Page images
PDF
EPUB

distance from the escarpment of the cliff, at an elevation of 824 feet. The former church was blown down during the hurricane in 1831; in 1835 a meeting took place at the rectory, at which Mr. Robert Haynes presided, when resolutions were adopted for rebuilding the church. It was proposed that the church should be eighty feet long and fifty wide. A Church Committee was elected, and the work was commenced by private subscription, and contributions in labour and materials: the subscription raised at the meeting amounted to £765. It is now considered one of the prettiest churches in the island, and the interior is pleasing and elegant without being ostentatious. The prospect from the churchyard towards St. Joseph's and St. Andrew's is sublime: the hilly and undulating regions of that district, the peculiar formation of the cliffs and the deep blue colour of the sea, edged with white where the waves wash the shore, form an interesting picture. If the eye glances southward, the comparatively level ground of a part of St. Philip's parish is seen studded with numerous small buildings, forming a strong contrast with the hilly appearance of the north-eastern prospect. At the foot lie some plantations, with gay-looking buildings, although from such a height there seems to be scarcely any space left for erecting buildings between the foot of the cliff and the seashore. A large mass of the cliff has glided from its original site, and sunk down many feet, leaving a chasm; a huge rock, having the appearance of an old watch-tower, covered, instead of the northern ivy, with tropical lianas and straggling shrubs, rises about twenty-five to thirty feet, and forms a remarkable object in the prospect.

A peculiar interest is attached to this churchyard as being the restingplace of a descendant of the Paleologi,-one of the last of that imperial race, whom the ascendency of eastern barbarians drove from the sacred city, where now in lieu of the Cross, its temples are surmounted by the Crescent. Of the correctness of this assertion antiquarian researches have proved the truth.

During his sojourn in Barbados the author enjoyed the acquaintance of the Rev. J. H. Gittens, the respected rector of the parish, who in a conversation upon this interesting subject produced an old vestry-book from which the following entries are extracted. Among the gentlemen of the Vestry of the Parish of St. John we find in 1649 Mr. Fernando Paleologus; likewise in 1651. In 1654 he is mentioned as sidesman to the churchwarden and lieutenant. In 1655 and 1656 he occurs as a churchwarden; in 1657 as a trustee; in 1660 as a trustee and surveyor of the highway; in 1661 as a vestryman; in 1669 as a vestryman, but reported as absent at a meeting on the 10th of January of that year, from which period his name no longer occurs until nine years afterwards, when an entry in the parish register mentions among the burials, "October 3rd, 1678, Lieut. Ferdinando Paleologus." The tradition that a descendant of the former imperial family of the Greek rulers resided in

Barbados is mentioned by Oldmixon', when alluding to the high families then resident in Barbados; he doubts it however, without giving any reason for so doing. A monument in the church of Llandulph in Cornwall removes every doubt on the subject: on a brass tablet against the wall of that church is the following inscription, under the imperial arms proper of the Empire of Greece:

"Here lyeth the Body of Theodoro Paleologys of Pesaro in Italye descended from ye Imperiall lyne of ye last Christian Emperors of Greece, being the sonne of Prosper, the sonne of Theodoro, the sonne of John, the sonne of Thomas, second brother to Constantine Paleologvs, the 8th of that name and last of ye lyne yt raygned in Constantinople vntill svbdewed by the Turkes, who married wth Mary ye Davghter of William Balls of Hadlye in Sovffolke, Gent., and had issue 5 children, Theodoro, John, Ferdinando, Maria, and Dorothy, and departed this life at Clyfton ye 21st of Janvary 1636."

It is evident that the Ferdinando mentioned on this monument is the individual who resided in Barbados in the seventeenth century: the maiden name of his mother was Balls. This name occurs among the earliest proprietors, and in 'Oldmixon's List of Estates' three properties are mentioned as belonging to the family of the Balls. A relationship may therefore have existed between the mother of Paleologus and the Balls in Barbados, which, at a period when so many families emigrated from England, chiefly from Kent and the southern and western counties, might have induced young Paleologus to seek his fortune in the new world this may have taken place after his father's death in 1636. A legal document respecting the sale of some land executed in 1658, mentions that such land is "bounded north by Ferdinando Paleologus," &c. Of greater importance with regard to the identity of the Ferdinando Paleologus of Barbados with the individual mentioned in the tablet in the church at Llandulph, is however his will, in which the names of his sisters Mary, Maria and Dorothy occur.

