The 1755 map of Jessups estate

Plan of Jessups plantation in 1755 (Southampton City Archives: D/MW 35/8a)

Maps were a means by which estate owners living in England could show off and display their lands in the West Indies at some distance. The map contains a wonderful array of information about his estate.

Jessups plantation lies on sloping ground on the west side of the island of Nevis. The map shows the estate in two parts: on the left is the upper part of the estate, running up to the forest below the mountain peak; on the right is the lower part of the estate extending down to the sea. The two parts of the estate together stretched from the mountain on the east to the sea on the west. In the part on the left hand side were situated the centre of the Mountain Plantation, the great house, the sugar works and the slave village (ie to the east). Little survives of the plantation house or works.

Close to this house were two slabs or waterholes and the 'old cocoa garden'. Uphill were various fields given over to sugar cultivation, while further uphill were pasture fields, a provision ground, and forest. The provision ground was land set aside for slaves to grow their own food high up the hill side and was characterised by stone banks forming individual allotments; it is still in use today. Downhill of the great house and works were further sugar cane fields and also a second plantation centre, the Lower Plantation, shown on the map as a group of buildings with a cattle mill. This was possibly the Coles Point plantation purchased by Jessup in 1738. Combining archaeological survey with historical research has revealed a number of instances of smaller plantation being absorbed into larger ones, but in this instance the earlier buildings of the smaller plantation still remain to be located.