A Travellerspoint blog

The Nine Parishes/Tribes of Bermuda

Warmed by the Gulf Stream


View 1964 Ship Follower & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Bermuda is a unique place - a series of islands divided into nine parishes or "tribes" which are named after the great gentlemen “adventurers”. This is important to recognize since virtually every attraction, restaurant and hotel is located by its parish name.

Bermuda was originally a volcano, and the islands are curled around the two largest remaining caldera sounds - Castle Harbour and Great Sound
Map

Map


According to our guide, if it has a tree on it, it is an island. If not, it is just a rock.
Waterlily pond with map of Bermuda

Waterlily pond with map of Bermuda

From northeast to southwest the tribes/parishes are

1) St George's Parish

which includes the town of St. George. St. George's Parish is named after the founder of the Bermuda colony, Admiral Sir George Somers. The Shakespeare play "The Tempest" is based on the adventures of Sir George Somers. St. George was the first capitol of Bermuda.
The white building (top center) is the Old State House 1963

The white building (top center) is the Old State House 1963


St. George's Parish consists of many smaller islands, notably Coney, Paget, Nonsuch, Castle, and Smith's Islands. Technically, St. George's also includes the island of St. David's. St. David's Island, and Cooper's Island, and Longbird Island became a single, contiguous landmass during the Second World War construction of what is now L.F. Wade International Airport, formerly a joint USAAF/RAF base, Kindley Field (and subsequently a USAF base, Kindley Air Force Base, then a US Navy air station, NAS Bermuda.

2) Hamilton Parish

which does NOT include the city of Hamilton and does include Tuckers town which isn't really a town. Hamilton Parrish is just south of St George and is on the north side of Harrington Sound. It was originally called Harrington Tribe, after Lucy Harrington, a wealthy and influential woman in the Elizabethan era. Subsequently it was named after another Elizabethan patron, James Hamilton, 2nd Marquis of Hamilton in the Scottish peerage (1589 to 1625). He was one of the gentlemen Adventurers who invested in the Bermuda Company to colonize it from 1615. As he was the largest shareholder in the original Hamilton Tribe, it took his name. Early settlers called the Parish or Tribe Bailey's Bay. In 1623, adventurer Captain John Smith, famous in American, Bermudian and British history, encountered many spooky caves in this Parish. It has deep water limestone caves, with subterranean passages. Altogether, there are 10 accessible caves in Bermuda that have sea water pools with a maximum depth of 80 feet given tidal variations. Most are in this Parish.

3) Smith's Parish

If you want to go to Flatts Village and the BAMZ (Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo) you come to Smith's.
Flatts from the BAMZ 2004

Flatts from the BAMZ 2004


Smith Parish is between Pembroke Parish (Hamilton - the current capitol city of Bermuda) and St. George's Parish (the first settlement and old capitol). Some of the railway walking trail is in Smith Parish. Smith's Parish has sea frontage on the South and North shores and southern side of the inland lake of Harrington Sound. It is named after one of Bermuda's Elizabethan patrons, Sir Thomas Smith or Smythe (1588-1624) who became the first Governor of the famous East India Company and first Governor of the Somers Isles Company - Bermuda - an office he held at the time of his death in 1625. Verdmont, the original home of the customs inspector for Bermuda is in Smith Parish on Collector's Hill. Also in Smith Parish is Spittal Pond Nature Reserve

4) Pembroke Parish

includes the capitol city of Hamilton. Pembroke Parish is centrally located on Main Island. It has North Shore and Hamilton Harbor sea frontage. It was named after Bermuda's Elizabethan patron, English aristocrat William Herbert, the (third) Earl of Pembroke (1580-1630). Pembroke was the nephew of Sir Philip Sydney and richest peer in England. He took his title from the market town of Pembroke in Pembrokeshire, Wales. In addition to the capitol city of Hamilton, Black Watch Pass, Fort Hamilton and Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI) are in Pembroke Parish
BUEI old time diver's suit

BUEI old time diver's suit

5) Devonshire Parish

has the Arboretum. Devonshire Parish is on Main Island. North, Middle and South Roads transit this parish. It was named for Bermuda's Elizabethan patron, William Cavendish, First Earl of Devonshire (1552-1626). Early settlers referred to Devonshire Tribe as Brackish Pond. It was because of the large marsh in the center. Today, Brackish Pond is Devonshire Marsh. Parts of it are sightseeing attractions for naturalists.

