St. Kitts Tour Sites
Caribelle Batik Rommney Manor
Home of Caribelle Batik. Owned and managed by successive Earls of Rommney over the centuries, no visit to St. Kitts is complete without a tour of the historic Rommney Manor and its pristine gardens. In this majestic setting, the fascinating process of Caribelle Batik will be demonstrated and everything from casual wear, accessories, and gift items made of Caribelle Batik are available for sale right on the premises. All one of a kind. Another constant of Rommney Manor has been its 400-year-old SAMAN tree. If trees could talk, this one would tell the entire story the Caribbean.
Brimstone Hill Fortress
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park is a UNESCO world Heritage Site of historical, culture, and Architectural significance. Over the course of 100 years, it became an almost natural outgrowth of the 800-foot hill from which it emerged; a monument to the ingenuity of the British military engineers that designed it and to the skill, strength, and endurance of the African slaves who built and maintained it. The steep slopes of Brimstone Hill had to be tamed by the disciplines of engineering and Architecture, and at the risk and probable loss of human lives. The walls of the structures are predominantly of stone, laboriously and skillfully fashioned from the hard volcanic rock of which the hill is comprised. The mortar to cement the stones was produced on site from the limestone that covers much of the middle and lower slopes. Begun in the 1690’s the fortress finally took shape as a complete military community in the 1790’s, and as such it is a veritable time capsule of international significance. What’s more, the prominent citadel is one of the earliest and finest surviving examples of a new style of fortification known as the polygonal system. The physical location of the fortress presents attractive panoramic vistas of forested mountains, cultivated fields, the historical township of Sandy Point, and the neighboring Dutch, English, and French islands across the Caribbean Sea.
Black Rocks, also refereed to as Black Stone, is the name of a notable rock formation on the northeastern coast of the island of St Kitts. Located close to the town of Saddlers, the rocks consist of lava flow from the volcanic Mount Liamuiga which dominates the northern half of the island of St Kitts.
St Kitts Sugar Factory and Compound
After reaching its peak in the late 1700s, the production of sugar declined throughout the nineteenth century, nearly ceasing altogether on several occasions in the last hundred years. The growing of sugar beet in Europe, the emancipation of slaves, and the increase in the number of countries growing sugarcane worldwide, all contributed to depress the industry in St. Kitts and to threaten the island’s entire economy. The industry was saved from extinction in 1912 by the opening of the central sugar factory, capable of processing the whole of the island’s crop. This replaced the individual mills and boiling-houses on the various estates. It came into operation just in time for the revival in the price of sugar brought about by the first world war. The public opening of the factory took place on the 20th of February 1912, and it was ready to process its first crop on the 9th of March.This the factory was actually working within a year of the date on which the machinery was ordered. Three years after all the sugar estates were nationalized in 1974, the government acquired the St. Kitts Sugar Factory. The Sugar Factory remains a national treasure and major heritage site.
Old Treasury Building
Lady Hanes-Smith laid the foundation stone for the Treasury Building in 1894. The building, a “two-story stone structure … is stylistically Georgian Architecture, adapted to the Caribbean, and axially related to Fort Street and the former Treasury Pier, which was the historic gateway to the island by way of the central arch.” (St. Christopher Heritage Society, 1000, p.2). After Emancipation and Apprenticeship in 1838, importing indentured labor from Madeira, Portugal temporarily solved the island’s labor shortage problems. Planters at that time had to deposit in the Treasury an amount to cover the cost of a return fare for each laborer they imported. Many Portuguese did not return to their homeland after their indentureship was up. In the 1890’s, when it was obvious that there was a need for a new Treasury, the planters donated the unused passage monies to government for its construction. A contracting firm from Barbados constructed the building using local stone. On completion of the building several government departments, including the Administrator’s office, were moved from the Court House to the Treasury Building.
The war memorial was originally unveiled in 1926 at the place now occupied by the post office. It honored the men who died in the First World War. It was moved and replaced with a bigger structure at the northern end of Bay road and was unveiled by Princess Margret on 11th November 1955. The memorial has two bronze plaques, one commemorating 29 men from Wold War One, and the other 6 men from World War Two. The memorial was originally white in colour, but has since weathered over the years to a natural stone colour. It is also known locally as ‘The Cenotaph’ and has three tombs that lie in front of the obelisk. Each one is constructed from the stone of the three islands which comprised the colony of St. Kitts, Nevis, And Anguilla.
