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Things Bajan: Rachael Pringle

Things Bajan: Rachael Pringle

Tue, November 06, 2012 - 10:28 AM

For the month of November, we will focus on things Barbados as this country celebrates its independence. Every day we will be highlighting Barbadian sayings, artefacts unique to the country, as well as personalities, icons, some places and things that reflect Barbados.

Rachael Pringle Polgreen (c. 1753 – 1791), was a mulatto freedwoman who owned and operated the Royal Naval Hotel in Bridgetown.

Its name resulted from an incident one night in 1786 or 1789 when, on one of his visits to Barbados Prince William Henry, (later King William IV) and his companions visited the hotel and wrecked the place in the course of a drunken spree. They ending up tipping the enormous Miss Rachel out of her chair in the doorway and leaving her sprawling in the street. She made no attempt to stop them, but the next morning sent the Prince a very large bill for the damage. His Royal Highness “made no question of the correctness of the account”, but simply paid up, and Miss Rachael furnished the Royal Naval Hotel, with more splendour than ever!’

The story was told at length, with other details of Rachael Pringle’s life, in a section of the novel Creoleana, by Orderson. There is confirmation from other sources but Orderson’s memory was not entirely accurate.

While Pringle was not the first woman to keep a hotel in Bridgetown she was the first freedwoman to do so.

• Source: A-Z Of Barbadian Heritage

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