tree at Moravian School, Moriah

The Moravians: church – state school in Moriah




This plaque encapsulates slow development of schools in Trinidad and Tobago, a process started in Tobago where the British “allotted land for a school and a teacher in each parish” in 1783.

It marks the site of a Coronation Tree, planted to mark accession of a new queen, Victoria, to the British throne over half a century later, in 1837.

In 1842 when this tree was five years old, Moravians established a church and the “first chapel school” in the village of Moriah. They “first brought education to Tobago.”

Progress was leisurely. A century after planting of the tree and slave emancipation, the first colonial government school in Tobago opened at Mason Hall, mid-way between Moriah and Scarborough in 1938. The pace of development quickened as the Moravians surrendered control of their pioneering “top school, bottom school” and a third building reopened in 1962 in large, modern accommodation as Moriah Government School. This marked the beginning of a a new phase of education and potentially, development in Trinidad and Tobago.

The plaque notes how, like royalty, the “majestic and imposing presence” of the samaan tree “dominated the landscape” for a century and a half.

Plaque courtesy Mr Lloyd Warner of Moriah.