Beach Houses, A Brief History

The former great house of Wiltshire Plantation, Whitehaven, and  its surrounding areas have a storied past. From slave insurrections and hurricanes to exotic plants and birds, Whitehaven is not only steeped in Barbadian history, but also destined for future greatness as the centrepiece of Beach Houses – a new, luxurious residential resort community on the island’s beautiful East Coast.

1639 – First Recorded Land Purchase

Pre-1630, there existed little to no documentation of land acquisition in Barbados. The first recorded land purchase in the area was made by Capt. Francis Skeete in 1639. The purchase consisted of 500 acres stretching inland from Skeete’s Bay, and included the spring at Three Houses Park. The property was subsequently leased to Thomas Wiltshire in or around 1739. This resulted in the area being referred to as Wiltshire Plantation, with Whitehaven being the main house.

1816 – Bussa’s Slave Rebellion

On April 14th 1816, a slave named Bussa led the only major slave uprising recorded in Barbados. Starting at Bayley’s Plantation, the rebellion soon spread to neighbouring estates including Wiltshire Plantation, inflicting severe damage to the property. A hurricane was also reported to have inflicted severe damage to the roof of Whitehaven in the latter part of the century.

Whitehaven Great House Barbados

1911 – Elliot Skeete

In 1911, what was the then only 180-acre Wiltshire Plantation was acquired by Mr. Elliot Skeete, who transformed the barren area into a tropical oasis. He spent a lifetime planting trees, first as windbreaks, and then the more delicate flowering plants such as flambouyants.  Mr. Skeete reportedly also had a passion for birds and filled the exterior of Whitehaven with a number of exotic species including Barbary Doves and Troupials. Fan mills were once used to pump fresh spring water into a stone outbuilding for irrigation purposes. Intriguingly, later generations used it as an indoor swimming pool.

1950 – Whitehaven Passes On

In 1950, Whitehaven and its grounds were once again sold – for the princely sum of $67,000. By the 1960s, the house was uninhabitable, but was fixed up for occupation in the early ’70s, at which time the plantation and nearby Three Houses factory were still in operation.

Today – Beach Houses

Whitehaven is now primed to be the centrepiece of Beach Houses – a new, luxurious residential resort community by Crane Resorts. Known for his successful preservation and expansion of the original 18-room ‘Crane Beach Hotel’, Managing Director of Crane Resorts Paul Doyle is committed to restoring Whitehaven to its former magnificence.

The site’s naturally beautiful terrain and century old trees were the inspiration for Doyle’s vision for Beach Houses – a simple yet elegant retreat.  The resort will feature 63 free-standing beach houses spread over a gently sloping, 50 acre hillside. Each residence will sit on just under 9,000 sq. ft. of land and command breathtaking ocean views.

The Show Unit at Beach Houses is open for viewing daily. For more information on this exceptional piece of Barbados real estate, contact property@craneresorts.com.