Spring Garden Bath







For generations the waters from Spring Garden has been the life-blood of the Village. These waters not only serve the Spring Village but other surrounding places as well. These include areas such as Red Hills, parts of the Innswood Sugar Plantation and even as far as Bushy Park.

The water flows from a natural spring which throughout the years has defined the village and at one time, was the chief resource for domestic an irrigation purposes. In fact, it is because of the spring why the Village got its name.


Spring Village was previously called Pot House Pen but its name was later changed by the Verleys, who in their own “British way” wanted the village to have a more refined name1.

The name Pot House Pen may also may have had negative connotations (at least to the Verley’s) and was likely not as appealing to their visitors. Since they owned such vast portions of land their influence would be widespread as one would imagine.


The Verleys owned lands from Thetford back to church pen. In addition, they also owned lands bordered by Rock Stone road, which includes Hayes Pen and the section where the All-Age school is now located. This property continued all the way up through the Innswood Plantation to Spring Gardens. 


The property at Spring Garden during its glory days had features of that of a botanical garden. Today, there are remnants of this as seen by the many surviving species of vegetation which are still on the property. Much of this is evidenced by the presence of several large palm trees, fruit trees and other exotic plants within the vicinity.







Spring Garden is at present, home to Camp Verley which is currently owned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Jamaica. It is not clear who owned it prior to the Verleys however, it was eventually donated to the church through Mr. Balfour Hurst who worked for Mr. Clyde Verley. The area is used as the church’s national campsite and comes alive mainly during the summer each year, as various Adventist youth across the island gather together for their camp activities.



The House

The area had a guest house which was frequented by visitors of the Verleys and in its time, was also used as a residence for Mr. Vincent Verley (Clyde’s father).


The house (as shown) is now destroyed but much of its original framework still remains. It is a single level structure and is of brick, stone and mortar construction. Its walls are at least two feet thick which is common for most buildings of that period. (thickness to be verified)


As is commonly known, many villagers worked for the Verleys. The main housekeep at the time was the mother of Miss Vetty Walters. Her nickname was Mada. She managed the affairs of the house and lived there until her death. Miss Vetty’s Husband (Mass Deanie) on the other hand, consistently traveled to Spring Gardens each morning to feed the livestock (maybe pigs and other small animals) and to maintain the property. This was a routine that lasted for many years until the residence was no longer in use. Today the structure speaks of a time not too long forgotten and echoes the sophistication of its original owners. It is not yet clear how the building was destroyed, if it was due to fire or sheer neglect but further research should reveal this.




The Pool

The main feature of Spring Gardens is the swimming pool which is usually referred to as the “Bath”. The water comes from the spring and flows through the pool providing a constant source of fresh water for bathers to enjoy. The pool is in its original form, and has remained in tact throughout the years though it has been put to various different uses. In its day, it was frequently used by the Verleys and their visitors but surprisingly throughout the years, was always accessible to villagers and others as well 2.


The area was always populated with fruit trees and is still graced, by several large palm trees. These must have been among those originally planted by the Verleys. There are others such as mango, breadftuit and various others which may have been more recent.


 The pool, in previous years, had a large dark-brown wooded hut which was used for changing rooms.  This was located just in front of the pool (on the right of picture) and was divided into two large sections, each with their own set of seats. Each section was used for male or female accordingly. The changing rooms, though a late addition of the Verley days, did not stand the test of time. It was destroyed sometime during the last ten to fifteen years and was never rebuilt.


The pool is from time to time used by members from the nearby communities as they stop by to catch their evening bath and sample the cool refreshing waters of the spring. It is sometimes used for baptisms by various local churches and was used for this purpose, more so in former years than recent. It has four steps on the long side and three on the short side which is sometimes convenient since it is as much as 7 feet deep.

Because of the elevation plus the spring, the area maintains an average 850F. An hour or so in the pool has been known to make a great difference in one’s temperament throughout the rest of the day. The water is considered to be therapeutic and adds to the holistic mix of water, greenery and man.






The Spring

The spring is located on the northern side of the property. It is close to the foot of the hill and is likely an artesian source which feeds from the local water table and possibly includes small underground tributaries from the surrounding hillside, as well as the Red Hills elevation. The head, as seen from these pictures is surrounded by concrete to preserve its contour and protect it from encroaching vegetation. It is not known when this was constructed but seems to fit within the period of the existing structures due to its rustic nature.


The water flows downhill into a narrow canal, where it enters two cisterns. These cisterns then feeds the main canal to the pool as well as the network of pipes for further distribution. The water from the canal runs through the main bathing pool (Bath) and outflows into the Innswood Plantation. The pipes on the other hand, run for over two miles to their different destinations.


There are currently three known pipe branches. Two goes through the village and one through Rock Stone behind the building of the All Age School. This pipe previously ran across the Spring Garden River (Coleburns Gully) to irrigate the tobacco plantation at Thetford. It was later put out of commission after the plantation died down.


The other two pipes run underneath the main road of the village with the first terminating through the Walters’s property (Canal) and the second, nicknamed “Bottom Pipe” passes through the land currently owned by Mr. Chin. Both pipes terminate into Canals. These canals lead to the river, after which the water was later piped across the river into the Thetford plantation.




The Cisterns

The water from the spring flows into a narrow channel where it enters two concrete cisterns as shown. The pair is arranged as primary and secondary reservoirs, which work as filters for the waters flowing through them. The primary cistern is used to trap large debris and the secondary provides additional filtering before the water is distributed through the pipes. The secondary cistern has an iron sluice gate which is normally closed but is there to probably divert the water during cleaning. The picture on the right, also shows a bulb-like iron attachment (off to the side), which was used as a strainer for the entrance of the pipe.
































The pictures below show the two main paths of water flow, which are the canal, which flows into the pool, and the large pipes, which goes to the village. These are the main conduits for water distribution, which brings this precious commodity to its customers.

The age of this network is currently not known and further research should prove this, however during the Verley years, it is a known fact that one of our senior villagers, Mr. Alban Whyte (Mass Alban), from time to time made repairs on the pipe 1.




















Canal delivering water to the main pool.                            Pipes delivering water to the village.







The serenity of Spring Garden is an ever-present attribute of the area which constantly enchants its visitors. Like many other exotic places, Spring Garden is not without its share of legends. One such legend is that many years ago, there was an unusual bird which dutifully maintained the head of the spring by removing all leaves and other debris which fell into it. This was something which took place over many decades. It is not known if this bird is still alive.


Another legend has it that at a certain time of the year, a book came up out of the head of the spring and was elevated above the waters. One day, this man (name unknown), saw this happen and removed the book. He took the book up to Thetford to show it to Mr. Clyde but Mr. Clyde told him that he should return the book to where he found it. The poor fellow died as a result of his action and it is rumored that he has been buried up there somewhere 2.


Legend or not, one thing is sure, and it is that the waters of Spring Gardens remain as refreshing as ever. It continues to be one of the most important features of Spring Village.







Sources and Other Research links found:

1.      Mr. Alban White: One of our most senior Villagers, 92yesrs old.

2.      Mrs. Barbara Cameron: Elder Villager, Spring Village’s First Post Mistress


Information for further reading:

Thetford Great House          National Heritage Trust web site

The Verley Family Tree        Family Tree Website 

Search for Family Names      Jamaica Family search site

Search for Old Almanacs      Jamaica Almanacs search site

Property owners in 1800’s    Bromfeild family Research Site

Genealogy Research            Bromfeild family Research Site




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