Continuing Reflections on names of estates and origins of settlements
Dr. Fraser- Point of View
March 8, 2024
Continuing Reflections on names of estates and origins of settlements

Based on conversations I had with a few persons I have decided to revisit the issue of the emergence of villages and to look at some names, including the names of estates. While most of the villages were established after 1838, we must not forget some early Garifuna (Yellow/Black Caribs) who had long before then been living in Villages. It is believed that Greiggs/ Upper Massariaca Valley was one of the areas to which the indigenous people who remained after 1797 settled. The area was surveyed and divided into lots in the early years of the twentieth century. In May of 1805 after the surrender and pardoning of 45 Garifuna people, they were given 230 acres of land at Morne Ronde, to the north western part of the country. On May 29, 1838, Stipendiary Magistrate, John Colthurst, and a small group visited that village on their way to the Soufriere. He commented on the almost inaccessible path. He was impressed with the way they lived in harmony, and pointed to the sixteen children who were being taught by a Carib school master who had attended the parish school in Chateaubelair. In 1805 there was also a village of Garifuna and escaped slaves living a short distance from Gordons (Spring estate).

Some Estates:

Richmond Vale/ Fitzhugh’s originally owned by Thomas Fitzhugh. Keartons (near to Barrouallie)-from 1765 owned by George Kearton. Mount Wynne from 1795 owned by Robert Wynne. Penniston, original proprietor Jeremiah Penniston; Akers (Layou) from Edmund Fleming Akers; Questelles/ L’Ance Joyeuse- John B Questel. Langley Park and Montrose, owned by Alexander Cruickshank took their names from the Angus region of Scotland. Arnos Vale, called at one time Great Head was owned by Samuel Greathead in 1793. Peter Gurley was the original purchaser in 1776 of what became the Peter’s Hope estate (It will be interesting to know what was Peter’s hope). Mount Greenan owned by Sir Robert Glasgow of Scotland was named after land on which a castle was dismantled to make way for a private hotel. Windsor Forest was originally Duvalle which was covered with ash and sand after the 1812 eruption.

Akers was the estate of Edmund Akers, from which portions were sold to form Cowdrey’s Village (correcting an error from last week) Please note the original spelling of Rutland Vale in Layou. This estate was owned jointly from 1787 by Josias Jackson and John Mills. Josias was a member of Parliament for Southampton, England from 1807- 1812. Later in St. Vincent he served as a member of Council but died in 1819.

Despite their initial refusal to sell land in small portions, economic circumstances forced some planters to sell or lease marginal estate lands that to a large extent gave rise to the many villages that emerged after 1834. Victoria Village was among the early villages and was founded in 1844 with 250 inhabitants by 1845. In 1844, too, land from the Evesham estate was sold to form Evesham Village. Brighton and Milligan villages were built when a portion of the Brighton estate was sold. Glamorgan village was formed when lands of Lower Diamond were sold in 1846. In 1847- parts of Tourama estate were sold to form Tourama Village. In 1850 North and South Sans Souci villages were formed from lands bought from the Sans Souci estate. Chapmans and Lauders villages were established from lands sold by North and South Union. Enham Village emerged in 1856 with lands bought from the Carapan estate. Stubbs was formed in 1856 when the Court of Chancery sold the Coubiamarou estate. It occupied a large portion, but 85 acres were attached to the Carapan and Mt. Pleasant estates. Montreal with its 210 acres was to be used as a Stock Farm but was found unsuitable and provisions were instead cultivated.

Despite the sale of lands that led to the formation of many villages there was still a demand for land. With sugar at the brink of collapse especially after the floods of the 1870s and the hurricane of 1898, the government was forced into the establishment of a land settlement scheme in 1899. With the eruption of the volcano in 1902 more lands had to be acquired. Questelles and Clare Valley were to be used as shelters for those affected by the eruption. Parts of the Campden Park estate, known as Carib Village, and Rutland Vale estate were also acquired from eruption funds and used for settling refugees. Union Island was acquired in 1910. It had a population of 2,000 persons located in Clifton and Ashton. There were problems with enteric fever but there was a cry against the proprietor Richards and a petition sent to the Governor asking that the government acquire the island. Eighty nine acres of the Sand Bay estate were acquired in 1911, and in 1932 the Three Rivers Estate.

Land Settlement and Land Reform continued to be dominant issues for most of the 20th Century with the Orange Hill project, which is thoroughly discussed in Karl John’s Land Reform in Small Island Development States: A Case Study on St. Vincent, West Indies; 1890-2000, being a major one.

 

  • Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian