Type: Extant
Parish: St.John
Founding date: 1740
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Current Status

The sugar mill on this plantation’s land is in remarkably good condition, having been meticulously cared for when it was incorporated into the former Club Colonna Beach Hotel (see #3, Harts & Royals Plantation).  This estate also was originally waterfront property at the northernmost tip of Antigua, with a commanding view of both the Caribbean and Atlantic Oceans.  Subsequent development on the estate has surrounded the mill, but it can still be seen from the road.

Estate Related History/Timeline

The Hodge’s Bay Estate House is the oldest surviving home in Antigua.  While a 1750 map of the island cites Henry Hodge as the owner, it is known that parts of the large house date back to the seventeenth century.  Commander Hodge was probably the builder of the house. It was rebuilt and substantially renovated in 1939 by Maybert (nee Jarvis) and Dalmer Dew.  The Dews retained the widened doorways to accommodate crinoline hooped skirts, the popular fashion of the day.  The room known as “the battery” contains a seventeenth-century open hearth fireplace large enough to dominate the entire west wall.  It could roast an entire cow!

The Dews were the last owners of the Buff house on the Hodges Plantation.  Dalmer owned Joseph Dew & Sons in St. John’s, one of the major stores in the island’s capital, until the 1970s.  The lumber store on Old Parham Road still bears the name “Dews.” Dalmer Dew was also one of Antigua’s first outstanding cricketers and is mentioned in Wisden, the bible of international cricket. His ancestor, Joseph Turner Dew, had arrived in Antigua in the 1860s, and his son, Ernest David Dew (b. 1868), managed the Belmont estate (#19).  Peters, Dew, and J. J. Comacho formed South Western Estates Co.

The old estate house, sitting on three-and-one-half acres, was purchased in 2013 with the intent of converting it into a boutique hotel, but the plan never materialized, and the house and property continue to suffer the ravages of weather and time.

Historically, the name “Hodge” was derived from “Roger,” a name introduced to England by the Normans after their Conquest of England in 1066.  The root of Roger is hrod, meaning “enown,” and gari, meaning “spear”.  Apparently, some of the native Brits of old could not pronounce the Norman “R,” and it became “H” or “D” instead; hence Hodge or Dodge as a surname.

The Hodge name is found extensively throughout the Caribbean islands and has been for decades.  The first Hodge is believed to be an Irishman who landed on Anguilla about 1700.  The 1727 records of Antigua and Anguilla list a number of residents named Hodge.  Another Langford Lovell Hodge and his son of the same name owned estates in British Guiana as well as Antigua, dating from the late 1700s.  The Hodge family website currently lists various Hodge residents in St. Martin, St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as Antigua and Anguilla.

A September 10, 1750 inventory and appraisement of the property and household effects of the original Henry Hodge, who died that year, lists his slaves, cattle, horses, household furnishings, carts, and other plantation utensils.  Henry was residing at Popeshead at the time: occupation, planter.

    The first page of the document names and values “52 male slaves and 12 female.  Total £3,029. 1s. 0p.” The second-page names and values “28 female slaves, 40 boys, 41 girls, 6 bulls all named, 11 oxen all named, 7 cows all named, 2 horses named, carrying forward £7,375. 11s. 0p.” The third page includes “a complete inventory of the house – Hall items, First Chamber below, First Chamber above had nothing, 3rd Chamber above, in the closet, in the Steward Room.” The fourth page – “Room over Steward’s room in Kitchen, in the Old Hall, in the Wine Room, in the Boiling Room, in the Still House, in the Mill.  Total carried forward: £7,900. 14s. 1/4p.”

    “Shown to them by Stephan Blizard, James Nibbs, Esqs., and Mr. John Bird.  And appraised 25th September 1750 by Hamilton Kirby, Will MacKinnon, Thomas Graveney, Sam Nibbs.”

It is also known that Hodges Bay was awarded £2,756. 7s. 6p. for 201 enslaved (Antigua 25).  Langford Lovell Hodge was the single awardee. And again, in 1870, Hodges Bay was awarded £711. 8s. 0p. (Antigua 1070); a number of slaves not mentioned.  The awardee was Langford Lovell Hodge.”  Those financial awards were Legacies of British slave ownership by the English Government to compensate for the loss of slaves when they were freed.

    It is known that the Hodge’s Bay estate came out of cultivation in the 1890s, during the ownership of Oliver Nugent, and was then used for rearing cattle.  The old slave burial ground of the estate can be located on the south side of the main road, which currently traverses the old estate.

The area now known as Hodge’s Bay, which had included The Antigua Beach Hotel built in 1938 – 1940, just prior to Europe’s entry into World War II, was owned by George W. Bennett Bryson & Co.  This powerful company helped shape the history of Antigua, including the development of Hodges Bay as a residential community for the island’s wealthy white population.

Two large stone gate posts stood sentry on the road where drivers entered and left the property, and to prove that the area was private, the road was closed one day a year to all traffic.  Neither of those gate posts exists today, and the practice of blocking the road to all traffic has long been discontinued.

