Asked Questions

When was Caribelle Batik founded?

Caribelle Batik was founded by the present owner and Englishman Mr. Maurice Widdowson in 1976.

How old is the tree?

The tree is approximately 400 years old. It originates in South America, and the seeds would have been planted by settling Amerindians.

What is the history of Romney Manor?

Sam Jeffreson, the great, great, great grandfather of the 3rd president of the U.S.A., was the original owner of the property in the mid-1600s. He named the original structure the “red house”, indicating that Sam was a Quaker. In the late 17th century, he sold the portion of Wingfield Estate containing the red house to the Earl of Romney, who promptly renamed the property “Romney Manor”. This name has remained for over 3 centuries. Click here for more information and photographs.

How did you become the official owner?

The previous owner did not leave the property for his children, but his grandchildren. These rightful owners were scattered all over the planet (North America, England, Australia, Jordan, & the West Indies), which resulted in a wait time of two years before getting them all to agree to the sale of the property. In 1976, the current owner, Mr. Widdowson, leased the property from the family's representative in St. Kitts and put in motion the potential to buy. The family finally agreed to sell in 1978. By this point, Mr. Widdowson was already producing batik in St. Kitts and selling it on other busier islands, namely St. Lucia and Antigua. He was also focused on preparing Romney Manor for its official opening.

The honourable Paul A. Southwell, Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism, stated at the opening ceremony, “This may surprise you, but this is the first time I have been on this property. Local people like myself were very infrequent visitors. Please promise me that you will never deny access to this beautiful property to our people”. Since then, Mr. Widdowson’s philosophy has never failed to deliver on that promise.

Has Romney Manor always looked like this?

Over the centuries, the manor has changed in character many times. Financial resources, hurricanes, termites, and fires have all influenced the structure. The historic development of the manor is easily seen by the keen eye of an amateur archeologist. The present owner is committed to maintaining the historical integrity of both Wingfield Estate and its gardens as well as the grounds of Romney Manor.

How to care for the batik treasures?

For the first washing, hand wash separately in hot water using mild detergent. This ensures that any excess wax or dyes are removed. Thereafter your garment can be machine washed with similar colours or dry cleaned if you prefer. All our garments are pre-shrunk. 

Are there any other attractions within the area?

Historic Wingfield Estate hosts the offices and operation of an amazing zip line experience. 

The owner is frequently asked, “Do you enjoy living in St. Kitts”?

“I live and work in paradise. I live here by choice and do not wish to leave. How many people on this planet get to live and work in such an environment? I made the decision to place Caribelle Batik in St. Kitts 40 years ago. The people, the place, and the economic future make that decision the wisest one I've ever made. The unspoiled charm of 40 years ago remains; the steady development since then has only enhanced the attraction of St. Kitts. I am truly blessed”.

Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?

Easy. Look out of the window. Even on a rainy day, everything is beautiful.