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Saved Buildings

Almost lost…

Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty{i}

Some of our historic buildings were thought lost, but have now been restored


SEE ALSO: This page features buildings that were thought lost but have been, or are being restored. Those that have been, or seemingly will be lost forever can be found on our page Lost and almost-lost Buildings.

‍Teutonic Hall‍

Below: HistoryDecayRestoration


Before the current house was built there was a cottage on the site, known as ‘Haye’s’. Its inhabitant was most likely Sutton Isaac, who is mentioned in the Records in 1679. His gravestone, dated 1686, was found in the grounds in 1971.

Built in around 1790 the current house was initially known as Mason’s Stock House, the first known owner being wealthy landowner Miss Polly Mason. The Mason family were probably the largest landowners on the East of the Island. The original access road wound upwards to Alarm Hill and Mason’s Stockyard; the current access was just a cattle track. In May of 1775, Captain James Cook made a second visit to St Helena, spending six days on the island and visiting the house on his second day. This may be the house Chaplin claims that Governor Hudson Lowe considered renting for Napoleon at £100 a month. Miss Mason, a known eccentric and friend of Napoleon, is rumoured to have had tea with him under the Cape Yew tree at the bottom of the garden, and to have often signalled to him with a lamp from a window at the back of the house, which looked straight towards Longwood.

In 1822 the house was sold to Georg Wilhem Janisch, originally of Hamburg, who renamed it Teutonic Hall{6}.

In the 20th Century it seems to have been rented. In 1937 it is shown as being occupied by one Victor M Day, a stamp collector. In 1951 Brigadier Wallace bought the house and land from George Moyce, but went bankrupt and Solomons took over and carried out extensive repairs. For a short while Mr Homfray Solomon lived there. In February 1957 a George Stuart Moss{7} was living there and in 1965/6 it was occupied by two Belgian naturalists, as guests of the owners, here undertaking a survey of the island’s endemic invertebrates, the property having been bought in 1963 by a Mr & Mrs Mawson, who ran it as a hotel and bar.

In 1974 Teutonic Hall was designated a listed building. The granddaughter of Governor Janisch visted the island in 1981 and stayed there as a guest of Mr & Mrs Mawson. The Mawsons lived there until Mr Mawson’s death in October 1985, when it was offered for sale by his wife with an asking price of £25,000:

FOR SALE … TEUTONIC HALL ⋅ 1¼ acres of garden. Mains electricity. ⋅ Inquiries Mrs Mawson.{k}


Teutonic Hall was bought in 1986 by the Wade family for £17,000, but they allowed it to fall into disrepair, despite it being designated a listed building. It was allowed to decay further until it became little more than a shell. The Government of St Helena had no powers to force its owner to maintain or restore it, and did not have the powers of Compulsory Purchase in the national interest.

In the late 20th Century it was discovered that a Dutch Territorial Stone, probably from the 17th Century, was being used in the house as a doorstep! The building was already in disrepair so the stone was removed to the Museum of St Helena.

In 2015, in response to a 2013 Blog posting by John Tyrrell (originally about Wranghams) the following comment was received from someone claiming to be the owner{8}:

Have just come across this blog on period houses on St Helena.

I am the owner of Teutonic but now reside in the UK.

Unfortunately time and weather have not been good to it and is well beyond repair.

However in earlier days there were grants from the St Helena Heritage Society on the island in which I applied for, being turned down because I was at the time working on Ascension Island and so no entitled to any grant as earning a fair wage on Ascension Island.

Other houses grade listed at the time and after all had the grant to help with the work needed even someone who at the time was not an islander managed to get the grant. And guess what the person who is I believe still a member of the St Helena Heritage Society wants to purchase the property…

So now you know why Teutonic is in such disrepair! We have plans but not for the old house it is to far gone.

More about Teutonic Hall on John Tyrrell’s Blog.


Late in 2017 Teutonic Hall was purchased by the Thorpe family, and restoration began. Planning permission for conversion into 3 Accommodation Units (two 3-bed flats and a two-bed flat) was requested in April 2018. Progress from 2018 to 2021 is shown in these photographs:

Work was completed in December 2021. The finished building is divided into three flats: Bamboo Flat; Flagstaff Flat; and Mason’s Flat. It looks like this:

You can read a history of the building{l} and also see the artisans involved{l}.

