Savanna La Mar Fountain

Location: Savanna La Mar, Jamaica

A royal salute of 21 guns, a thanksgiving service at the parish church; and donations of money, food and clothing were presented to school children and paupers within the parish to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in 1887.

Edward John Sadler, a planter from the parish of Westmoreland, Jamaica, presented a drinking fountain and trough to the town on behalf of the parochial board. It was erected inside the Westmoreland Parish Council building.

The fountain is presently located in a corner of Nelson Square near the Courthouse. It has been encircled with fencing most likely to protect it from vandalism as many of the original pieces of the structure are missing. The font is barely recognizable: the basin, cups and crane finial no longer exist. The finial at the apex of the dome is also missing.

The canopied drinking fountain is design number 21 (18 feet by 4 feet) from Walter Macfarlane’s catalog manufactured at the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland. Seated on an octagonal plinth, the canopy is supported by eight columns with griffin terminals which are positioned over capitals with foliage frieze above square bases.

The highly decorated cusped arches are trimmed with rope mouldings. Cartouches contained within each lunette offer shields for memorial; a crane is on three sides and a dedication shield with the inscription, Presented by E. J. Sadler 1887. On each side arch faceplates provide a flat surface for inscription using raised metal letters; often the useful monition, Keep The Pavement Dry. Civic virtues such as temperance were often extolled in inscriptions on drinking fountains.

Doves and flowers offer decorative relief on the circular, open filigree, ribbed dome. The internal capitals are floral ornament. The structure was originally surmounted with a vase and spiked obelisk finial which is now missing.

Under the canopy stood the font (casting number 7) 5 foot 8 inches high. A single decorative pedestal with four pilasters and descending salamander relief originally supported a basin 2 ft 6 ins in diameter. The missing basin had a scalloped edge and decorative relief. Four elaborate consoles supported drinking cups on chains and a sculptured vase was terminated by the figure of a crane.

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions; cranes are a recognised symbol of vigilance; and salamanders display bravery and courage that cannot be extinguished by fire.


  • Capital, the top of a column that supports the load bearing down on it
  • Cartouche, a structure or figure, often in the shape of an oval shield or oblong scroll, used as an architectural or graphic ornament or to bear a design or inscription.
  • Console, a decorative bracket support element
  • Cusped Arch, the point of intersection of lobed or scalloped forms
  • Filigree, fine ornamental work
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Fret, running or repeated ornament
  • Frieze, the horizontal part of a classical moulding just below the cornice, often decorated with carvings
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Obelisk, a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top
  • Pedestal, an architectural support for a column or statue
  • Pilaster, a column form that is only ornamental and not supporting a structure
  • Plinth, flat base usually projecting, upon which a pedestal, wall or column rests
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

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