Located between Moneague and Brown’s Town in the garden parish of St Ann is the lush and quiet town of Claremont. The small town which is adjoined by many small communities is a busy commercial centre most days.
Claremont was formerly called Finger Post; it was believed to get the name from a sign or finger post, located near the post office, indicating distances and directions to various other towns.
The town was named Claremont after the town’s clock was donated by a property owner whose property was called Claremont.
Claremont is home to many small businesses; it is the dream of many residents to see more of the “big” companies operating in the town.
Claremont, the wider community outside the commercial centre, is a rural farming area which consists of several districts. Some of the districts were first formed as Free Villages, for example Beechamville. Other districts in Claremont include Alderton, Barrett Hall, Gravel Hill, Golden Grove or Lydford, Harmony Vale, Irons Mountain, Bensonton, Brittonville, Carton Mountain, Coultart Grove, Dromilly, Steerfield, Orange Park, Rural Retreat and Woodstock.
The main activities of Claremont’s economy were once linked to then thriving bauxite mining company, Reynolds Jamaica Limited. Today most persons are employed in the tourism sector or self-employed. Claremont has several mechanics, tailors, carpenters, masons and craft makers and other small cottage operators. There are also many professionals such as teachers, nurses and persons in the civil service.
Claremont is believed to have a high literacy rate as it boasts a large number of schools from the early childhood level to secondary and post-secondary training.
Claremont is home to Ferncourt High School which has produced several outstanding Jamaicans. It also houses the Beechamville campus of the HEART Trust NTA.
The Claremont All Age is one of the oldest educational institutions in Jamaica. Formerly known as the Pinnockville Elementary and Claremont Elementary, the school started January 15, 1894, but was officially recognized in June of the said year
Claremont, like other Jamaican communities, is home to many churches. The Bechamville Methodist and the St Matthew’s Anglican are two of Jamaica’s oldest churches, located in Claremont. The churches in Claremont represent the multi-denominational aspect of Jamaica.
Claremont has two main historical sites, the Ruins of Edingburg Castle and Ramble Great House.
Edingburg Castle has a very interesting story behind its existence. It is said that between 1763 and 1773, the owner of the Castle was a notorious Scot and former medical student Lewis Hutchinson. Hutchison was said to have killed dozens of travelers, shooting them from his home. His slaves, who were the only witnesses to his acts of cruelty, would then be instructed to dump the bodies in a sink hole on the property.
Hutchinson was brought down after he got into a quarrel with his neighbour Dr Hutton. Hutchinson attempted to murder Hutton and so a soldier was instructed to arrest him. He however killed the soldier and tried to escape going out to sea in Old Habour. He was brought back to Spanish Town, tried and hanged.
Ramble Great House, unlike the many other Jamaican great houses, was not associated with sugar cane cultivation. The Ramble Great House was a part of a property where efforts were made to grow tea with seeds from the Cinchona Gardens in 1868. That was said to be the only attempt in the Caribbean to establish a tea plantation.