Parishes of Barbados

Barbados Saint Michael, Barbados Saint Thomas, Barbados
Coat of arms of Barbados (2).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The country of Barbados is divided into sub-regions known as parishes.


They are legally styled as the "Parish of ("Parish name") as opposed to the American naming convention with the name "Parish" coming after the name.[1][2] The use of the term "parish" derives from the island's religious Anglican history under the Church of England.


This system of parish churches was based on the system of the Church of England and was the visible expression forming the basis of the parliamentary representation in Barbados. The differing size and shape of each parish were primarily influenced by the large plantation estates of cotton, sugar cane and tobacco that existed during the colonial years of Barbados. As various chapels of ease were created during the 17th century across the island, some local churches were elevated to parish church status, leading to the formation of new parishes surrounding those freshly created vestries.

By 1629, the English settlers after landing at James Town formed six original parishes on the island which were:[3]

By 1645, the land holding of Barbados increased and the shape of the original six were reconfigured giving way to an additional five parishes[3] Some prior churches of the state within the existing parishes were elevated to the level of Parish Church and as a consequence they formed new parishes around those new vestries:

Thus Barbados was converted into the current eleven parishes of today. As was common under the British system, each Parish had a single main parishional church (or cathedral in the case of Bridgetown having been elevated to city status), which acted as a sort of capital for each parish.[4][5] The parishes each held their own Local Government Councils until these were abolished in 1959, following a brief administrative districting experiment within Barbados until 1967.[4]


The nation's capital Bridgetown, which is located within the parish of Saint Michael, may one day be made into its own district.

Within the country, travel is unrestricted to everyone in moving about from parish-to-parish. With the rise of urban sprawl and new construction projects across the country many neighbourhoods and even parishional border-lines today are ill-defined.

The eleven parishes are:

Nr. Parish (short name) Official (long name) Capitals Land Area
(Census 2010)
Historic vestry
1 Christ Church The Parish of Christ Church[6] Oistins 57 54,336 868.4
Lead church of the Parish.
2 St. Andrew The Parish of Saint Andrew[7] Greenland 36 5,139 145.9
Lead church of the Parish.
3 St. George The Parish of Saint George Bulkeley 44 19,767 406.1
4 St. James The Parish of Saint James[7] Holetown 31 28,498 733.6
5 St. John The Parish of Saint John Four Roads 34 8,963 261.0
Lead church of the Parish.
6 St. Joseph The Parish of Saint Joseph[7] Bathsheba 26 6,620 261.7
Lead church of the Parish.
7 St. Lucy The Parish of Saint Lucy[7] Crab Hill 36 9,758 259.1
8 St. Michael The Parish of Saint Michael[7] Bridgetown 39 88,529 2,145.7
9 St. Peter The Parish of Saint Peter Speightstown 34 11,300 314.7
Lead church of the Parish.
10 St. Philip The Parish of Saint Philip[7] Six Roads 60 30,662 342.3
11 St. Thomas The Parish of Saint Thomas Hillaby 34 14,249 340.9
  Barbados Bridgetown 432 277,821 580.1

See also


  1. ^ Laws of Barbados, Volume 2, p.573, 286
  2. ^ Barbados Cultural Association of British Columbia - History of Barbados Archived June 12, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "The Barbados Parliament – Parliament History". Barbados Parliament website. Archived from the original on May 23, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-01.
  4. ^ a b Carrington, Sean; Fraser, Henry (2007). "Vestry". A~Z of Barbados Heritage. Macmillan Caribbean - Macmillan Publishers Limited Press. ISBN 0-333-92068-6.
  5. ^ Alleyne, Warren (1978). Historic Bridgetown. Barbados: The Barbados National Trust.
  6. ^ Laws of Barbados, Volume 2, p.573
  7. ^ a b c d e f Laws of Barbados, Volume 2, p.586