Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Story In A Name Part 1.... Barbados, the names of places and the stories behind them

Every part of Barbados continues to fascinate me :o) This blog will focus on the names of places in Barbados and how they got those names. This will be spilt into three parts, this being part 1.


Barbados of itself was first called Los Barbados so named by the  Portuguese explorer Pedro a Campos  who discovered the island en route to Brazil in 1536 . The name Los Barbados, meaning the 'Bearded One'  was named after the islands Fig Tree's whose long hanging aerial roots have a beard like resemblance.

Barbados has also been called Bimshire or Bim because the word was frequently used by slaves.

 Little England is another name that it is called this came to be during the civil war. Misfortune was seen by both the Cavaliers and the Roundheads. Thus refugees from both sides began to come to Barbados to escape the strife and rebuild their fortunes. It is in this time Barbados began calling itself "Little England"

Another term used in reference to the island is The Rock because of it's small size.


Bridgetown the capital of Barbados is said to have derived its name from an Arawak bridge found spanning the Constitution River. In early days it was even referred to as Indian  Bridge.


Speightstown the second town acquired its name from William Speights who owned the land on which the town now stands. The town was at one point called Little Bristol because of it's trading links with Bristol England.


Oistins the third town was named after Edward Oistine who owned the land on which it is situated


The fourth town is the place where the English settlers first landed. They first named the spot "The Hole" because it reminded them of a similar place in the River Thames . The name then changed to Jamestown after King James the I. It is now called Holetown and is located in the parish of St James.

Pelican Island

Pelican Island was an Island located just off of Fontabelle and so named because it was the nesting ground for pelicans. The Island was later linked to the mainland during the building of the deep water harbour which was opened in 1961.  While one can not now tell an island once existed off of Bridgetown its memory is kept alive by by Pelican Village a shopping area just outside of the cruise ship port.

Culpepper Island

Culpepper Island is located be tween Ragged Point and Skette's Bay.It is 220ft by 75ft and about 20ft high, no more than a few meters off shore. It was named after the Culpepper family who owned the land next to it.


There are 3 locations in Barbados called Seaview. One in St Philip, one in Christ Church and the other in St James all were named for the clear view of the sea that could be seen at these points


This is located in St John and is by the end of Hackleton's Cliff. Hackleton's Cliff was named after Thomas Hackleton who owned the plantation great house which is called The Cliff.

The Scotland District

Which is that hilly area taking up one third of the Island, was given the name because it reminded the early settlers of Scotland. It has been said that groups of Scottish people settled in that area and introduce the local dish Jug Jug. The Parish that is dominated by the Scotland District is St. Andrew named after the patron saint of Scotland.

Sweet Vale / Sweet Bottom

Sweet Vale has some of the deepest most fertile soil in Barbados and in the hey day of sugar it produced bountiful crops of sugar cane, thus the name.


Lowland in St Lucy and in Christ Church respectively, each area is at the base of the hill.


Highland in St Thomas is about 1,000 feet above sea level and Highland in St Philip is also slightly elevated.

Chalky Mount

Chalky Mount was given the name Chalky Mount for the deposits of  chalk found there.

The Saddle Back

The Saddle back is so named  because of the ridge sloping steeply on both sides and looking down from Chimborazor it looks like a giant horse.

Dark Hole

Dark Hole is said to have been a dark hole with its massive trees, deep gullies and thick underbrush.

Apes Hill

Apes Hill is so named after the large number of Green Monkeys living in the area. Monkey Jump a thickly wooded area in St Joseph was named for the same reason.

Indian Ground

Indian Ground got its name from the evidence of the Arawak habitation.

Two Mile Hill

Two Mile Hill is two miles from Trafalgar Square now called Hero's Square

Mile and a Quarter

During the 17th century Barbados had few roads, so by law properties had to have a narrow sea front and extend at least one and a quarter mile inward, to allow property owners private access to the sea. Mile and a Quarter is a relic of this practise.

North Point, East Point, and South Point

North Point, East Point, and South Point are the Points farthest North South and East. The West Coast has no point but places such as Weston, Westmoreland, and Westlands point to their location on the West of The island

Ragged Point

Ragged Point  the site of one of Barbados's four lighthouses is so named as the point is very ragged.

Long Beach & Long Bay

Long Beach & Long Bay are fairly long stretches of beach

Long Pond

Long Pond in St Andrew is a large long pond.

