What Are The Heritage Sites In Spanish Town?
10 Historical Sites To Visit In The Old Capital
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What Are The Heritage Sites In Spanish Town? | Old Courthouse Building - (Photo: Prips Jamaica)
by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer
Spanish Town is not a tourist destination. However, it is definitely worth taking a quick visit as it still has many remnants of the past and is very rich in history.
Here are the main heritage sites in Spanish town:
- Old King's House- On the location of the Old Spanish Hall of Audience, King's House, the official house for the governor, was built in 1762. Previously destroyed the year before creating room for the house. This structure served as the civic square's initial component and was built in the period's fashionable Georgian style.
From the steps of King's House, the abolition of slavery's proclamation was read in 1838. In 1925, a fire completely destroyed the building, leaving just the stables and the main eastern facade.
- Rodney’s Memorial- This ornate structure was built in remembrance of renowned British Admiral Lord Rodney. The Memorial, created in 1801, honours Rodney's victory over a French fleet that had attempted to conquer the island in 1782. It was created by the renowned English sculptor John Bacon.
- Old House of Assembly- This brick building with two stories was built sometime around 1762. The Governors and Assembly members engaged in numerous acrimonious arguments and fights in the House of Assembly. Balls honouring famous people occasionally took place in the Assembly Chamber.
For instance, a gala honouring Sir Henry Bartley upon his arrival in Jamaica as Governor was held in the Assembly Chamber in 1838. The Assembly convened at Headquarters House in Kingston when the island's capital moved there in 1872. After this time, the Old House of Assembly served a variety of functions. The building is presently home to the St. Catherine Parish Council's offices and mayor's parlour.
- The Cathedral of St. James (Anglican) - The British Caribbean's oldest cathedral is this one. It is located where the Spanish-built Chapel of the Red Cross, which was constructed in 1525, once stood. The original Spanish Chapels were demolished when the English took control of the island.
As a result, the original Chapel of the Red Cross served as the basis for the construction of this Anglican Church. Hurricane damage in 1712 led to the reconstruction of the first Anglican Church in 1714.
It was given to the Anglican Church's Cathedral of the Jamaican Diocese in 1843. The Cathedral has several John Bacon monuments and is designed like a cross. In 1817, the tower was constructed.
- Old Barracks Building- In 1791, the Military Barracks was built to house both officers and troops. In its prime, the Barracks served as a training ground for scouts, guides, and volunteers during the two World Wars.
Festivals, fairs, competitions, and racing were also held there. There was a Government Elementary School from 1910 to the beginning of the 1970s. The structure is currently in a severe state of damage.
- Phillippo Baptist Church- The church bears the name of Reverend James Mursell Phillippo, who served as its founding pastor. He was a Baptist missionary who rose to prominence as one of the leading voices for the racial advancement of slaves.
The Church was constructed by Phillippo to replace an earlier structure that was destroyed by fire. The current structure was constructed in 1827. Some of our ancestors' slave shackles are interred on the church grounds.
The location has a slab commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Church, which occurred on November 20, 1968. Phillippo was buried in the churchyard after passing away in 1865. In the church building, there are two tablets with his and his wife's names on them.
- Cast Iron Bridge- The Cast Iron Bridge was constructed in 1801. It was created by Englishman Thomas Wilson, and Walker and Company in Rotherham, England.
The iron bridge, which has a span of 29.7 meters, is the oldest of its kind in the western hemisphere. The Jamaica National Heritage Trust designated the Spanish Town Historic District a National Monument on December 29, 1994.
- St. Catherine District Prison- This Prison was constructed in 1714. The Middlesex and Surrey County Gaol was its previous name. One of the biggest jails on the island is housed there.
- The Cenotaph- A cenotaph honouring the sons of the parish of St. Catherine who lost their lives in the two World Wars—1914–1918 and 1939–1945—was built to the north of the cathedral.
- Old courthouse- it was built in 1819. The location was first used as a cemetery and then as a chapel. Then it was changed to create a small-arms arsenal. Later, this building was demolished, and the Court House was built there. The building's upper level served as the Town Hall. The Court House was destroyed by fire in 1986.
Are you interested in learning more captivating Information about Spanish Town’s history? Click here.
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References & Sources For What Are The Heritage Sites In Spanish Town?
- (no date) Jamaica National Heritage Trust - Jamaica - Spanish Town. Available at: http://www.jnht.com/site_spanish_town.php (Accessed: December 4, 2022).
What Are The Heritage Sites In Spanish Town? | Written: December 4, 2022
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