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Memorial Plaques at St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Falmouth

One of the first things you notice when you enter the Falmouth Parish Church of St. Peter the Apostle (St. Peter’s), is its colorful stained glass windows. The most eye-catching one sits over the altar and is flanked by the Apostle’s Creed, the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments.

St Peters interior
Interior of St. Peter the Apostle

The first church in the parish of Trelawny and one of the oldest on the island, St. Peter’s was built in 1796 on land that the wealthy planter, Edward Barrett, donated. It was constructed from local limestone and bricks that were imported from Liverpool, England.

In addition to its original pulpit, baptismal font, and furnishings made of Jamaican mahogany, it was difficult to ignore the plaques lining the wall. Most date to the 1800s, and were mounted in memory of prominent people who were likely members of St. Peter’s.

Reading the inscriptions, I smiled at the qualities that were considered commendable back then – cheerfulness, sincerity, generosity, benevolence, piety, usefulness, integrity even a mild disposition – and at some of the phrases that sound so cumbersome and out-of-place now.

Here are a few the ones I found interesting:

Samuel Earnshaw

In Memory of Samuel Earnshaw Esquire, of Colchis Estate in this Parish. A man of unassuming manners and unimpeachable integrity who from a spirit delighting in acts of generosity and benevolence. Distributed the blessings of life bestowed upon by the Divine Power, with a cheerful and liberal hand.

He died at his residence on 19th of September 1824. Affectionately deplored by his afflicted Wife. Regretted by his numerous friends and not unlamented by those, who personally unacquainted with him, yet were sensible of reputed worth and sincerity.

Joseph Hodgson, Esq.
Joseph Hodgson, Esq.
John Marnoch

Sacred to the memory of The Honorable James Stewart, Custos Rotulorum and Representative in Assembly of this Parish, Judge of the Supreme Court and Major General of the Militia who departed this life on the 4th day of August 1828 aged 66 years.

He devoted his life to the public service of this his native country as a legislator. He was no less distinguished for his eloquence than for the wise policy of his measures. As a judge he adorned the seat of justice by the dignity of his character and the integrity of his decisions.

As chief magistrate of this parish, he endeared himself to its inhabitants not alone as the watchful guardian of the public peace

But as the beneficent promoter of their private interests and individual happiness and in testimony of the grateful feelings with which they revere his name they have erected this monument to his memory.

Mary Aitken
Mary Aitken

Linking up this week with Nancie’s Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to stop by and check out more photos and stories from around the world.

Learning Historic Preservation Techniques in Falmouth Jamaica

While doing research online two years ago, I happened on information about historic preservation and Archeology Awareness Week in Jamaica. My interest piqued, I followed a link to the website for Falmouth Heritage Renewal (FHR), a charitable organization that is involved in historic preservation in Jamaica.

On FHR’s home page was an announcement about a free walking tour of Falmouth. I fired off an email and scheduled a tour that same week, a day after Prince Harry visited.

In a presentation prior to the start of the tour, FHR’s Executive Director, Dr. Ivor Conolley, explained the history of FHR, the projects it had completed as well as those underway. I also found out that FHR provides training, apprenticeship and mentoring programs for youths and adults interested in historic preservation. It also repairs homes for residents who can either donate labor or agree not to sell for a specified time after the work is completed.

I was so impressed by FHR’s work and activism that after the presentation and tour, I heard myself offering to help. Several months later, I was assisting them to organize its first three-day preservation seminar for architects, engineers and other professionals in the building trades.

FHR partnered with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) in the UK, and two architects and an engineer flew to Jamaica to present at the seminar. Along with local preservation professionals, they gave hands on demonstrations of preservation techniques, including a traditional burning of limestone to make lime mortar. The seminar was so well received that participants suggested that FHR make it an annual event.

This year, the seminar will run from today to February 28th. Here are some of the photos from last year’s.

Preparing lime mortar. 

Using lime mortar to repair a damaged stone wall. (Photos from FHR.)

A few of FHR’s projects.

In 1996, the Government of Jamaica declared Falmouth Historic District a National Monument. The historic town celebrates the 245th anniversary of its founding this year.

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

Falmouth’s Georgian Buildings, I

Falmouth, Trelawny, has the largest collection of intact Georgian buildings in the Caribbean. Several have been restored by the Falmouth Heritage Renewal.

On a recent visit, I took photos of some of these beautiful, old buildings.

Falmouth Baptist Manse
Falmouth Baptist Manse, now home of Falmouth Heritage Renewal

Built in 1798 for the Athol Union Masonic Lodge of the Scottish Constitution, it was the first masonic temple in Jamaica. In 1834, it was sold to the Baptist Missionary because of debts incurred during its construction.

It is believed that the Baptist Missionary and Abolitionist, William Knibb (1803-45) lived here in the 1830s with his family. Much later (1951-75), the Manse became the William Knibb High School. It was restored recently by the William Knibb Trust and is now home to Falmouth Heritage Renewal.

St. Peter's Anglican Church, Falmouth
St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Falmouth

The Falmouth Parish Church of St. Peter the Apostle, was built circa 1796 on land that was given by Edward Barrett of Cinnamon Hill. As I wrote in a previous post, the Barretts were wealthy sugar family who owned 84,000 acres stretching from Montego Bay to Falmouth.

St. Peter's Anglican Church, Falmouth
St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Falmouth

Stained glass above the altar.

St. Peter's Anglican Church, Falmouth
St. Peter’s Anglican Church, Falmouth

A few yards from the church is a small cemetery with headstones dating to the 1700s. One of the members told us that there are also graves beneath the church — I wasn’t interested in seeing whether it was true. As we walked around we couldn’t miss this goat. He was sitting under the shade of a nearby tree, looking as if he belonged.

The Falmouth Heritage Renewal offers walking tours of Falmouth Heritage District from Mondays to Fridays at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The tours start at the Baptist Manse, 9 Market Street, and last about 75 minutes. There is no charge, however, donations are welcomed.


This is my submission to this week’s Budget Travelers Sandbox Travel Photo Thursday series. Be sure to check out other photo and story entries on their website.