Page:A Picturesque Tour of the Island of Jamaica.djvu/97

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MONTPELIER ESTATES, ST. JAMES’S.




Montpelier Estates, the property of Charles Ellis, Esq. M.P., are situated in the parish of St. James, at about ten miles from Montego Bay. They are part of a large tract of land, consisting of about 10,000 acres, which stretches across the valley of the great river from the hills on either side, and is divided by that river into two portions, of which about 8,000 acres are in the parish of St. James, and about 2,000 in the parish of Hanover. The latter forms a penn, or grass farm, called Shettlewood.

The Montpeliers were purchased by John Ellis, Esq. father of the present proprietor, when nearly the whole of this beautiful valley, now so thickly settled and so richly cultivated, was covered with native wood. The settlement of the Old Works’ Estate had been commenced, but was completed by Mr. Ellis: the New Works’ Estate was entirely settled by him about the year 1775.

Shettlewood was the residence of a gentleman of that name, but it was established as a penn by Mr. Ellis, and has since been greatly extended by the present proprietor.

The buildings on both the estates (the annexed plate represents the Old Works) are of stone, which is in great abundance in the neighbourhood, and of which the small round hills, which form a remarkable feature in the surrounding country, are chiefly composed. The mill on the Old Works is supplied by a stream which rises in the highland to the east of the works, in the chasm of a rock, where it forms a pool, said to be of unfathomable depth, and from the clearness of the water has acquired the name of the Blue Hole. It is brought on an aqueduct along the side of the hills, till it reaches the works, where it is carried over the flat to the mill in a series of stone arches, some of which are seen in the drawing. The date of the year 1746 appears on several of the buildings.

The New Works Estate has likewise the advantage of a water-mill. The stream by which it is worked has its source in Shettlewood Penn, where it is collected into a large pool by a stone dam raised across the valley in which it rises. It is carried over the great river by a bridge, and thence on an aqueduct of stone arches to the mill.

The cane pieces of the two estates occupy about 1000 acres, that is 600 to the Old Works and 400 to the New: but the field of canes actually kept in cultivation has latterly been considerably diminished. There is also a due proportion of land in guinea grass and common pasture, both for the working stock of the

estates