Grenada & Carriacou Museums

Grenada & Carriacou Museums

Rome Museum, Walker, St Andrew

The Rome Museum is located in Walker, near Tuilleries, in St Andrew and is run by Mr Rome. With over 50 years of his own history plus that handed down to him, the vividly finished building is full of displays from household contraptions such as charcoal filled irons. The museum is tiny with a unique little display of Grenadian relics, including a mud earth oven as well as many, many other fascinating objects.
There is even more to see when you go outside, from the sugar can juice extractor to some unusual modes of transport. Mr Rome is open weekly on Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm.  Call before visiting to ensure someone is there to meet you.

Heritage Museum, St Patrick

The Heritage Museum is part of the Belmont Estate in the parish of St Patrick. You will travel backwards through time and experience the easy heritage and spirit of our ancestors. With documented pieces about the ancestry, traditions, and of Grenada. Its plantation and history of Belmont Estate.

Grenada National Museum, St George

The Grenada National Museum (GNM) is located at the corner of Young Street and Monckton Street, St. George’s. It opened its doors to the public on 17 April 1976, however the main part of the museum was built in the late 1700s.

The museum shows historical artefacts which consists of objects displaying Grenada’s history and culture. Collections include slavery, first dwellers and fishing archaeology. Also exhibited are agricultural machinery that was previously used in the manufacture of sugar and rum, whaling equipment from the whaling station at Glover Island, plus much more.

Carriacou Museum

The Carriacou Museum was founded in 1976 and is located in Paterson Street. The Carriacou Historical

Society manages the museum and it is housed in a restored cotton gin mill. Inside the museum you will see an impressive display of Amerindian artefacts as well as exhibits from the early British and French occupation of the islands. It also has an African section plus various object from colonial times.


Grenada Heritage: From the Caribbean back to Scotland


The growing Scottish Highland presence in the Caribbean after 1750 was indicative of two things. On the one hand there was a British imperial agenda intent on promoting economic development and security in the Caribbean. On the other there was a domestic agenda, with a focus on introducing the sweeping changes to Highland society that would complete the process of Highland pacification. There was also, however, a deep concern for the socio-economic and cultural survival of the Highlands which encouraged countless Highlanders to engage in myriad imperial pursuits. This article links the global with the local by considering the rise of charitable enterprise in the Scottish Highlands, one of Britain’s most vulnerable regions. In considering the establishment of the region’s first hospital, the Northern Infirmary at Inverness, and three academies at Fortrose, Tain and Inverness, it establishes the Scottish Highlands’ intrinsic link with the Caribbean’s plantation economy.

Inclosed [sic] you have on a slip of paper the notes I promised to send you, I send it [to] you for the purpose of giving you some idea of my little affairs in this country in case any accident happening to me that you may be able to render a service to my children[.] [M]y eldest boy Simon is now going on four years old[.] [H]e goes to school and I hope he will read and write a little before he is sent home which I mean to do if possible when he is seven years old[.] I understand you have a very good academy in your town furnished with good teachers in several branches of Education, if it pleases the Almighty to spare me to see my three boys able to shift themselves I shall think myself the happiest of mortals. 1

Scattered across Scotland in various archives lie letters, wills and other documents relating to the lives and experiences of Highlanders who had made the decision to go to the Caribbean at a time when their communities, which were located in Britain’s northernmost region, were convulsing from the aftershocks of Culloden. Culloden, a bloody battle that culminated in the death of between 1,500 and 2,000 Jacobite soldiers near Inverness in 1746, was an important turning point for the Highlands, but there had been many tremors before it to signal that changes were afoot. By the middle of the eighteenth century many people had recognised that what was happening was not, in fact, really about the Highlands or even about Scotland, but a consequence of the larger and more pressing project of building and securing an empire.

Over the course of the eighteenth century, Highland communities, through families, individuals and professional networks, became so entangled with the colonial world that their very survival came to depend upon the connections being forged in the Caribbean. This was the Age of Improvement, a period marked by profound technological change and intellectual development, but for many Highlanders it was also the age of survival. Many hoped that their involvement in the Caribbean would enhance their lives, and those of their families. This was epitomised by people like Thomas Fraser, the author of the opening quotation and a modest entrepreneur from Inverness-shire, whose ventures took him to Grenada and St Vincent. Like countless others, he showed a level of enterprise and ambition that was thought impossible by officials like the commissioners of the annexed estates. These individuals were responsible for managing the lands seized from Jacobites after 1746 and perceived the region as being in a state of perpetual decay. Convinced that Highland geography as well as the ‘indifference – even antipathy – of the people toward innovation’ would forever plague the north and stall development, the government had all but written off the Highlanders’ ability to improve their own situations; to many southerners, they were fit only for military service or wage labour. 2

The imperial environment’s rising profile, especially after 1750, inspires countless questions about how Britain’s more geographically isolated and economically vulnerable regions responded to and collaborated with the process of socio-economic transformation at home. Migration, overseas soldiering and external trade had always been part of the Highland story, but it took on a new meaning in the eighteenth century. It became firmly linked with local development and those who previously had been excluded from positions of authority on account of a deeply entrenched social hierarchy began to assert their influence through initiatives designed to remake society. This article builds upon and expands the important work of pioneers such as Douglas Hamilton, David Alston and Allan Macinnes, who have followed those west-bound Scots by mapping their networks and examining estate investment. It will consider the extent to which the links between the Highlands’ and the Caribbean influenced the development of charitable enterprise at home between c.1750 and c.1820. It begins by considering how the Highland experience fits within the emerging historiography surrounding Scottish slave-ownership before exploring the pivotal importance of the ceded islands, Grenada, the Grenadines, St Vincent, Dominica and Tobago. It was their acquisition from France in 1763 that gave Highlanders the opportunity to really establish a footing in the Caribbean. The final section examines how their activity abroad enabled Highlanders to become involved with and expand charitable enterprise at home by considering the foundation of three academies, Fortrose, Inverness and Tain, and the region’s first hospital, the Northern Infirmary at Inverness. Since all four institutions were seen as having long-term tangible benefits, the perception locally was that the profits of empire were helping to secure the survival of Highland communities.

Contextualising the Highland experience

Understanding the depth of slavery’s impact on British society, as projects such as Legacies of British Slave-ownership have been helping to do, 3 necessitates an engagement with those people and regions traditionally perceived as peripheral to it. Highlanders, like many other Britons, created extensive links with the West Indies, but it is important to ascertain the aims and motivation of those who crossed the Atlantic and settled on tropical islands where the risk of death from accident or disease was dangerously high. Jacobite prisoners and escapees certainly ended up there, as scholars note, but so did many others. 4 Financial gain and long-term economic security, the chance for adventure and to see another part of the world were all factors, but many were also motivated by a profound sense of responsibility for the families and the communities they left behind. For them, the Caribbean often became a means to an end. Far from being passive bystanders or mere victims during a period of acute socio-economic upheaval at home, many Highlanders demonstrated significant agency by their willingness to engage in a deeply exploitative, slave-based economy that would lead to an expanded culture of enterprise and prosperity in the Highlands. Research by Douglas Hamilton and Allan Macinnes shows how families such as the Ballies of Dochfour, the Inglises of Inverness and the Malcolms of Poltalloch were particularly involved. Neck-deep in slave trading and plantations by the third quarter of the eighteenth century, the Baillies and Inglises, acquaintances from Inverness-shire, were intrepid imperialists who had grown extremely wealthy and influential due to their West Indian and American interests. 5 The Malcolms, over four generations, had amassed so much land in Scotland and England on account of their investment diversification and West Indian credit lending that its total value stood at approximately £400,000 by 1858. 6 Beyond these elite families, however, as Daniel L. Schafer’s work on Scottish slave traders in Florida reveals, were countless individuals of more limited means whose ambition, pragmatism, skills and labour were required to make the plantation system work. 7

Slave ownership was a phenomenon that extended across Britain, far beyond the port cities of Liverpool, London or Bristol. Scholars such as Catherine Hall and Nick Draper have conducted extensive and original research on the legacy of British slave ownership and feel that researchers must think more carefully about how empire ‘enabled white Britons to enjoy their vaunted liberties and freedoms’. 8 As pivotal players in Britain’s imperial programme, the Scots deserve special attention since it was through empire that both Highlanders and Lowlanders came to identify with Britain and with each other. 9 The pioneering work of H. Gordon Slade and Mark Quintanilla, which began to reveal the involvement of northern Scots in slave trading and plantation ownership, was expanded by Douglas Hamilton whose charting of Scottish networks in the Caribbean began to show the extent of Scotland’s ties to the overseas slave based economy. 10 His research also shed light on the common aims and ambitions of the Scots and how they used the empire to sustain and promote their socio-economic interests. This foundation has inspired important work from Anthony Cook and Stephen Mullen on Glasgow’s connections with the West Indies which is helping to present a more detailed understanding of the city’s commercial and industrial development. 11 While there has been a tendency to concentrate on Glasgow, Scotland’s main industrial and urban centre, David Alston, Allan Macinnes and Finlay McKichan have carried out valuable work on the Highlands. While Alston’s meticulous research in local archives is informing a better understanding of the activities of specific individuals and families in Guyana and Berbice, the work of Macinnes and McKichan firmly connects Caribbean enterprise with the growth of commercial landlordism and with the financial survival of many of the Highlands’ great estates. 12 Another important dimension is offered by Sheila Kidd whose knowledge of Gaelic and the Gaidhealtachd has enabled her to show how Highlanders based in the Caribbean supported cultural preservation by fundraising for the creation of a Gaelic dictionary. 13

Yet in spite of these valuable contributions, there is still much to do since ‘Improvement’ included ‘a whole series of intellectual, social, economic, demographic and patriotic objectives’. 14 In the eighteenth century, the term improvement was linked to perceptions of a ‘Highland problem’. This was the belief, among many of the governing elite, that the region was incapable of enterprise. The rise of charitable enterprise, involving the establishment of academies and infirmaries designed to encourage broader regional improvement and socio-economic development, shows how the notion of a ‘Highland problem’ was contested locally. The legacy of dislocation has been central to shaping perceptions of Highland history, but there has been a tendency to focus on the impact of the clearances. While these were undeniably traumatic, this preoccupation has meant that the agency of Highlanders and their ability to respond to the new economic reality in Scotland after 1750 have been consistently underestimated. Andrew Mackillop and Allan Macinnes have tried to correct this by arguing that the increased presence of Highlanders in imperial ventures was a calculated response to severe social upheaval and that they were actually proactive respondents to a rapidly changing global dynamic which pitted empire against empire. 15 The presence of a rich culture of charitable enterprise, incorporating many people, testifies to a more robust engagement with the process of improvement than is often assumed. 16 The historic Highlands have been too easily written off as a region incapable of internal enterprise, whose people were categorised as hapless victims of an insensitive government and a disconnected landowning elite. Thus, to take the work of Mackillop and Macinnes forward requires two primary levels of analysis. The first is linked to the new elites whose successful sojourns enabled them to play more definitive roles in reshaping Highland life at home. The second relates to those people of more modest means whose colonial lives made possible their continued existence in the Highlands, or that of their families. An examination of charitable enterprise, including education and healthcare initiatives, which has not yet received any focused attention, shows how both were connected and helps to begin the process of exploring the deeper legacy of Highland interaction with the Caribbean. 17

Establishing roots in the Caribbean

IX. The Most Christian King cedes and guaranties [sic] to his Britannick [sic] Majesty, in full right, the islands of Grenada, and the Grenadines, with the same stipulations in favour of the inhabitants of this colony . . . And the partition of the islands called neutral, is agreed and fixed, so that those of St. Vincent, Dominico, and Tobago, shall remain in full right to Great Britain. 18

Colonies like Barbados and Jamaica were British possessions from 1627 and 1655 respectively, with plantations well established by the middle of the eighteenth century. But it was the territory that Britain acquired after the Seven Years War which afforded an important and somewhat unplanned opportunity for those Highlanders excluded from earlier waves of plantation activity. When Britain first acquired the ceded islands in 1763 the intention had been to confiscate the lands held by the French inhabitants, to survey it and to sell it off to those British planters operating intensive sugar factories in Barbados. Their lack of interest, however, was evident and the commissioners noted that the money, time and energy it would take to transform these islands into profitable enterprises were too much to interest the more established planters. 19 This was worrying since the lack of a planter population threatened to see what cleared land there was ‘fall into total decay’. 20 On the island of St Vincent, where many of the cocoa and coffee plantations had been deserted by the French, and where it was deemed imperative to promote intensive cultivation, the local ‘indian inhabitants’ or ‘Caribs’ were declared ‘altogether uncivilised’ and blamed for impeding useful settlement and cultivation. 21 Enabling as many as possible of the largely Catholic French inhabitants to remain was prioritised and landmark concessions, which included freedom of worship and giving rights to their lands subject to fines and quit rents, were promised to the people of the ceded islands and to Quebec under the terms of the 1763 Treaty of Paris. 22 These were major concessions at a time when strict penal laws remained in force against Catholics in Britain and Ireland, but they achieved results. Many of the ‘new subjects’ stayed, at least initially, and swore the required oaths of allegiance and abjuration to the British Crown. 23 At the same time, land reorganisation and management were also preoccupying many in Britain, but especially in the Highlands, where fierce criticisms were being levelled against the cottar class for their ‘primitive’ land use patterns and perceived lack of civilisation. Clearly, a pattern was emerging of accusing indigenous populations, wherever they were located, of inhibiting progress and development. This pushed many Highlanders out into the empire and some would exploit opportunities in the Caribbean as a way of countering these negative perceptions.

