Jamaica’s Good Hope Plantation once housed one of the island’s largest sugar plantations

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Image courtesy of My Vacation Pages

The Good Hope Great house and Plantation lies 8 miles south of Falmouth. It is one of the attractions for visitors to the historic cruise ship port and town. This plantation was originally owned by John Tharpe and was once one of the largest in the island of Jamaica. Bob Downing takes us into the history of the great Good Hope Plantation.

PICTURE PERFECT: The Great House at Good Hope Plantation sits about 600 feet above sea level overlooking the lush hlls of northwest Jamaica. The fast-flowing Martha Brae River flows through the 2,000-acre estate.

By Bob Downing

The stately Good Hope Plantation offers first-rate sunrises.That’s because the former sugar estate sits atop the world in hilly northwest Jamaica. It rises above the surrounding Queen of Spain Valley and the fast-flowing Martha Brae River and beyond to the Cockpit Mountains with their heavy greenery.From an elevation of 600 feet, there are sweeping views of distant hilltops with little sign of development.

The air smells sweet with flowers and fruits including oranges, papaya, bananas, coconuts, ackee and breadfruit.It was once the home of a Jamaican planter who was one of the wealthiest men in the Americas. Today the 2,000-acre estate offers tours of the Great House and outdoor activities.

The Good Hope Plantation, about eight miles south of Falmouth, was started in 1744, after Col. Thomas Williams got a land grant of 1,000 acres. He built a house that was later demolished and started a sugar factory by the river.He was the grandson of one of the first settlers in Jamaica after the English took it away from Spain in 1655.The 10-room Great House, now a museum, was built in 1755 as the dream house for his young wife, Elizabeth Baker Williams. She died of malaria seven years later at the age of 24. She is buried close by, under the first floor of the Georgian-style structure.

Want to know more about historic Falmouth, check out The Rise and Fall of Falmouth Jamaica.

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