History of St. Ann

St. Ann – Interesting Place Names


Originally a Scottish place name, it was owned by a Scotsman who built a great house there in the 18thCentury.

Black Stonedge
A Scottish place name.


The name originated in southeast Nigeria.

Drax Hall

Named after Charles Drax, a planter who willed the property for the setting up of a free school. It later became Jamaica College and was moved to Hope Road  in Kingston.

Dry Harbour

This spot was the “Puerto Seco” of Christopher Columbus, so-called because there was no fresh water there.

This is an original place name.

Fern Gully

One of Jamaica beauty spots, so named because many ferns grow on the banks of the gorge through which the road winds.

An English place name.

Liberty Hall

Named when the liberty tree was planted there in August 1, 1838 to commemorate the abolition of slavery.


The name originates in Wales. This property once had on it a sugar estate. The Llandovery Falls are also here, famous because they were depicted on Jamaica’s first one-penny stamp.


The name originated from a city in India. It is a reminder that indentured Indians came here in 1845 to replace the freed African slaves.


Presumably named after Penhurst Castle in Kent, England.

Prickly Pole

Named after a kind of palm, the Prickle Pole  palm once grew plentifully.

River  Head

Is said to be so named because it is the head (source) of eight rivers.

Try See

The site of a Free Village and named by former slaves. Try See is part of the phrase: “Try and see what can be”.


The Rt. Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey – First National Hero of Jamaica.

Born 1887 in St. Ann’s Bay – died 1940 in England. Became famous and was made a National Hero for his tireless struggle for the betterment of Black people, worldwide.


The Hon. Robert (Bob) Nesta Marley  O.M. (Order of Merit)

A musician who contributed to the world-wide development of reggae music, born at Rhoden Hall, Nine Miles, February 6, 1945 and died May11,1981.


Dunbar Theophilus Wint

A son of the parish who became famous firstly as a Legislator, and later as a politician.


Aabuthnot Gallimore and Neville Gallimore

A father and son team who became famous as noteworthy politicians. Neville Gallimore (son) is also a medical practitioner.


Dr. Ivan Lloyd

Excelled as a medical doctor and as a politician.


Sir Thomas Roxborough

Became well-known as Custos of the parish.


Colonel Aldington Curphey

Was well known as Custos of the parish and president of the Senate.


Hon. Wills O. Isaacs

Prominent politician.


St. Ann – Attractions

Dunn’s River Falls

This site is located approximately 8 kilometres from St. Ann’s Bay on the road to Ocho Rios. It is an exceptionally attractive little spot and a “must see” for all who visit this parish. The beach has clean bright sand that is perpetually being washed by the outpouring from the falls. It is at this point of the bay that the Dunn’s River empties its clear cool waters over a series of rocky ledges. Frequently, visitors can be seen joining hands for safety and being guided over the ledges. Bathing is allowed at various spots along the falls.


Sevilla Nueva or Sevilla d’Oro is situated about 1.6 kilometre west of St. Ann’s Bay, and is known to be the first capital of the island. The Spaniards occupied this area for a brief period as it soon became unhealthy due to the surrounding swamps. The drainage of the swamps and the construction of concrete drains throughout St. Ann’s Bay have vastly improved this site. The Seville National Park is one of the numerous historical sites that enrich this parish as it recalls the earliest visitors to our island.

Columbus Park

Columbus Park is situated in Discovery Bay. This spot commemorates Columbus’ visit to our island and operates as an open-air museum with sketches of Jamaican history.

Fern Gully

Almost 5 kilometres of varied ferns would appeal to the lovers of flora. The Fern Gully has now been placed under the care of the National Heritage Trust and is now a preservation site. This beautiful winding path lying about 6.4km from Ocho Rios is a rocky gorge of lush vegetation at tremendous depth. It is the outcropping of a riverbed from the past and upholds its historical values. The Fern Gully is still worth a visit to see its profusion of tropical ferns (over 500 species) and the kind of foliage only to be found in a tropical rain forest. In the deepest parts of the gorge, only faint dapples of sunshine penetrate through the thick foliage and the temperature is about ten degrees cooler.

