History of St. James

Named after James, Duke of York, by Sir Thomas Modyford, St. James was among the second batch of parishes to be formed in Jamaica in about 1664-1655; the others in this batch were St. George, St. Mary, St. Ann and St. Elizabeth. At the time of its formation, it was much larger than it now is, as it included what are now the separate parishes of Trelawny and Hanover. For many years after the English conquest, the north side of the island including St. James was sparsely settled and in 1673, only 146 persons resided in the entire parish. It was considered as one of the poorest parishes and in 1711-12, the citizens of St. James were excused from taxation because of its few inhabitants, the lack of towns and its modest commerce. In 1724, the first road Act for the parish was passed – the road going from The Cave in Westmoreland to the west end of St. James and a court of quarter sessions was established four years later.