History of Mandeville, Jamaica
History of Mandeville,Jamaica
The town of Mandeville which sits on top of the Manchester Plateau at
an elevation of 2,061 feet has a cool climate which is health giving. It was
founded in the early 1800s by the then Governor of Jamaica who out of
existing parishes created the parish of Manchester .
The capital town was named after his son, Lord Mandeville. The oldest
buildings were laid out as early as 1814 along with a village green. The
town center has a typical English look which many say is the closest
thing to England. Mandeville has grown over the years from being the
sixteenth largest town in Jamaica to presently being the fifth largest
In British days Mandeville was a hill station, to which the colonial
authorities would retreat in the heat of summer. It was even laid out
like a village green, with the Georgian courthouse and Parish church
standing opposite each other across the open square, though they
stand rather oddly aloof among the chaos of the Mandeville market.
St. Marks Parish Church
The area around the town is called the "feeding tree" (the Jamaica
equivalent of breadbasket) because of all the cultivation; there are
countless roadside stalls selling oranges and strings or bags of whatever
fruits are in season. In the 1950s the area suddenly became the center
of the Jamaica bauxite industry, but the town still has a stately air and
many Jamaicans have returned from abroad and built themselves
The most impressive approach to Mandeville is from the plains of St.
Elizabeth to the west, along the hairpin turns of the main road up Spur
Tree Hill, climbing the May Day Mountains, a plateau on which the town
is located. Many of the summitsof the rounded karstic hills which
surround Mandeville are occupied by fine residences in spacious
At the heart of this country town, there is a village green, an
English-style stone courthouse with a square tower, and a fine
eighteenth century courthouse with sweeping circular staircase.
Although quite English in its structural effect, the busy covered
market, crowded bus and taxi parking outside the church, and the
teeming and colorful population overflowing the streets soon bring the
visitor back to the realities of a advancing twentieth century Jamaica.