Retaining the French and attracting British planters and labourers from the more peripheral regions like the Highlands to the ceded islands served two distinct, but equally important, purposes, profit and security, although these aims were, as one scholar notes, often contradictory. 24 While some islands, such as St Vincent, Grenada and Carriacou, one of the Grenadines, were economically important because they were conducive to plantations, others, like Dominica, were more important for defensive reasons. 25 To ensure that all the islands became as viable as possible, safe harbours were constructed to facilitate trade and new roads were built to give access to previously inaccessible areas. 26 In many ways, this pattern of development closely resembled what was going on in the Scottish Highlands, where projects focused on constructing roads and bridges, reworking parish boundaries, planning new towns and removing those perceived as being uncivilised, unproductive or rebellious were well underway by the middle of the 1760s. 27 It was a period of profound socio-economic upheaval at home and so the opportunity to go to the Caribbean, to build and run plantations or simply to earn money as labourers or tradesmen, was appealing. While many of those who went already had some kind of connection, usually relatives or friends, others had gained experience in the London or Glasgow merchant houses and had been waiting for the chance to make their move. 28

Grenada, known for intensive sugar and cotton production, was the most attractive of the ceded islands to investors and it is estimated that the number of Europeans there rose from 1,225 in 1763 to 1,661 in 1773. The majority were British, but Highland and Lowland Scots represented twenty-one per cent of all landowners (fifty-seven per cent of British ones) by 1772, and possessed roughly forty per cent of all land planted in sugar and coffee. 29 Planters focused on sugar, which helped the island emerge as Britain’s ‘second leading West Indian colony’ by the mid-1770s. But other islands with sizeable Scottish populations, such as Carriacou, were different. 30 Although its land was fertile, Carriacou’s small size and vulnerability to attack due to the lack of military fortifications made larger British planters wary of investing in sugar. Yet it offered an important opportunity for those eager to break into the Caribbean and by 1790 a mix of large and small cotton farms had emerged in spite of the risks posed by rain, wind and insects. Carriacou was responsible for approximately fourteen per cent of all British West Indian cotton. Scots represented roughly one quarter of the island’s whites and they worked as overseers, carpenters, merchants, clerks, surgeons, constables, fishermen, mariners, masons and tailors. If any had mill experience, they became chief tradesmen. 31 Almost all became slave owners as soon as they could afford to and some of the Highlanders among them are represented in the subscription lists highlighted below.

Family connections, as Douglas Hamilton shows, were critical to the Scottish presence in the Caribbean and resources were often pooled to maximise profits. For most families, from the Urquharts of Aberdeenshire, whose British inheritance money was ploughed into plantations, to Thomas Fraser of Inverness, who had far less available, the Caribbean was a risky venture. 32 Fraser, who accumulated some wealth, had started in Grenada, but settled in St Vincent. It was a difficult road where he saw the dreams of friends evaporate. Writing to his cousin, Simon, a baker in Inverness, Thomas informed him of the fate of a friend:

I told you last year that I have some prospect of making some thing [sic] from my negroes in planting cotton, but the season proved so unfavourable that cotton did not yield anything last year and people did not make one quarter of what they expected . . . I mentioned to you in my last that your friend James Fraser died here some time ago; some little time before his death he quited [sic] the cursed place that ruined him in purse and constitution and died a poor man of a broken heart. 33

By 1798 Fraser had a net worth of roughly £4,020 which included thirty slaves, a number of ‘half slaves’, whom he shared with another cousin, thirty-three acres of land, a house, a ‘negro house’, two horses and five cows. 34 While these were consistent economic gains, they paled in comparison to those of others like Alexander Campbell.

Originally from the isle of Islay, Campbell had gone to Grenada and realised incredible fortunes, but at an enormous cost. 35 Grenada, while the ‘most populous [and] prosperous’ of the ceded islands, was notorious for the vehement anti-Catholicism of the Scottish planters; the tendency of the island’s French planters to leave land undeveloped and to focus on coffee rather than sugar frustrated them. 36 Having first purchased land in Grenada in 1763, Campbell’s interests, profits and net worth ballooned over the next thirty years, but he and others were blind to the consequences. Existing tensions deepened considerably during and after the French occupation of the island between 1779 and 1783 as the Scots tightened their grip on Grenada‘s legislative council which had significant Highland representation. 37 Rebellion erupted in 1795 and when it ended in 1796, the island’s economy had been crippled and many of its leading landowners and legislators, including Campbell, had been killed. 38 While their aggressive business practices had ultimately led to their demise, others were waiting to try their luck. When some semblance of normality resumed after 1796 there was no shortage of Highlanders willing to venture west to Grenada, but also to the newly acquired territories of Berbice and Demerara on South America’s north-east coast. 39

Caribbean investment in the Highlands

Scottish involvement in the Caribbean had a direct impact on the transformation of the Highlands in terms of how its economy was structured, how migration trends developed and the vision of future regional development. The growth of charitable enterprise, in the form of academies, a central hospital and asylum, and through organisations like the Highland societies of London and Edinburgh, was an important component of the transformation. This activity, which began in the late 1770s, suggests a level of engagement with civic development that had not been possible before. Although communal responsibility was not a new concept for the Highlands, it began to be organised in new ways. Highland life and society had formerly been defined by the role of the great chiefs, sustaining and safeguarding the solidarity of the clan structure. By the late eighteenth century, however, traditional expectations about social responsibility had shifted and those beyond traditional elite circles, such as merchants and middling and lower tenant Highlanders, began to experience forms of civic authority. Caught between two worlds, one, wherein social authority rested with the aristocracy and the landed elites, and another, where increased value was being placed on entrepreneurship and cash income, members of this group collaborated with those around them, at home and abroad, to improve the region’s socio-economic prospects.

The foundation of the Highland Society of London in 1778 by twenty-five ‘gentlemen of Scotland’ at the Spring Garden Coffee House reflected the presence of a growing community of Highlanders in the capital. While successive presidents were members of the Highland nobility, its wider membership included merchants, traders, lawyers and physicians in London and abroad and many of them had ties to the Caribbean. 40 Dedicated to development in northern Scotland, in 1786 it established the British Society for Extending the Fisheries and Improving the Sea Coasts of this Kingdom which sought to ‘purchase land and to form free towns, villages and fishing stations in the Highlands’. 41 The growing demand for cured fish in the West Indies, Ireland and Europe as well as the expansion of the re-export trade in sugar and rum encouraged the promotion of a fishery and the construction of harbours. 42 Support for these initiatives came from many of the region’s landowners as well as from the Highland Society of Edinburgh which donated £500. 43 Additionally, the Highland Society of London supported activities that would enhance and protect Highland culture: it led the campaign to produce a Gaelic dictionary; contributed to Inverness Royal Academy; and offered support for the establishment of ‘useful public institutions such as Gaelic schools, the Caledonian Asylum, and Gaelic Chapel in London’. 44 Finding ways of connecting with their culture was, as Sheila Kidd observes, a ‘distinctive response to their colonial experience’. 45 The Highland Society of Edinburgh had similar objectives, but placed more emphasis on ‘giving relief to the indigent, and encouragement to the ingenious among their countrymen’ than on promoting Gaelic, Highland dress or Celtic literature. 46 Support from the London- and Edinburgh-based Highlanders was pivotal, but there was also an overall increase in support for Highland organised initiatives from the diaspora in the Caribbean and elsewhere in places like India and Canada.

A rise in the number of institutions from the late eighteenth century was a direct consequence of this collaboration. Fortrose Academy, Inverness Royal Academy and Tain Royal Academy were opened in 1791, 1792 and 1813 respectively. The Northern Infirmary, the region’s first hospital, was completed in 1804. 47 The impetus for establishing these institutions came largely from the members of the emerging moneyed elite who believed in their practical value. The Northern Infirmary, like hospitals elsewhere in Scotland, would help the sick during periods of distress and reduce the burden on the landowners while the academies would improve the prospects of the youth and lead to greater regional prosperity. 48

Although there were no set rules about where Highlanders went in the Caribbean, and they went everywhere, they tended to congregate on islands where they had connections through family or friends. This meant that certain Highland villages and towns had stronger relationships with some islands than with others. Inverness, for example, which had a more advanced mercantile economy than any other Highland settlement, had numerous links with Jamaica, whereas Fortrose and Tain, with less well developed merchant and business structures, had stronger connections with the ceded islands of Grenada, St Vincent and Carriacou as well as Demerara and Berbice. This is borne out by the subscription lists for each institution which reveal much about migration trends, the influence of existing connections and about who was subscribing. 49 Highlanders supported institutions deemed relevant to the survival of their home region, suggesting an evolving social dynamic that was informing the development of a civil society that would anchor the emerging Scottish and British identities.

As Donald J. Withrington pointed out in a pioneering chapter on educational development in eighteenth-century Scotland, academies were a major innovation. 50 They were fee-charging schools that provided an alternative to the parish schools which had long dominated the region’s educational landscape and enabled pupils to access practical or advanced training locally. 51 The lack of universities in the Highlands, with the nearest in Aberdeen, had stunted the emergence of a multi-level educational culture and encouraged a pattern of out-migration among those who were able and willing to go to university. For those without either the means or desire for this, however, the academies provided the best option for locally based, advanced learning. Between the opening of Tain academy in 1813 and 1837, there was a noticeable decrease in the number of young men going away to university. 52 The local influence of the northern academies was emphasised in Alexander Wood’s Appeal to the Public. Wood, the local minister, was also the Secretary and Vice-President of Fortrose Academy’s Visiting Committee and had worked closely with another local minister, James Smith, and local landed elites, in order to establish the school. 53 While praising the academies for providing practical training to those pupils who were, often for financial reasons, unlikely to attend university, he explained that these schools were pioneering because of their specialist, skills-based teaching.

Not only do they embrace considerably higher objects, but, by affording employment to a greater number of qualified teachers, and, especially, by circumscribing the labours of each, within the limits of that department to which his talents are more peculiarly adapted, they ensure a degree of combined success. 54

What is more, the academies were deemed safer and more respectable learning environments where the ‘advantages of fine air, sea-bathing [and] agreeable walks’ and their perceived shelter from distractions, temptations and vice, appealed to parents who saw education as a path to social advancement. Additionally, the subjects on offer were popular and the emphasis on vocational training was indicative of evolving attitudes about the utility of education. 55 In step with other Scottish academies, students at Fortrose and Inverness took languages such as Latin, Greek, French and English as well as Geography, History (particularly the History of Great Britain) and arithmetic. They also received training in subjects relevant to Britain’s imperial pursuits such as book-keeping, drawing, navigation, spherical navigation, architecture, fortification and gunnery. 56 While being conducive to careers on West Indian plantations, with the East India Company or as officers in the army or Royal Navy, these subjects also supported the changing needs of communities. Town planning, estate reorganisation and management as well as the expansion and construction of roads, bridges and harbours were preoccupying many landowners and government officials at this time and so they were supportive of initiatives that offered young people practical training. 57 The academies were popular from the outset among the aspirational middling class and in 1796 the committee minutes for Inverness Royal Academy recorded that about ‘two hundred students [were] attending different classes’. Many were local, but some, both white and mixed race, had been sent there by their Caribbean-based Scottish fathers. 58

Those leading the committees of subscribers and those occupying the roles of directors of the institutions tended to be the same people and included public officials, such as the provost, baillies and deans of guilds, and a select number of members of the landed and new mercantile elite who had made large financial contributions. In the case of Inverness Royal Academy this was fifty pounds. 59 A major figure in the establishment of both Inverness Royal Academy and the Northern Infirmary was William Inglis, Inverness Provost whose brother, George, was a well-known Demerara planter. William’s efforts were commemorated by a massive inscription carved into the infirmary’s façade that can still be seen today. 60 The aristocracy who were involved gave credibility to the ventures and many, including Francis Humberstone MacKenzie, Lord Seaforth, Lord William Graham, General Sir Hector Munro of Novar, Sir Charles Ross and Sir Gilbert Stirling made sizeable donations. 61 When asking for assistance from Norman MacLeod of McLeod, who had gone to India in 1781 to clear some of his family’s enormous debt, William Mackintosh, provost of Inverness and, for a time, chair of the academy’s committee of subscribers, explained that the academy was ‘most likely to carry into effect the wishes of the greatest part of the Nobility and Gentlemen of the north of Scotland’. 62 MacLeod, whose family seat was Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye, possessed a more obvious social conscience than many of his contemporaries and had been very involved with Friends of the People and had, while a Whig Member of Parliament, supported Catholic relief and the abolition of slavery. 63 Yet great landowners like him faced extraordinary pressure to transform their estates into profitable enterprises and thus understood the need to support educational initiatives designed to inject practical skills into the region. After donating £105 in 1791, MacLeod was appointed to the academy’s committee of subscribers; Francis Humberstone Mackenzie, Lord Seaforth was equally active in the affairs of all three academies, both before and after he left for the Caribbean to become Governor of Barbados and an absentee plantation owner in Berbice. 64

