Type: Ruin
Parish: St.Paul
Founding date: 1690
See on Google Maps!

Current Status

The grave of John Hawksley Esq. who died in 1819 and was married to the eldest daughter of Paul Horseford, lies on the slope of a hill below the highest point where the house was probably located, was still surrounded by an iron railing when discovered on a hike in 2002.   Milled stones and ruins on the hillside abound attesting to many buildings having once been in the area that appear to be the sugar works as per a letter quoted from Caribbeana.   There is no longer a mill on this site which is just down the road from the Willis Freeman’s estate.   Once acquired by the Syndicate Estates in 1943, Bodkins was considered part of Morris Looby’s (#141) next door.

Estate Related History/Timeline

1693: “Mary Osborn married Dominick Bodkin – both living 1693 and 1705.”  Vere Oliver Vol.II p. 368

1819: John Hawkesley, Esq., on the Estate of the Hon. Paul Horseford called ‘Bodkin’s’  (buried).

1829: In 1829, this estate contained 492 acres and 216 slaves.

1851: The Antigua Almanac shows Bodkin’s of 412 acres belonging to K. B. Osborn, M.D.

1852: Keane Osborn, MD owner of Orange Valley of 735 acres in St. Mary’s, Bodkin’s of 412 acres in St. Paul’s, Room’s of 318 acres in St. Paul’s,  Paynter’s of 272 acres, and Carlisle’s of 388 acres in St. Georges.   Vere Oliver Vol.II p.368

1864: In 1864, Bodkins was for sale and offered windmill, etc. … 80 head of cattle and 61 acres of sugar.

“1702 – May 4 – Dominick Bodkin of Antigua, planter.   Letter of attorney to my wife and brother-in-law Keane Osborne,  “Cisterns at English Harbour laid out, 1 1/2 acres bought of Mrs. Tho. Bodkin of Ireland, Gent., surveyed 25th Oct., 1787.”

“No.197.   An Act to invent a certain Tract of land at English Harbour, belonging to Thomas Bodkin of the Kingdom of Ireland in His Majesty, His Heirs and Successors, for certain public uses, and for appraising and valuing the same, and paying the owner thereof.   Dated 23 January, 1748.”   Vere Oliver Vol.I p.65

2004: In 2004, a bulldozer clearing the hill uncovered and partially destroyed a grave belonging to John Hawksley Esq.   With great difficulty it was able to discern the following inscription which is rather lengthy.

“Sacred to the Memory /of/John Hawksley Esq.? Eldest son of Archibald Hawksley of/Dubline sq.‘Late Governor of the National Bank of/Ireland and Anne his wife/Married on 27th day of July 1815/Amelia Alice/Eldest daughter of the Honourable Paul/Horseford/Attorney General of this Island and/Amelia his wife died on the 18th/day of January 1819/of a pulmonary attack/after a few months illness which/he endured with exemplary/patience and resignation age 32 years/He was sent from England to this country/In the unavailing hope of protracting his ——–Untimely fate/His earthly remains lie deposited in this vault/In this short but honourable life/ ——— and high sense of honour/which his hospitable and cheerful disposition/Made him the delight of his friends/ ———– and perfections ———/——— affectionate/tender and kind/——— Husband/——– was exemplary in all his relations/of sound and domestic Life/His career indeed short —-alas how short/Yet was it happy/Sweet prosperous in his undertakings/Approved by all ——–/Beloved most by those who knew him/He was permitted ——– reap every/a portion of that reward ——-/———–.

**the rest of the inscription was buried**

     An example of the ‘flowery’ language used in those times and difficult to imagine that this all fit on one tombstone.

Excerpt from a letter in regard to the Burial Ground at Dickie Hill (#21 Renfrew’s) Arch. Spooner

“I have omitted from the following interesting letter a lengthy M.I. to John Hawksley Esq., from a tombstone at the west end of a small broken and empty vault, situated on the pasture land at the south end of Bodkins sugar works.   The M.I. is practically a duplicate of the one at the tablet at the St. Paul’s Church (Antigua it, 87), which latter records, that the burial was at Bodkins, Mr. Spooner’s notes also relate to a burial-ground which was unknown to me.”   ie. Burial Ground at Dickie Hill. 

1943: August 1st Gunthorpes Estate Ltd. was restructured (see #64 Gunthorpes) into a ‘new’ company named Antigua Syndicate Estates Ltd.   The Bennett-Bryson/R.S.D. Goodwin estates (owned 2/3 by Bennett-Bryson and 1/3 by Goodwin) were Morris Looby,Bodkin’s, Parry’s and the Diamond, all bought for 7,400 pounds.

1943: The Lands of Antigua and Barbuda Sugar Factory Limited and the Antigua & Barbuda Syndicate Estates Limited (Vesting) Act.   All that piece or parcel of land forming part of Bodkin’s as contained in Certificate of Title No.2811943 dated 3rd August, 1943 and registered in Register Book Q Folio 28, less an area of approximately 1,395 acres.

1956: The Government purchased from the Syndicate Estates 375.218 acres required for the Land Settlement programme at $96 per acre.   It was found that due to peasants occupying the land ASE offered 27 ½ acres of tenanted land plus 5 acres of estate cane land (#16) for $120 per acre.   It was not considered a serious loss since it was in a remote corner of the estate.  (Bodkins, section of Morris Looby’s)   Antigua Syndicate Estate, Ltd., minutes

Reports on Mr. Gordon’s estates in the W.I. also BODKIN (views 706) one of ten views of the island

Aquatint taken from ‘Ten Views in the Island of Antigua’, by William Clark. The aquatint depicts a group of enslaved people planting sugar cane on Bodkin’s Estate. The slaves – men, women and children, are working in the field together. They would have worked from 6 in the morning until 6 in the evening, with just a short break for lunch. This was arduous work and they were watched by a master or overseer, seen here wearing a black hat and holding a whip. The whip would have been used to drive them to work harder. The painting is set looking south from Bodkin’s Estate and in the background can be seen Monks Hill Military Station. Also known as George Fort, this fortification took 16 years to build (1689-1705) and was intended to defend Falmouth, then Antigua’s main town, from attacks by both the French and the Arawaks. The entire population of the island (about 1200 people at that time) could be accommodated inside, although it was intended to be a place of refuge for women and children.

Enslaved People’s History

Based on contemporary research, we have little information to share about the enslaved peoples from this plantation at this time.

We only know that, in 1829, this estate contained 492 acres and 216 enslaved people, all of whom were liberated for the sum of £3,604 8 s 9 d after slavery was abolished in the Caribbean.

We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals.

Legacies of British Slave-ownership: Antigua 394 Bodkins was awarded £3,604 8 s 9 d for 237 enslaved.   The two awardees were Hardman Earle and John Hayward Turner.

Ownership Chronology

Ownership from 1690 Dominick Bodkin

  • 1750: Andrew Bodkin
  • 1790: James Brown  
  • 1819: Hon. Paul Horseford 
  • 1829: Messrs. Turner.   
  • 1843: Keane B. Osborne, MD  
  • 1878: Fryer’s Sugar Concrete Co   
  • 1891: Victor Guffray.
  • 1921: R. Bryson  
  • 1933: G.W. Bryson & Co. Ltd.
  • 1943: Antigua Syndicate Estates Ltd.
  • 1967: Antigua Government – Crown Land