Type: Ruin
Parish: St.Paul
Founding date: 1679
See on Google Maps!

Picture of Savannah mill

Current Status

Note is one of the oldest plantations in Antigua and should be developed as an historical site for future generations.    Philip Warner was the first Governor of Antigua and instrumental in the settlement of the island for the Crown of England.    The Warner grave site, still partially walled, is not far from the remains of a circular brick well probably the first ever built on the island, while extensive broken stone walls fringe the area.  This is the site of the island’s first Government House.    Only two stone tablets remain in the grave site, both broken in two by grave robbers hoping to retrieve artifacts.    There is a sugar mill nearby built of rather rough stone.   The area around the mill has been beautified with bougainvillea and the surrounding area is becoming built up.   The Warner family also owned all of the land close by now known as the Dockyard, Falmouth and Cobbs Cross, with another estate known as Folly, further inland.  

Nearby off the dusty road to the Medical University is a very important Amerindian site on what appears to be a dry river bed.    The site is littered with small pieces of pottery and animal bones.    Looking around at the very arid conditions and scrubland of today, it is hard to imagine that this was once a flowing river and fertile land chosen by the Amerindians for a settlement.

Estate Related History/Timeline

1640: Edward Warner’s wife and two children were captured by Carib Indians and carried off.   Edward Warner d.23 October and is buried at St. Paul’s.

1672: “Letter of Attorney from Owen Martin of London, Esq., to Wlm. Barnes of Kingsaile, Ireland, Gent., to take possession of a plantation called the “Savannah”, lately sold by ye Hon. Col. Philip Warner to me by deed of sale dated Feb. 1st 1672.”  Vere Oliver Vol.III p.197

1672: Hon. Col. Philip Warner for 900 pounds sterling, sells to Owen Martyn Esq., ye Savannah.   Deed of partnership and inventory order.”   Vere Oliver Vol.III p.197

1675: Philip Warner was Governor of Antigua from 1672-75.

“In 1675, Col. Philip Warner was in the Tower, charged with the murder of his brother Indian Warner at Dominica.”   (See Vere Oliver Vol.I for full particulars.)

3 Nov.1679.   Col. Philip Warner possesses ye Savana by patent from William Lord Willoughby, dated 11 April, 1668, now confirmed by Sir W. Stapleton, the said freehold to be the manner of Farmingham and to have all royalties, a full grown Bore to be paid yearly to His Majesty.” Vere Oliver Vol.III p.197

1678-1679 : “Col. Philip Warner, 200 acres by Hon. Capt. Paul Lee, Judge of Falmouth, surveyed June 1679.”

1681: “Col. Philip Warner, 200 acres granted by Sir W. Stapleton.”

1689: “Besse relates that: “Col. Philip Warner, as he was riding his Horse stumbled and fell upon him, so that he died a few Days after of the Hurt he had received.”

Edward Warner of St. Kitts, Coloniser of the Leeward Islands was first Governor of Antigua in 1629 and Deputy Governor of St. Kitts 1628.    He fathered a child by a Carib woman, who Col. Philip Warner (son) was imprisoned in the Tower of London charged with the murder of his half-brother Indian Warner at Dominica.    Philip Warner was Governor of Antigua, 1672-75, d.23 October 1689.

1695: Thomas Warner d. 11 November, 1695 of Folly and SavannahCobbs Cross.

Will of Thomas Warner.  “… and by indenture of same date I let my plantations of Cobbs Cross, Savanna & Folly to Essay Burges Dr. of Physick, Maj. Edw. Byam, Mr. Edward Walrond and Capt. John Roe for 99 years in Trust that they might pay my wife Jane 40,000 pounds, and the rest to perform the said covenants and after that the lease to cease…..”   Vere Oliver Vol.III p.190

1728: “Letter from Edward Warner dated 9 April 1728, saying that he has been in England two years having spent thirteen or fourteen years in Antigua.   His shattered health and young family, asks for fifteen months more leave.”   Vere Oliver Vol.III p.197

Elizabeth Scott Warner, dtr. of Col. Edward Warner owned the “Savannah” of 900 acres.   Vere Oliver Vol.II p.111

1729: Henry Warner buried Savannah 26 February 1729 

1771: Indenture between Fauquier’s and Joseph Pickering – “… all that their 1/3 of two plantations in the Parish of Falmouth, ie. the Folly containing 409 acres ….. and that other plantation called Savannah (incl. the houses and lands called Cobb’s Cross) containing 900 acres ….. and the land heretofore given to his Majesty for the use of H.M.’s ships in English Harbour….. rent for one whole year.”   Vere Oliver Vol.III p.192

1780: Godschall Johnson for 18,361 sterling, purchased the plantations owned by Edward Byam, being the moiety of the Folly of 385 acres, and that of the Savannah and Picadilly of 1559 acres.”   Vere Oliver Vol.II p.113

Two Warner graves can be found on the Savannah site which are to be protected under National Parks.   They were unfortunately opened in the hopes of finding artifacts and both markers damaged in the process.NER/Late wife of Edward Warner, of this island, Esq.—–/She departed this life the thirteenth of August/1723/in the 37th year of her age.”

