St. Mary's Anglican Church

St. Mary's Anglican Church can be found at the western end of Lower Broad Street in the city of Bridgetown on the lovely island of Barbados. This distinctively beautiful church with its large red roof has a truly remarkable history. This old church building is situated right next to the Jubilee Garden, the one and only public green space in the city centre. This garden has itself, gone through some changes: Initially, the space was set aside as a garden to commemorate Queen Victoria's golden jubilee (fiftieth anniversary), later it was abandoned and the garden was convert to a bus terminal known as the Lower Green Bus Stand; it was only in 2005 that the land reverted to a garden and once again took up its former name.


St. Mary's Church currently occupies the site of the first city church, now known as the Cathedral of St. Michael and All Angels or simply as, St. Michael's Cathedral by the locals. This church (St. Michael's Cathedral) when it was built on this location in 1641 was a small wooden structure but it was deemed inadequate by 1665 when the decision was taken to relocate the church. To facilitate this move, land was donated to the diocese but before the planned relocation could take place, the church was destroyed in 1780 by the great hurricane that struck Barbados. This cleared the way for the rebuilding of a much grander church thus leaving the originally consecrated plot of land vacant for about forty five (45) years. During this time however, the land was used as a burial ground for the non-white residents of the city.  


Later the Government of Barbados made a decision to rebuild a church on the site vacated by the first church of St. Michael and so in 1825 on 23rd September, the legislature of Barbados passed an act which provided a grant of five thousand pounds (£5000.00) to facilitate the construction of the new church. When St. Mary's Church was completed, it was consecrated by Bishop William Hart Coleridge two years later on 27th July, 1827. The construction of this church gave it the honour of being sited on the second oldest piece of consecrated ground in Barbados, second only to the oldest church on the island that being the St. James Parish Church in Holetown where the first English settlers landed on the island of Barbados on 17th February, 1627.


Some little known details about this city church include the fact that Samuel Jackman Prescod, one of Barbados' National Heroes and the first non-white to be elected to the national parliament (1843) is interred in the church's cemetery. Additionally, the impressively beautiful silk cotton tree growing at the east end of the church yard was known as the 'Justice Tree' since it was used for public hangings conducted in the city. It is also alleged that the former governor of Barbados, William Tufton, was arrested and sentenced to death on fabricated charges by his predecessor, Henry Hawley. Tufton was said to have been shot under that very silk cotton tree in the St. Mary’s Church.  


On a much lighter note, the baptismal font located in the baptistery was donated by John Montefiore (a jewish merchant) in 1863, incidentally, he was the same person who donated the fountain, now known as the Montefiore Fountain, which can be found in front of the former home of the Barbados Public Library.


Despite its tumultuous history, St. Mary's Church is a distinctly beautiful Barbadian church. It is also noticeably quite larger and more impressive than some of the Parish Churches situated on the island. The sophisticated elegance of St. Mary's interior and its Georgian, neo-classically inspired exterior design certainly adds to that feeling. This solidly built church managed to withstand the great hurricane of 1831 which is more than most of the churches in Barbados at the time could claim.


The clock now affixed to the church's tower was added in this century at a cost of fifty thousand Barbados dollars. This was a gift from one of the largest department stores in Barbados, Cave Shepherd & Co. Ltd. Additionally, the new welcome sign that now greets visitors to the church was also erected thanks to donations from the Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTI). Today St. Mary's Church is one of the best maintained churches on the island.


St. Mary's Church in Bridgetown Barbados is definitely worth a visit, even if it is just to walk alongside the history of this wonderfully intriguing place.



Sundays  -  7:00 am (Holy Mass & Sermon)
Sundays  - 8:45 am (Solemn Mass, Sermon & Sunday School)
Tuesdays  - 7:00 am (Holy Mass & Homily)
Wednesdays  - 7:00 am (Holy Mass & Homily)
Wednesdays  - 12:00 pm (Midday Devotions & Address)
Thursdays  - 7:00 am (Holy Mass & Homily)
Fridays  - 9:00 am (Matins)
Fridays  - 9:30 am (Holy Mass)


Contact Information

Telephone (Office)  -  (246) 426-3746
The Rectory  - (246) 424-2461
Fax  - (246) 425-9737




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