Founding date: 1750
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This mill is in extreme disrepair with only the east side left standing. Large wood beams lay on the ground. I have been unable to ascertain the condition of the estate house now resided in by Selvyn Walter and whether any of the original structure remains though it appears to have been renovated.
Room’s is not far from the village of Willikies and nearby is Cinnamon Hill, Long Bay and Devil’s Bridge. It is an extremely dry and stony part of the island which must have made the growing of crops extremely difficult.
Estate Related History/Timeline
1829: In 1829 this Estate contained 318 acres -168 slaves.
1852: Kean Osborn MD owner of Orange Valley of 735 acres in St. Mary’s, Bodkins of 412 acres in St. Paul’s, Rooms of 318 acres in St. Paul’s, Paynters of 272 acres and Carlisles of 388 acres in St. Georges.
Vere Oliver Vol.II P368.
He left his six freehold estates in Antigua in trust with separate beneficiaries mostly family, for each.
In 1829 Dr. Osborn was a Member of H.M. Council when the total amount of slaves on the island of Antigua numbered 29,839. He was a resident in Antigua in the early 1830’s but in Britain by 1840.
Mr. Barry Simon, when writing up the history of Piggotts Village for the 2012 Reunion. “The lower section of the area as you enter the village (Piggott’s) using the Old Parham Road, was owned by a gentleman by the name of Dr. Keen Osborne, who had a farm and the area was referred to as OSBORNES farm, or Osborne s Village. After the Second World War, many people moved off the surrounding estates, to live in this area while others went to Potters and Barnes Hill.
1864: Rev. M.J. Drinkwater is listed as Curate of St. Mary’s in 1862. Occasional Papers from St. Augustine’s College in Canterbury, England.– No.87 dated March 20, 1865 there is an extract from a letter from Rev. M.J. Drinkwater from Antigua dated Dec.12th 1864. Besides giving the general news regarding drought and his work with the Church, the purpose of the letter appears to be requesting funds in order to complete a school he was building in a village called Darby’s. “This village has never been taken in hand either by Wesleyans or Moravians, and as there is some Church land there, I have obtained half an acre, and begun to build a substantial school-house, which will also be licensed by the Bishop for the performance of Divine worship.” His son, Rev. William Edward Drinkwater, was born in Antigua in 1869.
1921: In 1921 Room’s contained 366 acres. Mr. Pestaina is also listed on the 1933 Camacho map as owning “Constance” which is just to the east of “Rooms” above Long Bay. To date I have no information on this estate.
Mr. Pestaina did not like black people and Willie Baines, who was with Syndicate Estates, used to tell Mr. Pestaina whenever there was a dance held in the buff house of which there were quite a few. This would upset Mr. Pestaina so much it is said this eventually killed him.
The old estate house is leased by Selvyn Walter on a 99-year lease by Government.
The Gores sold Room’s to Government for $50,000. Selvyn Walter & family obtained a ninety nine year lease from Government on the estate house and some of the surrounding land when there was a movement by Government to try to upkeep some of the old and historic properties. He continues to reside at Rooms.Selvyn is related to Sir George Walter (Premier to Antigua in the 1970’s), taught at the Antigua Boys Grammar School and is a noted historian and collector of art and antiques.
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 the estate contained 168 enslaved persons right before slavery was abolished in the Caribbean. We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals.
Ownership from 1750 Sir Wm. Codrington
- 1778: Christopher Bethell 1777/78 Luffman map
- 1790: W.I. Bethell
- 1829: Sir Edward Codrington & B. Walrond. 168 slaves
- 1843: Dr. Kean Brown Osborn MD (1772-1852 age 83) 1851 Horsford’s Antigua Almanac
- 1872: Robert Dobson lease 1872 Horsford’s Antigua Almanac
- 1878: W.H. Edwards.
- 1860: Rev. M.J. Drinkwater
- 1891: Heirs Rev. Drinkwater.
- 1933: A. Pestaina 1933 Camacho map
- 1940’s: Willie & Leo Gore.
- 1950’s: Antigua & Barbuda Government.
- Selvyn Walter ninety-nine lease fr. Government-buff & surrounding land