If your ideal holiday is an endless daze of sun drenched, rum soaked days full of wall to wall reggae, then Jamaica will not disappoint; but perhaps you are interested finding out a little about the history of the island? There is nowhere more enjoyable than a trip up the mountains to Good Hope, an original plantation house which has a strange, sad history and is surrounded by amazing scenery!
The first owners of the plantation was Colonel Thomas Williams in 1744 who was granted the right to the land. He built a small house there but in preparation for his marriage to his young English bride Elizabeth, he had the “Grand House” built in 1745. Elizabeth adored her home and relished her new life in Jamaica, but unfortunately it was short lived as she died a terrible death from yellow fever at the age of 24, seven years after arriving in Jamaica. She was buried under the stone floor of the entrance room to the house. Her grave is marked with a simple stone.
Colonal Williams was apparently devastated after Elizabeth’s death and his health and fortune went into serious decline as he descended into debt and then sold the plantation to a neighbour John Tharpe, who was an astute in business made a huge success of the estate. Tharpe and his wife, a rich heiress called Elizabeth, had 5 children, but Tharpe did not trust his estate with over 3, 000 slaves to any of andnstead he left it to his grandson, who was forced into a quick marriage that he didn’t want, and was said to have become hysterical on his wedding night and subsequently went insane.
John Tharpe suffered from severe arthritis and had a special copper bath, the first of its kind on the island, installed on doctor’s orders, although the bath unfortunately also contained lead, and many people believe that he was slowly poisoned to death by it.
As well as his four sons and a daughter with wife Elizabeth, John Tharpe also had an illegitimate son with one of his slaves, called John Harewood, who was his favourite child and whom he trusted to manage all of his properties. John Harewood was considered to be a kind man, and continued to run the plantation successfully after slaves became emancipated in 1833.
The plantation house had been beautifully preserved and offers guided tours with lots of history and special afternoon teas with Jamaican delicacies, which were really delicious!