Green Grotto Caves

The Green Grotto and Runaway Caves are situated along the main north coast road about 3.2 km east of Discovery Bay. They meander over 9.6 km and abound in natural art forms of glistening stalagmites and stalactites. They are lit on the perimeter to show contrast and depth, but natural light rays and air from the holes in the ceilings give a sense of reassurance. Green Grotto is a subterranean lake lying 36.6 metres below ground level. Boat trips can be taken on this lake which is clear and still allowing stalactites to be seen growing from the bottom of the lake.

Cardiff Hall Great House

Cardiff Hall Great House is located off the main at Runaway Bay, St. Ann. The Property at Cardiff Hall had remained in the Blagrove family from 1655 – 1950. The first owner was John Blagrove who arrived in Jamaica in 1655 when the English captured the island from the Spanish. Cardiff Hall is near to the remnant of several Taino Kitchen Midden. The area appears to have been thickly populated by the Tainos.

Orange Valley Estate and Great House

Orange Valley Estate and Great House was once part of the Blagrove property, together with Cardiff Hall and the Estates of Unity and Bel Air. It is located in Runaway Bay, St Ann.

The Sugar works, about a mile from the road, were in operation until the early years of the 20thCentury, and much of the steam boiler equipment is intact. The whole works compound is an unusually well preserved example of the eighteenth century factory plant adapted to the processes of steam power.

The Columbus Monument

There is a statue of Columbus dressed in a Spanish grandee on top of a pedestal of coral rocks. The monument is situated west of St. Ann’s Bay. It is said that Columbus first glimpse of Jamaica was just off St. Ann’s Bay on his second voyage. However, he was greeted by a canoe of angry Tainos who persuaded him to weigh anchor elsewhere.

Bromley Great House, Walkerswood, St. Ann
A magnificent wooden house lived in by the third generation of Sir John Pringle’s descendants. The date of construction has not been established but the stone foundations date from the eighteenth century. It is Jamaican Georgian with shingle roof and sash windows. The Great House was one of the historic structures being studied under the Caribbean School of Architecture’s pilot study for an inventory of Jamaican heritage structures.
Ramble Great House

Ramble Estate was previously known as Finger Post. It was the site of an abortive attempt to establish the only tea plantation in the West Indies. In1903, seeds were brought from the botanical gardens at Cinchona in the Blue Mountains. At Cinchona, tea had been grown experimentally since 1868. One hundred acres of it was planted at Ramble but in 1920 the project was abandoned.

Drax Hall

This estate is located in the Priory area of St. Ann. This estate was founded in 1669 by William Drax and in 1691 the property was passed on to Charles Drax. The Great House on the property was built about 1690.

Charles Drax left a sum of money in his 1721 will to start a free school. This school was called the Drax Free School. The name was later changed to the Jamaica Free School. In 1871 an Act declared that a school be established in St Andrew with the control vested in the Jamaica School’s Commission.

The funds operating the Drax free School were transferred to this commission. This new school was opened on Hope Road in 1885. In 1902, the Jamaica High  and the college, which had opened as a part of the school in 1890 were, joined to form the Jamaica College. Drax Hall is one of the splendid properties in St. Ann.

Clock Tower, St. Ann’s Bay

The Clock tower in St. Ann’s Bay is located at the corner of Market and Main Street. Entrance to the Clock tower is gained through the market. The height of the clock is about twenty feet and there are lights on each of the clocks to make reading easier at nights.

32 Market Street – St. Ann’s Bay

32 Market Street, St. Ann’s Bay is the birth place of Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jamaica’s first National Hero. He was born there in August 17,1877, probably in the same house which is now in a very dilapidated state. A commemorative plaque has been placed there by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. This was done on August 15, 1987. Through the efforts of Anthony Scott and the African People’s Association, a bust of Marcus Garvey was erected in 1989.

African Jamaican House Site: 1670 –1740

This site contains the foundation of an African Jamaican House. The house was part of the first Seville, African Jamaican village, 1670 –1740. The house foundation was built of cut stone. The clay floor was ballasted with uncut limestones. The walls were of wattle and daub and roof of thatch. In the room was buried the owner of the house in keeping with a West African burial traditional that was continued in Jamaica. The red flags show the area of the burial. The room also contained a fire hearth for cooking or warming the house at night: the orange flags indicate the area where the hearth was.

St. Ann – Towns

St. Ann’s Bay

St. Ann’s Bay is the capital and administrative centre of the parish. It was originally called Santa Gloria by Christopher Colombus.


