Clarendon was named in honour of the celebrated Lord Chancellor, Sir Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon.
The parish was formed from a combination of three parishes: St. Dorothy's, Vere and the old parish of Carendon.
Before the merger, the capital was Chapelton.
The current capital, May Pen, was established as a plantation settlement by the British between 1660 and 1683
on a crossing point of the Rio Minho River.
May Pen is now said to be the fastest growing rural town close to Kingston.
It is well located from an administrative point of view, in the centre of a largely agricultural area, and as a midpoint on the Kingston to Manchester road.
The capital of the parish, May Pen, is located at latitude 17°44'N, longitude 77°09'W. Covering an area of 1,196 sq km, Clarendon ranks as the third largest parish. The parish is predominantly a wide plain, marked by several rivers, including the Rio Minho River, which runs the length of the parish. Toward the northern end of the parish lies the Mocho Mountain, (200 ft), and Bull Head Mountain range (2800 ft), which is considered to be the geographical centre of the island. The Vere plain are other significant geographical features.
Portland Point, the southernmost point of Jamaica, is on a peninsula in Clarendon. On the same peninsula are Jackson Bay beach, the flood-prone community of Portland Cottage, and two different locations both called Rocky Point, a residential community on the western side of the peninsula, and a port used primarily for the export of alumina on the eastern side of the peninsula.
Bauxite, Jamaica's major mineral source, can be found extensively in Clarendon.
Bauxite mining has been established in the parish by JAMALCO and ALCOA.
Most of the island's tobacco is also grown in Clarendon,
along with cotton, pimento, ginger, livestock, indigo, bananas, coffee, and cocoa.
May Pen is also an important citrus packing centre, famous for 'Trout Hall' oranges.
Additionally, dairy farming, fish farming, Copper mining has been carried on intermittently,
and the sugar-cane production contributes significantly to the amount of sugar cane exported annually.
The Denbigh agricultural showground is a short distance from May Pen
With a population at an estimated 215,515, Clarendon is one of the most populous parishes in the island.
The capital, May Pen, with a Mayor has a population of 49,928.