Type: Extant
Parish: St.George
Founding date: 1750
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Mill at Will Blizard’s as it stands

Current Status

This mill is beginning to crumble and deteriorate.

Due to the extensive building of the US Navy Base on the property, nothing else of the estate remains.   It was an ideally situated estate right on the sea with a view out to Maiden and Long Island.

Estate Related History/ Timeline

1750:  Thomas Jarvis in 1750 owner of Long Island and Mount Jarvis alias Joshua, inherited ownership of Long Island and Mount Jarvis also inherited Blizard’s with his wife (Jane Whitehead d.1797).  Vere Oliver Vol.II 

1789: “ “William Blizard Will 18 September 1789 plantation in North Sound to my Ex’ors in Trust to pay 1/3 of the profits to my sister Mary Bowers for her life, and then to son Christopher 1/3 to my sister of Mgt. Wendall and 1/2 to my nephew John Donaldson.”   Vere Oliver Vol.I p.57

1829: Estate contained 90 acres—slaves were shared with another plantation.

1829: Alexander Willock & Francis Willock & Frank Gore Willock “all those four estates or plantations called The Folly, Mount Pleasant, Blizard’s and Samuel Byams.”

1843 : Will Blizard’s 90 acres owned by Messrs. W & F Shand.

1851:  Antigua Almanac shows Blizard’s, Will, of 90 acres belonging to Messrs. W. & F. Shand.

Francis Shand (d.1868), West India merchant, Liverpool shipowner and Antiguan proprietor, son and partner from 1826 of Charles & William Shand and later described as an East India merchant, married to Lydia Byam in St. George’s Parish 1837.   They had 13 children.

1941: This area was leased to the US Army WWII in support of the Navy Air Base at Crabbs and Coolidge Air Base.   It was part of a ring of facilities in the Caribbean from British Guiana on the south to Trinidad, St. Lucia, Antigua, Jamaica and one of the Bahamian out islands used to protect the Panama Canal from German submarines.   The British who were hard pressed, in one of the deals of the century, generously gave the Americans ninety-nine-year leases to eight base sites in return for fifty reconditioned but over-age destroyers.   Antigua was the smallest of these and was chosen for its strategic position where submarines were becoming an increasing threat, and was to be the center for anti-submarine patrols.   The Americans planned to spend  $4 million which was a huge infusion at that time.   The bases thus offered the Antiguan labor force the first real alternative to the sugar industry and gave a desperately needed boost to all sectors of the economy.   The submarine activity was intense and Antigua’s geographical position was crucial.   Enemy subs attempting to reach the shipping lanes leading to Trinidad and Curacao (where there were oil refineries), Guantanamo, Cuba, and the Panama Canal all had to pass near Antigua;  in addition, all movement in and out of Guadeloupe, at that point under Vichy control, had to be monitored.

Crabbs was to be the site of the Naval Air Station and Coolidge the site of the Army Air Base.

The latter started construction on May 13th, 1941, and encompassed not only Will Blizard’s where the main buildings were situated, but Millar’s, High Point and Winthorpe’s.   The entire area was fenced and there were four gates:  the main gate (Base or West Gate) at Carlisle;  the north gate just below the old Antigua Beach Hotel;  the south gate just west of St. George’s; and a fourth gate at Judge’s in Barnes Hill.

It was deactivated after the war, the airfield (Coolidge and now VC Bird International Airport) was given to Antigua, and part of the base was reactivated in 1956 for a Naval facility and space tracking station at the Air Force Base.   

Excerpts taken from The U.S. Bases in Antigua and the New Winthorpes Story by Susan Lowes.

1941: The Syndicate Estates sold land to the Government of Leeward Islands to facilitate the settlement of “Blizard’s Village” (New Winthorpes) for £80 16s 5d with acreage from Cedar Valley (formerly Giles Blizard’s).

1995: The Navy Base was closed and the facilities were handed over to the Government of Antigua & Barbuda to be used as the Antigua & Barbuda Defense Force Headquarters.

There was an Act (agreement) in 1969 to amend the US Defense Area.

The Antigua & Barbuda Defense Force was formed in 1981 after Independence.   Prior to that, it was a volunteer force called “The Antigua Defense Force.    Its main purpose was to protect the sugar planters.   Today, The Antigua & Barbuda Defense Force protects the civilian population.   Some of its duties are to prevent smuggling, ceremonial duties, provide internal security, and conduct search and rescue operations.   In 2004 there were 170 men with 125 women in the army and 45 in the navy.   The Defense Force comes under the Ministry of Defense which also includes the Coast Guard..

Two Antigua Sugar Factory locomotives were stored at Camp Blizard (2007). 2013 they were removed to the Government mechanic’s shop on Factory Rd. and through an MOU with the Ministry of Tourism and Lawrence Gameson they were restored and moved to the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda where they are displayed in the courtyard.   Should an area to display them be constructed at Betty’s Hope, they will be transferred to the estate grounds.

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 know that the estate shared enslaved workers with another plantation just before slavery was abolished in the Caribbean. We will continue our quest for more information about these vital individuals.

Legacies of British Slave-owners:   

Blizard (Giles) was awarded £1246 18 s 11 d for 81 enslaved.   This could be Will Blizard’s #54

The awardee was George Savage Martin, the beneficiary was Sir Henry Willock, beneficiary deceased were Alexander Willock, Francis Willock, and Frank Gore Willock.   Unsuccessful were Robert Pulsford and William Pulsford.

Ownership Chronology

  • 1750 Thomas Jarvis – see quote
  • 1780 William Blizard Will 1789
  • 1800 Sir William Blizard (1743-1835)
  • 1829 Francis Willock (1759 -1829
  • 1843 Messrs W. & Francis Shand d.1868 & Co.
  • 1872 not mentioned in the Horsford Almanac
  • 1942 US Army.
  • 1943 Antigua Syndicate Estates, Ltd.
  • 1968 Antigua Government – Crown Land
  • 1995 Antigua & Barbuda Defense Force.