Dream house | St Ann’s Georgian country house has quite a history | Way of life



On the wings of time, let’s travel together to a time of gracious life in Jamaica, reserved for the rich, the titled and the infamous.

While we proceed with curiosity to the discovery of this past, our journey will finally allow us to confront our architectural heritage. Each house tells a story, its past and present occupants give life to the space and give it a character of its own.

A cordial reception awaits our arrival at this Jamaican and Georgian country house, sequestered on a mountain plateau 800 feet above St Ann’s Bay in St Ann. Its 15 rolling acres (up from 165 acres) are rewarded with spectacular 180-degree views of the sea and the highlands.

Originally a plantation producing chili peppers, the symmetrical house was built in the 1780s and first revealed in the official records of slaves and slave owners from 1789. The freestone, block structure and 9,000 square foot mahogany wood paneling is complemented by shuttered sash windows, wood floors and cedar shingled roof. The annex buildings include a nicely nestled two-storey detached cottage, servant quarters and other outbuildings.

The stately two story main house features an entrance portico, an entrance hall, a formal living and dining room, a family room / TV, a library and a large kitchen. These areas are accompanied by five bedrooms, five bathrooms, with bedrooms on both levels having direct access to expansive terraces and panoramic balconies.

Do I hear a house phone ringing? Almost beyond belief, we learn that this same house was the first in Jamaica to have a landline!

The rich interiors parade heavy carved woodwork. It was previously decorated by the late and famous Paul Mathuen, the designer much sought after by the rich and famous of the island. He was also one of the principal directors of the Little Theater Movement. We note that he was wounded while in the British Army during WWII and later became responsible for the “Changing of the Guard”, where soldiers rotate to protect Buckingham Palace. .

In all its tranquility and botanical display, the floral exterior features 23 different species of fruit trees, as well as a nursery.

An oval-shaped swimming pool and a hard tennis court adorn the immediate and lush surroundings.

My friends, there have been 12 distinguished owners of this treasured estate over the past 200 years, and the one that catches the eye is Lord Brownlow, 1899-1978, cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.

Married three times, he would eventually become good friends with King Edward VIII (the Queen’s current uncle), becoming her pending lord (member of the royal court who is the personal assistant and representative of the British monarch) . Lord Brownlow was heavily involved in the internationally circulated scandal when the British King abdicated his throne to marry divorced Wallace Simpson in 1936.

May this 18th century house continue to be a symbol of successful preservation as it seeks to protect its heritage and our national architectural heritage.

– Barry Rattray is a designer and builder of dream homes. Email your comments to [email protected] and [email protected]


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