Moon Author's Review
Rose Hall Great House (US$20 adults, US$10 children) is the former home of Annie Palmer, remembered as the White Witch of Rose Hall in Herbert De Lisser's novel of the same name. It's the most formidable and foreboding estate great house on the island today, with a bone-chilling history behind its grandeur. The tour through the impeccably refurbished mansion is excellent. Rose Hall was built in 1770 by John Palmer, who ruled the estate with his wife, Rosa. The property passed through many hands before ending up in possession of John Rose Palmer, who married the infamous Annie in 1820. A slight woman not more than five feet tall, Annie is said to have practiced voodoo, or black magic, and would eventually kill several husbands and lovers, starting with Mr. John Rose. Annie ruled the plantation brutally and was much feared by the estate's slaves. She would ultimately taste her own medicine, as she was killed during the Christmas Rebellion of 1831 (which pushed England one step closer to the abolition of slavery).
Rose Hall was virtually abandoned with the decline in the sugar economy until an American rags-to-riches businessman, John Rollins, bought the estate in the 1960s and restored the great house to its old grandeur. Today the estate is governed by Mrs. Rollins, who has upheld the ambitious development ethic of her late husband. Rose Hall Great House forms the historic centerpiece of the vast Rose Hall Estate, which encompasses three 18-hole golf courses, the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon and Rose Hall resorts, and the most desirable residential district of Montego Bay, Spring Farms. Also on the Rose Hall Estate, Cinnamon Hill Great House was the home of the late Johnny Cash. Cinnamon Hill is not currently open to the public except for special events.