On-Site Great Exuma: St. Andrew’s Anglican Church
With all the rich history that’s been written in the Exumas, it’s surprising how few historical sights there are to see in its capital, Georgetown. Like Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos, the Exumas were settled by Loyalists, former American colonists who stayed true to the British Crown in the wake of the Revolutionary War. But whereas Green Turtle’s capital of New Plymouth reflects its uniquely colonial American heritage on virtually every corner, Georgetown’s charms aren’t quite so obvious… unless, of course, you’re talking about this place.
This is St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, easily the most conspicuous edifice in the whole town.
St. Andrew’s was founded in 1802, though the church you see now is not the same as the one built back then. In fact, records from 1847 show that there was no church in Georgetown at all, the original St. Andrew’s apparently abandoned and left to rot during a time when pirates predominated throughout the Exumas.
A second St. Andrew’s was constructed in 1865, but it is the third incarnation, which opened in 1885, two years after the Loyalists arrived, that persists to this day.
Just as it always has, St. Andrew’s welcomes anyone and everyone. The inscription on the sign at base of bell tower reads in part:
Invite all to a joyful, loving, worshipful service.
Even when Mass isn’t being held, it’s an invitation worth accepting. St. Andrew’s crowns Kitt’s Hill, which as hills go in the almost entirely flat Bahamas, is a pretty nice perch that makes this historic attraction impossible to miss. Pretty much anywhere you find yourself in Georgetown, you can see St. Andrew’s. It towers over everything, the most vivid reminder of the town’s storied past.
From here, you can enjoy nice views of Elizabeth Harbour to the east. This was purportedly a favorite haunt of Captain Kidd, and with a little imagination, you can picture the old pirate ships anchored offshore so long ago.
Turn around and you can also enjoy this view of Lake Victoria…
I visited St. Andrew’s during a quick trip to Grand Isle. It was a Sunday afternoon several hours after the day’s services had concluded. There was no one around Kitt’s Hill, and just a scant few cars passed by along the Queen’s Highway below. A handful of birds and leaves rustling in the breeze were the only sounds.
Serene and peaceful, St. Andrew’s is perfectly placed.