King’s Square is at the heart of the historic town of St. George, the place where Bermuda’s history started and where the men of Sir George Somers first landed on the Island after their ship Sea Venture crashed on the reefs in 1609.
It is a designated UNESCO world heritage site and a must-see if you are going to the eastern part of the Island.
However, King’s Square, also referred to as the Town Square, wasn’t created before the 19th century when a marshy part of St. George’s harbour was filled. Some of the buildings that surround the square, however, are much older and part of the town’s and island’s history.
The Bank of Butterfield is Bermuda’s oldest bank and has a building on King’s Square. The imposing building was built in 1776 and was originally used by troops as a mess during the American Revolutionary War. It was then transformed into a hotel before the bank bought it and restored it to its original state.
The Town Hall is on the east side of King’s Square and was built in 1782. You can visit sections of it and admire its wonderful floors and ceilings made of cedar wood, a species native to Bermuda. History buffs will be able to learn about the mayors of St. George whose portraits are displayed inside. These days, the hall is still used by the civic governments for meetings.
The Bermuda National Trust Museum is a 17th century building edified by Governor Samuel Day. It was turned into The Globe Hotel in the 19th century and, during the American Civil War, became the office of the Confederate Agent. It was later bought by the Bermuda National Trust and has been a museum since 1961.
The Square is also home to restaurants such as the White Horse Tavern, one of the oldest pub in Bermuda, and the George and Dragon, located in another 18th century building.
History is also present in the forms of replica of stocks and pillory outside the Bank of Butterfield. They were used in the 18th century’s British colonial days to punish those found guilty of drunkenness or other petty crimes. They are, of course, not in use any more but still functional and it is almost a tradition for tourists to get their photo taken with their head and hands through the stocks’ holes.
The other main tourist attraction of the square is another punishment artefact: it is a replica of a ducking stool on which nagging and gossiping women were sat and ducked into the water for punishment! The replica is now used to reenact the punishments with actors and volunteers taking part many days a week.
King’s Square, St. George – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles ‘Things To Do’ in Bermuda series!
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