The parish of Manchester is located in west-central Jamaica, in the county of Middlesex. Its capital, Mandeville, is a major business centre, and the only parish capital not located on the coast or on a major river. The Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley (d. 1969), one of Jamaica's seven National Heroes, was born in this parish.
Brief History Taino/Arawak settlement in the parish was substantiated when in 1792, a surveyor found two carvings, believed to be Amerindian Zemi, in a cave in the Carpenter's Mountains. They are now at the British Museum.
Manchester was formed in 1814, by an Act of the House of Assembly, making it one of the newest parishes of Jamaica. It was formed as a result of the amalgamation of the parishes St. Elizabeth, Clarendon and Vere. The amalgamation was done in response to a petition from the inhabitants of Mile Gully, May Pen and Carpenters Mountain who complained that they were too far away from an administrative centre. Manchester was named in honour of the Duke of Manchester, the then Governor of Jamaica. He was governor for 19 years, setting the record as the longest serving Governor of the island. The capital town, Mandeville, established in 1816, was named after his eldest son, Lord Mandeville.
No sugar estates can be found in the parish; slaves worked on coffee plantations. After emancipation, the ex-slaves became independent coffee farmers. The irish potato was first introduced to Jamaica at Bethany, a town in the parish. Citrus also became an important crop, as in 1920, the citrus fruit ortanique, a cross between the orange and tangerine, was developed by Charles Jackson.
The growth of the town was given a substantial stimulus when Alcan Bauxite Company opened operations there. It built houses for its then mostly expatriate staff. The relatively high wages lured many educated Jamaicans there.
Geography Mandeville is located at latitude 17°51'N, longitude 77°38'W. It is bordered by St. Elizabeth in the west, Clarendon in the east and by Trelawny in the north. Manchester covers an area of 830 sq km, making it Jamaica's sixth largest praish. It has three mountain ranges — the Carpenters Mountains, the May Day Mountains and the Don Figuerero Mountains. The highest point is 2770 feet above sea level in the Carpenters Mountains.
Over 90% of the parish's surface is limestone so there is an abundance of cockpits, sinkholes, caves and underground passages. The Oxford Cave in upper Manchester is the largest of 20 known caves in the parish. Manchester also has large bauxite deposits.
The parish offers a variety of climate, vegetation and scenery. The capital, Mandeville, is situated at an elevation of 626 metres (2,061 ft). The town is noted for its natural beauty and salubrious climate as temperatures range from a low of 12.7°C (55°F) in December and January, to a high of 31°C (88°F) in July and August. There are very few rivers in the parish, and the existing ones are rather small; Alligator Hole River, Alligator Pond River, Hector's River, Two Rivers and Swift River. Hector's River runs along the border of Manchester and Trelawny, sinks at Troy where it flows underground for approximately six kilometres and rises below Oxford Cave as One Eye River. Despite this, water supply is generally scarce; the southern districts often suffer drought.
The population of Manchester is 190,000. Mandeville, the capital and chief town of the parish, now has a Mayor. It has a population of over 30,485.
Marshalls Pen Great House - is a 200 year old great house on a wildlife sanctuary.