Barrett family of Jamaica

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The Barrett family played an important role in the history of Jamaica. Hercie Barrett and family members migrated from England, landing on the island of Jamaica in 1655. In the years that followed, family members acquired substantial wealth and influence, they controlled much of the island's mining and agriculture, becoming one of the most prominent plantation owners of Jamaica.

The First Barrett Families in Jamaica[edit]

The first recorded land patent in the Barrett name was recorded in 1663 in Spanish Town, granted by King Charles II to Hercie Barrett for services to his Majesty.[1]

Hercie Barrett was an officer under Admiral William Penn and General Robert Venables who led the failed invasion of Hispaniola, they then turned their sights on Jamaica, which was much less fortified, and successfully wrested it from Spanish control for the King of England.

The first Barretts became an extremely wealthy and influential English family in Jamaica, owning more than 84,000 acres of land and 2,000 slaves in the parishes of Trelawny and St. James; the original family home was Cinnamon Hill Great House in St James. The construction was started by Samuel Barrett but died before it was completed, it was completed by Edward his son, and it is Edward's generation of Barretts and their children that became one of Jamaica's wealthiest and most influential planters and politicians.[1] Elizabeth Barrett Browning was the daughter of Edward Moulton Barrett.

The Greenwood Great House was also Barrett family home, built by Richard Barrett, the Speaker of the Assembly, it was one of several great houses owned by the Barrett family, including Cinnamon Hill located nearby and Barrett Hall which no longer exists. Cinnamon Hill was bought by Johnny Cash, the country and western singer, it was his home until his death. The Greenwood Great House still stands today and is among a very few of the Jamaican Great Houses that were spared from being torched during the slave rebellion, mainly as a result of the way Richard Barrett treated his slaves. Richard was chosen to represent the Jamaica legislature before parliament on the issues of emancipation, even though he himself was an owner of slaves. At heart it appears he was an abolitionist.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "The Influence of the Barrett Family on Jamaica's History". Jamaica Great Houses - Barrett Family.
  2. ^ "Greenwood Great House". Jamaica Great Houses - Greenwood Great House.
  • R.A. Barrett, The Barretts of Jamaica: The Family of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Continuum International Publishing Group - Athlone, 2000, ISBN 0-485-30042-7