Most of the religious sites in Barbados are beautifully maintained, historic churches, approximately 60 of which are over 100 years old and date back to the 1830s. These 60 odd historic churches provide a rich tapestry of the history of Barbados.
Most of the early churches were completely destroyed by the great hurricane of 1831 but a wave of ambitious building ensued maintaining the collection of religious sights in Barbados.
The oldest site of worship on the island is the St. James Parish Church near to where the first settlement was made in 1627. By 1637 six churches had been built to serve the first six parishes of St. James, St. Michael, St. Peter, St. Lucy, St. Andrew and Christ Church. The other five parishes were carved out of these first six between 1639 and 1652. Since the only accepted religion in Barbados in the early days was the Church of England, the island's parish churches are all Anglican. All of the parish churches are of interest but by common consent St. James and St. John are of particular beauty and fascination. Some churches are also famous for their ancient tombs and family vaults.
In 1765 the Moravians came to bring the gospel specifically to the slaves and by 1799 had built a stone church at Sharon in St. Thomas.
The Methodists came in 1788. Sarah Ann Gill, a free coloured woman and "Defender of Methodism" in Barbados, helped to build the first Methodist chapel in Bridgetown around 1819. Her grave is located in a small cemetery at the back of James Street Chapel.
Barbados became the first English territory to admit Jews since they were expelled from England in the late 13th century. The beautifully restored Jewish Synagogue is in the centre of Bridgetown.
A religious sightseeing tour of Barbados will reveal interesting, beautiful church architecture and decoration, ancient tombs and family vaults and some insight into the historical significance of religion to Barbados.