Sunday, March 23, 2014

Jamaican Adventure - The Churches

Glen and I did two Shore Excursions while we were on our cruise. This one was my favorite, and that is not because I thought it was better run than the first. They both were filled with tourist trinkets being pushed upon us, and that is one of the reasons why I dislike shore excursions, but I am realistic and sometimes they are the best way to see a certain area.

This excursion was called - A Heartbeat of Jamaica - Discover Falmouth
Tour duration: 3-1/2 hours
Tour historic Falmouth, including St. Peter's Anglican Church and William Knibb Baptist Church. Visit a rural school, interact with the children and proceed to an 18th century estate by the Martha Brea River. You have the opportunity to taste fruit juice, jerk chicken, fresh fruits, sweet bread with cheese, sugar cane and Jamaica's famous rum.

After being loaded unto a bus and then waiting while one lost party for the tour was found, we set off for our adventure.

Let me say the shops by the port for the ship are all bright and shiny, but you drive two blocks away from that port and the world changes. Things are not bright and shiny anymore, unless you count the corrugated tin that is used for roofs.

First stop William Knibb Baptist Church, herded off the bus with three other bus loads of tourists, my patience was starting to wear a little thin. I was beginning to have a bad attitude about this whole trip, and then I stepped into the church…

William Knibb Baptist Church

The first chapel built in 1831 and was destroyed in 1832. The church replaced the chapel in 1836 was demolished by a hurricane in August 1944, after which the present structure was built, incorporating material from the 19th century church.

The English Baptist minister William Knibb (1803-1845) arrived as a missionary in Jamaica on November 5, 1824 with his new wife, Mary Watkins. Originally sailing to replace his brother as a missionary and schoolmaster, Knibb worked at the Baptist mission school in Kingston before moving to Falmouth. In March of 1830, Knibb arrived in Falmouth with his wife and two children to assume the responsibilities of minister at the Baptist church.

There was a talk being presented while we were sitting in the pews.

Photo credit: Glen Huizenga
Photo Credit: Glen Huizenga
Glen was much better at paying attention to that than I was, I was too busy trying to quietly shoot the glorious windows.

Best known as an advocate for abolition, Knibb often defended black slaves' rights. In January of 1832, Knibb used the Falmouth Baptist chapel as a barracks for the St. Ann's regiment during the Great Jamaican Slave Revolt. The Revolt, led by a slave named Samuel Sharpe, encouraged as many as 60,000 of Jamaica's 300,000 enslaved people to rebel. Magistrates and officers of the militia suppressed the events. As the militia prepared to leave Falmouth on February 7, Mr. John W. Gaynor, a magistrate and ensign, Adjutant Samuel Tucker and the Colonial Church Union encourage their men to demolish the chapel, making it one among many across the island destroyed after aiding the insurrection of the  slaves.

I knew we had one more church to visit so my attitude had improved greatly after being at this first one. I prayed the second one would be just as good.

St. Peter's Anglican Church

The original church was completed in 1796. The contract to build an Anglican church was awarded to William Danny in 1791 for of 9,000 pounds. Danny's requirements in the contract were to build a church with wall three feet thick and twenty feet high, with accommodations for 300 people, and using the best white limestone available. Danny was to complete the church in 18 months. 

As all construction projects go, this one didn't quite stick to that timeline, but once you see all the glorious detail inside you can see why it took longer than 18 months.

In 1845 the Creed, the Lord's Prayer and Decalogue were added to the walls on imported wooden panels above the alter.

I couldn't find any information on the stained glass windows.

The pews are original from 1796.

Stairs to the balcony, where my darling husband was shooting.

Work is being done on the Clock Tower.

The original contract and church specifications did not include plans for a clock tower and on June 29, 1796, the church wardens were charged with seeking someone to "erect a sufficient Belfry for suspending the Town Bell and Clock and pay the expenses thereof." Within the year, a sixty-foot tower was constructed and three bells along with an eight-day, three-dialed clock were installed. Two years later, in 1798, Messrs. Burmingham and Robertson were paid 750 pounds to build a dome or cupola atop the belfry to protect the clock tower and clock devices from the rain.

That's a wrap for the churches. I could have easily stayed all morning at either one of them, so many beautiful details.

I will do the school and the 18th Century Estate in a separate post.

Joining Helen for Weekend Walks


  1. So nice to have a husband to shoot with, my darling isn't interested at all...other than walking into every shot when he is with me. I just think of him as the human element now. Love the church photos. They would be mood changers for me too. A photographer's heaven!

  2. such great shot of this historical church. I thought the windows were beautiful. Hard to believe they weren't included in the talk. Fun to have a husband who is interested in photography!

  3. hi sarah ... wow such wonderful churches. I just adore the photos with the peeling paint ... beautiful! And that staircase from the 1700's ... love. It looks like you had a wonderful holiday! I love that your husband shares you love of photography ... perfect match!

  4. Very nice. I can see it must have been nice and warm there. Did you bring back the warm weather with you?

  5. Amazing pictures - gorgeous details.

  6. That old church is marvelous! We always do at least one shore excursion each day when we cruise. We don't like hanging out on the ship and we don't like hanging about in port most of the time. There were a few exceptions in Hawaii. I guess it depends on where you are. We're doing New England/Canada in the fall.

  7. That's the one thing I think most people are shocked at when getting off the boat...just how poor these nations are. STUNNING photos. Great history lesson too. Thank you Sarah.

  8. Such beautiful churches with a lot of history! Your photos are beautiful. I especially like one of the first ones, looking out the window!

  9. I would have been busy trying to shoot those windows, too. Beautiful churches.

  10. You captured some great photos and I love those stained glass windows.

  11. Oh, what wonderful churches to explore! I know you were wishing you could be there by yourself, well yourself and Glenn! I love your close details like the window latches and the stair rail. The stained glass is so intricate and so gorgeous! I'm glad you did loose yourself in photographing the churches and enjoyed your time there!

  12. Oh yes, capturing the old churches is a fav of mine when I come across them. And especially the ones with lots of history and beautiful stained glass windows. Love the capture of the open window with all that blue peeling paint!!

  13. Thanks for this flashback for me Sarah. I lived in Jamaica for two years as a young woman and I have some pics from that time but not enough. Wish there had been digital then! But I do have the memories...Churches and bars are the most ubiquitous establishments in Jamaica. LOL

  14. Thanks for taking me on your tour Sarah it looks so atmospheric but I'm with you on the herding thing...

  15. So many lovely details and care went into making those churches. My favorite image is the blue walls with the open window, but then I do love the stain glass windows and the old pews...
    It looks like dealing with the crowds was well worth it.

  16. Those stained glass windows seem rather remarkable to me - I'm surprised they weren't prominently featured in the information about the church. You did a beautiful job of photographing both places. I too love the peeling blue walls and those old, old pews.

  17. Thanks for linking to my blog. This looks such an interesting place to visit.Love the old pews. I don't think I could tolerate the other tourists though!

  18. I'm glad you went on the tour, such wonderful history and beautiful places!!


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)