Founding date: 1700
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There is nothing left of the original buildings or sugar mill other than a large pile of stones and bricks. The land has been divided into separate holdings and house lots, and is known today as Bath Lodge.
Estate Related History/Timeline
1718: “There being hardly any freight this season, several masters of ships petition against the payment of dues. A bridge was recently built at the end of Duncombes Folly for £100.
1770: Indenture — lease for one year to Francis Farley of a plantation called Duncombes Folly in St. John’s Parish and Division of 456 acres bounded W with Oliver’s (#201) and Bendall’s (#37), N with Briggins (#22). S with Hon. S. Martin, E with Edward Williams, Esq. Schedule of negroes and stock: 78 men, 51 women, 10 boys, 11 girls.” Vere Oliver, Volume III.
1748: “The land owned by James Weatherill, border on the east by Edward Williams, south by Richard Oliver, west by Peter Thibou, and Samuel Martin, and north Robert Chester. Duncombe’s Folly was indentured. It’s 575 acres in St. John’s Parish were bounded E(ast) by lands belonging to Peter Thibou, Esq. & Samuel Martin, Esq., W(est) by lands belonging to Peter Thibou, Esq., and N(orth) by lands formerly belonging to and in the possession of Robert Chester, Esq, but now or later held by Col. George Lucas and those 107 negroes and all cattle, horse, as such are or lately were in the possession or occupation of Michael Lambert.
Goldsmith Sir Charles Duncombe also had something to do with Thomas Bertram’s Estate in Antigua.”
Prior to 1767, the Folly Estate was owned by George Weatherill. On October 17, 1836, the estate had 199 slaves and received a Legacy award (Antigua 70) from the British Parliament of £2,980. 6s. 2p. for setting them free.
(Parliamentary Papers, p. 309. T71/877 Ann Bean Water, Jacob Daniel Walter and Peter Philip Walter were all executory of Jacob Walter, deceased. Further information on the Walter ownership of Bath Lodge — Papers, Correspondence and Plans — can be found in the National Archives, Kew, for the period 1869-1892,)
In “Affairs of Antigua, 17th July 1841”, Samuel Gore was a leasee of Bath Lodge and brought the following people to court:
* John, for ill usage of cattle entrusted to his care and by neglect occasioning the death of an ox. Sentence was one month’s imprisonment in the House of Correction with hard labour.
* Philemon, for ill use of an ox. Sentenced to forfeit to the estate 14 days labour.
* Emanuel, absent without leave. Reprimanded fourteen days imprisonment in the House of Correction with hard labour.
* Simon, absent for thirty one days. Received fourteen days imprisonment in the House of Correction with hard labour.
* Edward B. Bryan, withholding from wages of Samuel Barter. Defendant agreed to pay wages.
* Francis, quitting estate before his notice had expired. Ordered to return to work the 2 days required.
W. Walker was the Justice of the Peace.
1843: In 1843, Bath Lodge was one of the mills destroyed by an earthquake.
1851: The 1851 Antigua Almanac lists The Folly as owned by Godschall Johnson and consisting of a huge tract of 1,931 acres. However, the Ownership Chronology lists the owner as the heirs of John J. Walter, with no reference to acreage. Similarly, the 1852 Almanac shows The Folly belonging to the heirs of John J. Walter, but the Chronology lists the owner as Godschall Johnson. Take your pick!
1872: By 1872, The Folly contained 456 acres and was owned by the Fryer’s Concrete Company. All of this sheds doubt on the 1851 claim of over 1,000 acres.
1941: In 1941, the Antigua Sugar Factory, Ltd. had estimated returns from The Folly of 1,628 tons from 641 tons of cane harvested on 125 acres of peasant land.
After World War II, returning veterans were given three-to-five acres of farmland by the Colonial Government on various parts of the island, including Brason Hill, Bath Lodge and Liberta. Roland Morris was in charge of land distribution and a Mr. Page was responsible for surveying.
Those returning soldiers — including Selvyn Spencer, Wilden Richards and Hudson Christian — were billeted in the area prior to obtaining the land. Alvin Christian inherited his land from his father, which was the original site of the buff house and works. He is very farming the land and has a large collection of fruit trees.
The property includes a red brick tomb, which Mr. Christian has been told originally featured glass doors on both the east and west sides. A Dr. Knight, of obeah (black magic) fame, from Ovals, apparently conducted some of his ceremonies at this tomb. The practice of obeah was declared illegal in the early 1900s, and there are several interesting cases in the Court records.
Also on the property is a large cistern which had been used to collect water from the roof of the cattle pen which no longer exists. In 2003, the Antigua Power & Utilities Association (APUA), with the help of Hydro Source, sunk an artesian well at The Folly. This was Antigua’s first artesian well. Water was struck at 296 feet and the well produced 400 gallons/minute.
Enslaved People’s History
Based on contemporary research, we have little information to share about the enslaved peoples from this plantation at this time. A passage from 1770 states “Schedule of negroes and stock: 78 men, 51 women, 10 boys, 11 girls.” Vere Oliver, Volume III. On October 17, 1836, the estate had 199 slaves and received a Legacy award (Antigua 70) from the British Parliament of £2,980. 6s. 2p. for setting them free. We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals.
- 1700: James Weatherill d. 1702
- 1748: James Weatherill Baptized 1722; d. 1770
- 1750: Col. James Weatherill d. 1765.
- 1760: Mrs. Margaret Weatherill
- 1777: Alexander Willock, Esq (1777/78 map by cartographer John Luffman.)
- 1829: John J. Walter Acreage unknown; 255 slaves.
- 1851: Heirs of John J. Walter
- 1852: Godschall Johnson
- 1872: Fryer’s Concrete Company 456 acres.
- 1891: James Kirwin
- 1933: Heirs of Parson Emmanuel George
- 1946: Returning World War II veterans given five acres of land each
- 2004: Alvin Christian, the buff house land