Founding date: 1701
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There is no longer a mill on this site yet the village of Sweete’s is a reminder of what was once this estate. There is what appears to be the old estate house flanked in the front by two very old large mahogany trees situated on high ground in the village of Sweete’s.
Estate Related History/Timeline
Maine Swete, 3rd son of Rev. John Swete, moved to London about 1688, and from there to an estate on the Island of Antigua. The 337 acre plantation of Captain Main Swete at Falmouth, Antigua, was surveyed on 15 July 1701. He was a Member of the Assembly in 1704 and 1715. [Vere Langford Oliver, The History of the Island of Antigua, Mitchell and Hughes, London, 1899] He married (1) Grace Waldron. They had no children. He returned to Devon and married (2) Esther Prickman in 1728. He inherited Traine Manor in 1733 when his brother Adrian died with no children. When he died in 1735 he left Traine and other properties to his wife Esther in trust for their three-year-old son Adrian John Swete. Genealogical site.
Theodore Walrond (b.1701) was the 4th Marquis de Vallado. Marquis de Vallado is a Spanish title bestowed upon Humphrey Walrond on 5th August 1653 by King Philip IV of Spain. He was also Governor of Barbados. The title was passed on down through the family to Main Swete Walrond (b.1725) who was the 5th Marquis, Joseph Lyons Waldron (1725-1815) who was the 6th and Lyons Walrond (1800-1819) who was the 7th Marquis de Vallado.
The Walrond genealogical site shows a Theodore Walrond (c.1675-1706) md. to Elizabeth Smith who had a daughter Mary Walrond (c.1703) born in Antigua, West Indies.
Theodore Walrond married Mary Keynell (Governor Keynell’s daughter) after 1726.
July 15, 1701: The Plantation of Capt. Main Swete at Falmouth of 337 acres was surveyed on July 15 and a plan of this is recorded in the Surveyor’s Book Fo.54. V.Oliver Vol.III p.106.
Capt. Main Swete was from Medbury in S.Devon, England.
He was a member of the Assembly in 1715.
In 1840, it contained 180 acres.
The Birth of the Village of Liberta by Hewlester A. Samuel Sr.
S W E T E S – This village is named after the owner of the plantation here in the early 1700’s by the name of Main Swete. He had come from Modbury in South Devon. He was a member of the House of Assembly in 1715 and died in 1735. Just after emancipation, Henry Gale owned the 180-acre estate. In the mid1840’s its owner marked off a portion of land for sale to labourers on the sugar estates so Sweete’s village developed at this time, especially since estate owners did not wish to rebuild labourers cottages after the great earthquake of 1843.
“I hate to close this chapter without saying something about the village of Swete (Better known to the people of Liberta as Swetes Village). The original estate was a 337-acre sugar plantation owned by Captain Main Swete and his wife, Esther Swete. The estate and thus the village, is in the northwestern section of Liberta. Swetes came from a long line of Antiguan-born British families. The estate, in its heyday, was home to hundreds of slaves. According to Ermington Parish Register, Main Swete died in England and was buried on July 8th, 1735, leaving the estate to his widow Esther who resided in England at the time of his death. The Swete Estate was later rented to Daniel Mathew.
The topography of the Swete’s area is almost identical to that of Liberta, with lowlands and valleys, except that it does not have as many craggy hills. It is the flattest lowland in the area, compared to Buckley’s on the north and Folly Hill and John Hughes directly west, so after emancipation, most of the slaves settled in Swete, the owner following the trend of selling unwanted estate lands to emancipated slaves.
How and when the name was changed from Swete to Sweete’s, I cannot ascertain. What I do know is that, on August 3rd, 1703, Swete was not just another planter in the parish of St. Paul’s – he was a member of the Antigua parliament, and in 1704, he was appointed captain in the Antigua militia. On July 31, 1706, he was “appointed Major of Monks Hill Fort and other forts, and principal store keeper at Monks Hill.” This appointment was made immediately after the fort was completed. He held his position at Monks Hill for a long time, and many of his slaves were well acquainted with the fort’s operations. When the government asked the planters to send at least two slaves to assist with the work at Monks Hill, Swete was one of the planters that did not respond immediately.
I do not know when Swete bought or named the plantation but it might have been a land grant, which was quite common during the settlement of the island. Main Swete was one of the early settlers of the island. In the planned uprising of the slaves in 1736, while the secret army was amassing weapons for the uprising, one of Main Swete slaves was caught scaling the walls at Monks Hill to get into the western powder house. Unfortunately, his efforts were futile, he was caught and severely punished.
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 only have a brief anecdote about an unnamed enslaved person remaining: “ In the planned uprising of the slaves in 1736, while the secret army was amassing weapons for the uprising, one of Main Swete slaves was caught scaling the walls at Monks Hill to get into the western powder house. Unfortunately, his efforts were futile, he was caught and severely punished.” We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals.
- 1726 Theodore Walrond (1701c-1748)
- 1730 Maine Swete Walrond (d.1735)
- 1748 Maine Swete Walrond (1725-1790)
- 1760 Theodore Walrond (1749 -1767)
- 1790 Theodore Walrond (1788-1820)
- 1843 Henry E. Gale