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Many would be surprised to learn however that the early history of Devon House dates back to the mid seventeenth century when Britain captured Jamaica from Spain. One of the central roles of the British Government was to introduce religion to the people of Jamaica, and Rev. John Zellers was among five Ministers selected for service in the island. On his arrival Rev. Zellers was appointed to serve the parish of St. Andrew. The glebe, as land attached to the Anglican Church was termed, was awarded to Rev. Zellers. In the letter of patent given by Charles 11 on May 1667 Rev Zellers was assigned, " land, meadow, pasture and same containing 600 acres…together with all edifices, woods, trees, rents, commodities, ways and passages…and all mines and minerals whatsoever in ye premises.”

Devon Penn was part of the 600 acres awarded to Zellers. The glebe lands, which fell to Zellers, stretched from the site of the St. Andrew Parish Church, north to Sandy Gully, encompassing Old Church Road and including the grounds of the present Kings House. To the south it bordered Trafalgar Penn, now occupied by the British High Commission. Among the first undertakings by Zellers was the construction of a church on a piece of land, bordered by Upper Waterloo Road and West King’s House Road. Just before his death in 1700, Rev Zellers was fortunate enough to be able to serve the parish from the current site of the St. Andrew Parish Church. Fifty (50) years later the Rectory was built on foundations now occupied by the Devon House Mansion. It is believed that Rev George Eccles who served the parish between 1747-1760, was the first Minister to live in the new rectory. It was at the start of Rev. John Campbell’s tenure in 1782 that the vestry minutes indicate that some extensive repairs were undertaken on the Church Rectory, resulting in several major additions to the structure (additions which some believe to be a part of the architectural history of Devon House),

“A new stable with coach house 40 feet long and 18 wide in the clear…Your committee beg further that to recommend to the vestry the erection of another building of two rooms one above , the other underneath at the back of the present staircase to stand on either arch pillars 20 feet by 16 in the clear.”

4 Pages On The Rectors of Devon Penn
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