The Kerr Jarrett’s Legacy
The Legacy began with the merging of two respective families from Britain – The Kerr's of Scotland and The Jarrett’s from England.
John Kerr of Scotland sailed from England to Jamaica in 1655 to execute Sir Oliver Cromwell's plan to wrest the island from the Spanish. This infamous plan known as the Western Design Campaign was led by Admiral Penn, General Venables and Captain Henry Morgan (First Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica). The plan was successful and as a result many of the families were rewarded with vast parcels of land on the new acquired colony. John Kerr chose to settle in the Western Part of Jamaica.
In a show of gratitude for his loyalty to the monarch of England, Charles II rewarded Colonel Nicholas Jarrett of Camerton Court with vast parcels of land, which he soon settled and the estate his home, which he soon settled and made the estate his home.
Major General David Kerr (nephew of John Kerr), a bold and daring adventurer who fought for America during the 1776 War of Independence, came to Jamaica and was hired as a medical doctor at The Bellefield Estate. It was not too long after that he set his sights on Colonel Nicholas Jarrett’s only daughter Sarah and they were soon married. Thus marked birth of the famous Kerr Jarrett surname and the creation of a legacy, which gave the parish of St. James the historic and vast Barnett Estate, crowned by the majestic Bellfield Great House.
In its heyday the family's holdings spannded some 50,000 acres, which stretched from Montego Bay to Falmouth.
The marriage of these two families created a powerful alliance that has played a central role in the growth of Jamaica as a nation from colonial days to independence. Both families eventually got involved in sugar production, which was the staple of the Jamaican economy at the time.
The Sugar Plantations prospered during the 18th century, however, by misd 19th century many plantations faced rising costs and falling prices and so the Barnett Estate transitioned from sugar to banana production and subsequently into tourism.