And “here lies the body of/Mr. Henry Warner/Who died on the 17th day of Sept./1731/in the 39th year of his age/—-”

1803: Indenture 12 May, 1803.   “that other plantation called the Savannah and of Piccadilly, part of the Savannah in the division of Falmouth and Parish of St. Paul, containing 1559 acres, 1 rood and 7 perches, and all slaves, etc……”   Vere Oliver Vol.I p.61

“Appraisement in 1778”    Papers held by Nick Warner, Australia.

1778: An Estimate of the value of the Lands, Slaves, Livestock, Buildings and Plantation Utensils of and belonging to the Folly and Savanna plantations (including Picadilly) of Edward Byam and Godschall Johnson Esq. in Antigua as made by Bertie Enhuisle, Samuel Eliot and John Horsford Esquires in the year 1778.”  (10 pages long, signed 29th June, 1778.)

LANDS – Folly: 385 acres; 260 of which Cane land      Value 13,500

                         125 in pasture, Negro Grounds etc.                  1,750

               Savanna;  1559 acres (including 149-3-37 in Piccadilly) with Cobb’s Cross House, the Rangers, and free Tenants’ houses and the Cattle Penn.    Value 16,000

Total value 31,250.

Slaves:  Males 99, Females 119


Buildings at the Folly – a servant’s house, built of pine and hardboard, body clapboard, roof shingles, a small cellar underneath; Length 28 feet, Breadth 16 feet, height 10 feet, divided in two rooms – Pounds 170.

A Corn Mill House with a Belfry over it, on a foundation of stone built with love, the body of the House made of hardwood boarded and shingled.   Supports of the Belfry of hardwood 11 feet from the ground; plate and Gills of the house, pitch pine; Roof of white pine boarded and shingled; the Belfry of hardwood and pine boarded and shingled; Length of the house 18 feet; Breadth 15 feet, Height at the plate 5 feet – Pounds 100.

A dwelling House of hardwood and Bricks, and 10 and a half feet in height at the plate, the Roof of hardwood boarded and shingled, in the House are the following rooms, viz. a porch 10 feet long, 9 and a half feet broad, a Hall 17 and a half feet by 16 and a half feet, two Chambers @ 15 and a half by 13 and a half; 2 shed Chambers @ 12 and a half feet by 10 and a half feet, passage between them 10 and a half feet long by 3 and a half feet wide; the whole out of repair.   Pounds 300.

A stove kitchen built with lime, with pine roof boarded and shingled, Length 24 feet, Breadth 12 feet;  Wall 6 and a half feet high.  Pounds 250.

A house built of stone, wall very indifferent, the roof of pine, boarded and shingled; the length of the buildings 43 and a half feet, breadth 15 and a half feet; height 12 and a half feet divided into 2 stories with a wooden portico, and steps on the outside to the upper story which serves as Sich House, the lower part divided into a cellar for provisions, and a place of confinement for offending slaves.   Pounds 250.

A boiling house with a Copper Hose Shed built of stone and lime, the wall all good but the back wall which is bad; the roof, door, and window frames all hardwood; east side of the roof boarded and shingled, West side cove with Pantiles; 6 fire places with double chimneys for 10 Coppers, length 71 feet, Breadth 34 feet; height to the plate 11 feet.   Pounds 975.

A curing house; a slight building of pine by way of covering the scale beam etc.   Pounds 12.

A store windmill in good order, including a spare Bridge Tree, Stock, a point, a side roller, case and gudgeon.   Pounds 1800.

A Mule Penn and Shed in it, all of pitch and pine; the roof of the shed boarded and shingled.   Pounds 80.

A cattle mill in good order.   Pounds 250.

A Mule Penn and Shed in it, all of pitch and pine; the roof of the shed boarded and shingled.   Pounds 80

A blacksmith’s shop built of pitch pine, the body and roof boarded and shingled, the forge and chimney of stone and brick; length 29 feet, breadth 13 feet to the plate 7 feet.   Pounds 200.

