Type: Extant
Parish: St.Paul
Founding date: 1700
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Picture of half a mill turn into a cistern to collect water

Current Status

This estate converted to steam in the mid 1800‘s.   The mill was drastically cut in half to form a cistern and ruins of the works still exist near the mill.

There is mention of  “Little Delaps,” which shared 469 acres and 204 slaves with Long Lane.

Most of this Estate was flooded when Potworks Dam was formed in 1968 and opened 28th May, 1970. It is one mile long, 1/2 mile wide and holds one billion gallons of water when full. Construction was done by Clarence Johnson Construction Co. funded by British Government money and overseen by a British engineering firm.   A small park above the dam commemorates the opening which was built by Lance Delisle who worked with Clarence Johnson Construction Co.     There is a fancy pedestal with the date 18 — on it and I was told that it came from the small bridge that used to be in the area that was dammed up.   Rosemary Magoris (nee Goodwin) used to call it the “whoopee bridge” when she was growing up because her father would accelerate the car over the hump and they would all yell out “whoopee”!   (No Disney World in those days)   Potworks became Antigua’s first lake and the area became a recreational area with sailboats etc… The Government soon put a stop to this in order to protect the water source..   During the dry weather one can still traverse the road which comes in below Yeamans right past the remains of the Delaps mill through to Willoughby Bay.    When the dam is full the road is submerged.

Estate Related History/Timeline

1737: In 1737, 205 acres Hon. Geo. Lucas sold to Francis Delaps Esq.   1852 Owned by John Tollemache Esq., 240 acres.

1756: “John Lavicount inherited in 1756 Long Lane, Delaps and Windward from Benj. King Esq.   Vere Oliver Vol.II P.164

In 1829 Delaps contained 240 acres and 250 slaves.

Magoris (nee Goodwin) used to call it the “whoopee bridge” when she was growing up because her father would accelerate the car over the hump and they would all yell out “whoopee”!   (No Disney World in those days)   Potworks became Antigua’s first lake and the area became a recreational area with sailboats etc… The Government soon put a stop to this in order to protect the water source..   During the dry weather one can still traverse the road which comes in below Yeamans right past the remains of the Delaps mill through to Willoughby Bay. When the dam is full the road is submerged.

1737: In 1737 205 acres Hon. Geo. Lucas sold to Francis Delaps Esq.   1852 Owned by John Tollemache Esq., 240 acres.

1756: “John Lavicount inherited in 1756 Long Lane, Delaps and Windward from Benj. King Esq.   Vere Oliver Vol.II p.164

In 1829 Delaps contained 240 acres and 250 slaves.

1845: January 1st  500 drawings by Fawcett, Preston Engineering Co. Ltd. on database of a Brass Cane Liquor Pump for the Delaps estate.   National Museums Liverpool Maritime Archives & Library.  Ref. B/FP/5/3/2/44

1866:  January 20th- Letter to Lord Combermere at Combermere Abbey from a Mr. Hartman sent out to assess the five estates recently purchased. See Lucas (#136) for combined assessment with Delap’s.

The average annual Island Expense of the estate for 5 years, including Salaries, Labourers wages & all other items £1,520.   The average crop for 5 years 134-143 Hhds.

1851: The Antigua Almanac shows Delpas of 240 acres belonging to John Tollemache.

Sammy Smith in “To Shoot Hard Labour”, p.130.  

“It was early March 1918.   The cutters at Delap’s all of a sudden refuse to cut cane for the price the bakra say.   What them lives. Not a man around, except for the ones happen at Delaps, Sanderson’s and North Sound was not the end of things.   Charlie Martin of All Saints – he lived at Nevis Street in town – and that he a-shout that the small farmers must demand their pay from the factory.”  

The magistrate Solomon Reed read the Riot Act and shots were fired into the crowd.   “The people start to run for or their lives and some that couldn’t move. Some people got shot in their legs, some in the arms and back.   Two or three got their arms shot off.   R.S.D. told me he was quite sure that people have learnt their lessons.”   George Weston got seven years hard labour and two people, John Furlong and James Brown of Point were killed.

