All Little About Bodden Town

Situated on rising ground, commanding both land and sea approached, older residents do recall the site being equipped with two small cannons. It is said that the post was manned chiefly at night and the armaments would have comprised of cannon, musket, sword, pitchfork or even a sharp stick!

 

Gradually, over the years, Bodden Town lost its prominence. The harbour became shallow with silt driven in by successive hurricanes, and most trading was being conducted at East End or Hog Sty Bay in George Town.

 

There are however, no records of any major attacks on Grand Cayman and as the threats of attack or invasion diminished so the islands defenses fell into ruin. By the end of the nineteenth century, all that remained on the Guard House site were the two cannons and the name to recall its previous use.

 

However, the Bodden Town people continued to hold the site in high regard and in 1990 the Bodden Town District Committee of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands selected to enhance the site by creating a small historic park, making a place where historical information could be presented in an appropriate setting.

 

-National Trust Of The Cayman Islands

Bodden Town was the first settlement of any size on Grand Cayman, being situated in the most fertile area of the island and next to what was then, a fine natural harbour, protected by the reef. Originally known as 'South Side', by the time it was visited by George Gauld, a Navy surveyor, in 1773, about half of the island's total population of 400 lived there. Gauld had been commissioned to survey the coast of the island, and it was at this time that the settlement was named Bodden Town. It is thought that this was because of the large number of inhabitants bearing the name Bodden. Gauld states that Isaac Bodden was the grandson of the original Bodden, a soldier from Cromwell's army in Jamaica.

 

Bodden Town served as the seat of Government for the Cayman Islands for many years. The Chief Magistrate (or Custos) of the islands, William Bodden, resided there. During his tenure (1798-1823) the first roads, places of worship, forts and ships to be built on the islands were completed.

 

In the 1830's, various Government activities were conducted in the town, including holding of court and meeting the Justices and Representatives. A jail was also established there. The local laws of Grand Cayman, a document dating from this period states that "In 1839, the prisoners at Pedro Castle were transferred to the Guard House at Bodden Town."

 

Given its prominence, it was natural that Bodden Town should be defended against attack by marauders. By the end of the eighteenth century there were forts in George Town and Prospect, but the harbour at Bodden Town was not protected. It is believed that the defense in the town was the Guard House and Gun Square.

 

Although there is no living memory of a building on the site, generations of local citizens have always referred to this location as Guard House Hill or the Guard House. It is thought that the local volunteer militia would have needed a building to store their weapons and a base from which to make their patrols.

 
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