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The Counting House at Good Hope Plantation

Good Hope Great House, with its Counting House, came on my radar about 10 years ago when I was looking for a suitable venue for an event I was planning. Since then, I’ve visited Good Hope several times but for one reason or another, have never been able to see the interior of the Counting House. Finally, a few weeks ago, I got my chance. I was only disappointed because I didn’t get to spend the night there.

The king was in his counting house, counting out his money – Sing a Song of Sixpence

Good Hope Counting House

Good Hope Counting House

I don’t know about you but when I hear Counting House, a line from a certain English nursery rhyme comes to mind. The king in that nursery rhyme could well have been John Tharp, the owner of Good Hope Great House.

Tharp, a shrewd businessman, was the richest and largest landowner in Jamaica.

At the ripe old age of 23, he already owned Good Hope. He bought the estates that adjoined it and expanded his holdings to about 9,000 acres. Tharp also owned a plantation about 50 miles away in Water Works, Westmoreland. At his death, in 1804, his property was valued at over 4.5 million pounds.

Counting House, Good Hope

Backview of the Counting House

Apparently counting money in one’s home was believed to bring bad luck so Tharp had the Counting House built just steps from the main house. Remember, this was the 1700s. Jamaica had no paper money or banks until the 1800s. People like Tharp, had to be their own banks.

As I surveyed the room, I tried to imagine how it might have looked in Tharp’s day. Where did he have his vault?

Counting House, Good Hope Great House

Counting House

Counting House

John Tharp’s office

Was anyone else allowed in his Counting House? If only the walls could talk.

Linking up this week with Travel Photo Thursday, which Nancie at Budget Travel Sandbox organizes. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.



  1. That is some history behind the house, looks a bit spooky too!!
    Yes, if only the walls could speak, it would have some stories to tell of their own!
    Have a good day Marcia 🙂
    Arti recently posted..The Story of a Girl …My Profile

  2. A beautiful house, I wish to spend a night here 🙂
    Muza-chan recently posted..Sakura teaMy Profile

  3. Maria Alexandra, LatinAbroad

    from the outside, it looks creepy, yet inviting (like a mini haunted house?). But inside… So romantic!

    -Maria Alexandra
    Maria Alexandra recently posted..Pakistani food in Orlando: Naan pizza and nihari at Chaat House! [PHOTOS]My Profile

  4. With you there, I do wonder what it all looked like in Tharp’s day
    Maria Falvey recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – GoMad NomadMy Profile

  5. Yes, if only the walls could talk!

  6. Interesting juxtaposition between the inside and the outside of the Counting House. It looks thoroughly modern inside and yet the outside looks its age.
    Interesting that you it was bad luck to count money at home – who knew? I wonder if it was guarded when the money was counted,
    Leigh recently posted..A Kayaking Trip on the Georgian Bay, OntarioMy Profile

  7. Nice little story. I’m trying to imagine a contemporary 23-year-old owning a couple large junks of Jamaica. Or any island for that matter.

  8. So intriguing! Love to read the stories like this one. Thanks Marcia for writing about it.
    Agata recently posted..New Zealand ClipMy Profile

  9. What a fascinating little piece of history! I too wonder where that vault is and wonder any of his fortune remains in his house or counting house. Did you look? LOL! I have never been to Jamaica but when I do, you and only you will be guide!!
    Jeff Titelius recently posted..Viking River Cruises to sail Bordeaux in March 2014 with new Chateaux, Rivers and Wine river cruiseMy Profile

  10. Oh if only the walls could talk! So true! It would be fascinating, wouldn’t it? I loved the moody pics you’ve taken and it would be the sort of place I’d love to visit to let my imagination run just a little wild!

  11. I admit that I did not immediately make the connection with the nursery rhyme, but now I have and it finally makes sense. I never knew what a counting house was! Money counting aside I like the look of the place now 🙂
    budget jan recently posted..Sihanoukville Market Cambodia or Phsar LeuMy Profile

  12. What an interesting story! I’m familiar with the nursery rhyme but never really imagined a counting house actually existing. Is it actually a guest home now?
    Lisa Goodmurphy recently posted..Instagramming Toronto ArchitectureMy Profile

  13. What a gorgeous room, and that bed looks so comfy!
    Nancie recently posted..Travel Photo Thursday — Mar.27/14–Chiang Rai’s White TempleMy Profile

  14. Funny, I hadn’t even considered the bed, Nancie. You’re right, it does look comfy.

  15. I didn’t look, Jeff. Unfortunately, Tharp’s substantial estate ended up in litigation – which is why so much of the records remain.
    Let me know when you’re ready and I’ll make it happen Jeff!

  16. You’re welcome, Agata!

  17. Thanks, Bob.
    My feeling is that our generation lives longer so we delay taking on these “grown up” responsibilities. I could be wrong though.
    Thanks for visiting.

  18. Yes, it is, Lisa. A very cozy one too.
    I didn’t either until I heard about this one. It’s quite special.

  19. I was surprised to hear that too, Leigh. Come to think of it, Tharp might have had some type of security but then again, he might not since the office was so close to the main house.

  20. Thanks, Arti. Hope you do too!