1918: In 1918 the Sugar Factory asked that cane be paid by the ton instead of the time honored way of by the row. The peasants could see how many rows they cut but could not see their canes weighed and were suspicious of being cheated especially as the yield for 1918 was very low.

“Recommendation for the Regulation of Payment to Cane Cutters.”

No canes shall be required to be cut by any Labourer at Day’s Pay.

Women to receive the same rate of wages as men.

No canes to be cut by the ton unless the canes of each individual cutter be weighed on the Estate

on which they are cut.

RATOON CANES to be cut at the minimum rate of 1 1/4d per line.

PLANT CANES to be cut at a minimum rate of 1 1/2d per line.

A sliding Scale for Ratoon Canes above the minimum rate shall be fixed on fields averaging more than 9 tons to the row.

1954: Sammy Smith at age seventy seven was working between Duer’s and Delap’s for the sugar syndicate, and Mr. DeSouza was his boss.   “The cattle plough was no more.   Instead machines was being used to pull the canes and plough the fields.   The factory also had changed from steam to electricity and there was quite a large number of bikes, motor bikes, cars and other such things in the country.   Life move faster nowadays.” To Shoot Hard Labour.

The last family to live at Delaps was the Scotland family.   They lived on the estate till 1995 hurricane.   Sylvester Scotland is the only member to have been born at Delap’s.  Joy Lawrence

The Jack-o-Lantern is a rural phenomenon still debated today as to whether fact or fiction.   The light, which travels long distances usually after 10:00pm, numbs the senses and places its victims into a state of stupor.   Its victims would then follow the light wherever it leads, through thicket, deep waterways and bottomless ravines to their own demise.   A person could only escape that ordeal if he, during his senselessness, lit a match or happen to come in contact with another light.   Many have claimed to have seen a Jack-o-Lantern and narrowly escaped its clutches.   Crab hunters who often see this “dancing light” claim they have only narrowly escaped its clutches.

Crab hunters who often see this “dancing light” claim they have only escaped because someone in the group always carried a flambeau.  

Below are a sample of stories told first hand to Joy Lawrence.

Jack-o-Lantern Stories from Delaps Estate by Sylvester Scotland as told to Joy Lawrence.

“Me member in the earlies, in the 1960’s no light use to dey.   One night de old man (Dennis Scotland) send me go buy cigarette a Bethesda pan donkey, dark night, you know. Get the cigarette coming back by Four-Corner me look west, me see light like it dey dung a Morris Looby.   Me say tarl dat haffoo be one Lanshan (Jack-o-Lantern);  me haffoo beat dat cause me always hear de old man a talk bout Lanshan and dat look like wan Lanshan to me.   Yes, arwe does see light a run bout in da hill up dey, Thomas Hill, but arwe na know wha’ dem be but me know dat no human can skip cross no hill so.

Anyway, me see de light reach just by Stead grung dung dey.   Me say tarl me haffoo beat dis ya go a yard.   Me gallop de donkey cause me haffo come dung by Sybil dey foo turn foo come out ya.   Me see de light right up in front a me right dey by Dan grung.   De light just float cross dey and me say tarl me can’t beat da light dey so me turn back me donkey and a straight back a Bethesda me go etap dey until morning a bruck!   A’fraid me fraid now cause a really wan Lanshan e min be, you know.   Ride go straight back a Bethesda and me come home de morning and tell the old man wha’ happen he tell me boy, you do de right ting cause you no know wha; he would a do wid you.”

Edith Scotland’s Jack-o-Lantern stories as told by Syl.

“De old lady (Edith Scotland) does always a tell arwe bout Lanshan how dem does lead way people and carry demm in a place where you walk in a cassi and you na even feel cassi a dig you.   But this one me remember good:  She say one morning when she does wake up early foo go work – she does work farming.   She min live a Delap and she haffoo go work up a Montpellier.   So this morning the moon very , very, very bright so she get fooled by the moonlight thinking well a early morning, when a midnight.   So she on she way to de farming, because in dem days now, farming a whe’ you make the money, because if you take up wan whole field and work um and keep um clean you get wan bonus when de cane reach perfection.   Well on the way to the farming she see this light, the Lanshan – a light from a distance.   She see the light a come but she min very close to the farming so wha’ she do now, she walk fast so she can get in a de can field foo go hide.   Well, there come de light pan she now.   She run go ina de cane field cause them min da cut cane, a min crop time so whole tun a trash dey.   She run ina de cane field and run under the trash cause de Lanshan right dey.   Well she under the trash and de Lanshan start to walk up and dung pan tap a she.   She stay dey in shock until she feel sun a bun she.   Then she come out and go a she farming, do she work and come back and tell the old man wa min happen.”

