To ensure you don’t miss any of these important sights, it’s best to have a local guide help you find your way through the town’s maze of streets and lanes.
Start: Spanish Town Methodist Church, White Church Street
Finish: Emancipation Square, at Rodney’s Memorial
Distance: Approximately 0.75km (0.5 miles)
In its prime, Spanish Town was a magnificent and impressive metropolis with stately red brick homes and grand monuments. Today, it is Jamaica’s third largest urban center with a population of approximately 87,000 people and, sadly, much of its grandeur has been lost to the ravages of time. Some shining examples of Georgian architecture still exist, however, as reminders of the town’s golden era.
1. THE METHODIST CHURCH
Opened in 1953, this small but beautiful chapel serves as the head of the Spanish Town Methodist Circuit, which was created in 1816 and consists of five churches.
Directions: Immediately facing the Methodist church, you’ll notice the massive western wall of the St Catherine District Prison.
2. THE PRISON
Formerly called the Middlesex and Surrey County Gaol, the St Catherine District Prison is one of Jamaica’s largest maximum-security facilities and has existed since the early 1800s. It is the only place in Jamaica where capital punishment may be carried out.
Directions: From the Methodist Church, walk northwards along White Church Street for 100m [110yards], until you arrive at the Cenotaph and Cathedral.
3. THE CENOTAPH
This white monument stands in honor of the Jamaican soldiers who fought in World Wars I and II. There is one in each parish capital.
Directions: The Cenotaph stands directly opposite one of Spanish Town’s most famous landmarks, the Anglican Cathedral of St James.
4. THE CATHEDRAL
The oldest Anglican cathedral in the Commonwealth (outside the UK), the Cathedral of St James is a visual repository of the history of Spanish Town. Originally built by the Spanish in approximately 1520, it was one of the first ecclesiastical buildings established in the New World. During the English takeover of Jamaica and the early decades of their rule, the Spanish chapel was destroyed. In the early 18th century, the British constructed an Anglican church on the foundations of the old Spanish chapel. Over time they renovated and expanded the building and, in 1843, it became the first Anglican Cathedral built outside of Britain.