JNHT Development Proposals

Castles across Jamaica

The words 'Once upon a time' and 'many years ago' are what come to mind when viewing any one of the several castle ruins across Jamaica. Connecting us to those who came before us, these heritage sites set wild the imaginations of the dreamers among us.

A castle is generally described as a fortress built to protect strategic locations from enemy attack or to serve as a military base for invading armies. Over time, the usage expanded. While some were used as military fortresses, others were unfortified palaces, mansions, or manor homes and served no military function.

In the Jamaica, the English and the Spanish, eager to recreate their respective homelands in the new colonies, erected such buildings using European designs and conventions. Given their high emphasis on defense, which was made necessary by the tumultuous social and political situation of the period, these plantation houses were fortresses protecting their owners within. Consequently, they became known as castles.

The JNHT owns several of these sites listed below and are in the process of clearing them, making them ready for visitors:

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Ever since the capture of Jamaica by the English from the Spanish in 1655, the need for fortification became immediate because of the...



The Morant Bay Courthouse, which was destroyed by fire on Monday, February 19, 2007, is an important part of St. Thomas's history.



Built in 1885 of masonry and timber, the Simms building exhibits a combination of Gothic and Georgian features; the projecting...