The Northern Infirmary received similar support, although its value was seen in a somewhat different light. As the eighteenth century drew to a close, more emphasis was placed on improvement through collective responsibility and with reference to the infirmary, it was noted that:

It seems reasonable to expect that even those whose circumstances are more limited, the artisan, the labourer, and all who are raised above actual want, should, according to their several abilities, aid an Institution in which they are peculiarly interested, since it is intended exclusively for the relief of such as they; and possible, that some of themselves may one day seek refuge from disease within its walls. 65

While the gentry were keen to reduce their economic burden by encouraging a culture of self-help, the middling ranks looked upon subscriptions as an opportunity to acquire social capital. The subscription committees thus recognised that in addition to local support, the financial contributions from ‘generous Scotsmen in the East and West Indies’, regardless of class, should be sought. 66

The surviving subscription lists for these institutions offer a glimpse at the range of supporters and their locations, and reveal that the infirmary encouraged the broadest support. The Northern Infirmary was the seventh such institution to be constructed in Scotland and linked the Highlands with an emerging culture of improvement through healthcare. The belief that improved health generated prosperity encouraged many to engage with infirmaries as a solution to some of the problems associated with urbanisation. 67 Inverness, while nowhere near as populated as Edinburgh or Glasgow, received many of the people displaced by the clearances. Yet the founders of the Northern Infirmary, such as William Inglis, chair of the committee and town provost, Thomas Gilzean, treasurer as well as a lawyer, local sheriff-substitute, collector of stamp duties and comptroller of customs, and Campbell Mackintosh, whose background is unknown, were particularly bold. Unlike Edinburgh, Glasgow or Aberdeen, Inverness had no local medical school on which to depend for direction and support. 68 Most of the infirmaries in Scotland benefitted in some way from Caribbean money, but the level of direct Caribbean and Indian support for the Northern Infirmary was striking by comparison and perhaps shows the extent to which charitable enterprise relied upon the diaspora. 69 The majority of subscriptions for its establishment came from members of the 75th and 78th regiments in Bombay and Bengal and from individuals in Grenada. An important difference between the subscriptions from the East Indies (India) and the West Indies (Caribbean) was that those from the East tended to come from military companies rather than individuals with purely commercial interests. Links between regiments and other British infirmaries were common, but usually only when a garrison was nearby. 70 What is unique about the regiments subscribing to the Northern Infirmary is that they were stationed abroad and therefore unable to benefit directly from it.

Taken as a whole, the subscription lists reveal the extent of the Highlanders’ imperial reach, showing how many retained links with home and how they connected across the world to support a specific cause. The Northern Infirmary attracted much wider support than the academies and while there is no definitive explanation for this, it is likely that people saw the infirmary as something that would benefit the entire region. Between May 1799 and October 1801, £3,406 had been subscribed to the infirmary which brought the overall total raised to £7,929. There were eighty-three subscriptions from India and most were fifty pounds and over. None of the Caribbean’s ninety-one subscriptions were over thirty-one pounds and most were under five pounds. Martinico and St Kitts appeared to be the most prosperous, with seventeen of the twenty subscribers offering ten or twenty pounds, whereas in Grenada, where there were sixty-four subscriptions, forty-nine were five pounds or less (table 1). 71 These lower subscriptions were probably the result of the Fedon Rebellion which left the Scots there in a state of recovery with little spare cash.

Table 1 Northern Infirmary

Breakdown of total donations, c. 1799-1801

A theme uniting all the fundraising campaigns, and resonating throughout Scottish society more generally, was self-help. The details of the subscribers’ names, locations, occasionally occupations and the amounts given reveal significant diversity and there were many people, based in both the Highlands and the Caribbean, who were not wealthy. Highland based people like Simon Fraser, a baker, Alexander MacLeod, a saddler, John Ross, a tailor, and Donald MacBoan, a merchant, who donated five, five, two and one pounds respectively to Inverness Royal Academy between 1787 and 1792, joined those from similar backgrounds in the Caribbean like Dougald McLaughlin, Patrick Miller, James Bremner and Robert Robertson who donated five pounds, five pounds, three pounds and £1 15 s. 3 d. 72

A total of £6,313 was subscribed to Inverness Royal Academy between 1787 and 1796 and significant support, approximately £1,482 (twenty-four per cent of the total), was received from Jamaica (table 2). During this period, only two other donations were received from the Caribbean and both came from the relatives of influential Inverness and Cromarty families: George Inglis, mentioned above, donated ten pounds from Demerara in 1792 and William Alves of St Vincent, George Inglis’ brother-in-law, business partner and probably the son of Dr John Alves of Inverness, one of the committee members, subscribed ten pounds ten shillings in 1794. 73 While the Jamaica figure only relates to a nine year period, it shows that unlike Fortrose and Tain, which developed stronger links with the ceded islands because they lacked the connections needed to penetrate Jamaica, the existing merchant community of Inverness had given it access to the Caribbean economy from an earlier stage. The main fundraiser in Jamaica was Lewis Cuthbert, a native of Castlehill, Inverness, who probably went out there in the hope of regaining some of the wealth and influence that his family seems to have lost over the course of the century. 74 Cuthbert, an attorney and slave trader, first went to Jamaica around 1760 and became the administrator for a number of absentee landowners. 75 Another, far less active collector was Hugh Fraser, a member of one of the prominent Fraser families. In 1788 he had become a member of the Northern Meeting, a selective society established by local gentlemen whose purpose was ‘social intercourse’ and whose initial membership included local landowners, the provost, baillies, lawyers, doctors, merchants and bankers. 76 The role of these collectors was to generate publicity, receive subscriptions and chase late payments; in 1796 there was £204 outstanding from Jamaica. 77 While it is not known how these men became collectors, it is likely that they were persuaded by friends or relatives back home who recognised that it was essential to have collectors of Highland extraction based in the Caribbean, with a commitment to enhancing Highland prosperity.

Table 2 Inverness Royal Academy

Breakdown of total donations, c. 1787-1792

The number of donations that Fortrose Academy received from the colonies (table 3) far exceeded the number of ‘local’ British donations, which included those from the counties of Ross and Cromarty, Inverness and Sutherland, as well as from London. As with the Northern Infirmary, support from India was strong and was indicative of a shift in focus from the West to the East Indies, but for Fortrose it was the donations that came from Grenada and the tiny island of Carriacou that were the most revealing. While the individual donations from these places were small, the number of people making them was proportionately greater. According to the school’s register, which includes a list of all subscribers between the institution’s ‘commencement’ in the early 1790s and 1824, a total of £2,679 16 s. 7¾ d. was raised and forty-seven out of the 138 subscribers (thirty-four per cent) were based in Grenada (thirty-six) and Carriacou (eleven). While Grenada’s George Gun Munro, a colonial politician and slave owner, William Scott, occupation unknown, and John McLean, probably a plantation manager, gave twenty-three, fifty-three and twenty-one pounds respectively and Carriacou’s Walter McInnes, a lawyer, gave twelve pounds and William Rutherford, occupation unknown, gave ten pounds, no other subscriptions were more than six pounds and most were under three pounds. 78 Many of these donations had been arranged by the collector, George Gun Munro, in 1811. A native of the Black Isle and former pupil of Fortrose Academy, Munro was a member of both the Highland Society of London and Grenada‘s legislative Council. 79 His extensive networks were invaluable and when submitting the donations, he noted:

Table 3 Fortrose Academy

Breakdown of total donations, c. 1790-1824

The uncommonly handsome manner in which the inhabitants of the island of Carriacou have acted on this occasion. It is one of the Grenadines, dependent on our government: and, with very few exceptions, all the respectable sons of Scotland in it, contributed towards the amelioration, or improvement of so excellent an institution. 80

Further north in Tain, it took ten years to raise sufficient funds to open its Royal Academy in 1810 and according to records compiled in 1819 the total donated between 1800 and 1818 had been £7,666, with £2,062 (twenty-six per cent) coming directly from the Caribbean (table 4). 81 The most generous places were Berbice, Jamaica and Grenada, with collections totalling £576 17 s. 0 d., £262 10 s. 10 d. and £245 0 s. 0 d. respectively. Interestingly, although twenty-nine contributions were made from Berbice and seven from Grenada, just three large donations had come from Jamaica and all were from named individuals. The academy’s Caribbean money was slightly less than the £2,879 that had been raised locally, but one important factor in boosting the local subscriptions was the inclusion of local rates and this was also the case with the Northern Infirmary. Using local rates to support these institutions was a strategic decision at a time when parts of the region were experiencing the height of their clearances. 82 This suggests that local officials were aware of the need to improve the region’s prospects, but what is also evident is the increase in the number of small, individual subscriptions in the amounts of one, two or five pounds. 83 Given that clearances were happening in neighbouring Sutherland, it is likely that at least some of these subscriptions were prompted by a fear of rural collapse. It is unlikely that scholars, without the aid of painstaking genealogical research, will ever be able to demonstrate just how many of these local donations were made possible by direct or indirect Caribbean links, so it must be assumed that such links played a role in at least some of them. Whatever the involvement, the school occupied an important position in the community as noted in the 1845 New Statistical Account:

Table 4 Tain Royal Academy

Breakdown of total donations, c. 1800-1818

The Royal Academy, which was built about twenty-five years ago is one of the handsomest and chastest erections in the north of Scotland; and is greatly set off by its fine large play-ground, which has been of late tastefully planted, walled in, and railed. 84

What was also stated was that although a link could not be known for certain, ‘the degrading vices such as drunkenness, appear among the respectable classes to have much decreased’. 85 Subscribing to academies and infirmaries was about more than simply asserting one’s social position; it was about endorsing a particular vision of development. Those who subscribed to these academies were motivated by the belief that they were helping the region and future generations to respond more effectively to the new economic reality at home and abroad. In one of its appeals, the committee for Tain Royal Academy highlighted the institution’s strategic importance and emphasised its pivotal role in reshaping community aspirations by supporting local youth:

Hundreds of our youth who, perhaps, without the means . . . might have sunk into obscurity, have experienced the beneficial effects of the improved plan of education introduced; and a dawn already appears which encourages us to anticipate the cheering prospect of thousands, in generations to come, issuing from this seminary qualified to fill every department in the state, to support the honor and maintain the dignity of the name of Briton! 86

Invoking the term Briton was an important qualifier. At this time, in the neighbouring county of Sutherland, the most notorious phase of its clearances was underway with people being burnt out of their homes to make way for sheep runs. 87 The impression that they were from a different world, one that could not and would not adjust to ‘modern’ Britain caused significant distress, not only among those being forced to leave the lands their people had occupied for centuries, but also among those who felt that they were adjusting and possessed Highland, Scottish and British identities. What troubled them was that despite having long standing and extensive links with Lowland Scotland and with England (particularly London), the Highlands continued to be perceived as a region peripheral to or somehow disconnected from the ‘British’ ideal. The language exhibited in the pamphlet was a corrective which emphasised the fact that Highland and Scottish development were intrinsically linked with the emergence of a broader British identity. 88 In asserting the term Briton, the committee at Tain was demonstrating its connection with a shared identity considered by many within and outside the Highlands to be powerful, progressive and imperially based. That pre-existing national identities of the four nations of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales were the basis of Britain was also emphasised by the Highland Society of London and in its 1813 report, which also highlighted the importance of education, the author explained that ensuring close links with Britain meant protecting local identities:

That it is in the interest of the United Kingdom to keep alive those national, or what, perhaps, may now more properly be called local distinctions of English, Scotch, Irish and Welsh, I think can be proved by reasoning founded upon the first law of nature – I mean self-love . . .

. . . I humbly conceive that the glory of the British Empire may be upheld under the united flag, by keeping alive in its inhabitants the local distinction of English, Scotch, Irish and Welsh, thereby creating a generous emulation between them, which, under the direction of one free and paternal government, many promote the good and glory of the whole. 89

As Britons, these Highland Scots attempted to show how their commitment to the British Empire – their empire – could transcend regionalism. This was at a time, when they, like the Irish, being Celts rather than Saxons, were enduring racial and cultural attacks. While scholars have noted a shared sense of responsibility, based on an appreciation of the region’s military contribution and hospitable culture, it is important to emphasise that Highlanders had been committed to civic culture long before the nineteenth century. 90 This perspective is also borne out by the literature of the academies.

