Hampden estate is one of the oldest sugar estates in Jamaica. Renowned throughout Jamaica’s rum history for its full, intensely flavorful pot still rums, it continues today to be the quintessential heavy pot rum of choice throughout Europe and other parts of the world.
Surveyed in 1743, Hampden operated as a large sugar plantation circa 1753 under the ownership of Mr. Archibald Sterling of Scotland. In 1779 Mr. Sterling built the Hampden Great House of which the ground floor served as a rum store until the early 1900s. Hampden Estate is firmly set in Jamaican history as it established the Hampden Presbyterian Church, circa 1824, the first of that denomination to be established in Jamaica.
In 1955, the old boiler house, which was located at Gales Valley on the Estate, was donated by the owners of Hampden to Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, who was then Chancellor of the UWI. She arranged for it to be dismantled, block by block. Each building stone was meticulously numbered, then transported to the Mona Campus and reassembled. It took three years to complete the task. When it was done, this beautiful Georgian building, made with finely dressed limestone from Hampden Estate, was reborn as the University Chapel, which is today considered an architectural gem.
During World War 1, Hampden constructed the Hampden Wharf in Falmouth for shipment of its sugar and rums which is today a major entry port for “The Oasis of the Seas” the worlds largest cruise ship. Additionally, the wharf facilities will now serve as a major tourist hub. The estate has donated lands for schools, housing and for many other social infrastructure uses. Post 1827 the estate came into the ownership of D.O. Kelly-Lawson who became Custos of St. James in 1875 and Justice Of The Peace of Trelawny. His daughter Ena Kelly-Lawson married a Mr. Farquharson, which on her death, inherited Hampden. The estate which is set within the famed “Queen of Spain Valley” consists of approximately 3500 acres. The Farquharson’s operated the estate producing sugar and rum until 2003 when it came under the ownership of the Jamaica Sugar Company of Jamaica. The estate is renowned for possessing the best cane lands in Jamaica producing the highest Ton Sugar from Ton Cane milled. During this time its rums were exported exclusively to Europe, England and Scotland.
In 2009, Everglades Farms Ltd. owned by the Hussey family, acquired the estate via public bid through divestment procedures of the Jamaica Sugar Company assets, owned by the Government of Jamaica. A commitment by Everglades Farm to pump some US$6.2 million (J$549.8 million) into the Long Pond and Hampden sugar estates has brought renewed hope to the people of the region and to the economy of Trelawny. The Hussey family is committed to preserving the great traditions of Hampden and to the preservation of old family business values, a necessary prerequisite given that several of Hampden’s current customers can trace their orders back in excess of 50 years.