(often combined with Archbold’s )


Type: Extant
Parish: St.Philip
Founding date: 1716
See on Google Maps!

Mill at Brown’s Bay as it presently stands

 Current Status

This estate also raised cattle.  Harmony Hall of Jamaican fame, has done a wonderful job of turning this mill into a small bar with a scenic outlook from the top and during `the season’ operates a first class restaurant and art gallery.

Estate Related History/ Timeline

In 2006 Harmony Hall was sold and extended to include a marina and yachting center to (the Italian in Falmouth – name?).

1706: Patrick Browne rated on 290 acres and 77 slaves.

1716: Anthony Browne planter has 50 acres at Nonsuch.   East with David Dewsterde, west with Maj. Hen. Lyons and Mr. Henry Cook, north with H. Pike, south with sea plus 10 and 75 acres scattered elsewhere.”  See Vere Oliver for further Indentures by Anthony Browne.                                                                                                            History of the Island of Antigua by Vere Oliver Vol.I.

“Browne came of a merchant family established in Antigua since the 17th century.  There, he informed the House, 29 July 1812, he spent ten of the happiest years of his life. In London he became a colonial agent and a partner in the banking house of Bowles, Beachcroft, Reeves and Collins. From 1802 until 1816 he was a senior partner in the house of Browne, Cobb and Stokes.2 In 1806 he invested in a seat in Parliament for an open borough, introduced by George Johnstone* as his colleague at Hedon. Surviving a contest in 1807, he held it until 1818.

Browne’s chief motive for entering Parliament was the defence of the West India planters. In his maiden speech, 27 Feb. 1807, he admitted that the slave trade was ‘a great political evil,’ but it was ‘interwoven with the most important interests of the country and with a complication of private interests on which thousands and thousands of our fellow subjects depended.’ Africa was an inevitable nursery of slaves; Britain had only a fifth of the trade and to abolish it would ruin the West Indian colonies. He had not been able to catch the Speaker’s eye on 23 Feb., when he voted against going into a committee, and on 6 Mar. he was a diehard opponent of the abolition bill.” For further information see the History of Parliament          History of Parliament

“1836 Oct, Wm. Brown Esq. of Antigua who has bequeathed to the Parish of Lehwinnoch, Renfrewshire, the sum of 4,500 pounds to be invested in perpetuity to the poor of that parish.

He also bequeathed 1,000 pounds to the church he was connected with in Antigua.”

Oliver Vol.I p.77

In 1829 Browne’s and Archibald’s together contained 312 acres – 239 slaves.

Legacies of British Slave-ownership: Archibald’s and Brown’s were together awarded £3,171 3 s 4 d for 213 enslaved.   Awardees were John Daniel and Thomas Daniel.   Unsuccessful was John Adams Wood.

1851: The Antigua Almanac shows Archbold and Browne’s of 212 acres belonging to Thomas Daniell & Co.

Legacies of British slave-ownership: Brown’s was awarded £2,588 6 s 6 d for 190 slaves.   Awardees were Mrs. A.M. Bethell widow, Admiral Sir Edward Codrington and Bethel Walrond.

Legacies of British Slave-ownership claimants.     

In 1833 Parliament finally abolished slavery in the British Caribbean, Mauritius and the Cape.   The slave trade had been abolished in 1807 but it took another 26 years to effect the emancipation of the enslaved.   The legislation of 1833 was the result of a combination of factors where it was felt that the plantation owners should be compensated for their slaves who were to be freed.   The amount of 20 million pounds , a huge amount in those days, was divided up between all slave owners.

Mrs. A.M. Bethel widow – absentee/resident? – awardee – Antigua 54 (Brown’s (sp.?) St. Philip’s) view 1120 2588 6s 6d (190 enslaved).

         Ernest Dew was born in Antigua, son of Joseph Dew (d.1900), engineer who arrived in Antigua in 1905.  Ernest David married twice, firstly to Irene Violet Maginley 1918 while he was a Planter at Belmont Estate.  Secondly after Irene’s death to her sister Millicent Margaret Maginley.  There was no issue from either marriage.  Rootsweb.