The Sons of the North in every corner of the world are invited to support a seminary calculated to raise their countrymen to a higher pitch of dignified attainment. The Sons and Daughters of Benevolence, from the North, and from the South, from the East and from the West, are solicited to bestow their mite in aid of the children of those “dusky hills,” and tempest beaten vallies [sic] where the hospitable rite was never refused to the stranger, or the destitute – in aid of the Sons of Caledonia, whose heroic deeds have filled the world with admiration and raised their military renown. 91

In spite of the vilification of Highlanders in some quarters, by the 1810s fears of a Jacobite and rebellious north were being replaced with imagined visions of a romantic landscape and valiant people. 92 Highlanders, believing that they were as British as anyone, also endorsed this imagery. Language and literature were central to this construction and when corresponding with James MacPherson, the controversial writer, who claimed to have translated the ancient poems of Ossian in the 1760s, and the Highland Society of London, the committee for Inverness Royal Academy agreed that teaching Gaelic was necessary for ‘cultivating and preserving this original language of our country’. The committee also credited MacPherson, who would, incidentally, encourage many Highlanders to go to India, with drawing wider attention to the region and to Gaelic’s broader importance since it was his ‘elegant translations . . . [which] have rendered it an object of curiosity and attention to the learned’. 93 The committee’s inability to locate a qualified Gaelic teacher, however, in spite of numerous attempts, saw the Society, which often became petulant when things did not go its way, withdraw its support. 94 This suggests a different set of priorities between those members of the Highland diaspora who wanted their home region to grow into the memories they had created, and those on the ground in the north who knew that it could not and perhaps felt that it should not. Reflecting on the profound changes experienced by the region as a whole, Reverend Charles Calder Mackintosh, Minister of Tain, agreed that development had to come, but lamented the loss of language because of what it took from the people’s understanding of themselves:

The most important change, however, seems to be that of language. That from the peculiar station of the highlands of Scotland the change is a necessary one, and that by it the avenues of knowledge are being opened up, and the power of doing good proportionally increased, may readily be allowed; but no Highlander watching the process and its effects can look on it without regret. The stream of traditionary [sic] wisdom descending from our forefathers has been interrupted in its flow; the feelings and the sentiment, will not transfuse themselves into a foreign tongue; and the link of connection between the present and the past generations has been snapped. Before now, the Gael was debarred from fame, because he could speak only an uncultivated though copious and nervous tongue; now he may chance as effectually to be debarred, because the fountain of Highland prejudice and Highland enthusiasm has been checked and rendered turbid at its source, and it may be long ere its inspiring waters renew their ancient flow. Still the change, we have said, is a necessary, and will in the end be a beneficial one; and the sooner, therefore, it be accomplished now, perhaps the better. 95


The discussion presented here has considered two main questions: how did Britain’s more geographically isolated and economically vulnerable regions respond to and collaborate with the process of socio-economic transformation locally and how did the links between the Highlands and the Caribbean influence the development of charitable enterprise at home between c. 1750 and c. 1820. It was Britain’s acquisition of the ceded islands in 1765 which enabled Highlanders to really establish a presence in the Caribbean and it was their willingness to engage in its deeply exploitative, slave-based economy that facilitated the expansion of a culture of enterprise at home. Driven by the desire to generate prosperity during a period of acute socio-economic upheaval, there was a clear impetus for change within Highland society that cut across class lines. Exploring the establishment of the academies at Fortrose, Inverness and Tain, and the Northern Infirmary, institutions imbued with significant cultural value, revealed their symbolic importance to a region experiencing profound change. These institutions symbolised Highland participation in Britain’s evolving culture of education and healthcare development and demonstrated the link that people were making between charitable enterprise and the socio-economic survival of their home communities and of the Highland region more generally. The emphasis that many had placed on the development of practical solutions in the form of schools and an infirmary underscores the natural and local response to change. Highlanders were responding assertively to the process of rural transformation as they built spaces for themselves within the growing imperial economy. While much more research is needed, particularly in terms of how the empire influenced the direction of local development, the evidence presented here demonstrates that rather than abandoning their home communities, many Highlanders used the deeply exploitative opportunities that the Caribbean provided to help sustain them.


1.Highland Archive Centre, Inverness (HAC). D238/D/1/17/6. Letter from Thomas Fraser, St Vincent, to Simon Fraser, his cousin, a baker in Inverness, 29th June 1798. He and his wife had a fourth boy in c.1800. This was to be, as his wife informed him, their last. D238/D/1/17/6. Letter from Thomas Fraser to his cousin, Simon Fraser, Esquire of Boblany Inverness, North Britain, 24th April 1801.

2. Andrew Mackillop , ‘More Fruitful than the Soil’: Army, Empire and the Scottish Highlands, 1715-1815 (East Linton, 2000), pp. 84–6; Virginia Wills , ed., Reports on the Annexed Estates 1755-1769 (Edinburgh, 1973), p. xv. In 1784 the Disannexing Act passed these estates back to the heirs of the original owners provided they were able to pay off any debts.

3.Legacies of British Slave-ownership Project, University College London: [viewed 3rd July 2015].

4. Allan I. Macinnes , ‘Union, Empire and Global Adventuring with a Jacobite Twist, 1707-53’, in D. J. Hamilton and A. I. Macinnes , eds, Jacobitism, Enlightenment and Empire, 1680-1820 (London, 2014), pp. 123–40.

5. Douglas Hamilton , Scotland, the Caribbean and the Atlantic World, 1750-1820 (Manchester, 2005); Allan I. Macinnes , ‘Commercial Landlordism and Clearance in the Scottish Highlands: The case of Arichonan’ in J. Pan-Montojo and K. Pendersen , eds, Communities in European History (Pisa, 2007), pp. 4764 .

6. Anthony Cooke , ‘An Elite Revisited: Glasgow West India Merchants, 1783-1877’, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 32 (2012), 147 . This is roughly £34.1 million based on Retail Price Index and £263 million using average earnings in today’s money []; Macinnes, ‘Commercial Landlordism’, p. 50.

7. Daniel L. Schafer , ‘Family Ties that Bind: Anglo-African Slave Traders in Africa and Florida, John Fraser and his Descendants’, Slavery and Abolition, 20 (1999), 121 . Fraser was a slave trader and plantation owner from Inverness who ended up in East Florida.

8.Legacies of British Slave-ownership, project context. [viewed 7/1/14]; Catherine Hall et. al., Legacies of British Slave-Ownership: Colonial Slavery and the Formation of Victorian Britain (Cambridge, 2014); Nicholas Draper , The Price of Emancipation: Slave-Ownership, Compensation and British Society at the End of Slavery (Cambridge, 2009).

9.Mackillop, ‘More Fruitful’; James Irvine Robertson , The First Highlander: Major General David Stewart of Garth CB, 1768-1829 (East Linton, 1998).

10. H. Gordon Slade , “Craigston and Meldrum Estates, Carriacou, 1769-1841”, Proceedings of the Society of Antiquarians of Scotland, 114 (1984), 481537 ; Mark Quintanilla , ‘The World of Alexander Campbell: An Eighteenth-Century Grenadian Planter’, Albion, 35 (2003), 229–56; Hamilton, Scotland, the Caribbean; Douglas Hamilton , ‘Transatlantic Ties: Scottish Migrant Networks in the Caribbean, 1750-1800’, in A. McCarthy , ed., A Global Clan (London, 2006), pp. 4866 ; Douglas Hamilton, ‘“Defending the Colonies against Malicious Attacks of Philanthropy”: Scottish Campaigns against the Abolitions of the Slave Trade’, in Hamilton and Macinnes, Jacobitism, pp. 193-208.

11.Cooke, ‘An Elite Revisited’, 127-65; Stephen Mullen , ‘A Glasgow-West India Merchant House and the Imperial Dividend, 1779-1867’, Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, 33 (2013), 196233 .

12.Macinnes, ‘Commercial Landlordism’; David Alston , ‘“Very rapid and splendid fortunes”? Highland Scots in Berbice (Guyana) in the Early Nineteenth Century’, Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, 63 (2002-2004), 208–36; Finlay McKichan , ‘Lord Seaforth: Highland Proprietor, Caribbean Governor and Slave Owner’, Scottish Historical Review, 90 (2011), 204–35.

13. Sheila M. Kidd , ‘Gaelic Books as Cultural Icons: The Maintenance of Cultural Links between the Highlands and the West Indies’, in Carla Sassi and Theo van Heijnsbergen , eds, Within and Without Empire: Scotland across the (Post)Colonial Borderline (Newcastle, 2013), pp. 4660 .

14.Mackillop, ‘More Fruitful’, pp. 80-1.

15. Ibid.; Macinnes, ‘Commercial Landlordism’.

16.Details on individuals will be provided where possible and two resources have proven invaluable: David Alston’s website, Slavery and Highlanders ( and the Legacies of Slave-ownership database (, although given my focus on the period before 1820, many of the people mentioned below ceased to have Caribbean interests by the 1830s when the compensation process began.

17.A start was made by Douglas Hamilton with his final chapter, ‘Repatriation from the West Indies’, but his discussion of the Highlands is limited and refers only to Inverness Royal Academy. See Hamilton, Scotland, the Caribbean, pp. 195-220.

18.Treaty of Paris (1763), article IX. [viewed 6th January 2013]

19.TNA. CO 106/9. The National Archives (TNA). CO 106/9. Letter to the Lords of the Treasury from the Commissioners for the sale and disposal of lands in the islands of Grenada, the Grenadines, Tobago, St Vincent and Dominica in Record of the Sales of the lands in the Ceded Islands, 1764-1768. Entry for 12th May 1765, Tobago. The commissioners explained that ‘such are the difficulties, dangers and expense which attend the clearing of land in this climate, that until persons of fortune and enterprise shall have made some progress in this colony, we are apprehensive the settlement thereof will go on but slowly’.

20.TNA. CO 106/9. Entry for 9th April 1765, St Vincent.

21.TNA. CO 106/9. Entry for 13th August 1765, St Vincent. For more on the Highlands, see Kristina Fenyo , Contempt, Sympathy and Romance: Lowland Perspectives of the Highlands and the Clearances during the Famine Years, 1845-1855 (East Linton, 2001).

22.Treaty of Paris (1763), articles IV and IX. The laws passed for Grenada also applied to its dependencies, at least officially. Edwina Ashie-Nikoi, an expert on Carriacou, notes that those islands which formed part of the Grenadian colony were subject to the laws passed for Grenada itself. Email correspondence with the author, August 2014. See also Aaron Willis , ‘The Standing of New Subjects: Grenada and the Protestant Constitution after the Treaty of Paris (1763)’, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 42:1 (2014), 121 .

23.TNA. CO 106/9. Entry for 12th May 1765. Not all of the French were permitted to take advantage of these concessions or to stay. Religious orders like the Jesuits, whose lands in Dominica amounted to some 145 acres of uncleared and 547 acres of cleared land, left. Having arrived on the island in 1747, the Jesuits had bought some 200 slaves in 1749 for the purposes of clearing and growing crops. Lennox Honychurch , The Dominica Story: A History of the Island (London, 1995), pp. 56–8.

24.Mackillop, ‘More Fruitful’, pp. 84-5.

25.TNA. CO 106/9. Entry for 12th May 1765.

26.TNA. CO 106/9. Entry for 22nd May 1767, Dominica; Honychurch, The Dominica Story, p. 54. This also happened in Carriacou, see David Beck Ryden , ‘“One of the finest and most fruitful spots in America”: An Analysis of Eighteenth-Century Carriacou’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History, 43 (2013), 552 .

27.For an overview see Parliamentary Papers, Report of the commissioners appointed for the purposes of an Act, entitled “An act for granting His Majesty the sum of twenty thousand pounds, to be issued and applied towards making roads and building bridges in the Highlands of Scotland (1804).

28.Hamilton, Scotland, the Caribbean, pp. 84-111; Hamilton, ‘Transatlantic Ties’, pp. 48-66.

29.Quintanilla, ‘World of Alexander’, 236; Michael Duffy , ‘War, Revolution and the Crisis of the British Empire’, in Mark Philp , ed., The French Revolution and British Popular Politics (Cambridge, 1991), p. 127 ; David Hancock , ‘Scots in the Slave Trade’, in Ned C. Landsman , ed., Nation and Province in the First British Empire: Scotland and the Americas, 1600-1800 (Lewisburg, 2001), p. 64.

30.Slade, ‘Craigston and Meldrum’, 483, 486-7 and 491. For an overview of African culture on Carriacou, see Edwina Ashie-Nikio, ‘Beating the Pen on the Drum: A Socio-Cultural History of Carriacou, Grenada, 1750-1920’ (unpublished doctoral dissertation, New York, 2007).

31.Ryden, ‘One of the finest’, 546-7 and 555. His study suggests that in 1776 the Heads of farming households were broken down in the following terms: ‘Of-colour’, 11%; white – French, 44%; white – British, 43% (26% Scottish, 17% English); unknown, 2%. In 1790 there was a slight change: ‘Of-colour’, 19%; white – French, 33%; white British, 48% (23% Scottish, 25% English); unknown, 0%. By 1790, the majority of the absentee owners were either Scottish or English; the French absentees had all but disappeared. TNA. CO101/31 f.103-4. Minutes of the Evidence, 173 and 178. Correspondence of the Secretary of State includes a population list for Carriacou in the early 1790s which reveals a significant Scottish slave owning presence across the social spectrum

32.Slade, ‘Craigston and Meldrum’. The Legacy of British Slave-ownership database shows that the great grandson of William Urquhart, who began the Carriacou ventures, received £5,693 11 s. 6 d. for slaves on the Craigston plantation and £2,648 19 s. 5 d. for those on the Meldrum estate. [viewed 10th August 2014]HAC. D238/D/1/17/6. Letter from Thomas Fraser, St Vincent, to Simon Fraser, Inverness, 28th July 1784.

