Free Villages

Clocktower SitesWith full freedom from slavery and apprenticeship in 1838, there was the desire among some blacks for personal liberty and land of their own. This desire was heightened by the harsh treatment meted out to the ex-slaves by the planters. In many cases, the planters paid the slaves low wages and charged them high rental fees, which sometimes led to eviction from plantation dwellings. It was soon realised that freedom would have little meaning as long as planters controlled both the housing and labour of the ex-slaves. Free villages emerged as a solution to this problem.

  • Time and Patience - Located in Trelawny this plot of land was chosen a free village after August 1st, 1838.
  • Buxton - established by Rev. John Clark with the support of the philanthropist Mr. Sturge
  • Clarksonville - named by Rev. John Clark, Baptist minister stationed at Brown's Town in St Ann in 1835
  • Goodwill - established after the abolition of slavery and in 1840 it was still in its infancy.
  • Granville - originally 90 acres of land acquired by Reverend William Knibb, a Baptist minister.
  • Kettering - in Duncans Trelawny, named after the birthplace of the late Reverend William Knibb
  • Maidstone - under the direction of the Moravian missionaries was founded in 1840.
  • Salem - born out of the need to relocate the Moravian congregation at New Hope in Westmoreland.
  • Sligoville - located about 10 miles north of Spanish Town, was the first Free Village in Jamaica.
  • Sturge Town - named after Joseph Sturge, established in 1839 by Reverend John Clark, a Baptist missionary.


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



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