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Location Map briarspavilion Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion

The Briars Pavilion

Napoleon’s Other House

You’ll enjoy the sun so much more with the relaxing shade of a pavilion at your disposal.
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Before Longwood House was ready, Napoleon stayed at the Briars Pavilion


The Briars Pavilion Saint Helena Island Info

Napoleon Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion

Other ‘Napoleon’ pages:

• Napoleon

• Napoleon’s Tomb

• Longwood House

• Betsy Balcombe

• Napoleonic Bicentenary

Below: Napoleon, and before • Later History • Today • Read More

In case it isn’t obvious, The Briars Pavilion is located in The Briars!

Napoleon, and before

Before Napoleon’s arrival the Briars belonged to the Balcombe family, who came to the island from England in 1805. William Balcombe was employed by The East India Company, and was responsible for provisioning visiting ships. The Briars Pavilion was situated in his garden. It is not known if William Balcombe built it or acquired it with the land.

On 18th October 1815, the day after his arrival on St Helena, Napoleon was taken to visit Longwood, and on the return journey the party stopped at The Briars to visit the Balcombes. Napoleon spotted the Briars Pavilion, and requested he be moved there, lower Jamestown already being too hot and too full of curious spectators for his liking. William Balcombe agreed and Napoleon moved in immediately. He remained at the Briars Pavilion until he moved to Longwood House on 10th December 1815.

Having established good relations with the Emperor during his stay at the Pavilion, William Balcombe managed to manoeuvre to provide services to Napoleon and his entourage. In addition, William’s 13/4-year-old daughter Elizabeth Lucia (‘Betsy’) Balcombe was the only family member who spoke French and she became the Napoleon’s translator (the relationship between Napoleon and Betsy Balcombe has subsequently been the subject of much comment.) For all of these reasons, Governor Hudson Lowe became suspicious of the Balcombes (as he was too of Saul Solomon), and in 1818 the Balcombes were forced to leave St Helena and return to England.

By a remarkable coincidence, the Duke of Wellington had also stayed with the Balcombes, during his visit in 1805.

Later History

After the Balcombes departure The Briars was leased by the government and initially used as the home for the Admiral assigned to St Helena. The Pavilion subsequently had various owners, and in 1959 it was purchased by Dame Mabel Brookes, a descendant of Sir William Stoveton, one of the island’s councillors. She donated it to the French government, which in return appointed her the following year as Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur. The Briars Pavilion therefore became the third of the French properties on St Helena.

1844 (Balcombe’s house left) Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion
1844 (Balcombe’s house, left)

1860s Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion

1961 Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion

HRH Princess Anne 2002 Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion
HRH Princess Anne, 2002

2009 stamps Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion
2009 stamps



French flag Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion

French Consulate Factbox


Longwood House, P.O. Box 14, St Helena Island, STHL1ZZ South Atlantic Ocean


(+290) 24409




Monday to Friday: 08:00 to 16:00


Mr. Michel Dancoisne-Martineau, Consul

Map of the French Properties Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion
Map of the French Properties
Longwood House Napoleon’s Tomb The Briars Pavilion{1}

Please consult the Tourist Office for charges and opening hours.

The main house was later completely destroyed by White Ants and has now disappeared, but the Pavilion was restored by the French government and, by judicious use of memoirs written by Napoleon’s servants, now has the appearance it had in 1821. The room occupied by Napoleon has a camp-bed, a table, a chest of drawers, a sofa, an armchair and several chairs. It can be visited by appointment.

Internal view Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion
Internal view

Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion

View from Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion
View from


Briars Pavillion Saint Helena Island Info Briars Pavilion

The French Properties comprise 0.130% of St Helena’s land area, being: Longwood House 10,572m² (0.009%); Napoleon’s Tomb 137,593m² (0.113%); Briars Pavilion 10,279m² (0.008%).

Read More

More stories on our page Read articles about St Helena.

For a chronological summary of our island’s history please see our A Brief History page; to search our history go to page Chronology.

WARNING: Not all of the structures described are necessarily safe to enter or open to the public.


Article: Press Release from The French Consul

Published in the St Helena Herald 19th October 2007{2}

Briars Pavilion drawing Saint Helena Island Info

Today the Honorary French Consul Michel Dancoisne-Martineau (Curator of the French Properties on St Helena) received a telegram from the French Government accepting his donation of the land surrounding the Briars Pavilion. This is step three of a long process which Michel began more than eight years ago, to preserve the whole Briars area; step one being the purchase of the land and step two being the donation of the land surrounding the Heart Shaped Waterfall to the National Trust earlier this year.

The donation of this land to the French Government will allow the Briars Pavilion to be protected from any inappropriate development within its immediate surrounding. It will ease access to the premises; parking facilities can be created and it will also allow the Pavilion to be preserved with its terraced gardens which can now be developed as a whole.

The French Properties are a great tourist asset on the island; visited by a large percentage of the tourists who come to the island each year. For St Helena, this gift to the French Government means that the tourism industry will benefit greatly from the enhancements to the Pavilion which this donation will facilitate. Particularly as the additional land will allow the French Government to maintain and develop the property without the hindrance of negotiating over rights of way and other potential legal obstacles.

Laugh at funny The Briars Pavilion humour LOL Saint Helena Island Info

{a} John Isaac Lilley, 1861-1866{b} Copyright © 1962 Film Unit, used with permission{2}.

{1} In French.{2} Reproduced for educational non-commercial use only; all copyrights are acknowledged.

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