Lover’s Leap, a tourist destination in Jamaica, boasts a 1,700-foot drop and a haunting tale.
The story of lovers Mizzy and Tunkey is carved into the heart of St. Elizabeth, and the wooden statues perched on the land.
Enslaved by Richard Chardley, Mizzy worked on a plantation in Santa Cruz in the mountains of St. Elizabeth. Mizzy fell in love with Tunkey, a young man from a nearby plantation. Chardley, jealous of Mizzy and Tunkey’s love and desperate to tear them apart, planned to have Tunkey sold to a plantation out of Mizzy’s reach.
Privy to Chardley’s plot, the lovesick couple arranged a clandestine meeting to thwart Chardley’s scheme and spend the rest of their years together. Giddy with the excitement of a young lover’s union, the pair headed for the caverns below a steep cliff.
Little did they know, Chardley gathered a group to find Mizzy, who he knew had disappeared into the night.
Upon discovering Chardley and his heinous horde stampeding towards them, Mizzy and Tunkey took a leap of faith and became the stuff of legend.
What happened after the duo jumped is up for interpretation. Some say, Mizzy and Tunkey met their end at the bottom of Lover’s Leap. Others have more creative ideas.
“An old woman, watching from the bushes nearby, swore they did not die; the night sky caught them in a golden net, and they were seen sitting atop the moon together as it sank below the horizon, among millions of stars.” wrote Storyteller and Psychic Didi Beck in an article for Jamaica Observer,
In a retelling of the myth on a tour at Lover’s Leap, Mizzy’s brother works in cahoots with Chardley to ensure the couple’s demise.
No matter how the story is told, the tale of young love against all odds attracts travelers and Jamaican residents alike.
In addition to jaw-dropping views of the Caribbean Sea, Lover’s Leap is home to a towering lighthouse, at 1,600 feet above water level, and a love-themed restaurant.
Among the oldest parishes in Jamaica, St. Elizabeth is named after the wife of Jamaica’s Governor circa 1665, Lady Elizabeth Modyford.
The people of St. Elizabeth played a pivotal role in the abolition of slavery in Jamaica, as “20 to 40 percent” of enslaved St. Elizabethans participated in the 1831 rebellion led by Samuel Sharpe, according to Jamaica Information Service.
From the very real impact of the Sharpe Rebellion to the myths that hug the mountain range of Santa Cruz, the stories of St. Elizabeth remain a vital part of Jamaica’s ongoing history.