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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Trip to Archaeological Site Wingfield Estate and Romney Manor in St Kitts

On a trip to the Caribbean in June, my fiancĂ© and I had the pleasure to visit St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Johns, St. Martin, Puerto Rico, Barbados, and St. Thomas. Any time I plan a tour,  it seems I always sneak in something historical, hence my visit to Brimstone Fortress in St. Kitts.  I'm just glad my other half like these types of archaeological wonders as much as I do. 

We drove up to the site and stopped first at the Wingfield Estate where the ruins of the sugar mill were located.  I'm not sure what my fascination is with the kettles that line each plantation I visit. It must just be the smell of preservation. I've collected a plethora of information from Dunlawton Planation and Cruger and Depeyster, and now, I've moved on to the sugar works at the Wingfield Estate. 

Wingfield Estate

We were first taken on a tour of the firing tunnel, which was constructed of volcanic stone and imported brick. The tunnel was built to provide access to the boiling coppers. Dried sugar cane was stacked in the tunnel, which was then added to the main fire. Heat from the firebox heated the boiling wall and then the water in the steam boiler. It's been said that a network of tunnels also connect to other parts of the sugar works on the site. 

Romney Manor 

Romney Manor originally dates from the 17th century. The Europeans took over the area  following the Carib Indian Massacres. According to records, King Tegreman, who was the Carib Indian leader, built his settlement there. Following his demise, Sam Jefferson, one of the original settlers, claimed the site as his own. Sam Jefferson was the great, great, great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson, who was the 3rd president of the United States of America.

Around the mid 17th century, San Jefferson sold part of the property to the Earl of Romney. He named it Romney Manor. The house was named Romney Manor, and the entire estate took on the name Romney's. Romney's estate changed hands to each succeeding Earl of Romney until the late 19th century.  

As we made our way around the grounds, we stopped at the bell tower. I'm not sure what it was about this particular place on the site, but it reminded me of some odd scene from a movie. Not to sound cliche, but it was magical, and it seemed there was more of a story here. However, after I learned what purpose this bell tower saved, it was much less grand than once thought. 

The bell tower was used to control the slaves. The sound of the bell was heard throughout the day, and would alert the slaves to begin their day of work, end their day in the fields and return, and time to sleep. Evidently, bell towers, because of their symbolism, were destroyed at the time of emancipation, however the Early of Romney was known as a more benevolent owner. Romney immediately released his slaves at the time of emancipation. Other owners prolonged their ownership for a further four years. As a result, the bell tower at Romney Manor is the only perfectly preserved bell tower still standing in St. Kitts.

We ended the day by walking through the garden path, and examining the many species of flora and fauna throughout the property.  


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