Ambergris Caye Directory
The Very First Catholic Church
By Angel Nuñez
As a child in the 1950’s I used to see this concrete foundation right beside the bell at Central Park. Upon inquiring and thorough some research, I discovered some interesting facts about this site and what was erected on it. My dad told me a lot about it and then I confirmed these facts in my readings.
Back in 1868 the owner of the entire Island known as Ambergris Caye belonged to a wealthy Belize City merchant,Antoño Mathe. He used to drink a lot and died in bankruptcy leaving quite some debts behind him as well. With no one to pay his debts, the bank decided to put his property, which was the entire Island, into auction sale so as to pay off his debts at least.
Well, in the Corozal District there was this British magistrate whose name was James Hume Blake. When he heard of this auction sale he came to the island and partook in the famous/infamous auction sale.
To make a long story short, Mr. Blake was the successful bidder who on September 13,1869 offered to pay $625.00 for the Island. With no other bidder around, the auction sale was executed. Unbelievable but true! An entire Island sold for $625.00, a price that was considered extremely low even by the standards at the time.
For some reason or the other it was agreed that only one piece of land would not be included in the sale and that this lot was to be reserved for the erection of a Catholic Church. Mr. Blake built his mansion that lived to be over 100 years old and popularly known as Blake House. (The site is now occupied by Heritage Bank) Who built the church is unknown, but it is said that the villagers did so and the Blakes helped with it as they were a very fervent Catholic family. Apparently it was a concrete building judging from the concrete foundation.
In the 1980’s, when I was in the Town Council, our Council decided to preserve the memory of this church by erecting a lovely water fountain depicting the history of the Mayas and Mestizos who built the first church in San Pedro. It was a magnificent piece of concrete sculpture carved out by famous local artist, Edwardo “Papo” Alamilla. This present town council decided to destroy it for a new park about 6 years ago and today the historic church site and its foundation is buried under cobblestones.
That is the end of this story. Look carefully at the bell tower. The picket fence demarcates the boundaries of the Catholic Church property. You can clearly see the concrete foundation of the church which was probably destroyed by either the hurricane of 1931 or 1942. And who does this property belong to- the church or the town?
25 Years Ago Books Can Be Purchased At:
-Ambergris Today -Lala’s Store -Chico’s Meat Shop -Pampered Paws -Ambergris Jade -San Pedro BTB Office -Aquarious Salon (Kim) -S.P. Town Library -Di Bush -Richies Stationery -San Pedrano’s Stationery
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