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14th of April, just as about fifty of the negroes had lifted their baskets and cleared the overhanging cliff, it fell upon twenty-five who remained digging, and crushed twenty to death; the other five were dreadfully maimed. Such was the immense quantity of earth that fell in upon these unfortunate people, that upwards of a thousand negroes were employed during the night and the succeeding day before all the bodies were got out. A Bill passed the Legislature on the 5th of June 1810, for applying a sum of money towards the relief of the persons whose slaves were killed by the accidental falling in of this mass of earth.
On the summit of Bishop's-hill is the police-station of District C, to which a rural prison is attached. Moncreiffe (or, as it was formerly called, Mount Pleasant) forms a signal-post with a station for convalescent soldiers of the garrison in St. Ann's. The prospect from hence over the champaigne land of St. Philip's, bounded by the ocean, until sea and sky seemingly blending together close the picture, is very pretty: the numerous cottages of the labourers, and upwards of fifty estates which are visible from this point, give a peculiar character to the prospect. The foam of the breakers at "the Cobblers' Rocks" resembles a seam along shore, which from its white colour forms a strong contrast with the dark watery masses of the ocean behind it.
The cliffs along the shore rise in some instances to fifty or sixty feet,— chiefly near Cummin's Hole and Bell-point, which are very curious spots with bold upright cliffs. The accumulated waters of the northern part of the parish make themselves during freshets a way to the sea, and have undermined part of the cliff near Cummin's Hole and formed a natural bridge. This romantic spot is very little known in the colony. The cliffs continue southward; here rising upright, there precipitated in large masses to the level ground below: some of these blocks are perhaps from fifty to sixty feet in size. At Long Bay these stupendous masses lie in great confusion. The whole coast along that part of the island apparently proves that the sea has receded, and this becomes very evident at Foul Bay, where the cliffs are found inland. The Crane, Dawlish, and the Bath are very curious places, and fashionable resorts for the enjoyment of sea-air and bathing. At the Crane is a shipping-place, from which it has received its name. To the north of it is Dawlish, which contains the curiosity of a fresh- and a salt-water bath close together. The visitor descends, as it were into a well, by a flight of steps to the seabath, entirely closed in by huge masses of rocks, which only sparingly admit the rays of light. The sea flows into it smooth and calm when the surface of the ocean is undisturbed, but dashing in with a thundering noise through the small apertures when ruffled or harrowed by the storm; but upon reaching the basin, as if directed by the wand of a magician, its impetuosity is subdued and dies away, forming numerous rings on the surface of the basin. The author once visited this spot during a boisterous
day, and the effect was certainly sublime, if not intimidating, to those unaccustomed to the noise. The freshwater bath is close to the former, divided only from it by a rock; and during high tides and a boisterous sea the salt water mixes with the fresh: after receding it becomes fresh again. The water is here so clear that the sand below seems uncovered with the fluid element; and many a visitor coming there for the first time, supposing it a dry spot of sand, has walked directly into it, much to his astonishment and the amusement of those with him.
South of the Crane is "the Bath." Huge masses of rocks, detached by time and the battering effect of the waves from the cliff, have formed recesses which, partly by the aid of art, have been made into baths. The rocks rise to a considerable height, and in some instances overhang the water, preventing the rays of the sun from incommoding the bather, and hiding him from the outer world. The former proprietor of this romantic spot seems to have gone to considerable expense to render it commodious and easy of access, and his muse has engraved on a tablet the following
"In this remote and hoarse-resounding place
"Genio loci sacrum posuit
“Martis Mense, 1769.” Some steps lead to the summit of one of the huge masses of rocks, which affords a fine sea view. There are three different spots for bathing close together, which bear the names of the Horse, the Mare, and the Colt: it is a great pity that they are now neglected, and the artificial structures are falling into ruin. It is said that the sea has likewise receded here within the memory of man, and that some of the baths have become useless for want of water; this may perhaps be ascribed to their being choked up by sand.
The parish of St. Philip contains one of the finest mansions in the West Indies, known by the name of Long Bay Castle: its architecture is of a peculiar style, but the interior is very tasteful. It is out of its place in that part of the island, and resembles an oasis in the desert.
Christ Church Parish.-Area 14,310 acres ; population 14,089; number of sugar-plantations 64. This is the largest parish next to St. Philip, and the second with respect to the number of inhabitants. It forms the southern point of the island, and possesses less fertility than the other
1 J. Rice.
parishes. The Ridge, a hilly elevation, traverses it from east to west, and rises terrace-like from the southern point to a height of 405 feet at the hill near Adam's Castle. The southern point of the parish, or of the entire island, is very flat, and in some parts close to the sea quite swampy: it is called "Below the Rock." There were formerly a set of salt-pans for obtaining sea-salt, but they are now abandoned. A huge isolated mass of coral-rock lies on the seashore, called the Round Rock; its height cannot be less than fifty feet.
The swampy soil near Chancery-lane possesses some sulphur, but in such small quantities that it can only be considered as a curiosity.
At the infancy of the colony, the most eastern plantation in this parish belonged to a person named Oistin', from whom the large bay in the neighbourhood received its name. Ligon does not speak in very flattering terms of the character of this man, whom he calls profligate; nevertheless, as the population increased, a number of houses were erected in the neighbourhood, which received the name of Oistin's Town. The bad repute of this person was probably the reason that an attempt was made to call it Charlestown; but this failed, and its original name was retained. It must have been a much larger place at the commencement of the last century than at present: Oldmixon describes it as consisting of one long street, with a lane in the middle: it formed at that period the markettown of one of the five precincts of the island, and a monthly session was held in it. In 1828, by an act of the Legislature, the sessions were transferred to the town-hall at Bridgetown. But few houses are now left standing at Oistin's, and these few present a picture of decay.