33.HAC. D238/D/1/17/6. Letter from Fraser to Fraser, 13th September 1786.

34.HAC. D238/D/1/17/6. Letter from Fraser to Fraser, 20th June 1798.

35.Quintanilla, ‘World of Alexander’, 234-5. Before going to Grenada, Campbell had been to Barbados, St Kitts, Antigua, St Eustatius and Martinique. Parliamentary Papers, Minutes of the Evidence take before the Select Committee, appointed for the Examination of Witnesses on the Slave Trade, reported 19th February 1790. Witness Examined, Mr. Campbell, 135.

36. Raymond Devas , Conception Island or the Troubled Story of the Catholic Church in Grenada, British West Indies (Edinburgh, 1932), 51-2; Duffy, ‘War, Revolution’, p. 127. For additional support, see TNA. CO101/126 f. 131-5, 277-9 and 423-4, Correspondence of the Secretary of State. Minutes of the Evidence, pp. 138-9.

37.Hancock, ‘Scots in the Slave’, 64; Quintanilla, ‘World of Alexander’, 239-40. He notes the unwillingness of the British planting elite to permit the political participation of the French Catholics. See Minutes of the Evidence, 134-80 for an overview of Campbell’s practices and thoughts.

38.Quintanilla, ‘World of Alexander’, pp. 231, 253; Edward L. Cox , ‘Fedon’s Rebellion 1795-96: Causes and Consequences’, The Journal of Negro History, 67 (1982), 719 .

39.Quintanilla, ‘World of Alexander’, pp. 229-56; Alston, ‘Very rapid and splendid fortunes’, 210.

40. Jean Dunlop , The British Fisheries Society, 1786-1893 (Edinburgh, 1978), pp. 23–4. See some of the links available via the Legacies of British Slave-ownership project’s searchable database ( and its report, Scotland and Glasgow in the Records of Slave Compensation (2010) as well and on David Alston’s Slaves and Highlanders webpage (

41. The Highland Society of London, and Branch Societies; with a List of the Members (London, 1873), p. 8.

42. L. E. Cochran , Scottish Trade with Ireland in the Eighteenth Century (Edinburgh, 1985), pp. 43 , 74, 80-2.

43.Dunlop, British Fisheries, p. 27.

44. An account of the Highland Society of London, from its establishment in May 1778 to the Commencement of the year 1813 (London, 1813), pp. 6-8. The Statutes of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, 56 George III, 1816 (London, 1816), pp. 726-32 gives a list of its members in 1816 and their locations; colonial representation was high.

45.Kidd, ‘Gaelic Books’, p. 60.

46. Proposed Regulations to be submitted to a General Meeting of the Highland Society of Edinburgh to be held on Friday the 5th of March, 1784 (Edinburgh, 1784).

47.Fortrose Academy Archive (FAA). Register; Inverness Royal Academy Archive (IRAA). Minute Book; HAC. HHB/1/1/1. Minute Book of the Northern Infirmary.

48. Guenter B. Risse , Hospital Life in Enlightenment Scotland: Care and Teaching at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh (Cambridge, 1986), pp. 724 .

49.FAA. Register; IRAA. Minute Book; HAC. HHB/1/1/1. Minute Book of the Northern Infirmary; National Library of Scotland (NLS), Appeal in Behalf of the Royal Tain Academy, and Report of its Funds to the 31st of December 1818 (London, 1819).

50. Donald J. Withrington , ‘Education and Society in the Eighteenth Century’, in N. T. Phillipson and R. Mitchison , eds, Scotland in the Age of Improvement: Essays in Scottish History in the Eighteenth Century (Edinburgh, 1970), pp. 169–99.

51. Ibid., p. 178.

52. New Statistical Account of Scotland, Volume XIV, Inverness, Ross and Cromarty (Edinburgh, 1845), p. 298.

53. Old Statistical Account of Scotland, Volume XI, Rosemarkie, County of Ross and Cromarty (Edinburgh, 1791-99), p. 346.

54.FAA. Register of Fortrose Academy, Volume I. June 1810-June 1838, p. 117.

55.FAA. Register, 82. Inverness Royal Academy Archive (IRAA). Minute Book, p. 27.

56.FAA. Register. IRAA. Minute Book. Withrington, ‘Education and Society’, pp. 176-9.

57.Iain H. Adams, ed., Papers on Peter May, Land Surveyor, 1749-1793 (Edinburgh, 1997), xiii-xxii.

58.IRAA. Minute Book, p. 229; School Register, 1804-1810. David Alston has done some research on this, see “A Forgotten Diaspora: The Children of Enslaved and ‘free coloured’ Women and Highland Scots in Guyana before Emancipation”, Northern Scotland, 6 (2015), 49-69.

59.IRAA. Minute Book, p. 57.

60.The old Northern Infirmary building is now the executive office of the University of the Highlands and Islands.

61.IRAA. Minute Book. FAA. Register, p. 25 and NLS, Appeal in Behalf, pp. 15-30. Gordon gave one hundred pounds to IRA in 1788; Seaforth gave fifty pounds each to FA and IRA in 1787 and c.1790 and fifty-seven pounds to Tain in 1811; Munro also gave to both – £105 to IRA and £100 to FA in 1787; Ross and Stirling gave fifty pounds and fifty-two pounds to Tain in 1801 and 1812 respectively.

62.IRAA. Minute Book, p. 18. The Committee of Subscribers was founded in 1787 to establish the institution. MacLeod endorsed Catholic relief for Scotland in 1793 and voted to abolish the slave trade in 1796. For more biographical information, see [viewed 13th November 2013] William Mackintosh’s sons, Phineas and William, became slave owners on Demerara. [viewed 13th November 2013]

63.Biography for Norman MacLeod (1754-1801). [viewed 7 July 2015]

64.IRAA. Minute Book, pp. 96 and 137. This was the second single largest donation and it was on top of an earlier thirty pound donation he had made in 1790. In total MacLeod gave the equivalent of £7,300. The only other subscription larger than this was £200 given by Colonel John McGillvray in 1790. It is possible that this is the same John McGillvray whose family went to the American colonies after Culloden. McKichan, ‘Lord Seaforth’.

65.NLS. Address to the Public in behalf of the Northern Infirmary, 30th August 1809.

66.IRAA. Minute Book, p. 18.

67.Risse, Hospital Life; Jacqueline Jenkinson , Michael Moss and Iain Russell , The Royal: The History of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, 1794-1994 (Glasgow, 1994).

68.Biographical Information from James Miller , Inverness (Edinburgh, 2004), pp. 164-5; Jenkinson, et. al., The Royal, p. 23.

69. Ibid., pp. 21-2; Risse, Hospital Life, pp. 35-6; Iain Levack and Hugh Dudley , Aberdeen Royal Infirmary: The People’s Hospital of the North-East (London, 1992), p. 19 .

70.Levack and Dudley, Aberdeen, p. 23.

71.HAC. HHB/1/1/1. Minute Book of the Northern Infirmary.

72.IRAA. Minute Book, pp. 36-7. MacBoan might be MacBean.

73.IRAA. Minute Book, pp. 49 and 329. George and William were business partners; HAC. Inverness Family Tree created by Anne Fraser, genealogist. William’s half-brother received significant compensation for slaves the family held in Jamaica and St Vincent. The Legacy of British Slave-ownership database,; see also Slaves and Highlanders

74.Miller, Inverness, p. 165.

75.For a very useful biographical overview, please see: [viewed 23rd January 2014]; Hamilton, Scotland, the Carribean, pp. 205-6.

76.IRAA. Minute Book, pp. 86 and 132. For more information on the Northern Meeting, which still exists, please see this link: [viewed 14th January 2014]

77.IRAA. Minute Book, p. 329. Kidd, ‘Gaelic Books’, pp. 56-7.

78.FAA. Register, pp. 30-48, 123. Legacies of British Slave-ownership, and [viewed 15th August 2014].

79. The Statutes, p. 731.

80.FAA. Register, p. 75.

81.This figure compares with statistics for Inverness. Robert Preece estimates that 25% of donations received were from the Caribbean: Robert Preece , Song School, Town School, Comprehensive: A History of Inverness Royal Academy (Inverness, 2011), pp. 4961 .

82.NLS, Appeal in Behalf, pp. 15-30; for information of the Sutherland clearances see Eric Richards , The Highland Clearances: People, Landlords and Rural Turmoil (Edinburgh, 2002).

83.NLS, Appeal in Behalf.

84. The New Statistical, p. 291.

85. The New Statistical, p. 298.

86.NLS, Appeal in Behalf, pp. 5-6.

87.NLS. Digital Collections. Letter VI of Donald Macleod’s Gloomy Memories of the Highlands (Toronto, 1857). [viewed 4th January 2014].

88.Mackillop also emphasises this in ‘More Fruitful’.

89.NLS. An Account of the Highland Society of London from its earliest establishment in May 1778 to the Commencement of the Year 1813 (London, 1813), pp. 35 and 37.

90.See for instance Mackillop’s chapters 5 and 6 in ‘More Fruitful’.

91.NLS, Appeal in Behalf of the Royal Tain Academy, p. 7.

92. Murray Pittock , Celtic Identity and the British Image (Manchester, 1999), pp. 5660 .

93.IRAA. Minute Book. Copy of letter from Committee to James MacPherson, 10th April 1787, and letter to Highland Society of London, 20th May 1791, pp. 29 and 128-9.

94.HAC. HHB/1/1/1. This dispute is discussed in the Minutes of the Committee of the Northern Infirmary with copies of letters from the Highland Society of London to the Committee. Entry for 8th November 1802.

95. New Statistical, p. 300.

How to look for records of… West Indian colonies before 1782

West Indian colonies before 1782

1. Why use this guide?

Use this guide to find out about records of the British administration in colonial West Indies.
The records can tell you about:

  • the earliest English settlements (rather than settlers)
  • Natives and Africans
  • piracy
  • the slave trade
  • English conflicts with the Spanish and French
  • Learn about the West Indies upto the early settlement of Grenada, by the British, in 1763

This is not a guide to records relating to colonial settlers. For this sort of research, start by looking at the research guide on emigration. Colonial newspapers are also a useful resource – the research guide on newspapers has more information.

2. Essential information

Britain’s colonies were founded and developed during the 17th and 18th centuries. Responsibility for colonial matters fell at various times to the:

  • Secretaries of State and Board of Trade (called the Lords of Trade and Plantations)
  • Secretary of State for the Southern Department
  • Colonial Secretary (for the period 1768-1782)

Most decisions were made by local officials, rather than the British authorities, and the records they created are kept in American archives. Search for state university archives and libraries or try the following websites to locate appropriate resources:

3. Using a catalogue to find records

Look for mentions in this guide of:

  • department references such as CO (Colonial Office) or T (Treasury)
  • record series references such as CO 1 or T 77

These will help you to focus your search for relevant records using the advanced search option in our catalogue.
Our catalogue contains descriptions of our records. Some of the records described in this guide are available online (through an academic subscription) but for many that you find references for, you will need to either visit The National Archives at Kew or pay for copies to be sent to you. Alternatively, you can pay for research.

4. Key sources

4.1 Online sources

The best place to start your research is with the Colonial State Papers online collection. This is available to institutions such as universities and public libraries that have subscribed.
The collection combines The National Archives record series CO 1 with the Calendar of State Papers, Colonial and some parts of CO 5 and CO 389 (see below).

4.2 Records at The National Archives

The following record series are available at The National Archives in Kew. Use the advanced search option in our catalogue to search within these series to find documents relevant to your research.

  • CO 1 West Indies, Colonial Papers 1574-1757
  • CO 5  West Indies, Original Correspondence 1606-1822
  • CO 318 West Indies, Original Correspondence 1624-1951
  • CO 323 Colonies, Original Correspondence 1689-1952
  • CO 389 Board of Trade, Entry books 1660-1803
  • CO 390 Board of Trade, Miscellanea 1654-1799

To see what records are available online

  • go to the  advanced search page
  • use  a wildcard search within a particular record series (such as CO 5) or department reference (such as CO)
  • select ‘online collections only’

4.3 Published sources

The Calendar of State Papers, Colonial; West Indies 1574-1757 is a collection of transcripts and abstracts of original documents bound together in published volumes.
The Calendar brings together papers from different sources, printed in date order. The original papers are in CO1 (up to 1688) and CO 5 (1688 to 1807).
See our research guide on How to use the Calendar of State Papers Colonial, West Indies 1573-1739.

