Places of Interest - Smith's Parish

The Verdmont Museum

The Verdmont Museum is an historic dwelling preserved and maintained by the Bermuda National Trust. Located on Sayle Road, at the top of Collector's Hill in Smith's Parish, it is believed to have been built circa 1710. The Georgian style of 3 stories house has remained structurally unchanged for 300 years.

In Richard Norwood's survey of 1662, Verdmont is mentioned as the house and property of Captain/Governor William Sayle. Originally the house had a lantern or cupola. The staircase is 17th Century in design. William Sayle was an Independent in religion and politics, an adherent of Cromwell. He was Governor of Bermuda in 1643. While in England to oppose his sucessor Turner in 1648, he obtained a charter to settle the Bahamas. After returning to Bermuda with Raynor, a co-religionist, he took 70 settlers to the Island of Segatoo (renamed Eleuthera). They later returned to Bermuda. In 1658 Sayle again became Governor. In 1669, he took over the command of a party of settlers to a new settlement in South Carolina after Sir John Youmans resigned, while undergoing repairs of his vessel in Bermuda.  Governor Sayle served three terms as Governor of Bermuda before becoming the first Governor of the Bahamas and first Governor of Carolina (before it was split in two as North and South Carolina). 

It has remained architecturally  unchanged since the late 1700s. It was re-built in about 1716 by John Dickinson.  It was later acquired by Hon. Thomas Smith who, as Collector of Customs, spawned "Collector's Hill" for both the house and nearby  road (also known as Collector's Close). Later yet, it was acquired and added to by the English portrait painter John Green who married the daughter of Thomas Smith.

Of particular interest to the genealogist are the collection of portraits hanging in the house. Many were painted between 1765 and 1775 by the Hon John Green, a loyalist judge and portrait painter from Philadelphia. He is described by a Boston paper in March 1775 as follows: "Such is the venality and wickedness of Green, the Judge of Admiralty Court in these Islands and formerly a sign painter in Philadelphia, that everything of value is sure to be condemned, so great is the partiality of the said judge." Green is said to have come to Bermuda in 1760. In 1774, he travelled to London, encouraged by Benjamin West. In 1785 he was invited by Governor William Browne to become Collector of Customs. He was later a member of Council and then a Judge for the Court of Vice Admiralty. He married Peggy, daughter of Hon Thomas Smith and acquired the property. Green called the property "Verdmont" as a French pun on his surname, combining the word for green and mountain. Green's paintings depict the Hon. Thomas Smith, a shipowner and Collector of Customs, his four daughters, Mary, Honora, Elizabeth, and Catherine, and their families. John Green married Thomas's daughter, Mary Smith and subsequently lived in the home. Thomas Smith was married to Elizabeth Dickinson grandaughter and heir of John Dickinson, the prominent shipbuilder and rebuilder of  Verdmont.

The house passed to descendants of Elizabeth Smith, wife of Col Henry Trott and was later sold with the surrounding 50 acres to Rupert Spencer, a farmer. The house was never modernized and was passed to the Bermuda National Trust in 1951.

The house also contains a collection of early Bermuda cedar furniture crafted by Island craftsmen between 1700 and 1820 and imported pieces brought by early sea captains. The slave quarters and kitchen buildings are also preserved.

Open Tues - Sat 10am - 4pm