ROBERT HUGH MUNRO was a “gentleman of colour”, back in the 1700s when “gentleman” was a title not a compliment and “of colour” meant not white and therefore of little social standing. In 1765 he acquired a patent of 300 acres of land in the parish of St. Elizabeth and later he acquired lands in parish of Clarendon. Munro operated a livery, a business involving the transporting of people and goods. His main income was derived from transporting lawyers between St. Elizabeth and Savanna-La-Mar, a distance of about 35 miles. Unmarried, he died in 1798 and willed most of his estate in a trust to his nephew Dr. Caleb Dickenson and the Anglican Church Wardens of St. Elizabeth, requiring them to erect and maintain a school for the education of as many poor children of the parish that the funds would allow. The Church Wardens were the local government of those days. Munro was buried at Leith Hall in the parish of St. Thomas at other end of the island. 141 years later, in 1939, the moss-covered head-stone was accidentally discovered by a Munro old boy and his remains were re-interred under the baptismal font of the Munro College Chapel. A relative of both Munro and Dickenson, Dr. W.N. Dickenson, escorted the casket during a moving ceremony.
Dr. CALEB DICKENSON was also an unmarried gentleman of colour. He was the grandson of Francis Dickinson who came to Jamaica in 1655 with the Penn and Vennables Expedition. As a challenge to Spain’s power in the Caribbean, Britain’s Oliver Cromwell charged Penn and Vennables to capture Hispaniola, today Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Failing to capture Hispaniola they captured Jamaica instead. Francis remained in Jamaica and received a patent of 5,625 acres of land in St. Elizabeth. The Dickenson family at one time owned about twelve properties in St. Elizabeth. The only one now remaining is Bartons which came to be owned by the Marquis of Chigi who married a Dickenson. Caleb received his early education in Yorkshire, England and then studied physic and medicine. He practiced in the parishes of St. Andrew and St. Thomas, bred and raced horses and was famous for his kindness and philanthropy. He enlarged his uncle’s legacy to an extraordinary degree and willed that the trust should establish an alms house for the indigent as well as the school. Caleb Dickenson’s estate included 26,000 pounds in England, largest share in a fine ship the Beva, the property Knockpatrick in the parish of Manchester, and the property Grossmond with 20 slaves in St.Elizabeth.
Dickenson spent the last years of his life in Knockpatrick where he died and was buried in 1821. In 1931 his remains were re-interred in the Munro College Chapel under the floor of the sanctuary. Dr. W.N. Dickenson led the solemn procession from Top Gate on the Munro College property To the Chapel and the Hampton choir sang “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it”.

Taken from “A History of Munro College and Hampton High School, located in Jamaica, in the parish of St. Elizabeth” written by Michael Elliott. Sources: The archives at the Munro College Old Boys Association & the Munro College Library