The Tharp Estates in Jamaica

The FGSJ is pleased to present an extensive study of the history of the estates of John Tharp of Jamaica by Alan Furness, CMG, along with other related documents.

Alan Furness has recently updated his work, originally produced between 1958 and 1960, and has kindly allowed us to publish it here:

The Tharp Estates in Jamaica by A E Furness

At the time of writing, in the late 1950s, Furness, a Research Student at Cambridge University and at the University College of the West Indies, was studying the economic history of the West Indies, particularly Jamaica.

He carried out extensive research in Jamaica, England, and Barbados, Grenada, Guyana and St. Kitts into the history of John Tharp’s acquisition and management of his sugar estates and other properties including Good Hope, Covey, Hawkerton, Llansquinet, Pantrepant, Potosi, Wales, Windsor, Dean’s Valley Water Works in St. Elizabeth, and Chippenham in St. Ann.

It was once said that a man could ride from one side of the island to the other and not leave Tharp land – Alan Furness’s paper is an account of how Tharp acquired and developed his extensive holdings along the length of the Martha Brae River in Trelawny and elsewhere.  

Image caption: Sugar slide, Potosi Estate, Trelawny, Jamaica (Photo: Peregrine Bryant)



Maps of the Martha Brae River area through the centuries:


The workforce on the Tharp estates – paper by Dr Ivor Conolley:

In Between Brutality and Rebellion by I C Conolley

Ivor Conolley, consultant in archaeology, cultural resources management and buildings preservation has kindly provided us with a copy of his paper examining the enslaved people on Tharp’s estates.

At various times, Dr Conolley has been president of the Jamaica Historical Society, the Archaeological Society of Jamaica and the Georgian Society of Jamaica.

This paper was originally published in the Jamaica Historical Society Bulletin: Conolley, Ivor C. “Deployment of Forced Labour: an Analysis of the Role of Slaves on Ten Tharp Properties in 1805 Trelawny, Jamaica.” Jamaican Historical Society Bulletin Vol. 12 Nos. 7 & 8 April 2012.


Correspondence from William Miles to John Tharp – article by Kenneth Morgan

Calendar of Correspondence from William Miles, a West Indian Merchant in Bristol, to John Tharp, a Planter in Jamaica, 1770-1789. This article was by Kenneth Morgan and originally published in A Bristol Miscellany in 1985 by the Bristol Record Society, 1985.

Miles-Tharp correspondence Part 1

Miles-Tharp correspondence Part 2