Fascinating glimpse into Montego Bay’s historic Great Houses

Montego Bay, popularly called Mo Bay, is a famous bustling port city of Jamaica. This premier tourist destination in the Caribbean nation is renowned for its expansive coast line, gorgeous beaches and resorts. Apart from its many attractions, Montego Bay is also known for its many historic sites which offer a fascinating glimpse into its rich heritage.

Montego Bay is home to three Great Houses, which are a remarkable testimony to the life of the people in the island that existed in the 18th and 19th century. These historic homes that are a must visit here include Rose Hall Great House, Greenwood Great House and Bellefield Great House. Let’s embark on a virtual tour of each of these great houses.

Rose Hall Great House
The Rose Hall Great House is the first historic home in Montego Bay which is first visited by the tourists. John Palmer, a rich British planter, was the owner of this historic home, which was built in 1770. The Rose Hall Great House was badly damaged in a fire in 1831. After several years it was finally restored. A visit to this great house offers an insight into its exquisite décor and extensive furnishings collection representing the plantation-era 18th century colonial style house.

With the Rose Hall Great House, Jamaica boasts of an intriguing piece of history, which has its own story to tell. The house where John Palmer and his wife originally resided later on became the abode of his grandnephew John Rose Palmer and his beautiful, feisty English wife Annie. John was oblivious of the fact that Annie in fact possessed “black magic” powers which finally led to his demise, along with two more husbands and her numerous lovers. Annie later on came to be known as “The White Witch of Rose Hall”, and continues to beguile generations even today. It is often claimed by many people that Annie had been seen in the vicinity of the Rose Hall Great House.

The tourists can take a day tour of the Great House. Most of the tourists also consider a candle-lit evening tour to know more about the ghost stories of Annie regarding love, murder and mystery ably told by the guides. Conclude your tour of the Rose Hall Great House with a tour of the dungeon, which is known as Annie’s Pub after its transformation into a tavern.

Greenwood Great House
The Greenwood Great House is yet another popular historic home to visit in Montego Bay. It was constructed between 1780 and 1800, and was originally owned by Richard Barrett, who was cousin of renowned poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The Greenwood Great House is known for its literary connections prominently featuring the Barrett family’s original library. You can look forward to an interesting visit here with a wide collection of rare books as well as antique furniture found everywhere in this historic home.

A visit to the Greenwood Great House relives the memories of the 19th century and all that existed during those times. Apart from its rare books, this Great House is also known to preserve the rarest and largest musical books and instruments collection in Montego Bay today.

The historic home is being maintained quite well by Bob and Ann Betton ever since 1976 when this finest antique museum was first opened to the public. The Greenwood Great House has so far received many awards including Jamaica’s most prestigious Musgrave Medal for excellence in heritage preservation. A renowned publication has aptly termed Greenwood Great House as the best that evokes life on a sugar plantation in an authentic way.
Bellefield Great House
The Bellefield Great House is among Jamaica’s oldest sugar plantations. This historic sugar plantation estate is spread in an area of 10 acres. It was constructed during late 1600s and functioned as the St. James Militia outpost. The Bellefield Great House was originally owned by the Kerr-Jarrett family and was home to several generations. You can see many artifacts belonging to the Kerr-Jarrett family. A tour of the Bellefield Great House will also offer views of the Sugar Mill built in 1794.

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