Romney Manor And Caribelle Batik

History of Romney Manor

Romney Manor sits on the grounds of the Wingfield Estate.
These grounds have a considerable history dating back to the 1600s. before the island’s colonization by European conquest, which began in 1623, there is evidence that Carib Indian Chief Tegreman’s village occupied the site. Petroglyphs located on the Wingfield Estate attest to the presence of Amerindians.

Romney Manor house and the Wingfield Estate have had only 5 family owners in over 350 years.
The first, Sam Jeffreson II, was the great, great, great grandfather of Thomas Jefferson (3rd president of the U.S.A), who purchased the property in 1625. (“Jeffreson” is the earlier spelling of “Jefferson”)

Petroglyphs at wingfield estate St Kitts
Petroglyphs at Wingfield Estate
Romney Manor Bell Tower
The bell in the tower was used to signal slaves

The Manor House

Not a grand “Plantation House” The modest property, was once named the “red house” to reflect Jeffreson’s Quaker roots.
The house was renamed Romney Manor upon its mid 17th-century acquisition by the Earl of Romney. (In 1834, against the instructions of the British Parliament, Lord Romney declared his enslaved Africans free men, becoming the first estate in St. Kitts to do so.)
The property since its beginning has been growing & distilling sugar cane.

Present day Romney Manor

The current owner took possession in the mid 1970’s and the estate began its transition to the current botanical gardens, Batik producer and an archaeological site.
On 31st July 2005 the government of St Kitts closed the sugar industry thus ending over 350 years of production on the oldest surviving sugar plantation in the Caribbean

The old Saman tree

Also known as a Rain tree (because the leaves fold in rainy weather), this stately tree is over 400 years old, 24 ft in circumference and its limbs cover ½ acre. and in the evening, hence the names rain tree and five o’clock tree.
We believe this tree to be the oldest in the Caribbean.

Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor

Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor St Kitts

What is Batik?

Batik is an art form that dates back thousands of years to its beginnings in Indonesia. Batik is a “resist” process for making designs on fabric.
Wax is used to prevent dye from penetrating the cloth, leaving “blank” areas in the dyed fabric. The process, wax resist then dye, can be repeated over and over to create complex multicolored designs.

The Batik is actually produced here, you can watch a demonstration and ask questions about how it is made,
At the shop you can purchase many original Batik items all produced at Romney Manor.

Caribelle Batik shop at Romney Manor St Kitts
Inside the Store
Caribelle Batik shop at Romney Manor St Kitts
Batik drying at Romney Manor St Kitts
Finished pieces drying outside

The Rainforest Bar at Romney Manor

Rainforest view from Romney Manor St Kitts
View from “The Rainforest Bar”

The Rainforest bar sits above the gardens and enjoys an uninterrupted view of the volcano and rainforest.
The signature drink here is called “The Jeffreson” a local rum punch made with freshly squeezed Citrus fruits

The Wingfield Estate

The grounds of Wingfield Estate still contain remarkable masonry. There are remains of an aqueduct, a chimney, a mill house, a boiling house, a distillery, a lime kiln, and a subterranean tunnel.
Archaeological digs are an ongoing process

In 2013, the original rum distillery was discovered after being buried for many years. This is one of the most exciting discoveries. It has been established that rum has been produced by this estate since 1681, As such, the Wingfield estate is recognized as the oldest intact distillery in the Caribbean.

Full list of our History of St Kitts articles

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