Clydesdale was formerly part of the Chestervale Estate, owned by Dr. Colin McClarty. In 1800 the Chestervale estate was divided into four parcels, the largest being retained by Dr. McLarty. Two parcels, identified as the Newport Hill plantation, were conveyed to a William Griffiths. The fourth parcel, some 329 acres which appears to have included the coffee works, was conveyed to Alexander McClarty, presumably a son. This last parcel became Clydesdale.
Alexander McClarty owned Clydesdale until his death in 1821. In 1823 the Newport Hill plantation was incorporated into Clydesdale, though it is not clear how this occurred since Clydesdale was still part of the dead McClarty’s estate, but a certain Alexander Campbell, who appears in Accounts Produce as the manager of the estate in the early 1820’s, ended up as proprietor based on the apprentice statistics from the 1838 Jamaica Almanac.
Clydesdale’s best year was 1829, when it produced over 77,000 pounds of coffee. It managed to secure enough labor to continue production after emancipation, but eventually the estate was parceled out to small-holders and now is a village, though the original coffee mill, a second smaller mill, and the overseers house are still standing, and have been designated a National Heritage site by the Jamaican Government.
The Clydesdale mill did operate as late as the 1920’s based on a story that circulates locally. A heavily armed, presumed army deserter, MacLeverty, took over Clydesdale after World War I. He resumed coffee production and even increased cultivation on stolen land. The British Authorities finally caught up with him, still seeking him for the desertion charge. Rather than be taken alive, MacLeverty killed himself in the overseer’s house. There is some speculation that MacLeverty was a descendant of the McLarty’s.
Clydesdale coffee is sourced from the small growers who cultivate coffee on land that made up the estate, plus coffee from select areas on the Southern slope of the Blue Mountains. The coffee is processed at Clifton Mount Estate. The Clydesdale mark is owned by the Sharp family of Jamaica.