Speightstown


This Bar­ba­dos town is located on the north-​west coast of the island in St. Peter. A drive along the West Coast road would lead you there. It is one of the four major towns in Bar­ba­dos. Back in the 17th cen­tury, this town used to be called ‘€˜Lit­tle Bris­tol’€™ because of its heavy trad­ing con­nec­tions with Bris­tol, England.

speightstownIMG 0117resizeOffi­cially set­tled in 1630, Speight­stown quickly became the island’€™s main port and com­mer­cial cen­tre, export­ing items such as tobacco and cot­ton, and later, sugar. The town was named after William Speight, who owned the land on which the town was built, and who was a for­mer mem­ber of Bar­ba­dos’€™ first assem­bly (Gov­er­nor Hawley’s Par­lia­ment). This town also played a major role in the sign­ing of the Char­ter of Bar­ba­dos. In the mid 17th–cen­tury, the Eng­land was under­go­ing a civil war between the King and the Par­lia­ment. The set­tlers’€™ loy­al­ties were with King Charles I, who was exe­cuted by Oliver Cromwell’€™s Protectorate.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Par­lia­ment attempted to land in Bar­ba­dos through the Speight­stown port in 1649, but were aggres­sively kept at bay by the Roy­al­ist set­tlers for six months. By then, Speight­stown had three forts– Orange Fort, Dover Fort and Fort Den­mark. How­ever, through the help of a defec­tor, Par­lia­ment landed in Bar­ba­dos through the Oistins town. 16512. The Char­ter of Bar­ba­dos was signed in 1952, and this peace agree­ment stated that most impor­tantly that Bar­ba­dos could not be taxed with­out the con­sent of a Bar­ba­dos Gen­eral Assembly.

Today, Speight­stown remains a hub of activ­ity, attract­ing both locals and vis­i­tors alike. Build­ings, such as Arling­ton Museum, that pro­vide excel­lent infor­ma­tion on the his­tory of Speight­stown. Addi­tion­ally, this town is home to sev­eral build­ings that can clearly be ideni­fied as colo­nial through their archi­tec­ture. Speight­stown is def­i­nitely a town steeped in history.

Speight­stown is also excel­lent shop­ping, accom­mo­da­tion and restau­rants. Street ven­dors sell­ing their exotic wares can make for a great sou­venir stop.

Other Points of Inter­est include:

1. The Speight­stown Forts
  • Orange Fort (Site of the present-​day fish mar­ket, located in the cen­tre of the town)
  • Dover Fort (Over­looked the town from the cliff to the East)
  • Fort Den­mark (The site of the new Speight­stown Esplanade)
  • Hey­woods Bat­tery (Sit­u­ated just north of the town)
2. Arling­ton House Museum

arlingtonLocated in the heart of Speight­stown, The Arling­ton House Museum is a restored eigh­teenth cen­tury ‘€˜Sin­gle House’€™, a house style that Bar­ba­dian set­tlers car­ried to Charlestown S.C.


This archi­tec­tural mar­vel was con­structed using a cement paste made from egg whites and molasses to fuse together
coral, lime­stone and rub­ble masonry. It also boasts of walls over two feet thick. Once a mer­chant house, this Museum has three floors of exhibits, with each floor car­ry­ing a dif­fer­ent theme.

  • 1st Floor-Speight­stown Mem­o­ries”- Learn about the island’s first settlers
  • 2nd Floor- “Plan­ta­tion Mem­o­ries”- Learn how the sugar indus­try rev­o­lu­tion­ized the Bar­ba­dian economy
  • 3rd Floor- “Wharf Mem­o­ries”- Ahoy mateys! There be a talk­ing pirate arrr! Chil­dren will espe­cially enjoy this floor as a talk­ing pirate takes you on a his­tor­i­cal jour­ney of Speight­stown as a lead­ing hub and port.

In addi­tion to the house being of archi­tec­tural inter­est, the Museum has sev­eral inter­ac­tive fea­tures that make this a fun and edu­ca­tional visit for the whole family.

Tel: (246) 4224064

Open­ing Hours: Mon­day -€“ Fri­day from 9 am -€“ 5 pm

Sat­ur­day from 9 am -€“ 3 pm

Admis­sion: Locals & Cari­com mem­bers with I.D.- $10US
Vis­i­tors– $12.50US
Chil­dren (5 -€“ 11 years)- Half Price
Under 5 yrs– FREE
BARP Mem­bers– $7.50US
National Trust Mem­bers– $5US

3. St Peter’€™s Church

Located in Speight­sown, St. Peter, this old church is another great exam­ple of Gre­go­rian archi­tec­ture cov­er­ing 3,402 sq feet of land. St Peters Church was one of the six orig­i­nal parishes on the island. Orig­i­nally a wooden struc­ture, it has been rebuilt twice since it was first con­structed in 1629. It was last rebuilt and con­se­crated in 1837, after being destroyed by a hur­ri­cane in 1831.

Another inter­est­ing fea­ture of this church is its large bell now located under a gazebo-​like struc­ture. It was once in the church’€™s clock tower, but was relo­cated after restoration-​work was com­pleted. The church had sus­tained heavy dam­ages, chiefly in its inte­rior, after a dev­as­tat­ing fire in 1980. The church was sub­se­quently restored to its orig­i­nal state in 1983, with the excep­tion of the bell positioning.

st.peter-parish-church barbados

There are many inter­est­ing inscrip­tions in the church, often giv­ing proof to its long legacy. An exam­ple of this is the bap­tismal font at the back of the church which bears the inscrip­tion “The Geft of John Sober Esq. to the Parish of Saint Peter 1767″. Every year, St. Peter’€™s Church is the host of an Annual Flower and Gar­den Fes­ti­val. Exquis­ite flo­ral designs made up of local trop­i­cal blooms such as orchids and anthuri­ams make up the stun­ning dis­plays pre­sented. Here you would also find pro­fes­sional flo­ral design demon­stra­tions, along with a few musi­cal treats in the form of live bands and even a tra­di­tional Bar­ba­dian gar­den tea party.


RELATED ARTI­CLES
Arling­ton House Museum
Muse­ums & Her­itage Sites
Shop­ping
Other Towns - Bridgetown
- Hole­town
- Oistins
Cur­rent Edi­tion of Caribbean Dreams Magazine

Arti­cles © Caribbean Dreams Mag­a­zine
Pho­tos 1 & 2 © Caribbean Dreams Mag­a­zine
Photo 3 orig­i­nally from bar​ba​dospock​et​guide​.com

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