Our History

Over 400 years of Jamaican history

Once the site of an English coastal fort built for defence against Spanish and French invaders and pirates, and later developed as a working sugar plantation, Tryall possesses a heritage as romantic as its breathtaking views of the Caribbean. Vestiges of Tryall’s history including a cut stone aqueduct and the spectacular functioning Dutch waterwheel assembled on site around 1834 still grace the landscape of the estate.

The Tryall Club is approximately twelve miles west of Montego Bay on the northern coast of Jamaica. The former sugar plantation consists of 2,200 acres of land once owned by a single family for over a century. It is an area of scenic beauty with one and a half miles of sea and a cornucopia of fruit and flowering trees. Flint River, fed by springs from the mountains which form the eastern border of the property runs through the plantation for some four miles before flowing into the sweeping Tryall bay manned by a cannon and jetty where the English once defended its shores.

The origin of the name Tryall though subject to much speculation is synonymous with the transformational nature of this property to go from trials to prosperity. There can be no doubt that Tryall, a small enclave in the parish of Hanover played a pivotal part in the history of the region; certainly by the later part of the 18th century it had become a landmark. Its coastal fort constructed by the English as a protection against Spanish and French invaders as well as pirates was a thriving port for colonial trade with provincial powers. The Tryall Fort like others of its era commissioned by Oliver Cromwell was one of a series running from Savannah –la-Mar in Westmoreland to Fort Charlotte in Lucea and onto Fort Montego.

There is tenuous evidence that the Tryal lands were occupied by Taino/Arawak Indians, the true natives of the Caribbean and that Barnes Hill had been a Taino burial ground. That Tryall was a grand sugar plantation is undeniable when faced with the grandeur of the estate. The first great House on the hill was built in 1747 when 176 slaves were listed as labourers on Tryall. The land and buildings themselves grew from its first setting by Henry Fairchild in 1678 at 210 acres to some 3000 acres within that period. The mills, curing houses and offices would have been some of the most prominent holdings on this side of the island. The architectural marvels displayed at the sugar factory and across the property are testaments to Tryall’s historic greatness. Water supplied by an aqueduct which runs for two miles through the property is still today powering the magnificent cast iron waterwheel. The headwaters’ source is a dam on the Flint River, high up in the hills at the back of Tryall coming from what is now the Tryall Forest Reserve. Both dam and aqueduct would have been constructed by slave labour using a mixture of marl, oxblood and animal hair as cement and cut limestone blocks carried on the backs of strong African Jamaican labourers.

Today The Tryall Club is home to a vibrant Membership of discerning individuals and families who enjoy the varied amenities of an outstanding Club and the comfort, privacy and convenience of a home in Jamaica.