Sligoville (formerly known as Highgate) is a small community approximately 10 miles from Spanish Town in the parish of St. Catherine on the island of Jamaica.

Sligoville is located in Jamaica
Coordinates: 18°06′N 76°57′W / 18.100°N 76.950°W / 18.100; -76.950Coordinates: 18°06′N 76°57′W / 18.100°N 76.950°W / 18.100; -76.950
ParishSt. Catherine
First settled1835
Founded byRev. James Mursell Phillippo


On 10 July 1835, Reverend James Phillippo, an English Baptist minister and anti-slavery activist stationed in Spanish Town, purchased 25 acres (10 ha) of land for £100 and established the first "free village" in the West Indies.[1] The land was subsequently divided into quarter-acre lots which the freed slaves could purchase for £3 each.[2] The first former slave to purchase land in Sligoville was former Hampstead Estate headman Henry Lunan.[3] What became known as the "Free Village" system resulted from this first settlement, and similar villages were established throughout the island, most of them by ministers of religion, who supplied land to the ex-slaves who had never owned land before.[4][5]

Originally named Highgate, the village was renamed as Sligoville (after Howe Browne, Marquess of Sligo and Governor of Jamaica in 1834, the year that freedom came to the enslaved people of Jamaica) on 12 June 1840.[2] Phillipo later established a church and school in Sligoville. The ruins of the Highgate House, which was the residence of several British governors, can still be viewed in Sligoville today, along with the private chapel St. John's Anglican Church that John Agustus O'Sullivan founded in 1840 and the Sligoville Great House, also built by O'Sullivan. The Sligoville Heritage Foundation Benevolent Society, founded by direct descendants of Jamaican slaves, co-organises the annual Sligoville Emanci-Fest with the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission.[2]

Notable peopleEdit


  1. ^ "Sligoville". Jamaica National Heritage Trust. Retrieved 9 March 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Sligoville – Jamaica's First Free Village". Jamaican Information Service. 6 August 2018. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  3. ^ "Sligoville - Jamaica's First Free Village Established To Prepare For Emancipation". The Gleaner. 16 August 2014.
  4. ^ Cultural Studies. Routledge. 1992. ISBN 0-415-90345-9.
  5. ^ Serju, Christopher (29 January 2011). "Bairds Bare Sligoville's Rich Past". The Gleaner.
  6. ^ "Interview with Shirley Tate". Times Higher Education (THE). 27 April 2017. Retrieved 12 June 2021.