St. Jago De La Vega Cathedral, Spanish Town

#22 of 41 in Historic Sites in Jamaica
Church · Hidden Gem · Tourist Spot
Built in about 1525 on the site of the Spanish Chapel of the Red Cross, this Cathedral stands today as the oldest ecclesiastical structure in the British Empire (outside of the United Kingdom).

When the British conquered the Spanish in 1655, the English destroyed the existing cathedral, and built in its stead an Anglican church which was demolished by an earthquake in 1714.

In 1843, the Church was named the Cathedral of Anglican Diocese, in the honour of the patron saint – St. James. This cathedral is built in the form of a cross. Constructed in brick, it reflects a Romanesque and a Gothic architectural style. The aisles are dotted with the tombstones of many notables in Jamaican history.

Situated near to the House of Assembly and the Old King’s House, the St. James Cathedral is currently the chief church of the Anglican denomination in Jamaica and contains the earliest existing Anglican records some of which date back to 1668.

-Jamaica Information Service
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St. Jago De La Vega Cathedral reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
7 reviews
  • I was married there some 45 years ago. My father-in-law was the Canon in charge. So of course it is a good place to visit; what else could I say? But what a place - steeped in Jamaican and English...  more »
  • A small group of us staying at an “All Inclusive” Resort in Runaway Bay took a day trip to Kingston yesterday. We passed by Spanish Town and our tour guide Steve suggested we visit this historical.....  more »
  • The service was fun. The bishop and other members of the congregation had a quirky sense of humor. Parking is limited so get there early for service. The church is old and in need of some care. It is one of the oldest churches in Jamaica and is in itself a museum of a part of our history.
  • Built in 1714, this is the oldest Anglican cathedral in the Caribbean, boasting an impressive beamed ceiling, and a magnificent stained-glass window behind the altar. The church stands on the site of one of the first Spanish cathedrals in the New World, built in 1525. Note the gargoyles with African features, considered unique in the world, above the south window.

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