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
- Portland: named 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.