Lower Estate, Lower Greys, Lower Burney, Lower Castle, Lower Carlton

All of the above gained their names because their owners would have owned two neighbouring plantations. The plantations to the western side was referred to as the Lower. In Bridgetown the same principle was used High Street was to the Eastern End of Broad Street.

Bush Hill, Bush Hall, Bush Park, Briar Hall, Thicket, Woodland, Cherry Tree Hill, Cherry Grove, Blacksage Alley, Mahogany Lane, Tamrind Road, Tamrind Hall, Lemon Arbour, Coconut Hall, Canefield, Cane Garden, Cane Vale,  Villiage and Fusticand Sugar Hill

Places like Bush Hill, Bush Hall, Bush Park, Briar Hall, Thicket, Woodland, Cherry Tree Hill, Cherry Grove, Blacksage Alley, Mahogany Lane, Tamrind Road, Tamrind Hall, Lemon Arbour, Coconut Hall, Canefield, Cane Garden, Cane Vale, Fustic Village and Sugar Hill  all refer to the vegetation in the area at the time of naming

Marley Vale and Marhole Road

Marley Vale and Marhole Road are both named after Marl Holes. Marl Holes is where coral is mined in small quantities. Marl is soft coral stone which has been crushed. Quarry Road and Old Quarry Road both are named such as Quarrying was done in the area.

Silver Sands

Silver Sands was named for the colour of the sand there.

Six Roads

Six Roads A place where 3 roads intersect

Four Roads

A place where 2 roads intersect

Bay Street

Bay Street is so named as it lies along Carlise Bay

Carlisle Bay

Carlisle Bay is so named after the Earl of Carlisle who stole Barbados away from Sir William Courteen in the Great Barbados Robbery.

Skeets Bay

Skeets Bay was named after Sir Francis Skeet who owned the property in the 17th century that stretched from Three Houses to the Sea.

Grand View, Hill View,  Sea View and Fair View

Grand View, Hill View, Sea View and Fair View were all named after the scenic view from these locations.

Mount Pleasant, Pleasant Vale, Windy Hill, Windy Ridge, Airy Hill, Airy Hall, Airy Cot and Belair

Mount Pleasant, Pleasant Vale, Windy Hill, Windy Ridge, Airy Hill, Airy Hall, Airy Cot and Belair  were all named in appreciation of the north-east trade winds which caress the island.

Rockfield, Rock Hall, The Rock, Rockless, Rock Dundo, Black Rock, Flat Rock. Round The Rock, Fairy Valley Rock and Collymore Rock

Rockfield, Rock Hall, The Rock, Rockless, Rock Dundo, Black Rock, Flat Rock. Round The Rock, Fairy Valley Rock and Collymore Rock were all named because they were rocky areas. Collymore Rock derived its name from a landmark at the western end of the road abounding and abutting Jemmotts Lane owned by Captain Robert Collymore.


Redland in St George was named for the reddish colour of the soil there.


Claybury in St John was so named after the deposits of Clay found there.

Conger Bay

Conger Bay St John was named after the Conger eel which is found in abundance there.

Gay's Cove

Gay's Cove also known as Cove Bay is named after Sir John Alleyne Gay. His name is linked to Mount Gay Rum one, if not "The Oldest" rum company in the world. Mount Gay was named for Sir John G. Alleyne, 1st Baronet of Four Hill. Sir John Gay Alleyne, as he later became, was a very close friend of John Sober, owner of the distillery. John Sober inherited the Mount Gilboa Plantation/Distillery from his father William Sandiford in 1747, and upon doing so he appointed Alleyne as the manager. Sir John did such a good job at managing the plantation that it was renamed Mount Gay in his honour after his passing in 1801, as there was already a Mount Alleyne on the island of Barbados

Jack In The Box Gully

Jack In The Box Gully is so named after the Jack in The Box Tree that one grew there and can only be found in Turners Hall woods and no where else in Barbados.

Coffee Gully

Coffe Gully is so named after the wild Cffee trees that thrives in the gully.


Cholera in St Philip was so named after the area where the buried those who died from Cholera in the area. This was the deepest soil in St Philip.

Cave Hill and Cave Land

Both Cave Hill and Cave Land are named after caves in the area. It is said a cave near Black Rock that the Amerindians used stretched inland 500 meters to Cave Hill.

Provided with the compliments of your friends at Glory Tours. The #1 Provider of Sightseeing Tours in Barbados

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