A Still house and rim Cellar under it, the body of the Still House of pitch pine boarded and clapboarded; the roof of Pitch pine boarded shingled, the floor pitch pine; Beams and sleepers the same; Doors and windows white pine, length 50 feet; breadth 24 feet; height to the plate 8 feet 3 inches.   The Cellar built of stone and lime; the wall 2 feet thick; the door and window frames of hardwood, Iron bars to the latter, doors and windows of white pine; length 46 feet, breadth 20 feet, height 10 feet.   Pounds 880

A trash house 45 feet long, 21 feet wide; a pine roof thatched and supported on hardwood posts within square pillars of mason’s work 6 feet high.   Pounds 60.

At Falmouth.

A store with loft over it; built of stone and lime; the roof pitch pine boarded and shingled; door and window frames, floor of the loft, beams, and sleepers all pitch pine; length 47 feet, breadth 18 feet, height to the plate 12 feet.   Pounds 500.

Utensils at the Folly.

10 Coppers (6 teachers, 4 clarifiers)  320-5-6

4 stills and heads 233-15

4 worms 250

4 worm tubs; one good, 3 indifferent 90

A large Plantation bell 33

Piccadilly – As taken from the schedule of the lease thereof made by William Maxwell to William Pigott in 1770.

A dwelling house – 14

34 Negro houses, very bad – 15 @ 25-10

Total – Pounds 60,591-10-10 and a quarter.

Value of Slaves – Pounds 13,184-14.


At the request of Edward Byam Esq. on behalf of G.J. W. Esq. of London, We whose Names are here to subscribe made the foregoing Estimate of the value of the lands, slaves, livestock, buildings and plantation interests belonging to the Folly and Savanna plantations (including Picadilly) of the said EB and GJ in this island.

Nearby the site of the graves partially walled is probably the first well ever dug in Antigua, circular in design, and remains of a long wall probably protecting the property.

Also in the area is Bat’s Cave and it is mentioned that the Caribs raided the Warner house, about half a mile to the north-east of Bat’s Cave.   This was the Great House or Buff of the Savannah estate.

Edward Warner was the first Governor of Antigua appointed in 1632, making this a particularly important historical site.

It is now the site of a Medical School, University of Health Sciences and Medicine.

Nick Warner (Australia 2010) feels that while Savannah may have been a thriving plantation in the early years of settlement (it was the first Warner estate and that is where the early Warner graveyard is still located) by the 1780’s or probably much earlier it was not much of an estate.   The Brown map of English Harbour of 1782 shows at Savannah the windmill, some huts, cattle pen and walls.   It does not look like much of a working plantation, whereas Folly and Piccadilly were.    The list of slaves for Folly and Piccadilly show 9 stockmen on Savannah, which indicates that it was used for livestock.

1803 Savannah/Folly Blizard family.   A very complicated Indenture on 13 May 1803 where Edward Byam releases 1/7 part of the above estates to Stephen Blizard.    Vere Oliver Vol.I p.57

In 1829 combined with Folly Byam, contained 2096 acres and 243 slaves.

Antigua 387 Holly & Savanna was awarded £3,461 17 s 6 d for 264 enslaved.

Awardees were John Bailey Darvall, Mary Johnson (nee Frances), Edward Purrier, John Vincent Purrier, Thomas Purrier and Henry Virtue Tebbs.   H.E. Gale was by other association.   Unsuccessful were Rev. Horace George Cholmondeley, Capt. Edward Darvall, Emily Darvall (nee Johnson), Godschall Johnson, Ralph Botoler Johson and William Kent Thomas.

Note – this is the first time “Holly” has appeared connected to “Savanna

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 contained 218 enslaved peoples around 1778, and there were 99 men and 119 women. We also know that the estate grew to contain 2096 acres and 243 enslaved peoples right before slavery was abolished in the mid-1800s in the Caribbean. Holly & Savannah together were then awarded £3,461 17 s 6 d for the liberation of 264 enslaved people. We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals.

Ownership Chronology

  • 1672 Owen Martin *
  • 1689 Thomas Warner (d.1695)
  • 1695 Hon. Edward Warner (d.1729)
  • 1729 Thomas Warner the elder (d.1779)
  • 1780 Godschall Johnson – 1777/78 Luffman map
  • 1829 Godschall Johnson
  • 1843 Godschall Johnson
  • 1878 Victor Guffray