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Half Tree Hollow

Home on the hill

That little cluster of huts and cottages scattered at random on the face of the hill, is a village rejoicing in the euphonious name of Half Tree Hollow.{i}

Half Tree Hollow (‘HTH’) is the most populous district of St Helena‍‍

Half Tree Hollow from the air

About Half Tree Hollow

SEE ALSO: For the other districts of St Helena see the map (below) or our page Districts of St Helena.

Half Tree Hollow, just up Jacob’s Ladder from Jamestown, is the island’s most populous district, with some 23% of the island’s inhabitants living here{1}. It is clearly identifiable as any ship approaches Jamestown.

What’s Here?

Houses, mostly! But apart from these, you can also find:


Governor Massingham, speaking at the opening of the Solomons Bakery on 6th September 1983, made some observations about the growth of Half Tree Hollow (right).

The climate is dry; very similar to that of Jamestown though perhaps a little ‘fresher’.

Apart from the ‘Business Parks’ there are few job opportunities in Half Tree Hollow, so most people commute to work elsewhere, mostly in Jamestown.


Map of Half Tree Hollow, 2002

Half Tree Hollow District was created in the 1960s, following a recommendation by the Advisory Council, separated out from St Pauls District, but the area has a much longer history.

The road through Half Tree Hollow was built when the Plantation (now Plantation House) was opened up in 1673. There is also a tradition that a thick wood occupied Half Tree Hollow at this time, and some persons got lost in it and died{2}. By 1711 it is described as ‘Halfway Tree Common’ and designated to be enclosed to keep The East India Companycattle, hogs and goats (the wood clearly having by then be cut down). In 1905 an old island inhabitant was reported as saying that the wood contained monkeys, who pelted stones at passers-by. Sometime after that the woodland was cleared. Kitching records that a local event, of some interest, was the foundation in 1822 of a new village on the northwest of High Knoll, the forerunner of the modern Half Tree Hollow. The area is shown on Palmer’s 1850-52 map as sparsely built with the name ‘Dallas Village’, suggesting Governor Dallas (1827-1836) may have been behind the early development. The name remained in use as late as 1886 when Rev. John Walker wrote ‘St Helena as I saw it’ including:

Within a couple of miles from James’ Town are two straggling settlements - the first, Douglas Village[slightly mis-remembered]; the second, Half Tree Hollow

Governor Sterndale attempted to re-introduce trees but in The ‘Blue Book’ for 1898 he reported:

I have for some time tried to redeem the barrenness of Halftree Hollow, through which the main road from Jamestown to the south runs, but the rock is too near the surface for most trees, and some hundreds of young Cape yews planted have, with few exceptions, withered away. Some olives planted by me in 1896 survive, but the most hopeful species is a kind of evergreen of the fig tribe which in Jamestown grows to an enormous size{3}. One tree of this on Halftree Hollow, planted by me in 1896, is now in a most flourishing condition, and I am about to make an avenue of the same.

In 1905 it is recorded that: Passing through Half Tree Hollow, wholly destitute of trees except a few young saplings of recent planting, and continually ascending past clean little cottages, generally enclosed in a small patch of garden ground.

The settlement remained small until the 1960s, when significant development began. The Half Tree Hollow area was ideal to meet the demand for land needed for the building of new homes. It already had Water and electricity, so it was only necessary to make roads. It’s close to the quarry (across the valley at Donkey Plain), providing ready access to building materials, and Jamestown, where most people work and socialise, was easily accessible. The area acquired its own Anglican church, St. Andrew’s, in 1962 (the Salvation Army opened their hall in 1951).

As the photo (below) shows, by the early 1980s a significant local community had arisen (the building, top-right, is the Community Centre). Why then? Probably as a result of Saints being able to go to the Falklands and earn good money; enough to build a home.

Development has continued even to the present day; it is unusual to drive through Half Tree Hollow and not see at least two houses under construction. Much of the development is in-fill; the construction of a new house by subdividing an existing plot, often so that children can have a home of their own.

