Video: Yvonne Brown

In this video Yvonne Brown, a Nevisian guide, takes visitors round the reconstructed village and estate of Fothergill's on Nevis.


Yvonne Brown: This is Fothergill's estate, this was named after John Fothergills of Middlesex in England. Back in the days of slavery they couldn't build their houses no bigger than this one over here because they didn't own the land, so just in case of a disagreement they can't work here no more they can't live here no more, they have to take their houses and go with it. Slavery was abolished here in 1834 on the1 August so we celebrate Emancipation on the 1 August every year. Here is where the first Carib Indians settled, and this was the chief's hut. These are some of the weapons they would use, like the bow and the arrow, the tomahawk here, and over here, this is a defending weapon. If you are fighting someone with a sword, the sword would get caught in the knot here and they would twist it and disarm the person with the sword. This is what we call a calabash, it's a nut, What they'd do they cut it in half, scrape out the inside, and they'd use this for eating and drinking from. When cooking on wood they would use three stones to get the height. This flat one is for roasting or frying and this one is for like soup or stew.

In 1607 John Smith en route to Jamestown Virginia, he spent five days here in Nevis - because his men had a disease called scurvies. So they stayed five days here they bathe in a mineral stream in Charlestown. While bathing in the stream they saw Indians at Bath Stream for the first time in Nevis.

When the Caribs first came here they plant tobacco, that was the first crop they had here. Then after that they had sugar cane and then cotton. Well, the Carib, they usually sleep in hammocks but they didn't have cloth back then so what they would do they would weave the palm branches together and make hammocks. They didn't have flour back then to make a cake or bread so what they would do is get cassava, they would grate the cassava, squeeze the juice out, let it dry for a while, then they would sieve it, and that's what they would use for making bread.

Nevis was also known as the Queen of the Caribbean because of the fertile soil the sugar would yield better here. It was also the second richest to Barbados which was also - they had quarters for the slave trade of the Leeward Islands. We had sugar cane from the ocean all the way up to the mountain and that was done manually because of the rocky soil; you couldn't use any plough or anything like that so that was done manually. For the sugar they didn't have machineries like work with gasoline or anything like that so they would use windmill, steam mill or animal mill to turn to grind the sugar. 

Well, Nevis is still known today as the Queen of the Caribbean.

After they stop growing the sugar cane nobody bother with it; after slavery was abolished. Most of the slaves, because when on the plantation they couldn't speak their native language, so they would have to speak English so that everybody could understand what they saying - so after slavery was abolished, some of them wanted to go back to their home town in Africa but most of them, because they couldn't speak the language, they lost their identity so they couldn't get back to Africa. So well back to where they come from. So most of them end up in Sierra Leone. So that's as far as they go, because they couldn't remember where they came from. And they couldn't speak, after being here for a while they couldn't speak their own native language.

This is the slave hut here is where they most of their time during the day, preparing for the planters. We'll go inside. This is a grinding stone and this is how they grind their corn. In order to get the sugar cane from the ocean up to the mill here or from the hill, they would use that crook. They would put that over the donkey's back, and then they would put the sugar cane in between here and transport it up to the mill. Upgraded from the three stone that I showed you they would use a coal pot. This is a coal pot. In order for them to grind their seasoning they used a mortar and a pestle. What they would do is they would get a trunk of a tree and they would carve it out and they would use it as a mortar and a pestle. They would use fish oil for their lamp. In order to get their flour - their cassava more like flour - they would use this. This is a sea fan. They would use it to sieve their cassava so it would be fine like flour. Also they could use it as a strainer. Well also every village have a rum shop, because of the molasses they would make a thing called moonshine or Hammond, which is a strong thing - the smell tell you all about it!