Cruise and Beach Destinations
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Bellefield Great House & Gardens Visitor Tips

Bellefield Great House
Bellefield Great House. © 2017 Barnett Estate
Bellefield Great House and Gardens, one of Jamaica's oldest sugar plantations, is an historic 10-acre property about three miles east of the Montego Bay cruise port.

The Great House dates back to the 1600s and its beginning as a military post. It became the home of the Kerr-Jarrett family for seven generations and has remained in the holdings of the family for 11 total generations.

The house has a Plantation Architectural design with a sprawling veranda. The grounds have gardens and a sugar mill dating back to 1794.

The estate's history began in 1655 when John Kerr sailed to Jamaica as part of a campaign to take control of the island from the Spanish. As a result of the campaign's success, many families including the Kerrs were rewarded with large parcels of land, according to the Bellefield website. English king Charles II also rewarded Colonel Nicholas Jarrett with his own large parcels of land on Jamaica.

Then the nephew of John Kerr, Major General David Kerr, came to Jamaica as a doctor for the Jarrett's Bellefield Estate. Kerr married Jarrett's only daughter. The marriage led to the creation of the 50,000-acre Barnett Estate that included the Bellefield Great House.

Because of rising sugar costs and falling prices, the Barnett Estate changed from sugar production to banana production and then to tourism. The estate now consists of 3,000 acres.

The Great House, gardens and plantation are open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Telephone: (876) 952-2382.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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February 17, 2020