The first capital of the parish was Martha Brae. However, this had to be changed for several reasons. By 1780 lack of room for expansion was a problem. It was also felt that a sea coast town should be the capital, a town from which sugar could be shipped to England and it was felt that a sea coast town would have a more pleasing climate.
By 1790, the Parish Council had purchased lands at Palmetto Point from Edward Moulton Barrett (father of Elizabeth Barrett Browning). It was here at ‘Barrett Town’ that the council built and created the new capital, which became known as Falmouth, the best laid out town in Jamaica. St. Peter’s Anglican Church was built on a plot of land in the centre of the town.
In its heyday, Falmouth was booming with the backing of sugar, at one time supporting five newspapers. The first Jamaican derby was run at Cave Island Pen in the parish and the Athol Union Lodge built the first Masonic Temple of the Scottish Constitution. However, with the decline of sugar, so followed the decline of Falmouth. With the advent of steamships, Falmouth’s former sea traffic was diverted to ports that could accommodate these larger ships. As a result, by 1890 Falmouth was almost deserted.