At a point in time, Langford Lovell Hodge was accused of “cruel and inhuman disposition,” having treated one of his female slaves with “great and unjustifiable severity and cruelty.”  He was Aide-de-Camp to the Governor, Sir James Leith! The pregnant slave took her case to the Governor, who paid her some cash and gave her a note for her owner.  Langford’s response was to give the woman an additional number of lashes and fired off a note to the Governor, who ordered his secretary to inform Langford that the Governor no longer required his services. Langford dressed one of his negro boys in his own uniform, mounted him on a mule, and dispatched him with an insolent note to the Governor!  The grand jury refused to find Langford guilty of “great scandal and infamy.”

The home of Sandy Turner, a director of Bryson’s, was converted into the White Sands Hotel in the mid-1950s by Stan Hawley.  This later became the Hodge’s Bay Club, which was subsequently expanded to include the Pelican Club, a popular nightclub on the Hodges Bay waterfront.  In 2006, the property again changed hands with a major expansion which was to include a tunnel beneath the road for access to the beach-front housing units.  This project died when the primary financier, a bank in Iceland, defaulted.  A new investor took over the property in 2015 and resumed work on a hotel/condo facility.

In addition to Hodge’s Bay, George W. Bennett Bryson & Co. owned many of the estates on Antigua, as well as a large grocery and hardware store at the foot of St. John’s and a bottling plant.  The firm was the agent for many of the products Antiguans imported, and it still acts as a shipping agent today.

1891: In 1891, the six estates owned by the Bennett family included Brecknocks (heirs of John W. Bennett, #40), Golden Grove (#23), Jolly Hill (leased from Reverend Thomas Peters), Blubber & Rose Valley, Montero’s (#164, heirs of G. W. Bennett), and Friars Hill or Freemans (heirs of H. O. Bennett, #11). The Claremont estate had been sold to George Macandrew, High Point to Clyde McDonald, and Nibbs to James Rocke.

1921: In 1921, Robert Bryson owned six estates on Antigua — Bodkin’s & Willis Freeman’s, Diamond, Dimsdale, Isaacs Hill, Morris Looby’s, and Parry’s. Noel Scott Johnston, a Director of Brysons, owned Claremont, which he most likely purchased from the heirs of George Macandre.

1933: In 1933, the Bryson Company had increased its holdings to include Blubber Valley (#168), Ffrye’s (#118), Freeman’s Upper (#81), Jolly Hill (#167), leased in 1891 from Reverend Thomas Peters, see above, La Roche’s (#135), Lavington’s (#121), Long Lane (#107), Morris Looby’s (#141) owned in 1921 by Robert Bryson, see above), Montero’s (#164), Sanderson’s (#86), Thomas (#138), York’s (#183), and the Bendal Sugar Factory (#37).

1943: In August 1943, the estates formerly owned by the George W. Bennett Bryson & Co. — Burke’s (133), Cochrans (#83), Freeman’s (#81/82), Hoye’s, Jolly Hill (#167), Lavington’s, Long Lane (#107), Mercer’s Creek (#78), Sanderson’s (#86), Thomas (#138), and Willis Freeman’s (#143) — were acquired by Gunthorpe’s Estates, Ltd., of which Moody Stuart was attorney.  This evolved into Antigua Syndicated Estates Ltd.,  owned by a British firm, Henckell du Buisson & Co., in which Bryson retained shares.

(ED: This history has been excerpted from “An Antigua Trading Company,” a history of Bryson’s, written by Mary Gleadall and published in 2012. Records on Hodge’s and Langford Lovell Hodge are in the National Archive at Kew, U.K.

Enslaved People’s History

Based on contemporary research, we have little information to share about the enslaved peoples from this plantation at this time. However, we will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals. At most, there were 180 slaves. A September 10, 1750 inventory and appraisement of the property and household effects of the original Henry Hodge, who died that year, lists his slaves, cattle, horses, household furnishings, carts, and other plantation utensils. Henry was residing at Popeshead at the time: occupation, planter. The first page of the document names and values “52 male slaves and 12 female. Total £3,029. 1s. 0p.”

Ownership Chronology

  • 1740: Henry Hodge. d. 1750. (1777/78 maps by cartographer John Luffman.)
  • 1768: Henry’s daughter, Isabella Hodge, may have taken title to the estate upon Henry’s passing, but there is no confirmation. Isabella died intestate and single in 1837 and is buried on the Hodges estate property.
  • 1790: Henry Hodges. d. 1824. Possibly the son of the original Henry Hodges
  • 1820: Langford Lovell Hodge (1807-1862)
  • 1824: Isabella Hodge. Probably the younger Henry’s daughter. By 1829, 200 acres, 180 slaves
  • 1851: Langford Lovell Hodge. The Almanac of the same year says he also owned the Hart’s & Royal’s Plantation (#3), but the Ownership Chronology for that estate lists the owners as C., William & F. Shand
  • 1870: Vere Oliver, in his History of Antigua and The Antiguans, Vol. II, states that in 1870, the Reverend William Henry O’Bryan Hodge sold Hodges Bay Plantation to Oliver Nugent. However, Nugent is not listed as the owner until 1891 (see below)
  • 1872: The Horseford Almanac lists the Hodges Bay estate at 192 acres leased to W. Goodwin, Jr.
  • 1878: Reverend E. Hodge
  • 1891: Oliver Nugent (1851-1894)
  • 1921: H. E. Haynes. 185 acres
  • 1930’s: Late Dalmer Dew (the Great House)
  • 1950’s: Clarence Johnson (the mill site and land)
  • 1970’s: Sun Sail Club Colonna Hotel (the mill site)