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St. Nicholas Abbey

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St. Nicholas Abbey’s great house, built by Benjamin Berringer in 1658, is one of just three Jacobean style mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the finest historic sites in Barbados.

Jacobean architecture, named for King James I of England (1603-1625), was a transitional phase in English design; it merged the Tudor and Elizabethan styles with continental Renaissance influences, including Flemish, Dutch and French architecture.

Characterised by elaborate multi-curved gables, Tudor arches, decorative chimneys and casement windows, Jacobean architecture was used on many English homes, schools and colleges built in the 17th century.

Colonel Benjamin Berringer likely purchased the plans for St. Nicholas Abbey on a journey home to England; his steadfast dedication to detail is evident by his inclusion of the cornerstone chimneys and fireplaces, unnecessary for a home in the Caribbean where temperatures rarely drop below comfortably breezy.

St. Nicholas Abbey’s elegant curvilinear gables and ornamental detail typical of Jacobean architecture make it one of the most stunning examples of the architectural style surviving today.  In fact, the great house is one of just three Jacobean mansions remaining in the Western Hemisphere; the other two are Drax Hall, also in Barbados, and Bacon's Castle in Virginia, USA.

 

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