When Derrick was Manager and DeNolly was overseer at Delaps Estate there was an incident regarding a trunk in the overseer’s house containing clothes of all the people who lived in the house.   One day, clothes in the trunk started to burn but only clothes belonging to one person in the house.   Once that person’s clothes were burnt the fire extinguished itself.

The last Manager at Delap’s was Reuben Cooke.

Water carriers for Delap’s & Blake’s were Mary Carter, Mary Phillip and Eunice Joseph from Bethesda.   They would fetch the water in buckets from the ponds and take it to the workers in the fields.

1941: Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd. Cane Returns for 1941 Crop.   Delaps.  Estimated 5336 tons, 245 3/4 acres estate, – acres peasants on the estate, tons of cane delivered 5720 at 22.30 tons per acre.

1943: August 1st, Gunthorpes Estates, Ltd. was restructured (see #64 Gunthorpes) into a ‘new’ company renamed Antigua Syndicate Estates, Ltd..   The original company’s estates were Cassada Garden, Cedar Valley, Fitches Creek and North Sound. were bought for £30,700;  while Delaps was bought for £7,734.

1950’s/60’s – Memories of Robin Bascus.

“I always felt that I was very fortunate in life. I came from a large family of ten, not unusual in those days, and though I lost my father (who was a journalist) at an early age, managed to get through with a good education.   I won a scholarship to go to TOR School from Dr. Luther Winter who never charged my mother for doctoring any of us.  I was one of five picked to go into a Training Programme for Overseers by the Syndicate Estate and I have to say that being an Overseer on the Estates was a wonderful way of life The five besides myself were Hugh Lynsey, Archie Butler from Pears and the Dickenson brothers from Jennings.

We all had to complete Senior Cambridge and in attaining the position of Junior Overseer it gave us a permanency with the Syndicate Estates that allowed us to work up the ladder to Senior Overseer.   Lynsey and myself shared the Yeamon’s estate house and started off with Delaps where Georgie Derrick was the Manager.   He was a hard taskmaster.   Colin Spencer was an Attorney and Wesley Wynter was Attorney for Burkes and Delaps.     Mr. Michael was the Manager at Burkes for the Shoul family.

My first love was football and I would have to request time off for practice and various team matches but always made sure my position as Overseer was covered by the Ranger.   I would have to go to Mr. Michael for permission who in turn often referred the request to Mr. Spencer and Mr. Keenan at ASF.   It always seemed to cause consternation, but Mr. Jim DuBuisson who was a big man in the firm Henckell DuBuisson & Co. in England which owned many of the sugar factories in the West Indies, used to come to my matches and run up and down on the sidelines cheering me on.   This made me feel good and perform better in the center forward position.

The estates all had their own stables and I remember one race horse called “Firefly” that really stood out.   The Manager at Blakes Estate used to get all his foals from “Firefly.”   I was used to riding because that is how we performed our job as Overseer, by riding around the estate.   Well one day I was told to get up on one of these racehorses in Recreation Grounds and the horse started acting up and eventually threw me. It was a close call.  

The jobs we performed were varied and my day started at 6am and while I was having breakfast  the groom prepared my horse.   I would then disperse the different groups of workers on the estate each of which had a foreman in charge.  I had to make sure that the driver had verified that the linesman had measured the lines cut by the day.  This was before the days when the canes were weighed and everyone was paid by the line.   There was a lot of burning the cane field in those days mostly because the cow-itch was so bad the workers refused to cut the cane.   The Unions were very strong in those days Mr. Moody-Stuart told him to always check the density of the cow itch and instead of burning the field offer them $1.25 a row instead of the usual $1.00.

