Rusea’s high school has the distinction of being the 5th oldest of the schools in Jamaica that have survived the past. The fact that it exists at all is the outcome of an accident. This accident resulted in an inscription on the plaque that adorns the front of its Long Barracks Campus. The inscription starts with “Martin Rusea was a French refugee ….”.
Rusea’s High Sch
Campus 2-Fort Charlotte Dr Luce
Who was Martin Rusea.
Martin Rusea was a Protestant. The protestants were opposed to some fundamental aspects of Catholic theology. They emerged across Europe. In France, the birth land of Martin Rusea, they were known as Huguenots. Thousands were killed during the period of religious intolerance, most notably on August 24, 1572
which became known as St. Bartholomews Day. The Edict of Nantes, for a time, had allowed Huguenots to live in relative peace and to enjoy freedom of worship.
It was repealed in 1685 by Louis XIV. As a result, some 200,000 fled to other places in Europe and to America. Some came to Jamaica. Of these, Martin Rusea ended up in Lucea. Martin and his brother John were on their way to settle in a French West Indian island. Martin became ill and the brothers
were put ashore in Lucea. Martin was nursed back to health by missionaries aided by slaves. He settled in Lucea and became prosperous. He never married. His will stated ”in grateful recollection of the hospitality manifested toward him in the colony”.
After his death, his relatives contested the will. It was finally settled by an Act of the British Parliament in 1777. His estate was disposed of and the money put into a Trust
Fund. The proceeds of his real and personal estate realized £4,500 for establishment of a free school in Hanover. Students were mainly children of “poor whites”.