The Chapel at the Mona Campus of the University of the West indies is set in a scene far distant from that in which it spent the greater part of its existence. It began life in 1799 as a stately Georgian building on the sugar estate of Gale's Valley in Trelawny, one of the north-western parishes of Jamaica. By 1955, still in its original site, it had long ceased to play any part in the sugar factory for which it was constructed, but still attracted the occasional visitor. Her Royal Highness Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone and Chancellor of the University College of the West Indies, suggested to Mrs. Kelly-Lawson, then owner of the Hampden and Gale's Valley estates, that this fine example of West Indian architecture could be preserved for greater usefulness if presented to the University for reconstruction as a Chapel.
In work supervised by the College's first Resident Engineer, Mr. A. D. Scott, the old building was taken down and transferred stone by numbered stone, across the island. Part of the transportation cost was paid by the Custos of the Parish of St. James, then the Honourable, later Sir Francis Kerr. Princess Alice had by that time received, from a Canadian donor who wished to remain anonymous, a handsome gift of 40,000 pounds sterling for the building of the Chapel.
The building of the new Chapel began in April 1956; the corner stone was laid on June 5, 1956 by then Governor of Jamaica, Sir Hugh MacIntosh Foot (later Lord Caradon); and the first Service was held on the last Sunday of Trinity Term 1959; June 21 1959. The Chapel was dedicated on February 14, 1960, during the Service of Commemoration marking the Installation (February 16, 1950) of Princess Alice as Chancellor.
Messrs. Norman and Dawbarn, a London firm of architects supervised the reconstruction of the building , harmonising the gracious Georgian style of the original with the more austere contemporary functional design which they had used in other buildings at Mona. A portico was later erected at the west door.
Running the full length of the north wall of the Chapel, just below the coping, can be seen the inscription
"Edward Morant Gayle Esquire 1799"