Good Hope Great House and Plantation, Jamaica

Good Hope Great House is as stately and unique as any of Jamaica’s great houses. It sits atop a slight elevation which offers it sweeping views of the surrounding Queen of Spain Valley clear out to where the imposing Cockpit Mountains rise majestically in the distance.

Good Hope Great House
Current owner, Blaise Hart leading a tour of Good Hope

This view is unparalleled as the 2,000-acre estate, which is located about 8 miles from Falmouth, the capital of the parish of Trelawny, has remained unmarred by encroaching development. Good Hope is almost the same as it would have been when Col. Thomas Williams built it in 1755 for his wife, Elizabeth.

View from Good Hope
View from Good Hope

Unfortunately, Elizabeth would not live long in the house. She died seven years later at 24 years old and was buried beneath the ground floor. A simple stone marker indicates the spot where she was laid to rest.

In 1767, Good Hope Great House was sold to John Tharp. Tharp, who was only 23 at the time of the purchase, bought several of the neighboring estates, which increased the size of his holdings to 9,000 acres, and approximately 2,500 slaves. He seems to have been a benevolent plantation owner who treated his slaves well. Good Hope had its own church, a 300-bed hospital, and a Free School that taught those who showed promise how to read and write. The plantation prospered even after the abolition of slavery.

Counting House, Good Hope Jamaica
Good Hope Counting House

Tharp’s operation was one of the largest on the island. Besides the hospital, church and school, there was a sugar factory, Carriage House, Coach House, waterwheel, boiling house, kiln and other buildings. As it was considered bad form to do business at home, Tharp also built a stand-alone office, called the Counting House, behind the main house. He also built Tharp House, a shipping office that still can be seen near what is now Falmouth Pier.

Good House looking from back of Counting House
View of the Counting House looking towards the back of the main house

Following Tharp’s death, his nephew managed the estate and it remained profitable. Good Hope Great House & Plantation changed hands several times but the sugar factory continued operating until 1902.

Despite the many changes in ownership and having undergone several expansions and renovations, its owners have maintained the original Georgian style and the house appears seamless in its construction.

Good Hope front porch with tray ceiling and orangewood floor
Good Hope showing the typical ‘tray’ ceiling and original orangewood floor

Good Hope Great House has the first hot water bath in the Caribbean (Falmouth had running water before New York City), period furniture and original orange wood floor. It has 10 rooms and has been a hotel, a dude ranch, and a yoga retreat. Much of the original buildings remain and are still in use.

Good Hope's copper bath
Good Hope’s copper bath
Good Hope Blue Room
Good Hope
View of sitting room and verandah at Good Hope
Good Hope view of sitting room and verandah

Now a working citrus farm with ugli (derived its name from its dimply skin, a result of the hybridization of orange, tangerine and grapefruit), and ortaniques (orange and tangerine) that are exported. There is also a lily pond, swimming pool, tennis court, stables, pottery barn and a beach. The Martha Brae River, the largest in Trelawny, winds its way lazily through the property.

Good Hope Carriage House
Good Hope Carriage House
Good Hope Great House pool
Good Hope pool
Good Hope waterwheel
Good Hope waterwheel

Chukka Caribbean also operates Good Hope Great House & Plantation as an adventure center offering ziplining, river tubing, horse and buggy, dune buggy rides, etc., or more relaxing activities like high tea.

Good Hope Great House is located 20 minutes from Falmouth and approximately 50 minutes from Montego Bay. Call Chukka Caribbean at 877-424-8552 or to arrange a tour.

14 comments on “Good Hope Great House and Plantation, Jamaica

  1. My goodness, that is so gorgeous in there. I would want a house like that, but then again, I would need at least 5 people to keep it clean. hahahaha

  2. What a stunning piece of property. I’d never heard of orange wood floors and am impressed at how beautiful they are – and that tray ceiling is unique too.
    So sad that Elizabeth died at such a tender age. I hope she has a ghost that can still enjoy the place.

  3. What a beautiful place and an interesting history. It looks like a wonderful place to spend the day. It’s great that they added the adventure center too. Love that view! Thanks for introducing us to another hidden gem, Marcia!

  4. It is, Leigh. I’d never heard of orange wood either, at least not used for flooring. It isn’t used much anymore.
    A number of our Georgian houses have tray ceiling, it’s quite beautiful.

  5. I don’t know how I missed this post.

    2500 slaves?! That’s a lot of people to be responsible for. That would be an interesting community to time travel back to, especially as they were treated well and lived on such a nice estate. Are the dwellings for the slaves still on the property?

  6. Yes, it was a lot of people, for sure. I didn’t see any of the dwellings, I’m sure those are gone but the hospital is still there. The rains came and cut our visit short but I hope to return and see it.

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