Monks Bath

Location: 17°45’44.99″N 64°53’10.14″W
Estate Northside. NA-37

Monks Bath is a feature, located in the north-west of St Croix, approximately 3.7 miles north of Frederiksted. According to one story, monks carved the pool to stay clean without using their fresh drinking water. However, others say that the pool was built in the 1950s or 60s by property owners who wanted a pool.
Sadly, the romantic story of the bath being made by Capuchin monks in the 17th century is most likely false. The Capuchin Order was indeed active and expanding its presence globally. During this time the Capuchin monks were involved in missionary activities, establishing monasteries, and spreading the teachings of the Catholic Church. However, specific information about the presence of Capuchin monks on St. Croix in the 17th century is not readily available, and the available information regarding monasteries on St Croix is limited to the old Greathouse at Estate Cane Garden, part of which dates from the 1650’s, when the Jesuit friars supposedly built it for a monastery during the French occupation of St. Croix [Landmarks] .

An op-ed by Olassee Davis in The Daily News, 06/06/2017 attributes the baths to The Knights of Malta. He states that according to some historians, the knights, who as a religious-military order were referred to as monks, decided that they would rather not bathe with the limited fresh water of the island, and they would carve out Roman type baths in the hard coral outcropping along the coast, in front of their monastery. At this site in North Side Estate, they carved out two rectangular baths into the hardened coral outcropping.

However, questioning this attribution is valid when considering the island’s state of development during the Knights’ occupation. Initially headquartered in Bassin (Christiansted) before relocating to the area of Salt River on Hemmers Peninsula, now known as Judith’s Fancy, the Knights were surrounded by limited development. The closest settlement, La Grange, was approximately 3.7 miles south of the baths, separated by challenging terrain. Therefore, establishing an absolute attribution to the Knights of Malta for the creation of these baths may be complex. Nevertheless, despite the historical uncertainties, the allure of these romantic stories remains captivating.

Monks Bath Beach is across the road from the Global Crossing Fiber Terminal building – a large two story, gated, yellow building.

Location of Hams Bluff & Monks Bath
Hams Bluff & Monks Bath

All of the photographs presented on this page were created by ©Sarah Vasquez, 2024, and used with permission.

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