The will of Ferdinando Paleologus is entered in the Registrar's Office on the 20th of March 1678: the following is a copy of it :

"In the name of God, Amen. I Ferdinand Paleologus, of the parish of St. John's, being sick in body, but in perfect memory, commit my soul into the hands of Almighty God, my most merciful Creator, and my body to be interred in a Christian burial, there to attend the joyful resurrection of the just to eternal life by Jesus Christ my most blessed Saviour and Redeemer.

"Imp. I give and bequeath unto my loving wife Rebecca Paleologus the one half of my plantation, with all the profit thereof arising during the term and time of her natural life.

"Item. I give and bequeath unto my son Theodorious Paleologus the other moiety of my plantation, with all profit, stock, and goods thereunto belonging,

1 Oldmixon's British Empire in America, vol. ii. p. 111.

which moiety is to be employed for his maintenance and education, together with the increase of his estate, until he attains the age of fourteen years, the other moiety given as aforesaid. After the death of my wife Rebecca Paleologus, my will is that her said moiety return with all the profit unto my son Theodorious Paleologus.

"Item. I give and bequeath unto my sister Mary Paleologus twenty shillings sterling.

"Item. I give and bequeath unto my sister Dorothy Arondoll twenty shillings sterling.

"Item. I give and bequeath unto Ralph Hassell my godson, son of Ralph Hassell, my black stone colt.

"Item. I give and bequeath to Edward Walrond, son of Henry Walrond, jun., one gray mare colt..

"And for Executrix of this my last will and testament, I do constitute and appoint my loving wife Rebecca Paleologus. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 26th of September in the year of our Lord God one thousand six hundred and seventy.

"FERDINAND PALEOLOGUS (Seal).

Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of Tobias Bridge, George HANMER, THOMAS KENDALL.

66

"And upon further consideration, it is my Will and Testament, that in case should happen my son Theodorious Paleologus should die before my wife without issue lawfully begotten by him, that then my said wife shall have the whole estate, equally divided as before mentioned, to her, her heirs and assigns for ever. As witness my hand and seal, this 2nd day of October 1670. his

"FERDINAND

F. P.
mark

PALEologus. (Seal.)

"Signed, sealed and delivered in the presence of us, TOBIAS Bridge, GEORGE HANMER, Thomas KenDALL, ABRAHAM Pomfrett.”

The will was proved before Colonel Christopher Codrington, then Deputy Governor, on the 4th of January 1680. Theodorious died, and the whole of the property went to the widow of Ferdinand Paleologus. The estate of the illustrious descendant of the Greek Emperors was situated where the Plantation Ashford now lies, and part of the land belongs now to Clifton Hall.

The tradition of the death and burial of "the Greek Prince from Cornwall," was current in Barbados, and was revived, as I am told (although I cannot vouch for the truth), during the last conflict for independence and the delivery from the Turkish yoke, when a letter was received from the provisional Greek Government, addressed to the authorities in Barbados, inquiring whether a male branch of the Paleologi was still existing in the island, and conveying the request that, if that should be the case, he should be provided with the means of returning to Greece, and the Government would, if required, pay all the expenses of the voyage.

The hurricane of 1831 destroyed the former parish-church of St. John;

and when the ruins were removed, the coffin of Ferdinando Paleologus was discovered under the organ-loft in the vault of Sir Peter Colleton. The circumstance that the coffin stood in an opposite direction to the others deposited in the vault drew attention to it; the head was lying to the west, the feet pointing to the east, according to the Greek custom. These accounts raised the curiosity of the Rector of the parish, and, in order to ascertain how much truth was connected with the tradition, he resolved to examine the supposed coffin of Paleologus; it was consequently opened on the 3rd of May 1844, in the presence of Mr. R. Reece jun., Mr. J. G. Young, and Mr. J. Hinkson. The coffin was of lead, and in it was found a skeleton of an extraordinary size, imbedded in quicklime, which is another proof of the Greek origin of Paleologus, as it is the custom in Greece to surround the body with quicklime. Although he had filled the situation of a vestryman of a Protestant community, the orders which he must have given with regard to his burial prove that he died in the faith of his own church. The coffin was carefully deposited in the vault, now in possession of Josiah Heath, Esq., of Quintyn's and Redland.

