The Great House was the seat of authority on the estate or plantation. It was the home of the planter and his family or the attorney, who acted for the absentee owner. The size and profitability of the property and owner’s actual wealth determined the size of the house. These Great Houses were usually two-storey buildings with a base of brick, cut stone and mortar with the top floor usually fashioned in wood. Variations of this archetype included one-storey buildings constructed of wood, cut stone or ‘Spanish walling’ (wattle and daub) or, alternatively, a two-storey building made of brick, wood or cut stone.
There are several Great Houses in Jamaica offering tours, all preserved as much as possible to how they stood in their heyday; well worthy of a visit not only to see and admire, but to find out about each house and its own unique and fascinating history with accompanying anecdotes and, of course, the occasional ghost!