Founding date: 1711
See on Google Maps!
There is still a mill on this estate and there is no sign that it converted to steam in the mid 1800’s. However, there are still foundations visible of the house on the hill just above the mill hidden by bush today. Just round the corner you will find the location of the Humane Society for animals and the Donkey Sanctuary run by Karen Corbin.
Estate Related History/Timeline
The 1627 Herman Moll map shows “Lucas Iun” in this area just south of the large Lucast estate of three windmills. Estates named Cabbage Tree and Round Hill are mentioned in the Lucas genealogy which means this could be Round Hill. It is more likely that Eliza Lucas Pinckney
(b.1722) at Cabbage Tree plantation would have been residing at the larger plantation of Lucas’. The third estate owned by the Lucas family was approximately where Sheriff’s is today at Mill Reef.
1703: Baptist Looby in 1703 purchased 30 acres at Willoughby Bay, in 1710 7 acres, in 1711 60 acres. In 1727 his estate of 222 1/2 acres was conveyed to Valentine Morris. Vere Oliver Vol.II
1711: John Tankard conveys to Victorious Looby 60 acres in Willoughby Bay (including 10 acres conveyed in 1688) for £400. Vere Oliver Vol.III p.121
1717: “Mr. Vincent Looby writes that there were prisoners at Martinique where they put in for water” V.Oliver Vol.II p.194
1718: “Sept. 20 Baptist Looby is sworn as Assistant Justice of the C.P.” This could be a relative of the original Baptist Looby, since records show that Morris Looby estate was sold to Valentine Morris.
1769: “Another, and more interesting sitter to Sir Joshua (Reynolds) was the beautiful Miss Morris who sat for one of his loveliest creations ‘Hope Nursing Love.’ Exhibited at the Royal Academy 1769.” V.Oliver Vol.II p.277
1776: Valentine Morris was rated on 1004 acres and 284 slaves.
In 1780, on 451 acres and 196 slaves. Vere Oliver Vol.II
Valentine Morris wrote in his Narrative – “Two of my valuable estates in Antigua were taken possession of by the Assignees of a Mortgage for the whole nominal sum of the original mortgage. Another very considerable estate in that Island, the seat of my nativity and that of all my remaining family, has been forced to sale under every possible disadvantage for little more than 13,000 pounds, which on the most accurate estimates had frequently been valued at 30,000 pounds.”
Vere Oliver Vol.II p.277
“Valentine Morris junior, inherited from his father a large fortune, which he dissipated in extravagant living. His friends obtained the post of Lieut. Governor in St. Vincent of which island he became Governor 4 years later. He later returned to England after the capture of St. Vincent by the French where he prosecuted various claims against the Government for sums advanced by him for public service. He languished six or seven years in the Kings Bench prison, during which time his charming wife, became insane from misery and distress. His friends obtained his release 3 years before his death in August 1789.”
“Morrises of North Sound estate in North Sound Division contained 280 acres 3 roods.” Not certain this quote pertains to this estate. Vere Oliver Vol.II p.147
In 1829, contained 286 acres and 167 slaves.
Legacies of British Slave-ownership. www.ucl.ac.uk/lbs/search/
Antigua 1031 Morris Looby’s was awarded £2,918 2 s 9 d for 184 enslaved. Mary Osborne and Grace Sheriff were the awardees.
1851: The Antigua Almanac shows Looby’s of 286 acres belonging to Assignees of J. Bullmer.
Jackie (Winter) Tracey “remembers growing up at Morris Looby where her father was manager in the 1940/50’s. “There was a hill nearby – we’d jump the fence and take off. It was known as Orchid Hill and at certain times of the year was covered in the small purple and yellow wild orchids. We had such freedom as children on the estate.”
1941: Antigua Sugar Factory Ltd Cane Returns for 1941 Crop. Morris Looby. Estimated 4170 tons, 166 acres estate, 8 acres peasants on the estate, tons of cane delivered 1033 at 23.84 tons per acre.
The photograph of the estate was donated by Mrs. Jackie (Winter) Tracey. c.1950
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, Bodkins, Parrys, and the Diamond, all bought for £7,400.
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 Morris Looby’s as contained in Certificate of Title No.2711943 dated 3rd August, 1943 and registered in Register Book Q Folio 27, less an area of approximately 539 acres.
1950’s: “As far back as I can remember life on the estates was fun. It started at Morris Looby’s Estate where I was born. My twin, Lillian, and I lived on seven estates growing up and our three elder brothers spoke of a few more.