6) Paget Parish

which has the Botanical Garden and Camden House, the official Premier's residence. Paget Parish is on Bermuda's South, Middle and Harbour Roads. It was named in 1617 after Elizabethan patron, English peer and colonist William Paget, fourth Lord Paget (1572-29 August 1629), 4th Baron Paget de Beaudesert
Botanical Garden

Botanical Garden

7) Warwick Parish

Best known for it's pink sand beaches. Warwick Parish was named after one of Bermuda's Elizabethan patrons, Robert Rich, second Earl of Warwick (1587-1658). A colonial administrator and admiral, he was the largest original shareholder in Warwick Tribe, later Parish. This association with the central English county and town of Warwick is overlooked by visitors unless they are from Warwickshire in England or Warwick in Rhode Island, USA. It is why the Earls of Warwick were so titled. Because the Earl of Warwick never visited, early settlers had their own pet name for the Tribe. They called it Heron Bay because it then had significance to shipping and many herons congregated there. The northern side of the Parish was more important than the south because the early settlers didn't swim
large_IMG_5548.JPG

8) Southampton Parish

This parish has Gibb's Lighthouse. Southampton Parish was named after Henry Wriothesley, Third Earl of Southampton (1573-1624), an English aristocrat, one of the most colorful Elizabethans, the patron and friend of William Shakespeare. In addition to Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, a lot of the south shore beaches are in Southampton Parish
Gibbs Lighthouse from the ferry

Gibbs Lighthouse from the ferry

9) Sandy's Parish

which includes Somerset Village and the Royal Navy Dockyard (aka Kings Wharf) which is on Ireland Island. Sandy's Parish is at the other end of Bermuda from St. George's Island. It includes Somerset Island (named after the English county of Somerset). It also includes Boaz Island, Ireland Island and Watford Island. They are all connected by bridges and serviced by buses and ferries. It was named in honor of one of Bermuda's Elizabethan patrons, English aristocrat Sir Edwin Sandys (1561-1629). He was the second son of the Archbishop of the city of York in England
Clocktower Mall

Clocktower Mall

Most people who come to Bermuda want to go to the beach, although Bermuda is in the Atlantic and not the Caribbean. But there are other things to do in Bermuda. In my opinion there are four main attractions

Royal Naval Dockyard and Maritime Museum

This is now called The National Museum of Bermuda
1995 Entrance to Maritime Museum

1995 Entrance to Maritime Museum


The Royal Naval Dockyard was once the largest naval base in the Western Atlantic. The breakwaters, wharves, boat slips, barracks and keep were constructed just before the 1812 war. The Keep was built with walls 20 feet wide, and visitors can enter after crossing a concrete drawbridge over the surrounding moat.

MUSEUM BUILDINGS OF THE KEEP YARD

1. Queen's Exhibition Hall
2. The Shifting House
3. Bermuda Monetary Authority
4. Shell House
5. Forster Cooper Building
6. The Boatloft & Children's Room

BUILDINGS ON THE UPPER GROUNDS

8. The Dainty Exhibit
9. Artifact Conservation Laboratory
10. Jack Davis student residence
11. The Commissioner's House
Commissioner's House

Commissioner's House


12. High Cave and magazine

THE BOATLOFT

This large building at the end of the Parade Ground houses a number of attractions:

At the other end of Bermuda is:

St. George

Historic St. George Town (St. George was the second English town established in the New World (after Jamestown, Virginia)) has lots of things to see. A 2 hour walking tour (not counting going into buildings) on any day except Sunday (when some things are closed) might include
1. King's Square with a replica of a pillory and stocks
Stocks 2004

Stocks 2004


2. Ordnance Island with a statue of Sir George Somers and a replica of the Deliverance which was the vessel that carried the shipwrecked Sea Venture passengers on to Virginia. (We have never paid the fee to go aboard the Deliverance)
2. Ordnance Island

2. Ordnance Island


3. White Horse Tavern
White Horse Tavern

White Horse Tavern


4. Town Hall which has antique cedar furnishings and a collection of photographs of previous lord mayors (free)
Town Hall

Town Hall


5. Bridge House which was once the home of several governors of Bermuda.
5. Bridge House

5. Bridge House


6. Old State House - the oldest stone building in Bermuda, dating from 1620, and was once the home of the Bermuda Parliament. It's the site of the ancient Peppercorn Ceremony, in which the Old State House pays the government a "rent" of one peppercorn annually.
6. Old State House from 1995