The name is derived from the Taino name  – “Moneague”, which means “Savannah of the monkeys.” Moneague is also famous for its underground lake which surfaces occasionally.

Brown’s Town

Brown’s Town was first known as Hamilton Town after its founder – an Irishman. It is the largest of St. Ann’s rural towns.

Discovery Bay
Once called Horseshoe Bay by Colombus, its name was change to Dry Harbour and, finally, Discovery Bay.
Runaway Bay

Named because Yassi, the last Spanish Governor of Jamaica escaped to Cuba from this point.

Ocho Rios

Meaning eight rivers in English, it is the “Tourist capital” of the parish. The word could also be a corruption of the word “Chorrera” meaning “Spout” and referring to the many waterfalls there. The original name might have been Bay of waterfalls. Ocho Rios started out as a small shipping station moving logwood and sugar.



Constituency                  Parish Council


St. Ann South                 Moneague

Eastern                            Bensonton

                                        Beecher Town
St. Ann North                  Exchange
Eastern                             Ocho Rios
                                         Lime Hall
                                         St. Ann’s Bay
St. Ann North                  Dry Harbour

Western                           Sturge Town


Brown’s Town

St. Ann South                  Gibraltar
Western                            Alexandria


Population 146,983

Area 1212.6 sq kilometers

 St. Ann – Economy

Tourism has become firmly established as the economic leverage of the parish and Ocho Rios firmly seated as the second (to Montego Bay) major Tourist resort in Jamaica. Tourism and related industries employ 91 per cent of the town’s population.

St. Ann – Industries


The most important economic mineral in the parish of St. Ann is bauxite. The low-grade ore is a soft to moderately hard, red earthly material with an alumina content of about 50%, iron oxide – about 20%, silica – less than 3%, titania – about 2%, and combined water of about 27%. It is of the terra Rosa type and fills solution pockets, depressions and glades in the limestone. The deposits have practically no over-burden and many are of considerable size, the reserves amounting to millions of tons. The maximum thickness in the deepest pockets exceeds 20 metres, while the average mineable thickness is in the range of 3-9 metres. St. Ann is one of three parishes in Jamaica with the largest deposits of bauxite in the island; the other two parishes are Manchester and St. Elizabeth. The parish of St. Ann has the largest concentration of bauxite-aluminium mining and export activities.

Non-Bauxite Minerals

The prospect for growth in the sub-sector of parish mining industry appears very favourable owing to the presence of deposits of high quality whiting which is in great demand abroad particularly for use in the filler industries. There are also deposits of commercial marble within the parish one of which is exploited at Lumsden.

Other deposits of whiting have been reported to be located in the areas of Davis Town, and the Reynolds Belt Line areas. High quality White Limestone suitable for use as whiting has also been found in the Colgate area, with a section of this deposit extended into the Fern Gully conservation area. Hard limestone suitable for the lime and construction industries occurs in three large deposits in the hills above St. Ann’s Bay.


St. Ann has some of Jamaica’s leading tourist attractions and Ocho Rios has grown from a sleepy fishing village to bidding for Jamaica’s leading tourist centre. Next to Montego Bay in St. James, St. Ann generates large amounts of income from tourism, one of the leading sectors to sustain and rebuild our economy.

Cruise Passenger Arrivals

Prior to the opening of the Falmouth Cruise Shipping Pier, Ocho Rios seemed destined to remain on top in the cruise shipping business, despite efforts by Montego Bay, and to a lesser extent Port Antonio, to compete. It is much easier for vessels to hit Ocho Rios ports than to endure additional cruising and costs to lines when they cruise to Montego Bay. Apart from these obstacles, the facilities in the second city are adequate but may not accommodate the newer and larger vessels full use of their turning basin at those ports, vis-à-vis in Ocho Rios.

St. Ann – Agriculture

There has been a general decline in the production of traditional crops for the parish, such as bananas, coconuts and pimento. One of the major factors apart from disease and natural disasters that is believed to be responsible for the suspected decline in this sector is the reduction in acreage of lands and acreage in agriculture within the parish.

St. Ann – Health

There are 25 Health Centres in St. Ann. The St. Ann’s bay Hospital is the only Type B Hospital in the parish and the average bed complement is 139. This type of Hospital is usually situated in a large urban center, such as St. Ann’s Bay, the capital of St. Ann.