The estate houses were spacious. Limitless space to play indoors and outdoors. We had large kitchen gardens with fresh vegetables everyday; corn, pigeon peas, cauliflower, cabbages, sweet potatoes etc. We had lots of help around the house who lived nearby and they were very good to have as neighbours. In fact, my second brother who was a hearty eater used to go over to the neighbors who always left some of their dinner for him. We never knew this until many years later when we were all grown up, and Georgianna, who was the mother, told us the story with great joy and enthusiasm. My brothers went shooting birds. They would take us fishing in the ponds, and we would clean and cook the fish right on the banks and eat them. That was a lot of fun. They also built ground carts as they called them and pushed us around the yard, up and down the small hills. I remember the cart turning over and I got cut and my mother who was a nurse had my three brothers hold me down for her to put iodine and bandage it. I still have the scar. We had fun everyday.
We loved dogs and always had many around the estate. We also had chickens, lots of pigeons, guinea pigs, and turtles. We were allowed to have any kind of animal that we wanted on the property. My brothers would go torching for crabs during the rainy season with the neighbors. We would purge them and then cook them and eat them with fungi. It was delicious. There was a fruit that grew in the gut that runs under the bridge not far from the existing World Cup stadium. The fruit was called gut Apple; it was very sweet. Once my sister and I ate sandbox seeds which made us extremely sick until we were made to vomit and all was well.
At Cassada Gardens my sister nearly drowned in a little pond not far from the house. They had thrown hay into the pond so we couldn’t tell where the edge was. She held onto a blade of grass and hollered at me until I was able to pull her out.
While living at Donovan’s Estate my dad did a lot of fishing with his colleagues. We ate a lot of stingray; delicious thick fleshy fish very similar in taste to shark. Once at Easter time my brothers built a large kite. It was taller than I and had a long tale. It flew for hours and hours and eventually the string broke and it sailed away. We later found out that it landed in St. Johnston’s Village.
Crop season was a great time; oh the smell of sugar boiling was exciting. Even now I can still remember the sweet aroma when I drive past the Sugar Factory. We enjoyed the cane, the cane butts, and we drank lots of molasses.
One of my favorite moments was when my father, Edric Hewlett came home from work. He would take my sister and I for a short ride on his horse around the house. That was the highlight of the day. He would hold the reins and walk alongside the horse, and we felt so safe. My dad wore a bola to work everyday and he had a swish. The bola was a hard rounded hat with a three to four inch rim and a leather strap with a metal buckle around the base of the crown.
I left the estates when I was eighteen, but it is still crystal clear. I most certainly had a great childhood.”
–Lucinda Hewlett Cumberbatch. Lucinda’s dad, Edric Hewlett (1907-1974)
was a manager for the Syndicate Estates.
1952: In 1952, Mr. J.H Wynter was the Manager and the Overseer was Mr. J.H. Hallpike. This is the approximate time the small photograph taken with a “Brownie” camera by Jackie Wynter, was taken. It is the only image I have been able to find of the estate house. The estate managers and overseers were moved around quite a bit to the various estates, and it is shortly afterwards that Edric Hewlett must have transferred to Morris Looby’s from Betty’s Hope where he was the Overseer in 1952. See the personal account by Lucinda (Hewlett) Cumberbatch.
1962: In 1965, the Government purchased Bodkins of 375.218 acres required for the Land Settlement programme at $96. Per acre from the Syndicate Estates. 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, minutes
Enslaved People’s History
Legacies of British Slave-ownership: Based on contemporary research, we have little information to share about the enslaved peoples from this plantation at this time. We do know that the estate began as being rated on 1004 acres with 284 enslaved people, and right before slavery was abolished in the Caribbean, Morris Looby’s was awarded £2,918 2 s 9 d for the liberations of 100 less people: 184 enslaved persons. We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals.
Ownership prior John Tankard
- 1711: Victorious Looby
- 1700c: Edward Looby
- 1703: Baptist Looby
- 1727: Valentine Morris
- 1790: Valentine Morris – 1777/78 Luffman Map
- 1829: Heirs of Morris
- 1843: James Bullmer
- 1851: Assignees of J. Bullmer
- 1878: Victor Guffray
- 1891: Victor Guffray
- 1921: R. Bryson
- 1933: G.W. Bryson Co., Ltd. 1933 Camacho map
- 1943 :Antigua Syndicate Estates, Ltd.
- 1967: Antigua Government – Crown Land