries and one or more of the family have accompanied him on many of the trips. His youngest son had visited over 30 countries before he was a teenager. Along with Jamaica, he has worked on construction projects in Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, India, Cameroon, Kenya, Senegal, Peru, Haiti, Slovakia and of course the United States. He enjoys introducing people to overseas travel and most of the time the trips are “working vacations.” He has lead over 60 volunteer construction teams to the most jungely, deserty, mountainous areas of the world. If he is not constructing a clinic, school or church building in a developing nation, he is out scaling cliffs, paddling down remote rivers or mountain climbing. If he is not working in Jamaica, you can find him roaming the remote corners of the world. He refuses to live a sedentary life and finds joy in helping people, less privileged then himself, in places that challenge his abilities to cope in a strange culture and environment.

This blog is an effort to draw together, into one place, information on plantations and their great houses and to supply information to the uninitiated about their history and if so inclined, allow the incidental traveler to find them. A couple of great houses are well known in Jamaica, but most of them are unknown or hard to find. Some have a plethora of information and others, all I can find is their name. There are truly marvelous great houses, open to the public that far exceed the well known one, in both their historical significance and their interior furnishings. There are even great houses in which you can spend the night and dream about life 300 years ago. Enjoy this blog and if you live in Jamaica or just visiting, use it to see the hidden Jamaica. If you have questions or want advice, don’t be shy about contacting me for help and suggestions.

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63 responses to “About”

  1. Richard Nichols says :

    Congratulations on a terrific blog! I will be checking back regularly.

    Like

  2. Boy Clintie says :

    Hi Michael! I just discovered your blog. This is really very good work on your part. I have a similar interest in Jamaica’s history but I don’t document much of what I discovered.

    Continue to explore and blog!

    Like

  3. Chris Codrington says :

    Michael, have enjoyed your blogs and curious ifvyou are still active in Jamaica searching properties. Ive researched for many years as family held estates on island 1741-1870. If you get curious about Portland im looking for sugar works and house for “Bettys Hope Estate” outside Manchioneal. Placename still noted on Jamaican maps.

    Like

    • mwmosley68 says :

      Chris,
      I’m still active in Jamaica. I’m writing up two great houses from this weekend. I have not gotten over to Portland yet, but plan to in September. If you have any information to make my search easier, let me know. Click follow on my blog and I will email posts as they become available.

      Michael

      Like

  4. Noble Verity says :

    This is an excellent blog. I enjoy reading your articles and seeing the pics. Keep up the good work Michael.

    Noble.

    Like

  5. Louise says :

    Superb blog! Fascinating to read the histories and put photographs to houses I have read about in other sources. I noticed while reading through that you have visited several plantations, etc, in St. James’ Parish. Have you heard about the estate in Adelphi, west of Wakefield? I don’t think much remains now but purportedly it has an unusual series of underground tunnels. It was also key to the Baptist Church in the area thanks to its owner, Isaac Winn.

    Like

  6. Mireia O'Prey says :

    Hi Michael, I really love your blog. I am currently making a history television series for the UK and I was wondering if you had an email address I could contact you on directly? I would love to get your thoughts on some of the subjects that we might be covering and if there are any locations you have visited that you might recommend exploring? You can contact me on my email below. Thanks so much again!

    Like

  7. Brenna says :

    Mr. Mosley- I have some question about Heci? Barrett- the first Barrett who came there from Barbados. Do you know where he was from or have any more biographical information about him?

    Like

    • mwmosley68 says :

      His name was Hersey (or Hercie) Barrett. he came to Jamaica with his wife and five-year old son from Barbados when General Robert Venables invaded Jamaica in 1655. He was buried in the Spanish Town Cathedral. I have a lot of information on the Barretts if you are interested.

      Like

      • Debby says :

        Hi Michael, It seems that Hersey (Hercie) Barrett is my 8th great grandfather, through Thomas Hercey Barritt, my 5th great grandfather. I believe they owned Paradise & Smith’s Pen in Vere, Mile Gully in Manchester & Garbrand Hall in St Thomas-in-the-East. Do you have any information on those properties or the family? I would love to see it.
        Best wishes, Debby

        Like

  8. ruthbutler265 says :

    Hi Michael, enjoying the blog. Have you any thing on Whitney and Rymesbury, Clarendon, and New Yarmouth, Vere? Info’ I have collected so far-owned by the Carvers, then passed through a female heiress to the Ward family (Earls of Dudley). Compensation/claim approx £11000. Wondered if you have any other nuggets of information. Collecting stories, etc for Witley Court/Great Witley Church, Worcestershire, UK.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Adrian says :

    It was interesting to read about the Morelands great house history blog as I actually spent my early childhood living in that house in the early 1960s. I have many pleasant memories and recognize the house and surroundings.

    Adrian

    Like

  10. Adrian says :

    My father was the Morelands sugar cane farm manager and I believe we lived there from around 1961 – 1974. My uncle had lived in the house in the 1950s.
    Adrian

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  11. Carrie Herbert says :

    Hi Michael
    My name is Carrie Herbert (my mother was Pamela Heaven) and I am related to William Hudson Heaven of Ramble Estate, Golden Grove estate and other properties in Jamaica. He owned them in the 1800s until about 1830 when he left buying Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel.
    I wonder if you have any information about the Hudson Heavens or about the properties they owned in Jamaica?

    Carrie

    Like

    • mwmosley68 says :

      Carrie,
      William Hudson was the initial owners of Golden Grove Estate (there is an additional Golden Grove in St. Thomas Parish), Silver Grove Estate, Ramble Pen (another popular name in Jamaica) and Beans Estate in Hanover Parish as least as far back as 1811. William Hudson Heaven became the owner of the plantations in 1833 and held the properties until at least 1845. Heaven was an absentee landowner from Bristol, England and Isaac Jackson (1796-1856) was his attorney in Jamaica. Jackson was attorney of eight sugar estates and one livestock pen by 1839. Silver Grove Estate (665 acres) shared a common boundary with Golden Grove Sugar Estate (1,030 acres). The two parcels were near the Cockpit Country where the limestone hills rose up through the level sugar growing areas, so much of the hill sides were used for grass. Silver Grove, even though it was classified as a pen early on, the land was suitable for both grass and cane and would later be devoted totally to sugar cane production by William Heaven. Silver Grove had 18 grass fields compared with the 32 cane fields and 24 grass fields of Golden Grove. The sugar was processed in a water mill at Golden Grove and a cattle mill at Silver Grove. Each year, Jackson prepared a list of supplies needed for the following year, usually six months before they were needed. In 1840, he sent a list to William Heaven and Company of Bristol and the goods were shipped to Flint River and Barbary Hill wharves, north of his properties. In 1834, the time of the Jamaican emancipation, Heaven owned 400 slaves on Golden Grove, 104 slaves on Beans, 131 slaves on Ramble and 197 slaves on silver Grove. This allowed for five years of apprenticeship of the emancipated slaves. In 1838, Heaven had 161 apprentices at Golden Grove, 86 at Beans, 113 at Ramble and 164 at Silver Grove.

      Three volumes of Isaac Jackson’s letters are preserved at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia which contains 825 letters. These letters would contain some additional information on William Hudson Heaven, if you were willing to do the research.

      I have not visited any of these plantations but may in the future if I can track down the locations of the great houses. There is additional information but I’m just sending you a taste of what is available. If you join my blog, you will get new posts emailed to you.

      Michael

      Like

  12. Carrie herbert says :

    Dear Michael
    That is very interesting , thank you. Are you related in any way to the Heavens or Hudsons?
    Are you based in the U.S. Or the UK?
    I will certainly follow your blog.
    Do you know if you can do long distance research to the U.S. – are these documents on line?
    Please keep in touch

    Like

    • mwmosley68 says :

      I’m not related to the Heavens or Hudsons. Sounds like an interested family. Just information I’ve gleaned as I visit great houses. I’m from Florida but work in Jamaica. I’m not sure if the documents are online. You’ll have to check that out.

      Michael

      Like

  13. Mitchell says :

    Have you any floor plans of Swanswick Great House? Or know of any earlier images of the house or plantation in any collections, such as museums etc?

    Like

  14. Kay Rodriques says :

    Hello! Have you come across any informatoin on Sevens Estate in Clarendon? It was a sugar plantation ( I think). Tx!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Roughneck Tours says :

    Good day Dr. Mosley,

    Have you considered a visit to see Arntully in St. Thomas? I have driven into the area (four wheel drive only) but have been unable to access the property. Maybe someone of your standing might be more successful?

    You can contact me directly for more info on the property and the challenges faced for access if you like. I would certainly enjoy coming along if possible.

    Like

  16. Nicolas says :

    Good day Michael.
    Have you ever inquired about Arntully Great House in St Thomas? If so, do you have any intentions of visiting? I know that there are some very unique challenges to visiting that property, but I would certainly be interested in joining you if that is at all possible.
    Regards,
    Nicolas

    Like

    • mwmosley68 says :

      Nicolas,
      Sounds like an interesting adventure. I’m game.