6. Old State House from 1995


7. Somers Garden -The heart of Sir George Somers, the admiral of the Sea Venture, is buried here. (free)
7. Somers Garden from the steps

7. Somers Garden from the steps


8. St. George's Historical Society Museum
9. Featherbed Alley Printery
large_7193460-_Saint_George.jpg
10. St. Peter's Church The present church was built in 1713, with a tower added in 1814. You can wander around the church and graveyard for free.
12. St. Peter's Church in 2004

12. St. Peter's Church in 2004


11. Bermuda National Trust Museum
12. The former Carriage Museum
13. Unfinished Cathedral
13. Unfinished Cathedral

13. Unfinished Cathedral

Hamilton

The City of Hamilton, a port city, has been the capital and administrative, commercial, entertainment and shopping center of Bermuda since 1815. Unfortunately, there is also a Parish in Bermuda called Hamilton Parish, and Hamilton the city is not in Hamilton Parish. Places to visit in the city include
1. The Ferry Terminal and Front Street
2. The Royal Yacht Club and Albuoy's Point. This is a small park.
2. Albouy's Point and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club

2. Albouy's Point and Royal Bermuda Yacht Club


3. The Bank of Bermuda (taken over by HSBC group since 2004 and now known as HSBC Bank Bermuda Ltd.) is one of the few high-rise buildings in Hamilton, as most of the town structures are less than three stories in height. Inside, the bank keeps a collection of rare and valuable coins dating back through Bermuda's history. Sadly the bank no longer allows public entry into its head office and the coins are no longer in display.
3. Bank of Bermuda

3. Bank of Bermuda


4. The Bird Cage -A traffic box was named after its designer, Michael "Dickey" Bird. A policeman stands here directing traffic at Heyl's Corner, which was named for an American southerner, J. B. Heyl, who operated a nearby apothecary in the 1800s. It is the most photographed sight in Bermuda
Birdcage in 2007

Birdcage in 2007


5. Par-la-Ville Park - now Queen Elizabeth Park- This was once a private garden attached to the town house of William B. Perot, Bermuda's first postmaster. Perot, who designed the gardens in the 19th century, collected rare and exotic plants from all over the globe, including an Indian rubber tree, which was seeded in 1847. Mark Twain wrote that he found the tree "disappointing" in that it didn't bear rubber overshoes and hot-water bottles."
6. Library and Bermuda Historical Society Museum. This museum, is also the Bermuda Library. It's filled with curiosities, including cedar furniture, collections of antique silver and china, hog money, Confederate money, a 1775 letter from George Washington, and other artifacts. The library has many rare books, including a 1624 edition of John Smith's General Historie of Virginia, New England and the Somers Isles, which you can ask to view.
7. Perot Post Office

7. Perot Post Office


7. Perot Post Office- William Perot of Par-la-Ville ran this post office from 1818 to 1862. He was officially appointed Bermuda's first Post Master in 1821. It's said that he'd collect the mail from the clipper ships, then put it under his top hat in order to maintain his dignity. As he proceeded through town, he'd greet his friends and acquaintances by tipping his hat, thereby delivering their mail at the same time. In 1848, he shared the post office with apothecary James Heyl. Perot enjoyed gardening more than dealing with letters and collecting postage (see the Queen Elizabeth Park behind the post office), so Heyl was often left minding the store. For convenience, Heyl made up a sheet of 12 postmarks that he had Perot sign, and then sold them for a shilling. Folks cut them apart and fixed them to their letters. Only 11 of these original stamps remain (and Queen Elizabeth owns several), but in November, 1985, a 'Perot stamp' fetched $92,000 at a New York stamp auction. The original post office is still in operation and it's also a perfect place from which to send postcards. It is a real working post office with a few little exhibits in one corner.
8. Hamilton City Hall- Located at 17 Church St., the city hall dates from 1960 and is crowned by a white tower.
Weather vane on Hamilton City Hall

Weather vane on Hamilton City Hall


The bronze weather vane on top is a replica of the Sea Venture. Portraits of the queen and paintings of former island leaders adorn the main lobby. The Bermuda Society of Arts holds frequent exhibitions in this hall. The Benbow family's collection of rare stamps is also on display. It now houses the Bermuda National Gallery, built around the Watlington collection of 17th & 18th century European paintings by such artists as Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough. Also here is The Bermuda Society of Arts, a venue for local artists, to display their work and be host to visiting exhibition.
9. Victoria Park - Hamilton

