Good Hope began in 1774 as a sugar estate and grew into a village to support the workers after emancipation. In the 18th century, the Good Hope Estate belonged to John Tharpe, then the largest land and slave owner in Jamaica. Aside from Good Hope, Windsor Estate, the extensive Long Pond Estate and a number of other smaller sugar plantations in Trelawny belonged to Tharpe, who had as many as 3,000 slaves to run the plantations. In addition, Tharpe owned much of the prime waterfront property in Falmouth, and his townhouse, now the Falmouth branch of the government tax office, is still one of the most elegant structures in the town. The small village has some of the best examples of Georgian architecture in the island, and the churchyard has many old and interesting tombstones. At dawn, the Cockpit Country comes alive, and the energetic songs of wild birds float gently on the morning mists.
Although John Tharpe had a choice of four sons from which to name an heir, all four displeased him, and upon his death in 1804, he named his grandson sole executor of his massive holdings. His grandson, however, was rather feeble-minded, but then, as is the case now, a feeble-minded man with an immense fortune was just as desirable as a smart man with an immense fortune! Several of the colony’s most eligible young ladies vied for his attention, and eventually a marriage to a woman of titled lineage was arranged. Unfortunately, it is said that poor young Tharpe was overwhelmed by the situation, and on his wedding night he became hysterical and practically lost his mind. He was never the same, and although he lived to nearly ninety years old, he never had much to do with the operation of the estates. His sad state plunged the family into a hotly contested battle over his grandfather’s “dead-lef”, and over the years the various properties fell into disrepair and decline.
Good Hope is more than just an estate home; it is, as it probably was in the 18th century, a model for elegant country living. The property is now a part of Chris Blackwell’s Island Trading Group, and has retained its Colonial stature and appeal even through its transformation into a luxurious villa complex with all the modern conveniences.
Few words actually manage to describe a sunrise at Good Hope with any accuracy. “Breathtaking”, “spectacular” and “awe-inspiring” come to mind, but even those cannot truly express the wonder evoked from the experience.
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Many regard David Pinto, master potter, as one of Jamaica’s most promising young artists. His work, which has been displayed in the exhibitions of some of the most prestigious galleries around the world, is dynamic and refreshingly inventive. It is reflective of his warm and affable personality. Back in Jamaica after living and working abroad for a number of years, Pinto has established his studio inside one of the former plantation buildings on the Good Hope Estate, where he creates his pieces and occasionally hosts international workshops.