Where to Visit: Good Hope Great House, Jamaica

Excerpted from: Island Buzz Jamaica

In the 1800’s heyday of King Sugar, the Parish of Trelawny, Jamaica boasted almost one hundred plantations. For the architecture or heritage buff, the Parish and in particular it’s capital, the coastal town of Falmouth is a virtual goldmine. When sugar was king and the profits from the sweet gold made the fortunes of men, families and nations, Falmouth was considered to be the most cosmopolitan city in the western world, the “Paris of the Indies”.


It was also home to a vast number of merchant shops and traders selling slaves, sugar, rum, fine furniture and logwood. Located just minutes outside of Falmouth, sitting back from the main road the Good Hope Great Housewas built around 1755 and is known for its high raftered ceilings and pinewood and wild orange floors. Good Hope Estate was formed through a land grant, given to Colonel Thomas Williams. The estate consists of one thousand acres, bordering the Martha Brae river. Colonel Williams was the grandson of one of the first settlers in the island after its conquest by the English. The estate later became the property of John Tharp who became the largest land and slave owner in Jamaica.


Tharp had four legitimate sons, John, William, Joseph, Thomas, and one daughter Eliza. Five years after the death of his wife, Tharp had a daughter by one of his slaves, and she became his favourite child. She later married well in England bringing with her an income of six hundred pounds a year given to her by her father. By 1788 Tharp was spending most of his time in England where he married again. This marriage, however, did not work out well for him. He was so discouraged by the scandal of his wife’s affair with his daughter’s husband, an Anglican minister, that he returned to Good Hope, where he remained for the rest of his life. His property was valued at over 4.5 million pounds after his death.

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Jamaica is among the most romantic islands in the Caribbean, not only for its sensuous green landscape and turquoise waters but also for its fascinating history and independent people and Good Hope is an extraordinary setting for any type of celebration but the life embracing quality of a Wedding matches its majesty. The estate has been lovingly restored as a fabulous property featuring absolute gracious surroundings with today’s contemporary comfort and conveniences. An old cut stone building has been restored into a spectacular 3 bedroom villa. A large garden with tropical flowers and a lagoon like pool simply lures you into the mood of enjoyment and relaxation. Sitting moments away from the rivers swimming hole, River Cottage is ideal for a small family gathering or for a small group of friends, or for retreat participants. All bedrooms are air-conditioned with private bathrooms.

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In addition to the 3 bedroomed River Cottage, Good Hope has 10 bedrooms and can be rented for a total of 13 bedrooms. If you need 3 other bedrooms, the owners cottage can be rented for a total of 16 bedrooms. The Plantation covers quite a few acres of land, so you never see fellow visitors, unless you want to. History buffs can try Chukka Caribbean’s Good Hope Great House & Estate Tour. Your informative tour guide will educate you on historical Falmouth while you drive through the town en-route to Good Hope Estate.

You will see the wonders of the Great houses, travel to the ruins where the water wheel and kiln still stands today; take a short stroll near the Martha Brae River and ride in the buggies once used by the planters, walk through the ruins of buildings that were once the jewel of the Caribbean. Take the time to wander the plantation, visit the Great House, and on your way back visit David Pinto’s pottery studio. See the work of the potter in residence and finally stop at the Trading House, the only store of its kind in the Caribbean where you can purchase great art, carvings, books and souvenirs made in Jamaica.

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Comment by Icilda Porter on July 9, 2011 at 9:32pm
Really enlightening. I didn't know that little sleepy Falmouth had such a rich history.  I wish I'd done more Jamaican history instead of so much British history! (In my days, of course)

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