A plan has existed since 2005 to build a substantial housing estate, with maybe as many as 60 houses, on scrub land just to the north of the New Apostolic Hall. In recent months the land was cleared so development may begin soon!

People often comment (negatively) on the haphazard nature of housing development on Half Tree Hollow. Whether a neatly laid out housing estate full of near-identical houses would be an improvement is a moot point.

The image below from Google Earth™{l} shows the whole of Jamestown, The Briars, Ruperts and (most of) Half Tree Hollow. Only a satellite or a very high-flying aircraft can capture this view! A clickable version of this image appears on our page Maps of St Helena.

Stay here?

From our page Where To Stay:

Half Tree Hollow is close to Jamestown, though somewhat quieter, but unless you are very fit you will need a car or taxi to get home at night - walking up Jacob’s Ladder is hard work after an evening’s revelling. Most Saints live in ‘HTH’ so there are plenty of bed-and-breakfast offerings, but also many flats and houses available for short-term rental (including a purpose-built estate). HTH is well connected to Jamestown and to the central and western areas, though to reach the eastern part you are probably best to travel via Jamestown.

Population by district:{j}

Read More

Article: A & D’s Mini Mart - Open for Business!

Published in the St Helena Herald 16th March 2007{4}

A & D’s Mini Mart

On the 23rd February, Anthony and Diana Essex became the joint official owners of ‘A & D’s Mini Mart’ in Half Tree Hollow, the property formerly known as the ‘Seven Eleven’.

The St Helena Herald spoke to the proud owners and they told us that they saw the purchase of the shop as a way of expanding their current business, as they currently own and manage Little Italy and the Corner Shop. Anthony said that he is a very ambitious person and saw the potential of the shop, bearing in mind its location, along with his experience in management, he feel that he can take this new business venture forward in the right direction. ‘A & D’s Mini Mart’ is seen, by the owners as a long term investment.

Anthony and Diana were originally approached by the previous owner in December of last year enquiring if the couple might be interested in purchasing the shop. They thought about it over the Christmas holidays and later decided to make the purchase.

The majority of the equipment that is now in the shop is brand new. All new stocks have been purchased from suppliers in Jamestown, i.e. Thorpes, Queen Mary Store and Solomons and all products are sold at the retail selling price.

Over the first four days of opening, Anthony and Diana said they received an overwhelming response from the public, way beyond our expectations. Many favourable comments about the shop and the goods available there were made to the owners. They are currently accepting suggestions from their customers of what new range of products need to be added to their shelves.

Anthony and Diana told us that ‘A & D’s Mini Mart’ would never have opened within twelve days, from handing the property over to refurbishing and redecorating, without the help of family and friends. Their support and assistance were more than welcomed.

Opening hours are at the moment running on a trial basis. Weekdays and Saturdays open from 9:00am to 7:00pm and Sundays from 10:00am to 1:00pm.

The St Helena Herald would like to congratulate Anthony and Diana and wish them success in their new business venture.

In 2016 the business expanded into a new, larger building on the same site.


{a} Tony Cross{b} John Coyle{c} Hugh Crallan{d} Social Media User{5}{e} Liam Yon{f} MJ Ltd{g} Tourist Information Office{h} Google Earth™{i} ‘A Guide to St. Helena, Descriptive and Historical’ by Joseph Lockwood, MDCCCLI (1851){6}{j} 2021 Census, taken 7th February 2021.{k} Radio St Helena/Museum of St Helena, digitised by Burgh House Media Productions{l} Kindly supplied by Ian Bruce, September 2018


{1} 1,034 from a total population of 4,439{j}.{2} We are still trying to verify this.{3} We are trying to establish which plant this is. If you can help please contact us.{4} @@RepDis@@{5} Posted on Social Media and used with the poster’s permission but they wish to remain anonymous.{6} Kindly provided to us by David Pryce at the Museum of St Helena.