5. What sort of documents can I find?

For each colony there are five main types of record, explained in greater detail in the sections below. They are:

  • Original Correspondence with the Secretary of State
  • Original Correspondence with the Board of Trade
  • Entry Books of the Secretary of State
  • Entry Books of the Board of Trade
  • Collections of Acts and Sessional Papers of the colonial legislature

For some colonies only there are also

  • naval officers’ returns of shipping
  • military and naval despatches
  • collections of land grants and other materials

6. Original correspondence

These are collections of

  • reports, orders and instructions from and to the officials in each colony
  • correspondence with officials and other people in the United Kingdom
  • correspondence between the Secretary of State and the Board of Trade

There are calendars of the correspondence of the Board with each colony in

Alternatively, use the “Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations”, available in the reading rooms at The National Archives at Kew, which also provides summaries of original correspondence.

7. Entry Books

Entry Books were used to record correspondence going in and out of the Colonial Office, although from 1700 they only record items going out.
They contain full copies or summarised versions of despatches, letters, reports, petitions, commissions and instructions.
Colonial Office entry books are in CO 324. Browse CO 324 in the catalogue to find relevant books or search the catalogue for ‘entry book’ and then use the filtering options on the results page.

8. Acts and sessional papers

Colonial authorities sent copies of their Acts and Proceedings to the Privy Council for approval or rejection. They were then forwarded to the Board of Trade.
Search the catalogue using keyword expressions such as ‘Maryland Acts’. There will be information in PC 1 and PC 2 but this will not be picked up by a catalogue search and you will need to look speculatively within those record series.
Copies of Acts and Proceedings were kept by the colony itself and you can often find these in US state and university archives (see section 2).

9. Military and naval despatches

Read our research guides on Royal Navy operations 1660-1914 and British Army operations up to 1913 which explain how to find relevant records.
The best way to identify useful records is to use the List and Index Society Volume LIII: An alphabetical guide to certain War Office and other military records, available in the reading rooms at The National Archives at Kew and in other academic libraries. This provides a comprehensive lists of subjects and names of individuals which are cross referenced to the relevant records at The National Archives.
Alternatively, use the advanced search option in our catalogue and search within the following record series for despatches:

  • WO 1-5 War Office in-letters and miscellaneous papers
  • CO 5  Original Correspondence 1606-1822 – contains despatches related to fighting against the French and various Native American tribes
  • CO 318 Original Correspondence: West Indies – contains some military despatches

You can search more speculatively by searching within the department references ADM for navy records and WO for army records.
Keyword catalogue searches will only pick up records where the descriptions provide sufficient detail. Because the record series above are not described comprehensively you may not find what you need.

10. Land grants

10.1 Land grants by the Crown

In early colonial period, Britain considered land to belong to the Crown because it had been discovered and settled by its subjects.
The Crown granted land to companies to organise settlements and sometimes to people as a reward for services.
Although land grants were nominally made in the name of the Crown, most were made and recorded in the colonies rather than in London and these records may be available in American state archives.

10.2 Finding records of land grants

Loyalists, whose land had been handed over to a new American government following the American revolutionary wars, tried to claim compensation from the British government.
Records relating to their claims are in

There is no comprehensive index of the land grants made in the colonials but references to some grants are in:

  • C. M. Andrews, Guide to the Materials for History to 1783 in The Public Record Office
  • Journals of the Board of Trade and Plantations
  • Calendar of State Papers Colonial: West Indies
  • Acts of the Privy Council, Colonial Series

Alternatively, search the catalogue with relevant keywords such as ‘land grant’ and ‘West Indies’.
You can find indexes to claimants’ names in the List of Records of the Treasury, Paymaster-General’s Office, Exchequer and Audit Department and Board of Trade and other useful material in A Bibliography of Loyalist source material in the colonies and Great Britain. Both items are available in The National Archives’ library.

11. African affairs

There is very little information on individual liberated Africans – very few vice-Admiralty Court proceedings are to be found in The National Archives (see above). Admiralty papers especially ADM 1, and CUST 34, HCA 30 and HCA 49 contain a few lists of the slaves liberated. Two Sierra Leone censuses have information relating to liberated Africans: CO 267/111 (1831) and CO 267/127 (1832-1834). Because the collectors of customs were responsible for looking after liberated Africans, information can sometimes be found in Colonial Office original correspondence series, especially in despatches from the governor, the naval office and the Board of Customs and in CUST 34. A ‘Commission of Enquiry into the state of captured Negroes in the West Indies, 1821-1830’ (CO 318/81-98) was set up to look at the treatment and conditions of liberated Africans in the West Indies and includes some lists of liberated Africans.
The British Army and Royal Navy owned and hired slaves as labourers and soldiers, most of whom went to the Corps of Military Labourers and the West India Regiments. CO 318/31 describes army purchases of slaves for the West Indian Regiments including the numbers purchased. There are several files in WO 1 relating to the status of slaves in the Army, especially once they were discharged.
For further information on government-owned slaves, researchers should check musters for dockyards, ships, and regiments. It is also possible that some former slaves may have discharge papers or applied for pensions so there may be papers in WO 97 and ADM 29. WO 97 for the period 1760-1854 is searchable online by country of birth and by regiment through findmypast.

12. Records covering all British colonies

The following record series relate to British colonies in general and will contain some information relating to the West Indies:

  • CO 323 Colonies General: Original Correspondence
  • CO 324 Entry Books
  • CO 388 Board of Trade: Original Correspondence
  • CO 389 Board of Trade: Entry Books
  • CO 390 Board of Trade: Miscellanea
  • CO 391 Board of Trade: Minutes

CO 391 includes the Journal of the Board of Trade. Entries from the journal have been published in the Colonial State Papers (up to April 1704) and  the Journal of the Commissioners for Trade and Plantations (April 1704-May 1782).

13. Treasury and customs records

Records from the Treasury and the Board of Customs can provide useful information about the colonies. The relevant Customs records are mostly trade statistics.
Use Andrews’ Guide to the Materials for American History Volume II to identify the relevant records from these departments.

14. Further reading

Some of the publications below may be available to buy from The National Archives’ bookshop. Alternatively, click on the links to view the books in The National Archives’ library catalogue and see what is available to consult at our building in Kew.

Guide reference: Overseas Records Information 51

Grenada Heritage: Plantation Records 1737-1845 – In Detail

Grenada Plantation Records 1737-1845

The 1989 aquisition of Grenada Plantation Records dating from 1737-1845 held in the repository of the custodians Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division. Have, since the 10th September 2015, been digitised (but not yet transcribed) for the Grenada National Archives, the Grenadian People and Caribbeans world wide. The entire collection of 109 multiple paged documents (517 images) are available online at

Here the contents of the “Grenada Plantation Records from 1737-1845” are listed with their brief title. There are 67 Letters & Contracts and 42 Accounts & Surveys. Note that most titled groups comprise of several pages (images) in the collection.

Collection Data

Title: Grenada Plantation Records 1737 – 1845
Dates / Origin: Date Created: 1737 – 1845 (approximate)
Library locations: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
Shelf locator: Sc MG 383
Topics: Sugar growing; Slave records; Slaves; Slavery; Plantation life; Plantations; West Indies, Grenada
Genres: Deeds; Slave records ; Documents ; Correspondence
The Grenada Plantation Records consist 109 documents comprising of 519 pages of manuscript documents from the Lataste Estate, a sugar plantation in Grenada, West Indies, dating from 1737-1845. Many of the documents are in French, reflecting the fact that colonial control of Grenada changed hands several times during the time period of this collection. Included are deeds of sale, account records for running the plantation, inventories, survey reports about the property, total amount of rum and molasses produced, and detailed account books of profits and expenses, as well as letters and copies of letters, powers of attorney, a 1756 marriage contract, and a hand drawn folio map. Most of the letters were written by John Harvey and include correspondence regarding other properties, e.g. Estate of Rochambard and estates adjoining Lataste – Brienner and Chantilly. Inventories of slaves (last dated 1834, when slavery was outlawed) include information about illness, cause of death, first names, ages, and sometimes country of origin, color and conspicuous marks (such as amputations) and scars.

Ownership: Charles Apfelbaum (dealer) Purchase Jan. 1989 SCM 89-5

Custodian: The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on behalf of the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division; The New York Public Library for the National Grenada Archives, the Grenadian People and Caribbeans world wide.

Physical Description
Extent: .8 lin. ft. (2 archival boxes)
Type of Resource: Text

Languages: French; English

Identifiers: NYPL catalog ID (B-number) : b18274611
MSS Unit ID : 21020UUID: 40eb7330-c6c3-012f-24cb-58d385a7bc34




Grenada Heritage: Plantation Records Digitised and Online

Grenada Plantation Records 1737-1845

In 1989 a dealer, Charles Apfelbaum, made an aquisition of Grenada Plantation Records dating from 1737-1845 for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on behalf of the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library.

The originals of these documents are held in the repository of the custodians Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.

Happily, since the 10th September 2015 for the National Grenada Archives and the Grenadian People and Caribbeans world wide the entire collection of 517 images has now been digitized and is available online at

Details can be found on Plantation Records 1737-1845 – In Detail.

Call number
Sc MG 383
Physical description
.8 linear feet (2 archival boxes)
Preferred Citation
Grenada Plantation records, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
Sc MG 383
Access to materials
Restricted access.
The entirety of this collection has been digitized and is available online.

The Grenada Plantation Records consist of manuscript documents from the Lataste Estate, a sugar plantation in Grenada, West Indies, dating from 1737-1845. The documents are in French, reflecting the fact that colonial control of Grenada changed hands several times during the time period of this collection. Included are deeds of sale, account records for running the plantation, inventories, survey reports about the property, total amount of rum and molasses produced, and detailed account books of profits and expenses, as well as letters and copies of letters, powers of attorney, a 1756 marriage contract, and a hand drawn folio map. Most of the letters were written by John Harvey and include correspondence regarding other properties, e.g. Estate of Rochambard and estates adjoining Lataste – Brienner and Chantilly. Inventories of slaves (last dated 1834, when slavery was outlawed) include information about illness, cause of death, first names, ages, and sometimes country of origin, color and conspicuous marks (such as amputations) and scars.




Purchase, Charles Apfelbaum (dealer), Jan. 1989



Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division
515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037-1801
Second Floor


Restricted access to originals.

Grenada Heritage: Our National Trust

In May 2013 the Grenada National Trust aquired the new web domain and this month was finally launched:

The Grenada National Trust (GNT)

It was on the 12th April 1967 that an act of Parliament empowered the Grenada National Trust…

‘to protect Grenada’s cultural, architectural and natural heritage, to ‘preserve chattels of prehistoric, historic or artistic interest and the establishment of museums’.

this mandate was clearly prescribed by the following clauses taken from Ordinance 20 of 1967, which are as follows:

  1. The listing of buildings and monuments of prehistoric, historic and architectural interest an places of natural beauty with their animal or plant life;
  2. The compilation of photographic and architectural record of the above;
  3. The preservation of chattels of prehistoric, historic or artistic interest and the establishment of museums;
  4. Making the public aware of the value and beauty of the territory’s heritage as set out above;
  5. The pursuance of a policy of preservation and acting in an advisory capacity;
  6. The acquiring of property for the benefit of the Territory;
  7. The promoting and preserving for the benefit and enjoyment of the Territory of submarine areas of beauty or natural or historic interest and for the preservation (as far as possible) for their natural aspect, features and animal, plant and marine life;
  8. The attracting of funds by means of subscriptions, donations, bequests and grants.

Investment and Financing

As of 2015 the GNT receive a notional EC$10,000.00 annual subvention channeled through the Ministry of Education. To date, all other revenue comes via private or corporate donations, national lottery contributions and low level project specific funding from identified funding bodies.

The vast majority of the organisation’s output is project specific. For this reason, dedicated and specific attention will be paid to the identification and procedural fulfilment of funding requirements demanded by various international agencies. Appropriate expertise will be sought to take the organisation through the funding process.

The GNT will also seek to increase revenues through an increase in membership, both individually and corporately. There will be a series of national campaigns that will encourage the attraction of sponsorship and other private sector partnerships.

The Vision

The focus of the organisation’s vision statement is firmly set in what it delivers to all stakeholders and beneficiaries. It was agreed the statement should be easily understood and give clarity to the purpose of the organisation. The Vision Statement reads as follows:

“To preserve, protect, and promote Grenada’s heritage”

This Vision Statement appropriately captures the purpose of the organisation (Heritage) as well as defining the organisations relationship to that purpose (to preserve, protect and promote).

The Mission

To fulfil the organisation’s purpose, the following Mission Statement has been adopted by the Council to prioritise activities in relation to what the organisation will do, why it will be doing it and who the organisation intends to serve. The Mission Statement is as follows:

“Through professional collaboration, fund raising, education, advocacy,
public and private sector partnerships and nationwide community
involvement we will identify, conserve and promote Grenada’s heritage
assets for the continual enjoyment of our citizens and visitors.”