Besides the parish-church, the chapel of St. Mark and the pretty chapel of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel deserve to be mentioned. A building of wood for the use of the slave population of the Trust-estates was opened as a chapel in 1819. It was thrown down that year during the hurricane, and a substantial stone chapel was erected on the hill above the College and opened on the 3rd of June 1821. This was destroyed by the hurricane in 1831, and was rebuilt on a much larger scale in 1833 at a cost of £1200.

St. Mark's Chapel stands on an eminence near Fortescue's on the seacoast, and with the school-house near it forms a very pretty object when approaching that part of Barbados from seaward. It was blown down in the hurricane, and has since been rebuilt and enlarged.

The Moravians possess a missionary station called Mount Tabor: the land and some other privileges have been settled upon them by one of the former proprietors of the sugar plantation Haynes' Field. The Wesleyans possess a chapel at Belmont.

Codrington College is situated at a short distance from the foot of the cliff, on a table-land about two hundred feet above the level of the sea. The situation is very romantic, and the environs almost a repetition of Scotland district on a smaller scale. A long avenue of fine tall cabbagepalms leads nearly from the junction of the roads to the seat of learning across a lawn in front of the building. The edifice is plain and without architectural beauty; it consists of a long side and two short projecting. wings towards the north-east, fronting the sea: its length is two hundred and ten feet, the width thirty-three feet, and the wings project thirty feet. An arched and open portico occupies the middle, and rises in a pointed roof somewhat above the elevation of the building. Its massive appearance

would appear to secure it against the destructive effect of hurricanes, nevertheless it suffered severely during those in 1780 and 1831. The walls near the foundation are six feet thick, and gradually reduced to three by proper off-sets. On entering the open archway, the hall is on the left, the chapel on the right. The hall is fifty-seven feet long and twenty-five in width, and contains in a recess a niche with a handsome bust of the founder on a pedestal-a gift which reflects much honour upon the donors, the Warden and Fellows of All Souls' College in Oxford. The bust is a copy of that portion of the statue now in the Codrington Library of All Souls' College, and is executed in Carrara marble by Grimsley, an artist residing in Oxford. It arrived in 1843, and now fills the niche which was prepared for such a purpose many years ago, but which stood empty until this appropriate gift arrived. The hall is ornamented with the coat-of-arms of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel and of the Bishop of Barbados on the western end, in too prominent a manner in comparison with the armorial bearings of the founder. Attached to the hall is the library and the medical lecture-room. The collection of books in the library, which were contributed by early benefactors to the College, was nearly destroyed during the hurricane in 1831; additions have been made to the few which were saved by grants from the Society, donations from Bishop Coleridge, and by an annual subscription of one guinea from each student. In 1834, at the suggestion of the Rector of St. Paul's in Nevis, the vestry presented seven boxes of old books, the gift of Mr. Henry Carpenter, to the College. "The library thus accumulated," says the Lord Bishop of Barbados, "consists of about 1450 volumes; to which will be added on the arrival of the newly-appointed Principal' (who left England on the 2nd of March 1847), more than 1000 volumes, contributed or collected by himself, besides forty volumes purchased by him with the sum of twentyfive pounds sterling, sent by the Bursar from the subscriptions of the students, making in all an aggregate of about 2500 volumes2.

The chapel with the antechapel is of a similar size to the hall. It is plain, and would make a better impression if the heavy gallery were away. I have already observed that it was first opened for divine service on the 11th of June 1749. In the hurricane of 1780 and 1831 it suffered severely, but it has been since restored, and was re-opened on the 24th of October 1841. The students are required to attend divine service in the chapel twice a day. The tutor occupies the south wing,

'The Rev. Richard Rawle.

The Lord Bishop of Barbados has recently published an interesting account of the College; the author regrets much that it did not reach him at an earlier period, previous to the compilation of the information which he has given in former pages; however this has been taken from similar sources, namely the Reports of the Society and the Minute-books of the College.

« PreviousContinue »