I later was Overseer for Gaynor’s estate and stayed nearby at Lyons.   The area employed a lot of people from Newfield especially with Montpelier Sugar Factory, but very few from Freetown who were more people of the sea.   Frank Goodwin at Gaynor’s was still alive at the time but whenever I tried to see him, the few people around sort of protected him by saying, “Massa not well.”

After Gaynor’s I took over from Norris Abbott at Long Lane and finally ended up at The Diamond which produced fruit and vegetables.

VC (Bird) had remembered me telling him about the way the water flowed from Burke’s behind Yeamon’s to Blackman’s, which emptied into the sea but that I could not see how that water could be harnessed for use at Diamond.   You can see the stream when it passes Collins.   VC wanted to find a way to bring more water to Diamond in order to produce pineapples. Within three days he had three backhoes or bulldozers digging out what is now Potworks Dam and pipes were provided to take the water from Potworks over Parry’s to Diamond – and pineapples were grown.   That man could make things happen.

He also wanted me to be a Union man with Lionel Hurst leading the movement but at first I declined because it meant giving up a salary of $1,600 for $1,200. Then one morning at 5am when I was still in my pyjamas, VC (Bird) drove up and sent Denis Gardner up for me right then and there to tell me he needed me. In the end I gave in and became General Secretary to the Union.   I felt VC was a genuine man.

George Walters was always a good friend and he always admired his strength. He is the only person he has seen take down a bull by twisting it by the horns.   George was also an excellent swimmer.

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 Delap’s, approximately 676.72 acres as contained in Certificate of Title No.2611943 dated 3rd August, 1943 and registered in Register Book Q Folio 26.   Transferred to the Antigua Syndicate Estates lt.

1944: The Antigua Syndicate Estates purchased Delap’s for 25,115.20, the Tudway estates for 43,741 and the Codrington estates for 49,006.00.

1945: In 1945 W.J McSevney was the Superintendent for Diamond (#87), Mercer’s Creek (#141), Betty’s Hope (#77), Delap’s and Cotton (#77b).

1948: the Syndicate Estates divided land and livestock between Diamond and Duer’s (#89).

1950’s: Old E.G Derrick was at Delap’s followed by Leo Boyce.   It was at this time that many ‘poor whites’ from Barbados came over to manage the estates (Spencer, Yearwood, Melancon, B.P. Slack etc…).   In 1956, a lot of Indians (east) came from St Lucia to cut the cane due to the labour problems in Antigua.   —Jules Walters                

1952: In 1952, the Manager at Delap’s was Charles M.L. Lake and the Overseer was G.H. Halpike.

1955: In 1955, under Group A were Lavington’s (#121), Burke’s (#133) and Delap’s (#137) for a total of 541.1 acres.   Superintendent was N.C. Norris.

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

Legacies of British Slave-ownership: Antigua 82 Delap’s was awarded £3,952 18 s 11 d for 268 enslaved.   Awardee was John Tollemach (nee Halliday).   Unsuccessful were Daniel Hill, George Wickham Washington Ledeatt, William Lee.   Vice Admiral John Richard Delap Tollemache (nee Halliday was successful deceased and Daniel Hill was Beneficiary deceased.

Antigua 86 Long Lane and Delaps were awarded £2,790 8 s 8 d for 213 slaves.   The awardees were John Ewart, Joseph Christopher Ewart, William Myers and William Taylor.

There are two separate funds awarded #82 and #86 to include Long Lane and this could have been “Little Delaps”.

Ownership Chronology

Ownership from 1700 George Lucas

  • 1737: Francis Delap  
  • 1754: Benjamin King
  • 1756: John Lavicount
  • 1790: John Delap Halliday  – 1777/78 Luffman map
  • 1819: Rear Adm. John Halliday Tollemach
  • 1852: John Tollemache
  • 1866: Lord Combermere
  • 1871-88: James Maginley
  • 1888: Lord Combermere 
  • 1943: Antigua Syndicate Estates Ltd.
  • 1967: Antigua Government – Crown Land