A Look at our Roman Catholic Heritage
April 6, 2023

The  Archbishop’s Palace.


Built in 1903, the Archbishop’s Palace is a landmark for the Roman Catholic Community in Trinidad and Tobago. Located around the Queen’s Park Savannah, as one of the Magnificent Seven, this building is a grand structure with influences of the Indian Empire architecture style. The Archbishop’s Palace was commissioned by the Fifth Archbishop of Port of Spain, Patrick Vincent Flood and built by George Brown of the Trinidad Trading Company.  The building was completed in 1904 and was a marvellous addition to the collection of structures in the area.


This building represents that period in Trinidad history when wealth was expressed through the construction of magnificent residences, aligning with the plantation society when planters and businessmen would express their wealth by building grand and extravagant structures. This was also during the period where the upper class of society were erecting structures on Maraval Road. To keep with the dignity of his office, the Archbishop commissioned this palace to be located in St. Clair. The palace is also an outstanding example of European Style architecture adapted to Tropical Style Architecture.


Archbishop’s Palace. Source: National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago, courtesy Jeffrey Wong Sang

Archbishop’s Palace Source: National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago, courtesy Jeffrey Wong Sang


St. Francis of Assisi

Located in Belmont, St. Francis of Assisi RC Church was built in 1899 by George Brown. Supervising this construction was Fr. Vincent Sutherland, O.P, the Dominican Vicar General. It was designed in the Irish Romanesque architectural style with typical rounded arches and windows and is composed of local grey-blue limestone and concrete. In 1899, Belmont was included in the Borough of Port of Spain. It was a largely middle class which grew after Emancipation. Formerly known as Freetown, this area was the primary location for the ex-enslaved Africans who would have worked on coffee and cocoa estates.


When “Belmont Hill” was selected as the new post for a Government House, the area gained prestige and the construction of a church and school on the site where St.Francis of Assisi currently stands, soon followed in 1865. This church and school however, was no more than a fairly large house and eventually was in need of emergency repairs as the roof was reported to be badly damaged. This, however, did not catch the attention of Archbishop Patrick Vincent Flood, at least not until after the construction of St. Margaret’s Anglican Church in Belmont, the inclusion of Belmont into the city of Port of Spain in 1899, the construction of bridges over the East Dry River and the rising population in Belmont.


Subsequent to these happenings, the Archbishop gave the go ahead to construct St. Francis of Assisi. On May 25th 1902, the church was blessed by Archbishop Flood with carriages lining the newly completed Belmont Circular Road. A high Mass was celebrated with the Missa de Angelis sung in Latin to the accompaniment of violins, flutes, cornets and cellos.


St. Francis of Assisi RC Church Source: stfrancisbelmont.com)

St. Francis of Assisi RC Church Source: National Trust of Trinidad & Tobago


Our Lady of Montserrat RC Church

Located in the tiny village of Tortuga, Our Lady of Montserrat RC Church is the Mother Church of the Tortuga Parish, a cluster of 7 worshipping communities located in the centre  of the island. The church is located atop a ridge overlooking the Gulf of Paria in the Central Range of Trinidad. It was founded when Capuchin missionaries from Spain arrived in Trinidad and built a mission at the site in the early 1800s. The shrine was built later on at the same site by Parish Priest and architect Fr. Marie Jules Dupoux between 1872 and 1878 and finally blessed on December 24th 1878.

This church is the oldest wooden Catholic Church in the country and the only Roman Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Port of Spain and in the English-speaking Caribbean named after our Lady of Montserrat. Its architecture hails from the Neo-Romanesque Style with its rounded arches, windows, front doors and porch decorations. It is built of local hard wood from the surrounding forests. The main body is cruciform in shape with two small side chapels at either side near to the front.

The main highlight of this church is the Black Virgin statue built by a Spanish Saint Maker over 200 years ago, in the Spanish Colonial Folk Art Style. This Black Madonna draws thousands of devout pilgrims and curious visitors to the Shrine every year.  In past years, the French and Spanish villagers living in Tortuga, affectionately called the statue, “Notre Dame de Montserrat” or “ La Divina de Monteserrado”.



Black Virgin Source: Our Lady of Montserrat

Our Lady of Montserrat RC Church Source: Our Lady of Montserrat



Anthony De VERTEUIL c.s Sp. Temples of Trinidad. The Litho Press 2004


National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. Archbishop’s Palace Dossier. National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. 2013


National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. St.Francis of Assisi Dossier. National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago.


National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago. Our Lady of Montserrat Dossier. National Trust of Trinidad and Tobago.






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