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Macarthy's Hill - Our Ancestral Home

Half way through the narrow road called Gyegyem Street, towards the sea at Idun, there stands an imposing hill on the right hand side of the road.  It is a strategic hill of great military value.  It was named after Sir Charles Maccarthy in recognition of his service to the people of Cape- Coast.  On his appointment by the King of England on October 17, 1821, He proceeded from Sierra Leone to assume office as the governor of the Gold Coast Settlements, which capital was sited at the Cape-Coast castle on March 28, 1822.

The Governor, a stranger of the Gold Coast and its complex political affairs embroiled himself in the dispute between the Fante's and Ashanti’s which resulted in a war that cost him his life in the battle of Essamankaw on the 21st January 1824.

Before Macarthy's hill was conveyed to our ancestor William Martin on the 7th of January 1861, it was used for Military Purposes and for the defense of Forts and Castles at Cape-Coast.  It was several meters high above the sea level and the top of the hill was mounted with cannons and cannon balls pre-positioned to augment the defense of the Cape-Coast Castle and to guard the Atlantic Coastline against invasion by pirates or slave ships.






Grant of the Land by the British Crown.

The document by which Macarthy's Hill was granted to William (Bedu) Martin is unique in more senses than one.

Firstly, It was not agreement between the two parties, that between the Government and William Martin.  Instead of the expression by THIS DEED, The Conveyance commenced with the words BY THESE PRESENTS.

Secondly, William Martin was not a signatory to these presents.

Thirdly, “I, Edward Bullock Andrews, Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty’s Forts and Settlements on the Gold Coast”, granted the land to William Martin.

Fourthly, The consideration for which the Marcarthy's Hill was given and granted and confirmed unto William Martin was not in terms of money paid to the Government.  It was granted free of any charges, undoubtedly, in recognition of services to the state.  It comprises "all that North and North Western half of the top of the Hill known as Macarthy's Hill in the town of Cape Coast together with the North and North Western slopes of the said Hill...”

Fifthly:     The operative words were that the land was given or granted unto William Martin "his heirs and assigns to have and to hold the same for his and their proper use and benefit forever; provided always that the same should not be required for Military or other purposes by her Majesty's Government."

The Word heir (an old French Word) means the person who succeeds by descent.  The effect of the operative words is that on his death in testate Macarthy's Hill became his family property.  Fante traces customary law the right of inheritance through the female line and that only ............

Finally:  These presents were given under the hand of the Colonial Secretary and the public Seal at Cape- Coast Castle on the seventy day of January 1861, by his Excellency’s command.