Spanish Town Cathedral
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.
pews are made of mahogany, some with the inscription of family
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