Falmouth Heritage Walking Tour
Established during the sugar boom of the 18th century by Thomas Reid, for several decades Falmouth was one of the most opulent towns of the new world. One of its founding fathers was Edward Barrett, great-grandfather of famous English poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning. While the town’s economic importance declined with the fall of the sugar economy, Falmouth today boasts the best preserved collection of Georgian-style buildings in the Caribbean.
Here are some highlights of the Falmouth Heritage Walking Tour:
1. TRELAWNY PARISH CHURCH OF ST PETER
This place of worship was built in 1796 and features a high pulpit and ceilings, stained glass windows and mahogany furnishings. Its graveyard holds tombstones that are over 200 years old. The parish church is one of the tallest buildings in town. Its bell tower offers a beautiful bird’s eye view of Falmouth.
2. THE KNIBB MEMORIAL BAPTIST CHURCH
First built in 1844, this building has served as a centre for Baptists for almost two centuries. During the 19th century, the Baptists were at the forefront of the abolitionist movement in Jamaica. William Knibb organized the construction of the original church. You can view the graves of Knibb, his wife and son on the church grounds.
3. WATER SQUARE
Located near the wharf, Water Square was the main commercial district of old Falmouth. The area was busy year round with the trade of imported goods and local supplies. It owes its name to its past use as the source of Falmouth’s fresh water supply. The Albert Town Market is one of the most prominent landmarks of Water Square.
4. DAVIDSON'S HOUSE
A stately two-storey house, this building was originally the site of a building owned by Mary Gairdner, a free woman of color who left the property to her son, Thomas Davidson. The building also provided living quarters for the Fort Balcarres Military Complex.
5. THE FALMOUTH COURTHOUSE
A grand, imposing edifice, the present building is a replica of the original 1815 Georgian structure, which was destroyed by fire in 1926. To the seaward side of the courthouse is a small cenotaph, erected in honour of Jamaican soldiers who fought and died during World Wars I and II.
6. THE BAPTIST MANSE
This finely crafted stone cut building was first used as a lodge for freemasons. It was bought by the Baptist Mission at the start of the 19th century and served as residence for famed preacher and abolitionist William Knibb. The building is the current base for the Falmouth Heritage Renewal – a non-profit organization dedicated to saving the historic, cultural, and architectural heritage of Falmouth.
7. ARLEIGH HOUSE
Constructed around 1795, the building once housed an exclusive school operated by Arabella Moulton Barrett, a relative of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The two story building is fitted with its original columns and the unusual feature of vertical shingles on the exterior walls of the top floor.