Spanish Town - Parish of St Catherine
Formerly knows St. Jago de la Vega, St James of the Plain. This was the principal settlement of Spanish Jamaica and remained the official capital of the British colony until 1872. A Sephardi congregation was formed by migrants from Port Royal in 1692, and land for a synagogue was purchased in 1704. During the 18th century The Spanish Town Jewish community was the second largest in the island after Kingston. An Ashkenazi congregation was formed about 1790 and in 1844 united with the Sephardim and became known as the German and Portuguese Synagogue, but during the nineteenth century there was a steady exodus of Jewish families to Kingston (and abroad) , and after 1884 the synagogue was closed for regular worship. The building, a replica of Bevis Marks synagogue in London, survived until about 1920. The Ashkenazi synagogue, erected in 1796, was pulled down in 1895, and the land sold. There are three disused burial grounds.
First Beth Haim
S.E. of the junction of White Church Street and Burke Road. The land was purchased in 1692
Second Beth Haim
On Salt Pond Road. Established in the 1790's by the Ashkenazim.
Third Burial Ground
Adjoining the former synagogue, S.E. of the junction of Monk and Adelaide Street. The surviving tombstones range in date from 1824 to 1886.
Cemetery information sourced from:
RD Barnett & P. Wright, The Jews of Jamaica Tombstones Inscriptions 1663 - 1880: Ben Zvi Institute