Holetown, St. James, Barbados Pocket Guide


The British landed at Holetown in Barbados in 1625 to claim the island of Barbados for the British. Holetown was originally called Jamestown (after King James I) but the name was subsequently changed to "Holetown" after the small stream by the name of "The Hole" which provided a safe landing for ships. Barbados was claimed on behalf of King James I of England and remained as an English territory until Independence in 1966.


Sitting just outside the complex that houses the Holetown Police Station, this oblelisk monument commemorates the first English landing in Barbados by Captain John Powell in 1625 on the ship Olive Blossom. The year 1605 is stated on the main plaque of the monument but this was clearly an oversight.


The site of the Holetown Monument is the very landmark at which opening celebrations for the annual Holetown Festival in Barbados take place. The week-long celebrations commence in mid-February.


Holetown Festival

The Holetown Festival commemorates the anniversary of the first settlement of the English to this small town. The late Alfred Pragnell was the pioneer of this particular festival on the island of Barbados, which got started back in 1977. Celebrations for the week-long festival begin in mid-February with the opening celebrations taking place at the Holetown Monument.


The festival highlights local arts and crafts as well as Barbadian culture and history, and events typically include: historical lectures, fashion shows, beauty contests, street parades, tattoo shows, exhibitions, concerts, theatrical presentations, sporting events and an antique car parade.


The Holetown Festival is quite an attraction for both locals and attractions.


Antique Car on Parade in the Streets at Holetown Festival, St. James, Barbados Pocket Guide


Chattel House Village

Located in Holetown, is a small, brightly coloured shopping village that houses numerous duty-free shops that carry local arts and crafts along with other imported items. An interesting section of Holetown is the brightly colored chattel houses that are actually stores offering unique Bajan items and Barbados souvenirs.


1st and 2nd Street

There are several restaurants on 1st and 2nd Street in Holetown. A few exciting choices include Cocomo's, The Elbow Room, Angry Annie's and The Mews  Restaurant to name a few.


St. James Parish Church

St. James Parish Church was built in 1628 and located near the landing site of the first settlers to the island. A hurricane of 1675 completely destroyed the then wooden structure but by the early 1690's, a stone structure replaced the former wooden structure.


St. James Parish Church, Holetown, St. James, Barbados Pocket GuideThe year 1780, saw yet another destructive hurricane to the island of Barbados in which the St. James Parish Church suffered miserably once more. Though no specific records exist of St. James Parish Church's fate throughout the 1675 and 1780 hurricanes, records indicate that in 1831, the church was not amongst those listed as having suffered destruction from the hurrican of that year.


By 1874, the church showed more than enough signs of much needed repair and as a result was renovated in this year. The new and improved church was consecrated by Bishop Mitchinson on Easter Tuesday in 1875. The sanctuary and north porch were added in the 1900's and therefore were not a part of the 1875 consecration.


History is told when one takes a stroll through the cemetery of St. James Parish Church and reads the dates on the grave stones, vaults and memorial plaques, as many of the original settlers and various noted Barbadians were laid to rest in this very cemetery.


Other places of interest in Holetown include Folkestone Marine Park where there is a museum and aquarium that illuminate some of the island's marine life. There's also an underwater snorkeling trail around Dottins Reef, a popular dive site, where a barge sunk in shallow water is home to a multitude of fish. Glass bottom boats are available for those who are unable to swim.


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