The GNT’s Goals

  1. To conserve to international standards the heritage assets of the nation, through professional implementation and monitoring.
  2. To maintain to international standards the heritage assets of the nation, through initiatives that encourage involvement of the people of Grenada in the beautification, upkeep and ultimate ownership of these assets.
  3. To increase visitors both internationally and locally to all heritage sites in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique by providing access to safe, enjoyable and well managed sites.
  4. To increase national awareness of the nation’s heritage assets, through dedicated marketing and PR initiatives that encourages involvement, and engages the us of all media platforms.
  5. To create a highly respected, visual and active national heritage organisation, driven by efficient, motivated, professional staff and volunteers.
  6. To develop the financial and professional capacity of the organisation to be effective custodians of Grenada’s heritage assets, including the generation of commercial income.
  7. To take the lead role in representations to both government and other parties in matters directly relating to heritage conservation and well being.
  8. To continually seek an increase in the organisation’s membership at both corporate and individual levels.

The GNT’s Board of Executives

 Darryl Brathwaite

The Trusts President – Darryl Brathwaite

is a businessman and public spirited individual having been Director on several Statutory Boards, President of the Chamber of Commerce and the Private Sector Senator in the Upper House. He came to the Trust to strengthen the project management aspect of it’s administration and has assembled a cadre of experts who are now ready to expand operations and increase collaboration with internationally based heritage organizations. In his own words the President said:

“I am always amazed and encouraged by the wide range of activities and responsibilities required of a custodian of national heritage, from historic buildings to places of natural beauty and the unexpected treasures to be discovered along the way.”

“I believe I have become President at an interesting time as we rescue memories from the past centuries and face the challenges of the new while representing continuity and far sightedness.”

“While there is an increased understanding and appreciation of precious landscape and architecture, there continues to be a growing concern about the impact of the constant expansion of urban areas, of roads and buildings. These twin concerns – the positive and the negative – are expressed in television and radio programmes, campaigns and protests, and also in the growing interest in the National Trust itself.”

“I hope that, like me, inspired by this valuable organisation, you will have the opportunity of exploring the huge variety of beautiful places in the care of the National Trust. Members and visitors will find some unexpected and new treasures, while others, I hope, discover a wealth of beauty and history on their doorstep and, as a result, perhaps be moved to support the work of the National Trust in preserving the best of our heritage for future generations to enjoy, and, you never know, even be inspired enough to understand the continuing need for an ‘organic’, sympathetic building tradition when it comes to the way we build the future heritage in our precious countryside today.”

John Albanie

GNT’s 1st Vice-President – John Albanie

Albanie spent most of his earlier career at Reuters news agency before moving to Grenada in 1986 to form Caribbean Enterprises, serving in the UK, Switzerland, Middle East and USA. Prior to last posting of six years in the US, headed joint REUTERS-UNESCO project in support of CANA (Caribbean News Agency) based in Barbados. His previous career was as an Aero-design Studentship with Havilland Aircraft Company (Hatfield, Herts, England). He holds a commission in GD (Flying) Branch of Royal Air Force; subsequently in RAFVR Hawker Siddeley Aviation, Sales Department of DH125 business jet; and worked at “The Scotsman” newspaper (Fleet Street, London).

Also a member of Buildings and Monuments Committee of Grenada National Trust with special responsibility for liaison with UNESCO and of the Fortress Study Group ( since 1998. Previously president of the Grenada Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (1990/2001). Owner of private site on which 18thcentury British battery known as Fort Bedford was once located – in Levera, St Patrick’s ( with plans to turn it into a small military museum when the planned “Levera Eco-Resort development” is in place. “Grand Inquisitor” of the Grenada Hash House Harriers ( 1986/2013; and Honorary British Consul 2008/2010.

Newton Alexander

GNT’s 2nd Vice-President – Newton Alexander

Specialised in Curriculum Planning and Management,  Education Planning,  School Improvement and Staff Development, and Special Education Needs. He was previously a Teacher in UK, Thailand and Grenada.  His nterests and activities are in Farming. On retiring from Teaching, took over responsibility for rehabilitating family lands in St Patrick’s Parish which had been left unattended as a result of ageing family members. Fully committed to and passionate about Preserving and Protecting our Nation’s Heritage, including neglected sites and historic resources located outside the town of St George.

Carole Noble

GNT’s Treasurer – Carole Noble

Victoria Williams

GNT’s Secretary – Victoria Williams

Although born in Trinidad, Victoria has been actively involved in Grenada through her various business interests which include the estate agents Coldwell Banker ( She considers her knowledge of the island’s grass roots is encyclopaedic and from all this she has developed a keen interest in the island’s heritage. Her family’s involvement with the history of the island includes providing the land for Point Salines International Airport (now Maurice Bishop Airport).

Peter Wallace

GNT’s Executive Member – Peter Wallace

Wallace was born, raised, trained and worked in UK but eventually moved to lived and worked in Grenada back in 2005.  As an Architect he has been a principal in private practice since 1979 his practice having been listed by Building Design magazine as in the UK top 100.His conservation work includes works on the Tower of London, Dover Castle, a Medieval Merchant’s House, Walmer Castle (for the late Queen Mother), Hastings Battlefield, St Augustine’s Abbey, and a wide range of period houses from Medieval to Modernist and for clients such as English Heritage, Dept of the Environment and various corporations as well as private individuals.   This has developed in him a thorough knowledge and deep understanding of traditional building materials and methods along with their modern equivalents.   Not surprisingly this comes along with an intense interest in the history of architecture and the built heritage.   He also found time to do a little commercial work too.

Currently Peter has an architectural practice – Atlantic Partnership ( and an involvement with real estate foe Coldwell Banker (

Roger Byer

GNT’s Executive Member – Roger Byer

Byer served as combat medic in the Vietnam war and has written a book about that experience. Graduated as a commercial pilot from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He previously worked as a pilot in the Caribbean with a charter company, a regional airline and as Prime Minister’s personal pilot.  He states that he is committed to the development of Grenada’s Heritage, particularly the Town of St. George with its unique fortifications.

John Angus Martin

GNT’s Executive Member – John Angus Martin

Many if us already know ‘Angus’ as the currently director of our Grenada National Museum. He was born and grew up in St. George’s, Grenada, where he attended the St. George’s Roman Catholic Boys’ School (now known as the J. W. Fletcher Memorial Boys’ School) and Presentation Brothers’ College before immigrating to Brooklyn, New York with his family in 1978.  He graduated in 1986 with a BSc in Biological Sciences and a minor in Anthropology from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Long Island. He spent the next three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa, teaching at an agricultural institute and as an agricultural extension agent to subsistence farmers in rural villages. He holds master’s degrees in History, and Agricultural and Applied Economics from Clemson University, South Carolina. He has worked as a Reference Archivist at the Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A&M University and a Country Desk Officer in the Africa Region of the US Peace Corps. His travels have been important in his study of Caribbean slavery and colonialism. His next project, French Grenada: Island Caribs and French Settlers, 1498-1763 explores the rise and demise of the French in Grenada.

Michael Kirton

GNT’s Executive Member – Michael Kirton

Special Projects Manager at Grenada Distillers Ltd from 2003 – Present (13 years).

Craig Keller

GNT’s Executive Member – Craig Keller

Keller was education at Regis University. Working in Grenada Real Estate as the Managing Director of Isla Consulting & Advisory Inc is part of more than two decades of experience in luxury real estate and resort development, project management, and tourism initiatives.

Previous positions held were with Levera Resort Development, Contrack International, USAID.  In addition to successful projects within the United States, he also delivered a range of capital projects in a variety of countries, including, Grenada, Jamaica, Honduras, Iraq, Afghanistan, Mongolia, and Haiti.

Michael Adams

GNT’s Executive Consultant and Acting ED – Michael Adams

Michael was born in the UK but is of Grenadian descent. His core disciplines are in the fields of planning, marketing and communications and oversees the Trusts outputs in these area. He has been a past Director on the Board of Tourism and brings a wealth of international consultancy experience to the Trust. Michael says:

“As soon as you approach Grenada, whether by air, land or sea you know immediately, that this is going to a memorable experience. However, when you scratch beneath the surface there is a rich heritage that begins to tell stories that are embedded in Caribbean culture. Remnants of times that have now passed but practices that remain. Our tangible and intangible heritage, is the envy of the Caribbean, all of which have the potential of being world class attractions. Our Tri-Island state is special and we need to protect it.”

What the GNT are doing:

<br /> <h5>Trust to manage The Priory, St. George</h5> <p>

Trust to manage The Priory, St. George

The Grenada National Trust is pleased to announce that during the read more

<br /> <h5>Leapers Hill must be preserved</h5> <p>

Leapers Hill must be preserved

The story of the Caribs last stand and their leap to certain death is known read more

<br /> <h5>Grenada’s unique forts are a major attraction</h5> <p>

Grenada’s unique forts are a major attraction

The significance of our fort systems is often glossed over by all but a few. read more

<br /> <h5>Museum exhibitions and talks enthuse Grenadians of all generations</h5> <p>

Museum exhibitions and talks enthuse Grenadians of all generations

Since the arrival of Curator, Mr. Angus Martin, read more

<br /> <h5>Grenadines to be recognised as World Heritage Site</h5> <p>

Grenadines to be recognised as World Heritage Site

Together with our sister Trust in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, we read more

<br /> <h5>Launch of the Grenada NationalTrust 5 year strategic heritage plan welcomed</h5> <p>

Launch of the Grenada NationalTrust 5 year strategic heritage plan welcomed

The process of developing the 5 year strategic heritage read more

Grenada’s Endangered Archives (part 9)

Grenada's Endangered Archives

Caribbean archives under threat: Grenada

Unbeknownst to almost any Grenadian a submission was put to Unesco for funding towards the further “Digitizing and Preservation of Grenada’s National Archives” and in July of 2014 Unesco approved a tiny sum of US$22,000.

Back in June 2012, a year after Grenada’s National Archive official closure (though it hadn’t functioned since 2004), a group in Reading (UK) known as the “Diasporic Literary Archives Network” (, headed by Alison Donnell (Professor at the University of Reading), held a two-day opening Workshop on the “Questions of Location, Ownership and Interpretation“. At this workshop a presentation was given by Merle Collins and Alison Donnell which bought a good deal of attention to the situation of archives caught up in problems of a material and political nature, such as Grenada’s not having at the moment an accessible building for its archive.

The group continued discussions about how best to work with and support local initiatives to improve library and archival facilities in Grenada. On behalf of the Network, David Sutton sent an expression of support that was warmly received by Minister Franka Alexis-Bernardine.

At the same time Merle Collins announced the establishment of a not-for-profit organization called Grenada Libraries, Archives and other Heritage Support Group (GrenLib), that could raise awareness and funds in the diaspora. Articles have been drawn up with signatories in Grenada, New York and Washington. An inaugural fundraising event, Grenada Cultural Extravaganza, was held in New York in November 2013.

A “Grenada Library and Archives Committee”, organized from within Grenada, was purportedly established with both Merle Collins and Alison Donnell as members with one meeting to date. Ms Collins talked to her international Grenada diaspora organization which has members from Canada, the U.K. and various parts of the U.S.A, and Grenada’s Diaspora Office.

Follow-up work took place at the Caribbean Studies Association 38th Annual Conference in Grenada in June 2013, were Lillian Sylvester (Director of Libraries, Grenada Library Services), Collins and Donnell presented a panel on “Valuing the past: libraries, archives and the ‘development’ of literary culture in the Anglophone Caribbean” which focused special attention on Grenada.

Two years later, in 2014, Glenlib held their first annual “Diaspora Give-Back Fundraising Event” at the University of Maryland with the Friends of Grenada Library, Archives and other Heritage Committees.

In September that year another Workshop was held in which Cheryl Sylvester (Faculty Librarian at St George’s University) highlighted the situation in Grenada:

…it is not just a shortage of professional expertise that prevents full exploitation of archival material, but the fundamental absence of a building suitable for housing a national library and archives since the damage caused by the hurricane of 2004. A transnational campaign to replace the former Public Library, supported by the Friends of Grenada Library, Archives and other Heritage Committee (GRENLIB), is attempting to fundraise for a new building, but for Sylvester, a higher level of government commitment is required if the building is ever to become a reality.

Whilst there remains no national archive building in Grenada important holdings remain at risk of being lost, stored in inadequate conditions and liable to environmental degradation.

Further, at the Society of American Archivists’ August 2014 Issues & Advocacy Roundtable (IART), Ms Sylvester discussed the “Threat to national archives and library in Grenada” and reported:

  • Since 2011, the library/archives building has been closed, with the collection stuck inside, and the collection (including records of the 1983 American invasion) is at risk
  • Library building was already in a state of disrepair when Hurricane Ivan did further damage in 2004; archives on top floor was damaged (shelves are being eaten away by termites)
  • In the meantime, political supporters of the library lost power
  • The previous Minister of Education sought several alternative locations, didn’t work out because of internal wranglings
  • There’s been a change in government, but the situation remains the same
  • Director of Libraries role is uncertain – unclear whether the government still considers the role to be active
  • A request to the SAA that they consider joining other international information
    professional organizations (ICA, Association of Caribbean Academic Libraries, etc.) in writing to the Minister of Education, who has responsibility for libraries and archives
  • Other advocacy efforts related to this issue:
    • last year, a paper was presented at the CARBICA conference about archives that need attention
    • In March 2014 a paper was written on the state of archives in Grenada
  • Next steps: Sarah Quigley said I&A would be glad to draft a letter and send it to our SAA Council Rep (and the appropriate SAA committees), remembering the SAA had already donated through CARBICA US$1,000 back in March 2005 to the Grenada Archives Mission.