In 1944 Browne’s was part of the Antigua Distillery holdings with the Montpelier Sugar Factory.

Memories of Sandra Knowles.

“My father George Knowles managed Brown’s Bay estate when I was a small child where we lived in the 50’s with my mother, brother and sister in the buff house which was built of stone.   The mill was divided in two, one side of which Daddy would store his tools, he was a mechanic, and the other I used for play.  I still like Towers!.

Daddy owned buses so he’d have family, friends and workers coming from Freetown, Willikies, Glanville, Barnes Hill, Town and Cedar Grove at crop times to help pick the cotton and cut sugar cane.   When we were small we were put on the back of a white horse which one of the workers would lead to Freetown where we attended school.   Later, there was a road through to Montpelier and the main road which was shorter than going around through Freetown.  When we were old enough to go to town school we were taken by boat to Long Bay where one of the workers would meet us in the Land Rover to take us to St. John’s.  On weekends relatives would come up and we would spend the day at Green Island where my dad dove for fish, conch and lobster while my mother would gather cockles and do the cooking.  She also made ice cream which she sold at my uncle’s Tavern in Freetown and I loved to skim off the thick custard skin when it cooled in the pot.  It was an idyllic place to grow up.”

In the 1970’s tourists were coming to Brown’s Bay Resort and Mr. David Edwards of Freetown who was a fisherman with his own 19ft boat, used to carry ten to twelve of them at a time over to Guiana Island. He would buy 1 1/2 gallons of 150 proof Cavalier rum to make up his rum punch and take along a large bowl of salad.   He had fish pots set all around the island, so while the guests were swimming and enjoying themselves, he’d pull a few pots, season up the fish and steam them on the fire.   The large fish he filleted and the smaller ones he left whole.   He said everyone had a good time and thought his lunch wonderful. 

         Mr. Edwards also rented 3 1/2 acres of what was ‘dagger field’ which he cultivated in sea island cotton.   They would pick the cotton and bring it home to clean out the leaves etc.. pack it into sugar crocus bags and send it to the ginnery.

The beach in those days was rich in large cockles and bella in the mangroves. Bella was a flat type of shell and once you collected a bucket full you would boil it down to get about 1-2 lbs of meat, but the water was especially valued to cook rice in afterwards, it was so flavourful. Unfortunately the dredge dug it all up and destroyed all the cockle beds and mangroves.   When there was no meat kind for dinner, Mr. Edwards would ride his donkey down to Browns Bay and in no time at all, he would catch several large mangrove snappers with his line and solder crab bait.   Not any more.

         Sir Dermit de Trafford, 6th Baronet was a British banker, businessman and aristocrat.  He purchased the Browne buff in the 70’s and many remember him on island with his second wife Lady Xandra (d.2002) eldest sister of British actor Christopher Lee.

Johnny managed De Trafford’s interests and was allowed to live in the house until his death.

Selvyn Walter.

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 do know that these estates together were awarded £3,171 3 s 4 d for the liberation of 213 enslaved people just as slavery was abolished in the Caribbean. Of the two estates, Brown’s Bay had the clear majority of enslaved people. We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals.

Ownership Chronology

  • 1780 Anthony Browne (1769-1840)
  • 1790 Nicholas Brown
  • 1829 Charles Robertson. 239 slaves
  • 1851 Thomas Daniel & Co. – 396 acres with Archibald’s 1851 Antigua Almanac.
  • 1872 Thomas Daniel & Co. – 396 acres with Archibald’s 1872 Antigua Horsford Almanac.
  • 1933 Ernest Dew (d.1900)
  • 1944 The Antigua Distillery
  • 1950 Knowles Family (managed estate for Syndicate & lived in the Buff)
  • 1970’s ir Dermit Humphrey De Trafford (1925-2010) – refurbished the Buff
  • 1980’s Harmony Hall Restaurant – Buff and surrounding land
  • 1980’s Bernie & Julia Sayre – lived in the Buff
  • 2006 Italian ——