Monday, August 16, 2010

St Nicholas Abbey The Hidden Jem Of Barbados

There is no question when it comes to Barbados that Harrisons Cave is the number one attraction, by some it is even called the eighth wonder of the world. Had it not been for the beauty and grandeur formed by Nature itself St Nicholas Abbey would have held the place as the Islands #1 Attraction.

Every Part of this place possesses a charm and elegance that is unequaled by any other attraction on the island. From the towering Mahogany trees creating a canopy above  to the colourful blooms of the garden everything around you welcomes you into this 16th century sugar plantation.

St Nicholas Abbey is a Jacobean mansion and was built by Englishman Col Berringer in 1658. It is believed that Col. Berringer purchased the plans for St. Nicholas Abbey on a journey home to England hence the  inclusion of the cornerstone chimneys and fireplaces which are unnecessary in a home in the Caribbean, where temperatures rarely drop below comfortably breezy.

St, Nicholas Abbey is one of just three Jacobean mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere; the other two are Drax Hall, also in Barbados, and Bacon's Castle in Virginia, USA.

In the mid-seventeenth century, planters Col. Benjamin Berringer and Sir John Yeamans were business partners and owned two adjacent properties; the Berringer Plantation to the north, and Yeaman's plantation, known as Greenland, to the south. Encompassing over 365 acres, the collective property was quite large.

Berringer married Margaret Foster the daughter of a local Reverend  and they had  three children, Mary, Symon and John.

It is said Yeamans,  then a widower, fell in love with Berringers wife Margare. These feeling are thought to have been returned by Margaret and following a heated argument Berringer left the plantation and went to Speightstown. It is said that Yeamans arranged for berringer to be poisoned by a third party and Berringer subsequently died.

 Yeamans and Margaret were married in April that year, while Margaret was pregnant with Benjamin's fourth child, a daughter she would also call Margaret. Upon their marriage the two plantations merged into one property named Yeamans Plantation.

Yeamans then moved with Margaret to Carolina where he was appointed  as Governor of Carolina.Yeamans had sent three ships from Speightstown to Carolina in 1663. These first colonists landed at Cape Fear in what is now North Carolina, however they found the land difficult to farm and moved south where they founded Charlestown. Yeamans also brought several slaves, thought to be the first slaves introduced to Carolina. Yeamans built a plantation house in Charleston, on the site of what is today known as Yeamans Hall Country Club.

When Yeamans became of ill health in the 1670s, he and Margaret returned to Barbados with considerable wealth and lived at Yeamans Plantation until his death in August 1674. Margaret married a third time to William Whaley whome she also outlived affording her the reputation as a black widow.

When Margaret died she left the plantation to her eldest son, John Berringer. He lived just one month past his mother; on John's death Yeamans Plantation passed to his daughter, Susannah, and her husband George Nicholas. Susannah detested Yeamans, her grandfather’s assumed murderer, and refused to keep his name on the property. It was then that Susannah and George changed the name to Nicholas Plantation.

The above is only the very beginnings of the story of St Nicholas Abbey and its owners. To learn their story and to make the steps that they once would have you will have to pay a visit to St. Nicholas Abbey.

The tour of St Nicholas includes:

The Gardens Floral & Herb

The Great House

The Court Yard

A 1930 Film: Very entertaining and educational


The Boiling House: A fully functioning steam mill, this operates only in harvest season

The Rum Distillery: Rum Sampling is included and purchases available

The Cafe

Every part of this attraction adds a new and wonderful experience. I can honestly say if you come to Barbados and hope to capture the essence of the Island you must without a doubt visit St Nicholas Abbey. It takes you back to where is all began .

We at Glory Tours are happy to provide you with several tour options including St Nicholas Abbey and we would be delighted if you would join us in paying a visit to St Nicholas Abbey one day soon :o)

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


  1. Hello, I'm Steve Haun from East Tennessee. I have been searching my family tree and Co. Benjamin Barranger is my Great X8 Grand Father. I would love to come see the Abbey. The history is very interesting to me. I was wondering is the Paintings on the wall in your photos are the Barranger's. If you could drop me a line and let me know I would very grateful.
    Steve Haun

  2. Hi Robert. Thank you for your comment. Can you please email me at as I do not have your contact details in order to fully reply.