Westmoreland Heritage Sites

Manning’s High School

The history of the Manning’s School dates back to a quarter of a century before the actual setting up of the school when in 1711, Thomas Manning, a Westmoreland planter, bequeathed a gift of land for the setting up of a free school in the parish of Westmoreland.

The legal formalities which facilitated the effecting of his will were formalised in 1738 when the Jamaica Assembly made this possible by the passing of an Act, Eleventh George II chapter 9, after which the Free School was formally established.

It is interesting to note that the school was established on the present site near Savanna-la-mar instead of on the lands left by Manning at Burnt Savannah Pen at the northern end of the George’s Plain.

In 1780, a hurricane did extensive damage to the school and the Board petitioned the House of Assembly for help to effect repairs.

As the years progressed, the 20th Century led to the reorganization of the School into a Modern Grammar School. The oldest existing part of the School which was built in the early 20th Century is known as the Thomas Manning Building, named in honour of the School’s founder. It is the most outstanding building on the entire School property and is currently used as library and classrooms.

The Thomas Manning Building is a delightful structure which is constructed from timber and the rest on a masonry plinth. Typical of the Georgian architecture, the building is perfectly symmetrical in elevation. However, for its function in the tropics, the Architect has added several features. On all sides the building has been fitted with deep verandas to add shade. The vented steep gable roof expels hot air, and a cupola with fixed jalousies provide relief for any warm air trapped in the roof. The features combined have created a perfect example of colonial architecture.

 

Negril Point Lighthouse

This Lighthouse is situated at south Negril Point which is at the extreme western end of the Island. The concrete Tower which is painted white, stands 66 feet above ground level and the light is elevated 100 feet above sea level. The Lighthouse has an automatic white light which flashes every two seconds.

The Negril Lighthouse was built in 1894 by the French Company Bubbler & Bernard, on a tank 14 feet deep, which is kept filled with water. This is to keep the Tower balanced and secured in the event of an earthquake. The Tower which is built inland, is cylindrical and has an elaborate light enclosed in a metal and glass protector on top of which is a wind-wane.

Initially, the Lighthouse was operated by a gas lamp, but in 1956 it was replaced by an acetylene gas lamp. This was used until 1985 when it was replaced by solar energy.

The Lighthouse is located at latitude 18º 15′ north and longitude 78º 23′ west.

 

Savanna-la-mar Baptist Church

The Baptist Church in Savanna-la-mar was erected in 1835. It was destroyed by fire on the 23rd November 1839 and rebuilt in 1840. The Church is very simple in architectural form with a rectangular floor plan. The facade is symmetrical with an arrangement of four pointed arch window openings in the form of a crucifix.

Two strategically placed projecting porches provide shelter for the entrances. There is an arrangement of five large pointed arch windows on each side of the building. The roof is of a steep gable-ended construction.

 

Ackendown Castle Ruin

On the northern side of the main road between the towns of Savanna-la-mar and Black River, is the Ackendown Castle ruin. According to a plaque on the inner wall, the castle was built by Archibald Campbell (1781-1833) of the family of Auchenbreck in Argyll in Scotland. An inscription in lead on a stone on one of the inner walls of the link joining the two towers reads as follows:

Here lie the remains of Archibald Campbell of the family of Auchenbeck in Argyll in Scotland third son of the Hon. John Campbell of New Hope in this parish died 21st April 1833 aged 52 years. This Castle which is now His monument, was built by him. R.I.P.

The castle consists of the stone remains of an eastern and western tower connected by what is said to have been an underground passage. The style in which the masonry has been constructed is unusual in Jamaica—rather more medieval in character, making the castle quite unique in this respect.

The Ackendown Castle ruin was declared as a national monument by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust on December 21, 2006.

 

Cast Iron Fountain

Located near to the Courthouse in Savanna-La-Mar, Westmoreland, is a Corinthian fluted Cast iron Fountain. This beautiful and unique Fountain was presented to the town of Savanna-La-Mar in 1887 by E. J. Sadler, a planter from Westmoreland.

Rising from the base of the Fountain are eight iron columns which give the structure an octagonal appearance. On each of the eight columns is an arch, and over each arch is a plaque with a pelican motif. Inscribed on the pelican motif is the admonition to Keep the pavement dry.

 

Heritage Sites by Parish