St. Mary-Attractions and Points of Interest

Prospect Plantation
At Prospect, the guides are uniformed members of the Prospect Cadet Training Centre, an institution founded by proprietor Sir Harold Mitchell, to provide skills training for young Jamaicans. The plantation tour ends at their ecumenical Chapel, a structure built of cut-stone and lumber from the Kissinger and other famous visitors to the Centre.

Brimmer Hall
Situated in Port Maria, this estate is primarily involved in the production of bananas and coconuts. Other features include a pool, gift shops, a bar and a restaurant which serves Jamaican meals.

Harmony Hall
A renovated 18th century manse located east of Prospect Plantation and west of Couples Hotel.
A combination art gallery, pub, restaurant and craft shop, this ‘Hall’ was the brain child of a group of local businessmen and art lovers.

Moxon’s Restaurant
This restaurant attracts visitors from all over the north coast. Oliver Moxon’s community projects and coconut wood industry are, in their own way, “mini attractions”.

Golden Eye
This is the house at which Ian Flemming wrote the James Bond thrillers. Golden Eye can be seen by taking the left branch of the road which goes through the town of Oracabessa coming from Ocho Rios.

A mini tourist attraction, the house is now owned by music promoter Christopher Blackwell, who has kept the house furnished as Flemming had it (including the author’s writing desk). Bus tours are not allowed, but individual Bond fans may be discreetly shown around the property by the resident staff.

Firefly
Once a retreat of Noel Coward, this house is now owned by the National Heritage Trust. Noel Coward is buried in the garden there.

Castleton Gardens
The famous Castleton Gardens is located 19 miles from Kingston on the road connecting Kingston to Annotto Bay. The gardens cover 12 acres, at an average elevation of 496 feet.

Established in 1865, the Castleton Gardens were once the most richly stocked botanical gardens in the Caribbean and here could be found over 400 specimens from the Kew Gardens in England. Many of the beautiful and valuable trees introduced to Jamaica were first planted at the Castleton Gardens.

Over one hundred years after being established, and after several natural disasters, there are still many exotic plants at these gardens, with an abundance of ferns and trees from Madagascar, India and the East Indies.

St. Mary- Monuments

Aqualta Vale Great House
Aqualta Vale was first owned by Thomas Hibbert, (1710- 1780) from Manchester, England. After this it became the property of John Pringle, a Scottish doctor who was the District Medical Officer for St. Mary.

The last great house, which was built by Sir John Pringle in 1907, was destroyed by fire. In the House was a stairway on which a ghostly lady was said to appear occasionally.

Monument to Tacky
A monument to the slave Tacky stands in the Claude Stuart Park at Port Maria.

Monument to Sir Charles Price
A monument to Sir Charles Price, a wealthy eighteenth century planter and speaker of the House of Assembly, stands in the Victoria Gardens in Port Maria. The monument was moved to its present site in 1933 from “The Decoy”, Sir Charles Price’s estate higher up in the hills of St. Mary.

Annotto Bay Baptist Church
Located on the main street in Annotto Bay, this is one of the most interesting structures in the town. Originally built in 1823, the structure suffered damage in the slave uprisings of 1831 to 1832 and in 1880 a storm took further toll on the building. In 1894 it was rebuilt.

In 1962 extensive repairs were carried out on this building and it was declared an historic monument.

Gray’s Inn Charity and Fort Haldane
Under the will of John William Gray, a Port Maria merchant who died in 1894, the Gray’s Charity Home for senior citizens, was set up in 1897. The home is located on the site of Fort Haldane of which only some ruins and cannon remain. The fort was named after General George Haldane, the island’s governor in 1759.

SOME FAMOUS PERSONS

Associated with the parish are some notable Jamaican families – the Pringles, the Silveras, the Goffes, the Gregors, the Lindos, the Magnuses…among others.

Dr. Harry Gerraise Harry
 Dr. Harry was a legend in his time. His fame went beyond Port Maria Hospital’s operating room of which he was in charge.

Dr. Sydney Martin
 Dr. Martin was in charge of Annotto Bay Hospital and was one of Jamaica’s first international athletes.

Chester Touzalin
 Mr. Touzalin was Custos of St. Mary and one of the leaders of the island’s Building Society movement.

Rev. Henry Ward
 Hailing from Islington, Rev. Ward was a powerful preacher and educationalist.

A. A. Barclay
 Barclay was the father of the Building Society movement in Jamaica. He came from the small town of Gayle.

Lily May Burke
 Lily May Burke was a leading suffragette in her day. She made an impact on Jamaican politics at a time when women had little or no say in the public affairs of the country. Burke was from Central St. Mary.