Clarendon Parish, Jamaica
May Pen town centre
Clarendon in Jamaica
|Named for||Edward Hyde, 1st Earl of Clarendon|
|Parish capital||May Pen|
|Largest city||May Pen|
|• Total||1,196 km2 (462 sq mi)|
Clarendon is a parish in Jamaica. It is located on the south of the island, roughly halfway between the island's eastern and western ends. Located in the county of Middlesex, it is bordered by Manchester on the west, Saint Catherine in the east, and in the north by Saint Ann. Its capital and largest town is May Pen.
Clarendon was named in honour of the Lord Chancellor Sir Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon. The most recent parish was formed from a combination of three parishes: St. Dorothy's, Vere and the old parish of Clarendon. Before the merger, the capital was Chapelton. Clarendon Parish was one of the original seven Anglican parishes of Jamaica set up by Sir Thomas Modyford in 1664, and it has been reorganized numerous times since. Parish registers, which are records kept by the parish church of religious events such as baptisms, marriages, and burials, are still extant from Clarendon parish almost as far back as its foundation, with the first recorded baptism dated in 1666.
Geography and population
Covering an area of 1,196 km2, Clarendon ranks as Jamaica's third largest parish. The parish is predominantly a wide plain, marked by several rivers, including the Rio Minho, which runs the length of the parish. Toward the northern end of the parish lies the Mocho Mountains, (2000 ft), and Bull Head Mountain range (2800 ft), which is considered to be the geographical centre of the island. The Vere plain is another significant geographical feature.
Portland Point, the southernmost point of Jamaica, is on a peninsula in Clarendon which also hosts Portland Point Lighthouse. On the same peninsula are Jackson Bay beach, the flood-prone community of Portland Cottage, and two different locations both called Rocky Point: a residential community on the western side of the peninsula, and a port used primarily for the export of alumina on the eastern side of the peninsula.
Bauxite, Jamaica's major mineral source, can be found extensively in Clarendon. Bauxite mining has been established in the parish by JAMALCO and ALCOA. Most of the island's tobacco is also grown in Clarendon, along with cotton, allspice (colloquially referred to as pimento), ginger, livestock, indigo, bananas, coffee, and cocoa. May Pen is also an important citrus packing centre, famous for 'Trout Hall' oranges. Additionally, dairy farming, fish farming, and copper mining have been carried on intermittently, and the sugar-cane production contributes significantly to the amount of sugar exported annually. The Denbigh agricultural showground is on the outskirts of May Pen.
Halse Hall Great House is one of the island's historic houses. The land on which the house stands was given to an English officer, Major Thomas Halse, in 1655, and was passed from him to Francis Sadler Halse. Halse played a leading role in the Maroon Wars.
The Denbigh Agricultural Show Grounds – once a year, on the weekend prior to Independence celebrations, a national Agriculture Show is staged here.
Vernamfield was the first car-racing track established in Jamaica. The track is located on the former American lend lease air base, Vernam Field (later Vernam Air Force Base) that was named in honor of World War I flyer Remington de B. Vernam. Vernam Field is known for drag racing.
- The Woodleigh racetrack outside of May Pen is known for dirtbike racing.
- It is the home of the New Yarmouth, Sevens Estate and Moneymusk Sugar factories.
Places of interest
- Dennis Alcapone, reggae DJ and producer
- Michael Allen, Canadian football player
- Rodolph Austin, footballer
- Davina Bennett, model, Miss Universe 2017 Top 3
- Michael Blackwood
- Simon Brown, boxer
- Cocoa Tea, born Calvin George Scott, reggae singer
- Rohan Davey, American football quarterback
- Lacena Golding-Clarke, sprinter
- Mona Hammond
- Dalton Harris, singer
- Toots Hibbert, singer of Toots & The Maytals
- Elizabeth Home, Countess of Home
- Charles Howard, 1st Earl of Carlisle, governor of Jamaica from 1678–1680
- Leonard Howell, founder of Rastafari, born in Clarendon 1898
- Glen Johnson, boxer
- Linton Kwesi Johnson, poet
- Doreen Lawrence, Baroness Lawrence of Clarendon, mother of Stephen Lawrence
- Stephen Lawrence, murdered in Eltham, London in 1993, buried in Clarendon
- Barrington Levy, singer
- Atlee Mahorn, Canadian sprinter
- Freddie McGregor, singer
- Claude McKay, part of the Harlem Renaissance, born in James Hill
- Liz Mitchell, of Boney M.
- Derrick Morgan
- Raphael Morgan (Robert Josias Morgan), missionary and first Black Orthodox priest in America
- OMI, reggae singer
- Levi Roots, born Keith Valentine Graham, singer, chef
- Catherine Scott
- Jah Shaka
- Millie Small, singer and songwriter, best known for My Boy Lollipop
- Super Cat
- Roger Thompson, Canadian footballer
- "Population by Parish". Statistical Institute of Jamaica. Retrieved 16 September 2015.
- "Jamaica Church of England Parish Register Transcripts, 1664–1880." Index and Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 2014. Citing Diocese of Jamaica. Registrar General's Department, Spanish Town.
- "History of Clarendon" (PDF). National Library of Jamaica. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 March 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
- Clarendon Guide
- Statistical Institute of Jamaica
- Political Geography
- Searchable index of Jamaican parish registers with images of original documents (Registration required for image access)