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The Spanish Town Cathedral

In 1534 the Spanish, who had previously settled in St. Ann’s Bay, traveled south of that area and founded Villa de la Vega (town of the plain). In 1655 the British captured the island and renamed the area Santiago or Saint Jago de la Vega (St James on the plain). This area served as the administrative capital of Jamaica from 1534 until 1872, through both the Spanish and British periods of occupation.
In 1655, the first Anglican Church was erected in the southeastern section of the town. It survived for 257 years before being destroyed by hurricane in 1712. It was rebuilt in 1714 and dedicated as the Church of Saint Jago de la Vega, on the site of the Spanish Roman Catholic Cathedral. In 1843 it was named the Cathedral of the Jamaican Diocese of the Anglican Church

Today, the building stands with its magnificent red shingled steeple being easily recognized as a landmark. The cathedral was constructed in the shape of a cross, and at each transept is a small chapel.
The main hall has marble tablets on the floor where the remains of long departed souls rest. The walls of the cathedral are adorned with memorial plaques, which constitute a veritable history of colonial Jamaican society.

The pews are made of mahogany, some with the inscription of family names.
At the eastern section an impressive stained glass window dominates the view while below it is a painting of the Last Supper. The choir loft at the back of the church contains the powerful 300 year old pipe organ.
At the portico of the Cathedral lies a large leather bound Visitor’s Book, in use from 1968, which has been signed by person’s. You may just feel compelled to add your name to the rich history of the Cathedral.



The Daily Gleaner “The Story of Spanish Town” May 19, 2003
Scott, Joy. “The Oldest British Cathedral in the West” Macmillan Publishers, 2003, p. 105


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