On an eminence above Oistin's stands the parish church, which was rebuilt after the hurricane in 1831, according to a plan furnished by Captain Senhouse, R.N. The foundation-stone was laid on the 1st of October 1835, with great solemnity, and the Bishop of the Diocese assisted at the ceremony.
A strange occurrence took place in the adjacent churchyard, the natural cause of which has never been explained. On two occasions, when the death of a member of the family of the late Colonel Chase had rendered it necessary to open the family vault, it was found that the coffins had been removed from their places, and as no signs were observed that the vault had been opened without the knowledge of the family, it excited great astonishment. Before the vault was walled up again, the coffins were restored to their original position. Shortly afterwards it was requisite to open the vault again for the admission of a member of the family, when the coffins were found to have been displaced as on the former occasion; the family now became anxious to ascertain the truth, and particular pains were taken in securing the wall, and fine sand was
This name is written in old records Oystin, but Oistin is now more usually adopted.
thrown over the floor of the vault, so that, if a person should enter it from any other part than the usual entrance, marks might be left behind. Lord Combermere was residing in 1820 in the neighbourhood of the church, and having been told of this mysterious circumstance, he made unexpectedly an application to the Rector to have the vault re-opened, when to the astonishment of all present, the coffins, to the number of five or six, were found scattered about, and one of the largest thrown on its side across the passage, so that, had the door not opened outwards, an entrance could not have been effected except by removing the slab on the top, which is of immense weight. The private marks made on the previous occasion were undisturbed, and as this was the fourth occurrence of a similar disturbance without the cause being explained, the family resolved on removing the bodies from the vault, and some of them were interred in the parish churchyard: the vault is now empty, and the Rector has since ordered it to be walled up. One of the gentlemen who accompanied Lord Combermere took a sketch of the position in which the coffins were found, copies of which are still extant in the island.
There are besides five chapels of the Established Church, and a Wesleyan chapel in this parish—that of St. Lawrence, very prettily situated on a point projecting into the sea; St. Bartholemew in the eastern part of the parish; St. David between Kirton and Staple-grove; St. Matthias near the precincts of St. Ann's and St. Patrick between Union Hall and Valley Hill. The Wesleyan chapel lies near the Plantation Providence on an eminence, which commands a pretty view.
The property of Mr. Piers in this parish appears to have been famed in former times for having the best gardens in the island, adorned with a variety of orange-walks, citron groves, water-works, " and all the lovely and pleasant fruits and flowers of that delicious country, as well as with the most curious of our own." Mr. Piers's estate is at present called Staple-grove, and is the property of J. P. Mayers, Esq., the agent of the island of Barbados in England.
The Parish of St. George.-Area 10,795 acres; population 10,174; number of sugar-plantations 57. It is the third in size, and the fourth according to its population. St. George's may be called the most inland parish; it approaches nearest to the sea on its southern point: the soil is fertile, and it is generally considered one of the most productive parishes. The ten thousand acres of land which belonged to the merchants in London, were partly situated in this parish, which appears to have been settled first. Mr. Summers and Mr. Bulkeley, who arrived with Wolferstone, had their settlements in this parish. Drax Hall was another of the first spots of ground that were cleared and cultivated: it belonged to Colonel James Drax, one of the individuals who for his loyalty was 1 Oldmixon, vol. ii. p. 85.
created a baronet at the Restoration: he appears to have lived in great style: Ligon tells us he fared like a prince, and killed now and then an ox, apparently a great piece of extravagance, as these animals were required for cultivating the soil,-an example which few at that time imitated. Oldmixon asserts that Colonel Drax, from a stock of three hundred pounds, raised the greatest estate of any planter of his time except Mr. Richard Walter, who was a merchant as well as a planter1. The forest attached to the Colonel's property appears to have been formerly of great extent, and is famed for traditional tales, still related by the labouring classes. This forest however has now nearly disappeared; a small portion only clothes the precipitous heights; and the level ground near the foot of the cliff, which was formerly covered with trees, has proved too valuable to be allowed to remain overgrown only by brushwood, with here and there the timber of a fustic-tree. Drax Hall forms the largest property, according to its superficial area, in the island; it contains 879 acres. The mansion-house is considered, with the one at St. Nicholas's Abbey, the oldest in the island; it has not the cheerful aspect of the latter, and its appearance imparts a gloomy character to the whole landscape around.
The ridge of cliffs, a continuation of those of St. John's, traverse the parish in a west-south-west direction and reach their greatest height near Gun-hill, where there is a signal-post and a convalescent station for the soldiers of the garrison. The air is here considered very salubrious, and the view from the station, over the rich and fertile valley to Bridgetown and Carlisle Bay is extensive. Being distant only six miles from Bridgetown, no stranger who visits Barbados should omit to see this spot, which affords one of the most characteristic views in the island.
St. George's Church is the least attractive in its outer appearance among the parish churches; it is comparatively old, and has escaped the last hurricanes with little injury, although it was not equally fortunate in 1780. The parish possesses also two chapels of the Established Church, namely St. Jude and St. Luke; the former is a very neat and handsome building, situated on the high table-land near Ashford. St. Luke lies at the foot of the cliff.
The Parish of St. Andrew.-Area 8780 acres; population 5995; number of sugar-plantations 26. This parish ranks fifth in point of size, and the tenth with respect to its population. As it was requisite to traverse the central ridge in order to reach this parish from Bridgetown, it was likewise called Overhill, and from its hilly character (so different from the other parishes), it received the name of Scotland. It is said that the features of this district resemble much more the scenery in Wales
1 Oldmixon's British Empire in America, vol. ii. p. 84. Ligon's History of Barbados, pp. 34, 96.