Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands

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The Anglican Diocese of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands[1] was formed as the Diocese of Jamaica in 1824.[2] At that time the diocese included the Bahamas and British Honduras (now Belize), but the Bahamas became a separate Diocese (as the Diocese of Nassau) in 1861 and British Honduras in 1891. In 2001, the title of the Diocese of Jamaica was extended to include ‘and the Cayman Islands’ to recognise the growth of the Anglican Church in those islands, which had become part of the diocese of Jamaica in the 1960s. [3]


Cathedral of St Jago de la Vega

The Church of England arrived in Jamaica after the conquest of the Spanish-held island by Britain in the seventeenth century. The first Anglican clergymen arrived in 1664, by which time the island had been divided into 7 parishes.

The first church was built between 1661 and 1664. This was the church of St Catherine in Spanish Town, constructed on the site of the earlier Spanish Church of the Red Cross, which had been destroyed by the fighting between 1655 and 1660. Other churches followed in the parishes of St Andrew (Half-Way-Tree), Vere (Alley), Port Royal, St David’s (Yallahs), St Thomas in the East (Morant Bay), St John’s (Guanaboa Vale), St Dorothy’s (Old Harbour) and Clarendon (Chapleton).

Prior to the creation of the Diocese of Jamaica in 1824, the island's churches were under the notional jurisdiction of the Bishop of London. Practicality meant that in reality it was dominated by the local administration and planter elite and failed to gain the support of the slave population. Bishop Lipscomb, with no local loyalties, was sent over to change the situation.

During his 19 years as Bishop of Jamaica Lipscomb firmly established the Anglican Church on the island, ordaining 73 deacons and 66 priests, consecrating 31 churches and licensing 41 other buildings for worship, and attracting much of the slave class into the congregation. His successor, Bishop Spencer, continued his evangelical work, converting St Catherine's church in 1843 to the Diocesan Cathedral of St Jago de la Vega and establishing three Archdeaconries (Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey).

Bishops [4][5][edit]

Bishop Christopher Lipscomb
  1. Christopher Lipscomb 1824–1843
  2. Aubrey George Spencer 1843–1872
  3. Reginald Courtenay 1872–79
  4. William George Tozer 1879–1880
  5. Enos Nuttall 1880–1916
  6. George Frederick Cecil de Carteret 1916–1931
  7. William George Hardie 1931–1950 ((also Archbishop of the West Indies, 1945–49)
  8. Basil Montague Dale 1950–1955
  9. Percival William Gibson 1955–1968
  10. John Cyril Emerson Swaby 1968–1975
  11. Herbert Da Costa Edmondson 1975–1979
  12. Neville De Souza 1979–2000
  13. Alfred Charles Reid 2001– 2012
  14. Howard Kingsley Gregory 2012 -