Entrance to St. Nicholas Abbey, Barbados Pocket Guide

St. Nicholas Abbey

St. Peter, Barbados is a magnificent, well-preserved mansion that boasts phenomenal beauty with over 400 acres of sugar cane fields, gardens, lush tropical gullies and mahogany forests. Believed to have been built  sometime around 1660 by Lieutenant Colonel Benjamin Berringer, this is one (1) of three (3) remaining Jacobean mansions in the Western Hemisphere. (the other two (2) being Drax Hall in Barbados and Bacon's Castle in Virginia, USA.


This true masterpiece features unusual elements not to be found in Caribbean homes including elegant curvillinear gables, cornerstone fireplaces, elaborate multicurved Flemish gables, Tudor arches, decorative chimneys and casement windows. Quite unlike North American structures that were built of wood and very susceptible to the elements, St. Nicholas Abbey was made of brick and limestone and has surely stood firm to the test of times.


The original ornamental detail associated with this Jacobean style house categorises St. Nicholas Abbey as one of the most stunning examples of architectural style that was so prevalent in years gone by and still is today.


St. Nicholas Abbey is no stranger to having a series of past events that shaped its existence. In its 350 year history, many stories can be written with various titles, including "Murder".


Tale of Tragedy

Berringer had a business partner by the name of John Yeamans who had a strong interest in Berringer's wife at the time. The two business partners soon fell out with such a separation resulting in the untimely death of Berringer as a result of a coordinated poisoning of Berringer. Subsequently, St. Nicholas Abbey was claimed by Yeamans after his marriage to Mrs. Berringer. A court ruling later passed the property on to Berringer's children and the property was named after Berringer's grand-daughter who married George Nicholas.


In 1669, after leaving Barbados, the Colony that is South Carolina, USA,  was founded as a result of combined efforts from Sir John and Berringer's widow. This effort would have contributed to the early development of America. In 1672, Yeamans eventually became Governor of that settlement.


In 1675, Yeamans died but his widow remarried.


St. Nicholas Abbey Today

With visitors in 2009 exceeding the 19,000 mark, St. Nicholas Abbey has surely become one of the leading historic attractions in Barbados. Fully restored and kept as original as possible, one can be exposed to all that made St. Nicholas Abbey what it was and what it is today. Significant care and attention to detail has been executed in the restoration of St. Nicholas Abbey in order for its history to be preserved.


Such features include the lush terrain in the gullies, the Sandbox tree that is over 400 years old, a traditional 17th century herb garden, a historic film dating back to 1935, a 19th century steam mill, an original coral stone water drip, a rum distillery, a boiling house, a steam mill, a small museum and shop featuring St. Nicholas Abbey rum and sugar products and no one can leave out the 17th century Jacobean mansion itself.


Further information on St. Nicholas Abbey in Barbados can be sourced at http://www.stnicholasabbey.com/.

See St Nicholas Abbey on SunTours' Gardens & Abbey tour.


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