9. Victoria Park - Hamilton


9. Victoria Park -Office workers frequent this cool, refreshing oasis on their lunch breaks. It features a sunken garden, ornamental shrubbery, and a Victorian bandstand. The 1.6 hectare (4-acre) park was laid out in honor of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. Outdoor concerts are held here in summer.
10. St. Theresa's - Hamilton

10. St. Theresa's - Hamilton


10. St. Theresa's -This Roman Catholic cathedral is open daily from 8am to 7pm and for Sunday services. Its architecture was inspired by the Spanish Mission style. Dating from 1927, it's one of a half-dozen Roman Catholic churches in Bermuda; its treasure is a gold-and-silver chalice -- a gift from Pope Paul VI when he visited the island in 1968. It was named after St. Theresa of Lisieux who was known as the Little Flower of Jesus. The tower was not completed until 1947 and it wasn't until about 20 years after that, that the church was officially designated as a cathedral. At Easter it plays host to the Santo Cristo parade.
Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity from a ferry

Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity from a ferry


11. Bermuda Cathedral - The Cathedral in Hamilton is also known as the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, is the seat (main church) of the Anglican Church of Bermuda. The Cathedral is known not only for its religious, historical, and social importance, but also for its beautiful Neo-Gothic architecture. This architectural style is characterized by stained-glass windows and soaring arches. "The reredos features a striking central figure of the Lord flanked by 14 saints, and the pulpit is a replica of the one in St. Giles, Edinburgh, Scotland." The steeple towers over the city of Hamilton
Sessions Building

Sessions Building


12. The Sessions House (Parliament Building) - Sessions House is quite near here located on Parliament Street, between Reid and Church streets. The Sessions House is open to the public Monday to Friday from 9am to 12:30pm and 2 to 5pm. The speaker wears a full wig and a flowing black robe. The Parliament of Bermuda is the third oldest in the world, after Iceland's and England's.
13. Cabinet Building--The official opening of Parliament takes place here in late October or early November. Wearing a plumed hat and full regalia, the governor makes his "Throne Speech." If you visit on a Wednesday, you can see the Bermuda Senate in action. The building is located between Court and Parliament streets, and is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
14. Cenotaph and War Memorial,
15. Fort Hamilton
Arch in the fort

Arch in the fort


And of course there is shopping.

In Flatt's Village is
Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo (BAMZ)
Bob talking to the birds

Bob talking to the birds


The Zoo and Aquarium is one good way to see native animals and sea life. The museum has displays on how the coral rock was quarried and how roof tiles are made from it, the blight that killed the Bermuda cedar and the introduction of invasive species are crowding out the native and endemic plants and animals. The BAMZ is right on multiple bus routes (either the 10 or 11 from Hamilton) and after you visit, you can continue on to St. George.

Open daily, except Christmas Day, 9 am to 5 pm. Last admission is 4 pm because you’ll need an hour to see the exhibits.

High on a Hill is
Gibbs Hill Lighthouse
Top of Gibbs Hill lighthouse - Southampton Parish

Top of Gibbs Hill lighthouse - Southampton Parish


Since the lighthouse is located on the highest point of the island in Southampton Parish, southwest of Hamilton, we could see the cruise ship docks across the sound. This is the second oldest cast iron lighthouse in the world built in 1846. (Jamaica's Morant Point Light was built in 1841) The 1-story keeper's house is occupied by a resident caretaker. Operator: Bermuda Department of Marine and Ports Service

The Gibbs Hill Lighthouse and the Gibbs Hill Lighthouse Gift Shop is open 7 days a week

------------------------

VISITS

My husband and I have been to Bermuda six times and I have been seven times. I came twice by plane, and five times by cruise ship.. We have another visit planned for 2019

Posted by greatgrandmaR 13:29 Archived in Bermuda

Table of contents

Comments

Having never been to Bermuda I had somehow envisaged it as just one island - thanks for enlightening me!

by ToonSarah

Bermuda was originally a volcano, and the islands are the around the two remaining caldera. The islands are curled around the two big sounds. I didn't find that out until this last trip

by greatgrandmaR

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.

Enter your Travellerspoint login details below

( What's this? )

If you aren't a member of Travellerspoint yet, you can join for free.

Join Travellerspoint