Springfield Cemetery and Chapel
Until the Cholera Epidemic in 1854, all burials would take place in churchyard cemetaries. It was estimated that one sixth of the population died from the disease. To solve the ‘dangerous’ health problem posed by the cholera epidemic, the Government purchased land at Springfield for use as a Cemetery for the Parish of St. George. In 1858, legislation was passed prohibiting burials anywhere else in Basseterre than at the Springfield Cemetery. In 1862, the Mortuary Chapel in Springfield Cemetery was erected at public expense for use by all religious denominations to conduct services for those persons who had died at the nearby Cunningham Hospital.
Wingfield River and Water Works
When the English arrived in the seventeenth century, and were allowed to settle between the two rivers (Wingfield and East Rivers) at Old Road, the Caribs were concentrated int he area around the Wingfiled River. After the evictions of the Caribs in 1629, the English settled the lands in the area and cultivated tobacco, ginger, indigo, and cotton. With the introduction of sugar in the 1640’s Wingfiled developed into a major sugar plantation and one of the very few on the island to use water to power its factory works. The aqueduct is a unique architectural feature on the island and found only at Wingfiled Estate Yard. The nearby river and its forested watershed has always been a major resource for the area. Like all plantations on St. Kitts, Winfield provided for its own fresh water needs. Since the 19th Century it has formed part of the public water supply system serving the population on the leeward side of the island.
As you approach the entrance to the Wingfiled Manor Estate, you will find fascinating Carib Petroglyphs. These drawing show two of the original carvings drawn by the Caribs, perhaps depicting images of their Semi or gods.
St. George’s Anglican Church
In the early stages of the French occupation of Basseterre, a Roman Catholic Church, named Notre Dame, was erected by the Jesuits. Notre Dame was burnt to the ground in 1706 during the Anglo-French War by English soldiers who were billeted there. The Church was re-built by 1710 and re-named St. George’s. From the 1720’s, it became a place of worship for the Anglicans. It was damaged again in the fire of 1763, but once again restored. The earthquake of 1842, followed by the hurricane of 1843, reduced it to ruins, and an entirely new building planned. But the congregation continued to worship in the ruins until a new church was constructed on the 15th March, 1859. Seven years afterward, it was gutted int he Great Fire of 1867; and was re-roofed, and restored in 1869. In a series of hurricanes since 1989, the church was again damaged but restoration work has since been undertaken on the building.
St. Thomas Anglican Church
St. Thomas’ Church - Middle Island is the oldest Anglican Church in the west indies, introduced shortly after the arrival the island of St. Kitts of the eponymous Captain Thomas Warner. In 1623, Warner arrived with a crew of twenty and settled the first European colony on the island. In 1625, Captain Warner returned from a successful trip back to England to sell the tobacco crop grown by the new settlers, and brought with him the Reverend John Teatly (also spelt ‘Featley’). Former member of the Magdalene College and Fellow of All Souls, Oxford, he became Rector of Middle Island from 1625-1634, establishing the first Anglican congregation on the island.
• The Berkley Memorial in the form of a clock and drinking fountain in what is known as the ‘Circus’. Tourists and locals gravitate towards it for different reasons. Tourists like to take photographs of it; locals like to ‘lime’ on its base on Fridays. In particular young people can often be seen sitting and chatting there in the early evenings. During the day many taxi drivers who wait for fares sit on its base to discuss political matters and solve international problems!
• The memorial which was built in Glasgow has seen Basseterre change over the years and itself has undergone changes. Once a rich forest green, it was recently painted an earthly brown! It was surrounded by majestic royal palms which were planted around the circumference of the Circus around the time when it was first laid out. Over time these palms were destroyed and are now in the process of being replanted.
• The clock was erected in 1883 in honor of Thomas Berkley Hardtman Berkley a past legislator and estate owner of Fountain, Greenland, Greenhill, Ottley’s, Shadwell, and Stone Fort. It was dedicated by Lord Combermere, Wellington Henry Stapleton-Cotton.
• The memorial celebrated its 100th birthday the same year that St. Kitts gained its independence.
Originally called Pall Mall Square, it was renamed when St. Kitts and Nevis achieved political independence on September 19th, 1983. The Government first acquired Pall Mall Square in 1750 and it rapidly became the administrative, commercial, and social center of Basseterre. As slave ships arrived in Basseterre, they were quartered in the basement of the building before being sold in the middle of The Square.