On Wednesday, 8th February, 1843, the very day after the meeting of the Vestry, the island was visited by a most terrific and destructive Earthquake. . . .
Everyone within the Church after the first shock was compelled to escape for their lives. The Tower was rent from the top to the bottom, the north dial of the clock precipitated to the ground beneath with a dreadful crash, and the east parapet wall of the Tower thrown upon the roof of the Church. Almost the whole of the north east wall of the north gallery fell out in a mass. The north east wall was protruded beyond the perpendicular. . . .
Thus within the space of three minutes, the Church was reduced to a pile of crumbling ruins, the walls that were left standing being rent in every part, the main roof only remaining sound, being supported by the hardwood pillars."
Regarded as the strongest estimated intensity earthquake ever to occur in the Caribbean, this catastrophic magnitude 8.3 earthquake devastated Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe, leaving it in ruins. One third (1500) of its estimated 4000-6000 inhabitants perished. The earthquake also ravaged Marie Galante, Dominica, Montserrat and Antigua.
The violent 90 second shock at 10:35am was felt throughout the Antilles. A newspaper in Barbados reported that columns of water 100 feet high and several feet thick were ejected from fissures in the ground at Guadeloupe.
The Antigua Weekly Register reported that St. John's as well as the entire island suffered greatly. The sugar crop was lost and there were 12 to 40 fatalities. The sea rose 1.2 meters after the earthquake in St. John's, Antigua, then sank again immediately remaining calm throughout, possibly caused by a large chunk of the rock island Redonda breaking off and falling into the sea. At English Harbour, the wharf made on reclaimed land sank.
Sugar mills were severely damaged at Montserrat, Nevis and St. Kitts. A 1 foot X 1/2 mile long crack appeared in St. Eustatius.
Severe shocks were felt in Barbuda, St. Bathelemy, St. Martin, Saba and Dominica. Martinique and St. Lucia both experienced moderate shocks while lighter shaking was experienced in Tortola, St. Thomas, St. Vincent, Grenada and Barbados. The earthquake was reported as being felt as far as Trinidad and Guyana in the south and Bermuda and South Carolina in the North.