St. Thomas-Monuments and Historic Buildings

Morant Bay Courthouse

Scene of the 1865 riot, this courthouse was burnt during the violence that occurred. It was rebuilt some time afterwards. Leader of the rioters National Hero, Paul Bogle, was buried behind the court-house in a shallow grave.

Stokes Hall Great House

Stokes Hall and nearby Stokesfield mark the area where Major Luke Stokes – the then Governor of Nevis – brought his family and over 1,600 colonists to Jamaica during the days of colonization. Fevers and related illnesses killed many of the colonists, including Major Stokes and his wife, but his children survived and eventually established these two outstanding houses. The ruins of the Great House are possibly the oldest existing structural foundations in the island.

Morant Bay Fort

Located behind the Morant Bay courthouse, this fort dates back to 1773, but its three remaining cannon were installed early in the 18th century.

Morant Bay Lighthouse

This 100-foot high structure was built in 1841 by Krus, part of the contingent of 11,400 free Africans brought to Jamaica after emancipation. Many of these Africans landed and settled in Morant Bay as well as the interior areas of St. Thomas, particularly along the Plantain Garden River Valley.

Stony Gut, Site of Bogle Chapel

At this site is a plaque with these words can be found:

“Here was located the Chapel and house of National Hero the Rt. Excellence Paul Bogle.  It was from this spot on October 11th, 1865, that Deacon Bogle led his people to Morant Bay to protest against the oppression of the humble Jamaicans by the plantocracy.  It was brutally put down by Governor Eyre.  Deacon Bogle was taken near Stony Gut on October 23rd, 1865, tried by Court – Martial and hanged at Morant Bay on October 24, 1865.”

The quiet glade in which the monument is located also has the grave of a descendant of the Bogle clan located immediately behind the monument.

 

St. Thomas-Location and Geography

It is bordered by St. Andrew on the west, Portland on the north and the Caribbean Sea to the south.

GEOGRAPHY

The land mass of St. Thomas ranges from the peaks of the Blue Mountains and John Crow Mountains down to sea-level. Subsidiary ridges of the Blue Mountain range, running from east to west across the island, come to their eastern end in St. Thomas. These include the Port Royal Mountain Range, which rises in some parts to 1,219.2m (4,000 feet) and stretches from above New Castle, in St. Andrew, to a point near the sea in the Albion area of St. Thomas.

Between the valleys of the Yallahs and Negro River lies the Queensbury Ridge, and to the extreme south of Blue Mountain massif stands the Yallahs Hill, a 730m (2,394 feet) isolated ridge.

The vegetation of western St. Thomas is mostly dry limestone scrub forests at 0 – 381m (0 – 1,250 feet), with the higher rainfall eastern area of the parish showing more luxuriant vegetation. The coastal area of the parish between the Yallahs River and Hector’s River includes large wetland areas such as the Great Morass and the Cow Bay Swamps, as well as significant areas of deciduous forest.

The shoreline is characterised by rocky cliffs and sandy or gravelly beaches and is indented by a number of bays which include Sugar Loaf, Yallahs, Salt Pond, Lyssons, Holland Point, Rocky Point, Canoe and Morant Point.

Behind the coast there are lower mountain rain forests over 381m (1,250 feet) and some elfin woodlands at the highest mountain levels.