St. Ann – Transportation

Public transportation is available throughout most of the major points of the parish but as elsewhere in Jamaica, owners/drivers will try to confine the routes along the fair or good roads in the parish and where the volume of commuters would make their businesses most viable.


The parish of St. Ann boasts a fine network of more than adequate main roads, linking it to other major areas of the island, as well as many well-constructed and maintained secondary roads.


There are two main seaports in this parish: Port Rhodes at Discovery Bay and Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios. The former is operated by Kaiser Bauxite Company and is used for shipping bauxite out of the island. Most of the vessels visiting Ocho Rios are cruise ships, although bauxite was once shipped from this site. The cruise ship pier is just east of Reynolds Pier.

St. Ann – Rivers

From the many mountains and hills the rivers originate: The White, Great, Dunn’s, Roaring, Cave and Pedro rivers. The rivers often fall down the steep hillside forming pleasant, cooling waterfalls, the more popular being: Dunn’s River Falls, the Llandovery Falls, the Roaring River Falls.

These and other waterfalls cascade over the cliff and edges where the bays dot the coastline: St. Ann’s, Discovery, Runaway and Mammee Bays, being some of the more easily identified.


Publicly accessible bathing beaches in St. Ann are located at: Roxborough, Salem, Discovery Bay, Cardiff Hall, Bengal (lot 17), Dunn’s River, Priory, Sailor’s Hole, Swallow Hole, Puerto Seco, Turtle Beach, Ambiance (formerly Berkley Beach).

Mineral Springs

St. Ann has one mineral spring – at Windsor. The waters of this spring are extremely mineralized and have a very high content of dissolved solids.

St. Ann – Caves

A typical feature of limestone areas is the prominence of cockpits, sinkholes, caves and underground passages. St. Ann has a number of caves and sinkholes including Bat Cave near Chesterfield, Mount Plenty Cave, Dairy Cave.  Green Grotto Caves are perhaps the most popular caves in St. Ann. The Dry Harbour Caves, on the border of St. Ann and St. Mary, were much visited in former times. St. Ann is home to some 54 other caves

The most well known sinkholes are the Light Hole sinkholes, which are possibly connected to deep inaccessible caves. Galina Point, just outside of Oracabessa, offers a good view of a long series of caves.


Derived from bat droppings that accumulate in the caves, phosphate is the only fertilizer mineral mined in Jamaica. It is extensively mined in this parish.


Methane gas seepage has been located in the Windsor area of St. Ann but no major gas source has been found.


St. Ann has two of the many saltwater lagoons characteristic of the Jamaican coastline. These are the Mystery Lake and the Green Grotto.


St. Ann has its fair share of mountains including the Dry Harbour Mountain, Mount Alba, Irons Mountain, Murray Mountain, Mount Diablo and Mount Zion. Additionally, there are several other areas of highland: Grate Hill, Zion Hill, Blowfire Hill, Union Hill.

St. Ann – Location and Geography

Situated in the northern section of the island, St. Ann is bounded on the east by the parish of St. Mary, and on the west by the parish of Trelawny.  It shares its southern borders with the parishes of St. Catherine and Clarendon.

At 1212.4 sq, km (468.2 sq. miles), St. Ann is among the larger parishes in Jamaica

Geography and the Environment

The dominant range is the Dry Harbour Mountains, but individual peaks such as Mount Diablo, Mount Alba and Mount Zion are prominent. On the plains, the soil type is predominantly limestone, which, along with the many rivers, gives rise to numerous caves and sinkholes. Some 60 caves have been noted throughout the parish, of which the most famous is the Green Grotto, in Runaway Bay.

St. Ann also has considerable wetland (swamp) areas, particularly along the coast.


St. Ann is known for its red soil – soil red with bauxite, Jamaica’s most important mineral. This mineral is associated with the underlying dry limestone rocks of the parish. Limestone is largely used in road construction, as building material and in the mineral of Portland Cement.

St. Ann Overview


St. Ann, nicknamed “The Garden Parish”, is known for its bauxite, agriculture and livestock production and – perhaps most notably – its tourist attractions. Given the continuing influence of Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey worldwide, and with the lingering traces of the Spanish occupation and Taino settlement, it is also becoming known as a repository of Jamaican culture and history.