      Michael

      Like

    • Bill Wedenoja says :

      Arntully was owned by a naturalized American citizen and writer, Hugh B. Cave, in the 60s and 70s. Hugh was a neighbor of mine in Devon and then Christiana (Manchester). He ran a guest house in Port-au-Prince but had to flee due to an insurrection. He then bought Arntully, in ruin, and reestablished it as a coffee estate over a period of about 17 years if I remember right. When Michael Manley became Prime Minister in 1972, Hugh found it hard to continue and sold it to Keble Munn, then Minister of Agriculture I believe and later National Security. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to take his proceeds from the sale out of the country due to strict currency controls at the time, so he rented in Manchester and divided his time between Jamaica and Florida. His principal livelihood was writing books and short stories. He was proud of the fact that he had never held a job in his long life, having become a professional writer in high school. But I know that restoring the Arntully estate was a labor of love for him.

      Like

  17. Amy H. Griffin says :

    Dear Michael,

    Your blog is fascinating and I have found it very useful in my research on the Clarke family of Hyde Hall Plantation and Swanswick Great House. I would like to discuss reproducing some of your photographs in an upcoming publication. Please contact me at ahg@udel.edu at your earliest convenience.

    Kind Regards,
    Amy Griffin

    Like

  18. Jane says :

    Dear Michael,

    I really enjoy reading your blog.

    Have you come across any information about the Orange River, Red Hills or Santa Maria Estates in Clarendon? I am interested in the Stewart family who had an interest in the early 1800s.

    Jane

    Like

  19. Jane says :

    Dear Michael,

    I have enjoyed reading your posts. Do you have any information about Orange River plantation in Clarendon?

    Regards,

    Jane

    Like

  20. Y Hilary Powell says :

    Hello,
    I stumbled upon the connected blogs about Jamaican Great Houses. Thank you for this research. Quite enjoyable.

    Has any research been done in the parishes of Manchester and St. Elizabeth? There are 2 houses in particular – Ramble near Mandeville and Bogue in Bogue, St. Elizabeth.

    Hilary, 27 July 2016

    Like

  21. Carrie herbet says :

    Hi
    I am related to the Heaven family who owned Ramble between 1807 and 1952
    Carrie@carrieherbert.co.uk
    Do get in touch
    Carrie

    Like

  22. CLIFFORD MARTIN REED says :

    I am looking for information about the Georgia estate in Hanover -yes, Hanover – Parish. It was owned by Robert Hibbert from 1791. A missionary named Thomas Cooper worked there from 1817-21 then wrote, ‘Condition of the Negro Slaves in Jamaica’ (1823, 1824). He lived in a house, with his wife, on the estate between the great house and the slave quarters. I would be grateful for anything about the estate and these people.
    Cliff Reed

    Like

  23. achipofftheoldblockblog says :

    Hi Michael

    Your blog is fascinating. Is the Whitehall Great House one of the sites you will be featuring? I’m researching my family history and have discovered that a branch of my ancestors – the Parkinsons – had a connection with the plantation there in the late 18th/early 19 century.

    Pam

    P.S. Are you the Michael Mosley who has put together “The Victorian Slum” series due to start on BBC2 this week? It looks as if that should be fascinating too! I have ancestors who lived in poor conditions in London’s East End in the Victorian period, so I shall be glued to the screen.

    Like

  24. gail meier says :

    Hi do you know anything about ” new milns” great house , hopewell, Hanover

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  25. Robin Phillips says :

    Michael. Congratulations on an excellent blog which is a great read, not sure why it’s taken me so long to find it via Google. Has anyone come across a Goshen Pen in Clarendon? I am trying to track down an ancestor of mine called John Reed (or Reid) but I can’t find any evidence of him (yet), Robin

    Like

  26. Clare Suart says :

    Hi Michael, this is a great blog. I’m trying to find the heritage of Thomas Southworth and his heir William Atherton and am wondering what your sources are for who they are? Where did this evidence come from as I”d like to know where they came from and how they were related. Many thanks. clare

    Like

  27. eibocs says :

    Enjoyed browsing here, from the perspective of a former hiker in Barbados impressed by the Great Houses there, including Drax Hall, as at http://www.barbados.org/drax.htm. Congratulations on your useful work!

    Like

  28. Deanne says :

    Hello Michael,
    Have you done any work in Manchester, Jamaica? The Newman family of Castle Combe in Wiltshire owned a number of plantations there. I am not sure if any of the houses are still there however. The plantations included Pickwick, Pimento Walk and Chippenham.

    Thank you.

    Deanne

    Like

  29. Yvonne Duncan says :

    Dear Michael,
    I return to your blog over and over to read about your adventures tracking down these monuments to Jamaica’s rich architectural history. Thank you for this wonderful documentation. Are you still in Clarendon? Have you ever visited, seen, or photographed a greathouse structure/ruins or grounds of Clarendon Park Estate? I am researching a few ancestors who lived there in the late 17 and 1800s and if so, I would dearly love to see. Thank you. Best regards.
    Yvonne

    Like

  30. dawn says :

    love the info on Hanover and Jamaica overall. I would love to include some of this information in a book I am working on for the Parish of Hanover.

    Like

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