History of Mason Hall

18th Century

1781 Tobago was once more under siege, this time again by the French who succeeded in capturing the island. The French with nine ships were sighted on 23 May 1781. The British were under Lt. Governor George Ferguson.

Ferguson had, upon sighting the French, immediately mustered all able-bodied men, some 427, comprised of planters, militia, sailors and regular troops. The French first attempted a landing at Minister Bay, named by the Dutch as Luggarts Bay, but high seas drove them off. They then tried close to Scarborough at Rockly Bay, but once again the weather proved too bad for a landing.

The following day they succeeded in landing 3,000 men at Great Courland Bay, Plymouth. Having wiped out the fortified position there, Major Hamilton of the militia who had manned a two-gun battery at Black Rock across the bay was able to bring the French ships under heavy fire, until he was forced to retire. Ferguson in the meantime had retreated strategically and regrouped his men at Concordia, on the heights above Scarborough and not far from Mason Hall, fighting a guerrilla action all the way.

The French general Philbert Blanchelande in hot pursuit, demanded their surrender, having set up a battery at French Fort, a cotton estate which overlooked Concordia. A French attack on the English position failed in the night as the French lost their way. Ferguson and his small band refused to surrender, requesting the French general 'not to trouble me again upon this point'.

From the heights of Concordia, Ferguson was able to see more French troops landing at Plymouth and was forced to wait until the dead of the night to fall back to the base of the main ridge, the site of the present day Caledonia estate (near to Hillsborough Dam).

He did this so well that when the French stormed his position the next day they found that he had gone. In headlong retreat and fighting off the French, Ferguson led his men towards the high woods where he had prepared a fortified position of last resort. The French by this time landed some 400 men at Man o' War Bay, determined to take the English from the rear. Still the British resisted. It was only when the French started to burn the plantations that Ferguson's force, exhausted, very short of ammunition and food, decided that the wisest course of action would be to surrender. http://trinicenter.com/

19th Century

1845 Methodists arrive and open missions at Mount St. George and Mason Hall. Sister Marie Therése

1898 School-chapel blessed on October 10 at Mason Hall and built by Fr. Reginald. Sister Marie Therése

20th Century

1984 Shirley Cooke emigrated from Mason Hall to the United States to study. See TOBAGONIANS