the Jamaican houses of parliament

the parliament house in jamaica

the Jamaican houses of parliament

Jamaica's first House of Assembly held its first meeting on January 20, 1664, at St. Jag de la Vega (now Spanish Town). The exact site where the Assembly met while Spanish Town was the seat of Government still remains a mystery, but it is believed that the Assembly may have met at any of the following places:


At this period, Governors of Jamaica had to reside where and how they could - there was no official residence provided and at times they lived in hired houses. On this point, no clues have yet been found as to where the Governor resided at the time of the meeting.

the places


The Spanish Chapel of the Red Cross, destroyed by zealous Cromwellian troops, was rebuilt by the English by 1663. Whether it was used for the first meeting of the Assembly is not known, but in later years it was definitely used for meetings of the Assembly. In a pamphlet entitled "A View of the Proceedings of the Assemblies of Jamaica ..." pg. 37, there is an extract from a letter written on December 4, 1715, which says: "The Grand Court is sitting as also the Assembly (which as former Assemblies have done on Court time) is sitting in the Great Church."


Reference in the above extract to the Court House has suggested that if a Court House in fact existed in January 1664, it would have been the most likely place for the Assembly meeting to have been held. Civil Courts had been established in June, 1661, by Governor D'Oyley, so it seem possible that there might have been a Courts building in St. Jago de la Vega in 1664. On March 16, 1665, the House of Assembly passed "An Act Concerning the Court House". But no copy of the Act exists in the Archives at Spanish Town. Had it been found, it might have indicated whether a court house already existed in January, 1664, or if the Act was passed to enable a court house to be built for the first time.