The Jamaican Parishes


The Names of Our Parishes

Did you know that our parishes were named after patron saints, English monarchs, statesmen and governors of Jamaica and their wives.



  • Clarendon: one of the earliest formed parishes after the formal English occupation of Jamaica began in 1655, Clarendon was named after English statesman, Edward Hyde, the first Earl of Clarendon.


  • Hanover: formed in 1723, Hanover was named after King George I, who reigned from 1714-1727.


  • Kingston: named after it was formed in 1693 – Frank Cundall (1909) notes that ‘Kingston’ is the common form of ‘King’s Town.’


  • Manchester: named after Colonel William Montague the Governor of Jamaica when the parish was formed


  • Portlandnamed after the first Duke of Portland, Henry Bentinck, the Governor of Jamaica when the parish was formed.


  • St Andrew: named after the patron saint of Scotland, Andrew the Apostle.


  • St Ann: named after Anne Hyde, the first wife of James II, Duke of York.


  •  St Catherine: named after Catherine of Portugal, the wife of Charles II, who was king of England when the parish was formed.


  • St Elizabeth: named in honour of Elizabeth, Lady Modyford, wife of Sir Thomas Modyford, governor of Jamaica.


  • St James: named after James II, Duke of York, brother of Charles II, King of England, Scotland and Ireland.


  • St Thomas: named after St Thomas the Apostle.


  • Trelawny: named after Sir William Trelawny, the Governor of Jamaica when the parish was formed.

These two Parishes were named a little differently:

  • St Mary: named after Governor Thomas Modyford’s daughter, Mary Modyford.
  • Westmoreland: named for being the most western parish of the island


At one point we had as many as 22 parishes, In 1664 – nine years after the British took control of Jamaica we had 7 parishes which were – Clarendon, Port Royal, St Andrew, St David, St John, St Catherine and St Thomas and were later increased as follows:


  • 1670 – 12  with the addition of five parishes: St Ann, St Elizabeth, St George, St James and St Mary;
  • 1673 – 13 with the addition of Vere;
  • 1675 – 15 with the addition of St Dorothy and St Thomas-in-the-Vale;
  • 1693 – 16 with the addition of Kingston;
  • 1703 – 17 with the addition of Westmoreland;
  • 1723 – 19 with the addition of Hanover and Portland;
  • 1770 – 20 with the addition of Trelawny;
  • 1841 – 21 with the addition of Manchester
  • 1844 – 22 with the final addition: Metcalfe.


On April 23, 1867, the Counties and Parishes Act was passed, thus reducing the 22 parishes to the current 14 parishes we have today.

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Jan Harvey

Jan Harvey

1 Comment

  1. July 6, 2015 at 6:23 pm — Reply

    Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I
    found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter
    and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the
    shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched
    her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is
    completely off topic but I had to tell someone!

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