Population : 211,447 (1991) Capital : May Pen Major Towns: Race Course, Frankfield, Porus
Lionel Town, Thompson Town, Alley
Clarendon (capital May Pen) is a parish in Jamaica. It is located on the south of the island, roughly half-way between the island's eastern and western ends. Located in the county of Middlesex, it is bordered by Manchester on the west, Saint Catherine in the east, and in the north by Saint Ann.
Clarendon was named in honour of the celebrated Lord Chancellor, Sir Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon. The parish was formed from a combination of three parishes: St. Dorothy's, Vere and the old parish of Clarendon. Before the merger, the capital was Chapelton.
Covering an area of 1,196 sq km, Clarendon ranks as Jamaica's third largest parish. The parish is predominantly a wide plain, marked by several rivers, including the Rio Minho River, which runs the length of the parish. Toward the northern end of the parish lies the Mocho Mountain, (200 ft), and Bull Head Mountain range (2800 ft), which is considered to be the geographical centre of the island. The Vere plain is another significant geographical feature.
Portland Point, the southernmost point of Jamaica, is on a peninsula in Clarendon. On the same peninsula are Jackson Baybeach, the flood-prone community of Portland Cottage, and two different locations both called Rocky Point, a residential community on the western side of the peninsula, and a port used primarily for the export of alumina on the eastern side of the peninsula.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES/SOURCES OF EMPLOYMENT
Bauxite: Jamaica's major mineral source, can be found extensively in Clarendon. Bauxite mining has been established in the parish by JAMALCO and ALCOA Agriculture:Most of the island's tobacco is also grown in Clarendon, along with cotton, pimento, ginger, livestock, indigo, bananas, coffee, and cocoa. May Pen is also an important citrus packing centre, famous for 'Trout Hall' oranges. Additionally, dairy farming, fish farming, and copper mining have been carried on intermittently, and the sugar-cane production contributes significantly to the amount of sugar exported annually. The Denbigh agricultural showground is a short distance from May Pen.
MAJOR HISTORICAL/CULTURAL/RECREATIONAL/ECOLOGICAL SITE
St. Peter's Church (Alley) : St. Peter's Church (Alley) is one of the oldest Churches in the island. It was founded in 1671 as the Parish Church of the former Parish of Vere. The present building was erected around 1715 on the foundation of the original building.
The Church is made of brick and mortar. The tower, which forms the entrance to the building, is outlined by quoins and crowned with castellations. The detailing of the main building has been kept simple, with semi-circular arches for the window openings.
Portland Point Lighthouse: The Portland Point Lighthouse has the highest tower in the Island, standing at a height of 145 feet. This light is located at latitude 170 44' 9" north and 770 9' 58" west on the summit of the Portland Ridge near the southern most point of the Island. The Tower flashes a white light every 15 seconds.
Halse Hall Great House: When the English captured Jamaica in 1655, it was the custom to give officers of the army land grants. Halse Hall was given to Major Thomas Halse. On the site, Halse raised hogs, grazed cattle and built a house of thick walls. The house served as the centre of his estate and a rallying point for defence. When Thomas Halse died in 1702, the Great House was still a single storey building.
It became a more imposing and beautiful two-storey structure in an era of security and prosperity during the late 1740s. The estate was then owned by Francis Saddler Halse. An elaborate arrangement of stone steps ascended to the new entrance, which was flanked by columns and capped with a fanlight. The peaked portico was added later to conform to a popular architectural style.
A new wing which harmonizes well with the Great House architecture was later added by Alcoa Minerals of Jamaica.
Milk River Spa: Milk River Bath is another of Jamaica's great spas. The radioactivity of the water is many times greater than many of the world's famous spas. The relative radioactivity of the water has been found to be:
9 times as active as Bath, England
50 times as active as Vichy, France
5 times as active as Karlsbad, Australia
54 times as active as Baden, Switzerland
The Spa is located about ten (10) miles south of May Pen, Clarendon, and is open to the public.
Suttons Railway Station: The Suttons Railway Station is a Jamaica/Georgian timber house set on a stone base. On one side of the building are four 100 x 100 timber posts. Between each post are handrails with latticework. On the other side of the building is a concrete passage covered with a cantilevered, quarter of a vented gable end zinc roof. The other features of this structure are solid recessed panel timber doors and uniquely combined sash windows and jalousies. This station was constructed in the early twentieth century.
Four Paths Railway Station: The Four Paths Railway Station is a two-storey concrete building. On the lower level is a corridor with a colonnade and staircase leading up to the Station master's quarters. The building has a combination of aluminium louver and sash windows along with solid recessed panel timber doors. A zinc hip roof with an adjoining zinc shed roof covers the station master's quarters and balcony. The Four Paths Station is believed to have been constructed in the early 1900s.
Claude McKay's Birthplace: Claude McKay, internationally acclaimed writer and poet, was born in the year 1889 in James Hill, Clarendon. Upon completing elementary school he was apprenticed to a cabinetmaker and wheelwright in Browns Town, St. Ann. In 1910 he went to Kingston, where he joined the island's constabulary force. His stint, in the force, though short, was not without its adventure. In 1912 his first volumes of poems, Songs of Jamaica and Constab Ballads, for which he was awarded the Silver Musgrave Medal of the Institute of Jamaica, were published. He migrated to the United States where he became one of the leading writers of the HARLEM NEGRO RENAISSANCE. In 1948 McKay died in Chicago and was buried in New York.
In 1977 the Government on behalf of the people of Jamaica posthumously awarded Claude McKay the Order of Jamaica in respect and admiration for his great contribution to literature.
May Pen Clock Tower: The May Pen Clock Tower is made of stone. It is approximately twenty-four (24) feet in height, eight (8) feet in width, and eight (8) feet in length. The exact date of its erection has not been ascertained, but it appears to have been constructed after World War II.
On the west side of the Tower is the following inscription:
The Great War 1914-1918: Message to the Government of Jamaica From the Secretary of State for the Colonies 16th November 1918. Now that the war has been brought to a victorious conclusion, I desire on behalf of His Majesty's Government, to express to the people of Jamaica and her dependencies, the mother country's high appreciation of the military efforts they have made, their cheerful acceptance of compulsory service in the common cause, and their struggle in spite of the difficulties in which visitations of nature have involved them at home. I recall with gratitude the share of men of Jamaica in our final victory in Palestine.