This article was taken from our archives. It first appeared in our Fall 2006 issue. It appears here as it did originally.
What could be sweeter than giving a present to your country and countrymen by wrapping up a parcel of land? With so little open space left on this tiny island – not even golf courses seem safe from developers’ covetous clutches – The Bermudian celebrates those who recognise the need to leave something, anything, even the smallest green space, for nature and the nurture of future generations. To the six donors we feature in this series, and the numerous others whose foresight and generosity will go on forever, we salute you.
Hereward Watlington gave much to Bermuda. His legacies are numerous—most Bermudians are aware of his contributions in the areas of art and culture—but they also reflect his concern for conservation and preservation. A founding member of the Bermuda Historical Monuments Trust, the organisation that preceded the Bermuda National Trust, he donated the Devonshire Marsh Nature Reserve in that spirit. By means of bequest, the Trust and the Audubon Society received a joint gift comprising 10.1 acres in 1989.
“It was given to the Bermuda National Trust and the Audubon Society, really to try to protect the marsh as an entity,” explains Watlington’s nephew Henry Laing. “He hoped to protect the stretch of land to the benefit of Bermudians, and he gave a number of pieces—roughly the southern half of Devonshire Marsh running along Jubilee Road. It was probably his aim that it would address the system of checks and balances. I’m grateful he did it.”
Laing agrees that Watlington’s bequest probably stemmed from his genuine belief in the need for land conservation and his sincere desire to preserve a bit of old Bermuda for future generations. It was that desire that saw Watlington lend his considerable expertise to the restoration of Verdmont, Tucker House and Palmetto House. He also oversaw improvements to personal acquisitions—Bridge House, Willoughby and Buckingham, selling Bridge House back to the Trust for the cost of the restorations.
“He donated eight paintings to the people of Bermuda, which gave rise to the Bermuda National Gallery,” adds Laing. “He was one of the founding members of the Bermuda Historical Monuments Trust, which gave rise to the Bermuda National Trust. He thought it something of value to Bermuda to preserve its past, and the Trust represented the first time anything like that had been done, really. I think for that reason, as much as any other, he donated the land.
“He had been president of Watlington Waterworks, and I expect that held some bearing, but he really believed in giving as much to Bermuda as he could. A lot of it probably sprang from his parents. Watlington Waterworks, which his father started, made it possible for tourism to function by providing water to the hotels.”
Laing cites a quote by Mark Twain—“Buy land, they’re not making it anymore”—as a means of highlighting the value of such donations to the island. “They’re certainly not making more land these days—except at the airport. I’d advise anyone to go for it. The size of the land doesn’t matter. This sort of thing is always of benefit to the community as a whole.
DONATIONS OF LAND TO THE BERMUDA NATIONAL TRUST
|Bee Hive Farm Nature Reserve, St Dav.||David L.White||1991||0.06|
|Butterfield Nature Reserves,|
Point Shares, Pem.
|Mr and Mrs Dudley Butterfield|
(this jointly with Lady Tibbits}
|Chaplin O’Neill Nature Reserve,|
Harbour Rd, War.
|Lady Oona O’Neill Chaplin||1989||0.56|
|Davenport Cottage, Water St, St Geo.||Dr. Raymond Spurling||2000||0.05|
|Devonshire Marsh Nature Reserves, Dev.||Estate of Hereward T. Washington||1984||10.1|
|Elm Lodge, Harbour Road, War.||Donated by David Wingate||In transfer||6|
|Edmund Gibbons Nature Reserve, South Rd, Dev.||Sir David and E. Graham Gibbons||1976||3.16|
|Gladys Morrell Nature Reserve,|
East Side Rd, Sandys
|Sandy’s Chapter of I.O.D.E||1973||2.1|
|HT. North Nature Reserves, Judkin Lane, Ham. Parish||Partially donated by Jean Outerbridge and Catherine Burnett||1975, 1981||4.52|
|I.W. Hughes Nature Reserve, Walsingham, Ham. Parish||The heirs of Idwal Hughes||1982||1.3|
|Locust Hall Farm, Middle Road, Dev||Mainly donated by the children 1989|
of Edmund and Winifred Gibbons – Patsy Phillips, E. Graham Gibbons, and Sir David Gibbons
|Manrgoville, Arrowroot Lane, Ham. Parish||Bequest by the Natalie North Estate||2003||2.75|
|Marjorie Jackson Nature Reserve, Westside Rd, Sandys||Bequest by Marjorie Jackson||2001||0.5|
|Padella Cottage, Westside Road Sandys||Bequest by Marjorie Jackson||2001||0.15|
|Palm and Morgans Islands,|
Elys Harbour, Sandys
|Palmetto House, Devonshire||Hereward T. Watlington||1955||2.37|
|Pembroke Hall, Pem.||The daughters of Col. Thomas Dill, Frances Moore, Dianna Darrid and Ruth Crocker||1981||1.35|
|Rebecca Middleton Nature Reserve, Paget||Mr and Mrs Walter Cook||2006||0.4|
|Rogue Island, St Geo.||Sir Richard Gorham, The Grace Brooks Trust, Berry Kitson, Joan Wilkie and Lillis Stockwell||1979||0.2|
|S-Hill Reserve, Ord Road, War.||Adrianna Goodfellow||1992||0.25|
|Saltus Island, Pem.||Richard Aeschliman||1978||3.19|
|Scaur Lodge, Sandys||Charles Stewart Mott Foundation||1976||6.06|
|Ships Inn, War.||Adrianna Goodfellow|
and Shirley Mulder
|Land on Smith’s Island||Kitson and Spurling Families||1995||28|
|Spinal Pond, Smith’s||Part. donated by Henry Wilkinson||1970||23.54|
|Stokes’ Point, St Geo||Partially donated by bequest from Ms Nea Smith||1989||8.37|
|Tivoli, War.||Bequest from Gloria Higgs||1984||11.26|
|Warwick Pond, War.||Dennis Sherwin/Bda Heritage Trust||1987||9.32|
|Waterville, Paget||Kenneth F. Trimingham||1962||1.2|
|Wilkinson Nature Reserve, Ham. Parish||Mrs Bernard Wilkinson||1982||0.58|
Note: The above table excludes land and buildings purchased outright by the Bermuda National Trust and its predecessor, Bermuda Historic Monuments Trust. It also excludes the Trust’s historic military cemeteries and private burial grounds.