In its 2015 mandate on “Caribbean archives in the Caribbean: a new future” Alison Donnell (DLAN), said the group is committed to finding ways of sustaining and supporting this work into the future. The Network expects also to continue its solidarity work with archivists in Grenada in 2015 and beyond.

In January 2015 at the “Politics of Location” workshop held at Yale, Helena Leonce (Trinidad Archivist) gave an update in which she stated “The Caribbean region has embarked on a number of digital initiatives, in an attempt to keep abreast with the technological advances that are taking place in the world. Plans to digitize literary archival material have also been given great consideration.”

The DLAN’s principal investigator (and Director of Research Projects in the University of Reading Library since 1982), David Sutton, reiterated what Cheryl Sylvester had told him about the situation of Grenada’s National Archives:

A digitization project has been started which is on-going. This project was initiated by the UNESCO Secretariat through IFAP. The aim is to digitize old records at the library.

Progress Report

  • Government gazettes from 1880’s to 1920 are completed;
  • West indian chronicle 1880’s to 1890’s with gaps;
  • Blue books 1900’s & colonial letter registers from 1800’s begun.

Also an attempt was made with the Alister Hughes newsletters and the revolutionary documents at the fort were nominated for Unesco ‘Memory of the World’ registers but this clearly failed because the newsletter had already been digitized on DLOC (Library of Congress website) and so is therefore no longer under threat.

The Revolutionary documents have to be cleaned and inventoried so that proper documentation can be carried out to enable their digitization.

However Cheryl Sylvester completely overlooked the US$60,000 work that Dr Laurence Brown team from University of Manchester had initiated in 2010 with the help of “Endangered Archives Project” of The British Library and completed in February 2014 which had 2500 pages of twelve volumes digitized material at the Supreme Court Registry (from 132 identified).


James Gill's photo.

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Grenada’s Endangered Archives (part 10)

Grenada's Endangered Archives

Update: Grenada National Archives – New hope

Today (3rd March 2015) Grenada’s Information Service (GIS) informs us that:

The University of the West Indies (UWI) has “brushed aside suggestions that the Keith Mitchell administration is to be blamed for the delay in the Open Campus project in Hope St. Andrew“.

Principal of UWI Open Campus (Grenada) Eudine Barriteau made the disclosure in St. George’s after presenting our political cabinet with a proposal for the project.

Claims that the current government was delaying the project have been attributed to opposition sources.

“The feedback is that the cabinet is supportive of the project as we have in fact anticipated, so if they are any misconceptions that there was a delay coming from the government that is totally incorrect”, Barriteau said.

The UWI Open Campus Principal told local journalists that the search for a reliable architect firm was the cause of the delay.

“In fact what was the delay…the Open Campus needed a partnership with a reliable quantity surveying architectural firm and we found that partnership with a firm out of Trinidad and Tobago that has expertise in engineering”.

The Open Campus project in Hope involves two phases during construction.

To us the most significant fact is that the first “Phase A”, which features the construction of administration offices, classrooms, and early child centres, the phase also promises the construction of a National Archives.


Professor on gender and public policy, Violet Eudine Barriteau who is Pro-Vice Chancellor had assumed office as Principal of our University of the West Indies Open Campus (Grenada) on 1st August 2014 (having succeeded then Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Hazel Simmons-McDonald). Now she has successed Hilary Beckles as new Principal of UWI (Cave Hill, Barbados) from 1st May 2015.

The 60 year old professor Grenadian by birth, with a distinguished record as a Caribbean scholar and administrator, Professor Barriteau has served in various roles at The University of the West Indies for more than 30 years. She holds a PhD in Political Science from Howard University, an MPA in Public Sector Financial Management from New York University and a BSc, Upper Second Honours in Public Administration and Accounting from The University of the West Indies. She also holds a professional certificate in editing and scholarly publishing from the International Rice Research Institute in Los Baños, the Philippines.


20/07/2012: Government of Grenada hands over land to UWI
09/08/2012: Grenada to get UWI campus
11/10/2013: Open UWI Suppliment


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Grenada Heritage: Vital Records


When will Grenada be able to Discover their family history.

Since 1974, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) has been extracting records of births/baptisms and marriages from filmed records in its collection for countries around the world. Most of these extracted records are indexed by name in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) available on

However, IGI / FamilySearch has *NOT* indexed much of Grenada’s vital records.

Fortunately as of October 2017 serveral of the Grenada Church Family Registers have been digitized and are (with heavy restrictions) now available to view online. Recently the LDS have offered more locations from which to view these records through their Family History Centres and their Affiliates, however in the Caribbean, there none on Grenada and only one (often broken) computer each on Barbados, St Vincent. You may also get access from the one on each island of Trinidad, Martinique, Guadaloupe, Antigua, and St Kitts, and the five that are reportedly on Puerto Rico. Of cause from the UK, Europe, North America, Canada and Australia you will have hundreds of access points.

The Family History Library Film numbers on file for the seven parishes (St George, St John, St Mark, St Patrick, St Andrew, St David and Carriacou) of Grenada are:

1.1 No. 1523145 – Births for 1866 to 1874
1.2 No. 1523169 – Births for 1874 to 1888
1.3 No. 1523187 – Births for 1888 to 1892
1.4 No. 1523204 – Births for 1893 to 1905
1.5 No. 1523217 – Births for 1905 to 1910
1.6 No. 1523259 – Births for 1911 to 1916
1.7 No. 1523339 – Marriages for 1903 to 1910
1.8 No. 1523352 – Marriages for 1910 to 1918
1.9 No. 1523353 – Marriages for 1919 to 1922
1.10 No. 1523361 – Marriages for 1922 to 1932†
1.11 No. 1523537 – Deaths for 1866 to 1890
1.12 No. 1523656 – Baptisms 1784 to 1932, confirmations 1901 to 1931, marriages of Anglican, slaves, St Pauls, St Luke, St Peter, special, burials, burials of slaves and St Pauls, [not indexed nor digitized]
1.13 Land Registers

The problem is that Grenada’s civil birth records do not name the child it is only the Church Baptism registers which do this. Sadly, too, the only THREE Family History Library (FHL) films that HAVE been indexed are from birth registers:-

Film number 1523145 – This is a copy of parts of the Civil Register of Births from all seven parishes for 1866 to 1875 in twelve items corresponding to batch numbers I02551-1 to 1 to 12.

Film 1523169 – Births from all seven parishes for 1875 to 1882 (eleven batch numbers I02552-1 to 11).

Film 1523187 – Births from all seven parishes for the years 1882 to 1891 (eleven batches I02553-1 to 11).


Film 1523204 – Births from all seven parishes for 1891 to 1905.
Film 1523217 – Births from all seven parishes for 1905 to 1910.
Film 1523259 – Births from all seven parishes for 1910 to 1916.
Film 1523537 – Birth registers – five items 1 through 7 for 1900 to 1935 more specifically –
August 1910 to December 1910 in Carriacou
January 1911 through to June 1915 in All seven parishes
January 1916 through to December 1916 in All seven parishes
Film 1523362 – Index to 3 marriage volumes for 1903 to 1932.
Film 1523339 – Marriages from all seven parishes for 1903 to 1910.
Film 1523352 – Marriages from all seven parishes for 1910 to 1918.
Film 1523353 – Marriages for 1919 to 1922 and 1924 to 1928.
Film 1523361 – Marriages from all seven parishes for 1928 to 1934.
Film 1523537 – Death from all seven parishes for 1928 to 1934.

Film 1523394 – Births from all seven parishes for 1905 to 1924 has not been digitized nor indexed.
Film 1523396 – Births from all seven parishes for 1905 to 1935 has not been digitized nor indexed.
Film 1523429 – Births and Deaths from St John and St Andrew parishes for 1900 to 1932 has not been digitized nor indexed.
Film 1523408 – Deaths all seven parishes for 1909 to 1936 has not been digitized nor indexed.


These four films are the ONLY source of the christian name of a child in Grenada.

Film 1523692 – This most important film and ONLY record of a childs birth-name is of Baptisms, Births, Marriages, Burials all seven parishes for 1798 to 1931 has not been digitized nor indexed.

Film 1523752 – This most important film and ONLY record of a childs birth-name is of Baptisms, Marriages, Marriage Banns, and Burials all seven parishes for 1861 to 1931 has not been digitized nor indexed.

Film 1523767 – This most important film and ONLY record of a childs birth-name is of Baptisms, Marriages, Burials St Mark, St John and Carriacou parishes for 1900 to 1931 has not been digitized nor indexed.

Film 1523656 – This most important film and ONLY record of a childs birth-name is of Baptisms – it also covers other Confirmation, Bann, Marriage, and Burial registers from the Archdeaconry of Grenada in the Anglican Rectory registers (manuscripts) of the districts of St. Luke, St. Peter and St. Paul in the parish of St. George’s, Grenada for the years 1784 to 1971. So this is film covers:-

Item 2 – Baptisms and burials for 1784 to 1804.
Item 1 – Baptisms, marriages and burials for 1806 to 1831.
Item 3 – Baptisms, marriages and burials for 1812 to 1815.
Item 4 – Baptisms, marriages and burials for 1816 to 1831.
Item 5 – Slave baptisms, marriages 1817-1834, burials 1833-1834.
item 6 – Baptisms and marriages for 1831 to 1837.
Item 7 – Baptisms, marriages and burials for 1837 to 1844.
Item 8 – Baptisms for 1844 to 1892.
Item 9 – Baptisms of the district of St. Luke for 1851 to 1884.
Items 10-11 – Baptisms for 1892 to 1932.
Item 12 – Confirmations for 1901 to 1931.
Items 13-14 – Marriages for 1844 to1930.
Item 15 – Marriages for St. Luke and St. Peter 1909 to 1933.
Item 16 – Banns for 1903 to 1931.
Item 17 – Special marriage register 1912 to 1942.
Items 18-19 – Burials 1844 to 1930.
Item 20 – St Paul Marr. 1861-1902, Bapt. 1860-95, Bur. 1861-1971.

FamilySearch do run ‘projects’ to continue the indexing of FHL films on file. However they insist:-

Information about upcoming collections is not made available prior to publication due to various factors that can affect the publication time line, such as contract agreements with record custodians or partnership societies, final assembly considerations, server capacity, geographic considerations, prioritization of collections at risk, delivery type, and so forth”.
Further “…there is no specific time frame for the publication of indexing projects, since they are governed by the same considerations as indicated above“.

This terrible situation may only be overcome by having everyone making a request that the entire GRENADA COLLECTION be added to their online collections, to do this please follow these instructions:-

1. Go to the FamilySearch website (
2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and click on the Feedback button.
3. Click on Share your ideas, and post to request ALL OUR FILMS BE INDEXED AND PUT ONLINE.

Or use a direct link to FamilySearch “Send Us Feedback” website. Then click on Share your ideas and post your request.

Note: Posting does not guarantee that will be able to acquire the collection or have rights to publish it, but the requests will be seen by those who make decisions about which collections are published.

A further note: Much earlier French records from the era 1765-1790 of Grenada’s history have now been digitized and can be freely viewed online via the British Library EAP website at link, link, link, link, and link.

Grenada’s Endangered Archives (part 8)

Grenada's Endangered Archives

Grenada’s endangered archives programme (EAP295)

Update: Grenada National Archives – New access

Wonderful news – the link from the British Archive’s Catalogue to our Endangered Digital Collection is now live (as of 01 Aug 2014). So, for example, on this page , click on ‘Browse this collection’. On the new page, you can now click ‘View digital version’.

This is the British Library Catalogue search screen. Using the referecnce to one of our Endangered Archives series, “EPA295/2/6/1” for example, we can then see the option to “Browse this collection”…

You will then be taken to this screen listing our “Endangered Archives Programme” collection held on the British Library service. As you can see you are now able to “View digital version” of the collection.

Here is the screen showing the thumbnails and actual JPEG images of the scanned archives. In this case one of the 82 pages of the “Court of Oyer and Terminer for Trial of Attained Traitors record book” for 1796 from the “Collection of court records held by the Grenada Supreme Court Registry” for 1765-1797. Reference EAP295/2/6/1.

Note: The “JPEG” imaging standard is an acronym for the Joint Photographic Experts Group (defined in RFC 1341) a commonly used method utilizing a lossy compression for digital images. This compression inherently degrades the actual quality of the image, therefore loosing vital detail information. More commonly, images created by digital cameras are now recorded in the RAW (unprocessed) image format based on the ISO 12234-2 standard (or TIFF/EP). Although not confirmed we believe the BA has the original images in RAW format.

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