St. Elizabeth Heritage Sites

Bamboo Avenue 

Bamboo Avenue is located on the main South Coast Highway, between Middle Quarters and Lacovia, in the parish of St Elizabeth. The avenue was planted out with Bambusa Vulgaris a specie of Bamboo which was the largest variety introduced in Jamaica. The avenue is approximately two and a half (2 1/2) miles long with the tall bamboo forming a canopy over it. 

 

Lovers’ Leap

The area consists of a cliff with a drop of approximately 1,600 feet. The legend associated with the site is that during the days of enslavement two young lovers used to meet secretly on the adjoining Yardley Chase Plantation. The owner wanted the female for himself and arranged to have her lover sold. Not wanting to be separated, the two hand in hand plunged to their death.

 

Accompong

This village located in St. Elizabeth is named after its founder Accompong, brother of Quao, Cuffy, Cudjoe, and Nanny, the leader and founder of Nanny Town. They were well trained warriors from the Ashanti area of West Africa.

The town was founded in 1739 when land was given to the Maroons as part of a Peace Treaty with the British. Traditional ceremonies are held here on 6th January annually to commemorate the signing of the Peace Treaty and the establishment of the town. The Maroons were the first group of blacks to fight for and gain their freedom.

 

Munro College

On the 30th, October, 1834, an Act for the sale of the real estate of Robert Huge Munro and Caleb Dickenson was read and passed on November 6. By this Act, the Trustees were given power of sale of the real estate and slaves of Robert Hugh Munro and Caleb Dickenson for investing the funds and applying the same to the purposes of their wills and for no other purpose.

The Trustees were appointed to select a convenient and healthy site or sites within the former limits of St. Elizabeth for erection of a school or several schools for poor boys and a school or several schools for poor girls and for an Alms House.

Munro College is an imposing School situated predominantly on a hill in Potsdam, contributing significantly to the character of the area.

In 1856, a Free School for boys was opened near Black River and early in 1857, the premises of Potsdam in Santa Cruz Mountains were purchased and the school removed there.

The girl’s school was first opened at Mount Zion in 1874 and on the 1st January 1885, was removed to Malvern House and then to Hampton.

By Law 34 of 1879, the Jamaican School’s commission was empowered to make schemes for management of secondary schools. The Munro and Dickson School came into operation on 1st January 1891. This was amended in February 1903. The existing Trust was removed and the future Trust was made of the Custos and the Chairman of the parochial Board of St. Elizabeth and Manchester and five persons appointed by the Governor on the nomination of the Jamaica School Commission. The Scheme was again modified in 1937 and again in 1949 saying no member of staff could become a Trustee and limiting the number to no less than seven or more than nine.

Munro College is an imposing School situated predominantly on a hill in Potsdam, contributing significantly to the character of the area.

 

Hampton School

Hampton School, like Munro College, has its origins in the Munro and Dickenson Trust. Robert Hugh Munro in his will dated January 21, 1797, bequeathed a part of his estate to his nephew Caleb Dickenson and the Churchwardens of St. Elizabeth to set up a school in the parish for the education of as many poor children as the funds was able to provide for and maintain. Dickenson improved the property of Munro, so that when Dickenson died in 1821, he was far wealthier than his uncle had been. In his will, Dickenson desired that his Trustees carry out the wishes of his uncle to educate the poor.

For several years nothing was done about carrying out the wishes of Dickenson. It was not until 1855 that a fraction of the original bequest was rescued and Act 18 Victoria Chapter 53 was passed. By this Act, the Custodes and Rectors of St. Elizabeth and Manchester, the Members of Assembly for St. Elizabeth and five others became “The Governors and Trustees of Munro and Dickenson Free School and Charity”. In 1856, the Trustees opened a Free School for boys, which later became known as Munro College. In 1858, a school for girls was started at Potsdam, on the same property as the Boys’ School. This location was found unsatisfactory and the Girls’ School was then for a short time at Torrington, then was moved to Mount Zion, now called Stirling. By December 1884, there were fewer than 12 girls at the school and Miss Elizabeth Ramson, first headmistress of the school, had resigned.

In 1885, with a new headmistress, Miss McCutcheon, the school reopened at a new location, Malvern House. By 1891, Malvern House was given up and Hampton, formerly known as Fort Rose, was rented from Mrs. Boxer. When Mrs. Boxer died, the Trustees purchased Hampton for ₤800 in 1896. The Girls’ School eventually became known as Hampton.

In 1890, the Trustees introduced a system of Lady Principal and Headmistress. Mrs. Julia Comrie was then appointed as the Principal and Miss Geddes as Headmistress. This system however, was not satisfactory and in 1893, the Trustees reverted to the original system. Miss Holden was appointed in 1894 as the new Headmistress, bringing Miss Gertrude Boyd with her as an assistant. Miss Holden was the first Headmistress who saw the school as more than a Charity School for a handful of girls. She introduced drawing, painting and music and made the school a place for girls to get a good education. When she resigned in 1904, the school had more than 60 girls and 22 candidates were entered for the Cambridge Examinations.

Miss Barrows replaced Miss Holden as Headmistress. During her time there were extensive additions to the buildings including music rooms and a building to contain a hall, common room, library and dormitory. Miss Barrows was Headmistress for eighteen years. When she resigned in 1922, the Trustees offered the post to Miss Campbell who had been second Mistress, 1908 to 1910. During Miss Campbell’s 11 years as Headmistress, the school continued to be one of the leading Girls’ Schools in the West Indies. The Trustees paid a great tribute to Miss Campbell on her resignation and made particular mention of the Chapel, which was erected almost entirely through her devoted efforts.

Today Hampton School continues to be committed to producing young ladies who are optimally rounded. Approximately 950 students are on roll and about one-third of the student population board.

 

Heritage Sites by Parish