‍Rock Rose‍

Below: HistoryDecayRestoration


Rock Rose was an elegant country house in the Levelwood district, built c. 1795. An engraved stone found at the site inscribed ‘RB Governor 1789’ refers to Governor Robert Brooke (1789-1801); probably the builder. This two-storey residence could be described as being marginally of Georgian style and when it was built would have been rather a major project in that part of the island, where there were then no proper roads. Originally the house was C shaped, with the primary residence at the front and servants quarters at the rear, linked at the North-Eastern side. The Royal Engineers 1872 map shows the layout (below).

Successive The East India Company Governors used the house as either summer quarters or to house longer-staying guests. During Napoleon’s exile the house was occupied by Governor Lowe’s secretary, Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Wynyard. An advertisement in the St Helena Spectator of 14th November 1867 listed Rock Rose for sale, as the then owner Mr G. V. Seale was about to leave the island.


The house suffered badly from the White Ants introduced accidentally onto the island in the 1840s, which reached Levelwood later in that century. Ownership passed to the Anglican Diocese and then to Solomons together with the surrounding land, which was used in the 20th Century to house a flax mill, but meanwhile Rock Rose itself continued to deteriorate and was declared a ruin in 1920. The last photograph known of the full house is dated 1903 (below) and shows it in a significant state of disrepair.

In the mid-20th Century the main house was demolished, but the servants quarters at the back remained habitable and were occupied until the 1970s, henceforth being known as ‘Rock Rose’ even though they were only a part of the original house. These too were then allowed to deteriorate.

Until June 2016 it still belonged to Solomons and there had been no attempt at restoration since the building was abandoned in the 1970s. It was being allowed to steadily fall down. However in 2016 it was bought…


In June 2016 it was announced that the Thorpe family had bought Rock Rose from Solomons.

The building work was completed with lime and stone, not concrete blocks or cement, real slate for the roof and the windows are wooden sash, all as would have been in the original house. The only difference is that the timber used is white ant resistant!

We have photos of the work-in-progress{m}:

Photos of the completed building were released in January 2019{m}:

You can download a leaflet prepared by the Thorpe’s which gives details of the people involved in the restoration.


Below: HistoryDecayRestoration


Wranghams{9} is one of St Helena’s traditional country houses, built probably in the late 18th Century. From the Records:

Although the building of the house is not mentioned it would presumably have been soon after. In 1817 it is listed as being owned by Major W Seale.

The house remained in private hands until 1972 when it was sold by one Violet Moyce to the Government of St Helena, who restored it. It was used until the early 2000s as accommodation for visiting government officials. It was always damp and in later years many felt it to be below an acceptable standard. It ceased to be used for accommodation and was deployed only as a ‘conference venue’.

In 2006 it was mooted that Wranghams might be deployed for Tourism purposes, though there was no clear plan covering how it might be used. It is too small for a hotel without significant extra building work, which would be out of keeping with the area. In 2007 it was advertised as available for tourism-related development on a lease-hold basis with prospective bidders expected to submit a business plan for consideration before lease negotiations. Nobody did.


In June 2010, with the airport project ‘paused’ and Wranghams in an increasingly sorry state it was proposed that it be sold. It took until March 2011 for a decision to be taken. In August 2013 was it formally proposed that Wranghams be downgraded from a Grade II to a Grade III listed building, but this was not approved by Executive Council. It was finally advertised for sale in December 2013, at an asking ‘guide’ price of £90,000 with bids to be submitted by 5th February 2014. Again, there were no takers, but by August the Government of St Helena was reported to be in negotiations with a bidder and a sale followed soon after.


By May 2015 planning applications were being filed. Work was completed in December 2016 and Wranghams is now, once again, one of St Helena’s fine country houses.

Look closely on Read’s 1817 map and you will find Wranghams intriguingly named The Castle of Otranto

‍The Hutts Gate Store‍

(More about this below)

Below: HistoryDecayRestorationSign


The Hutts Gate Store building is at Hutts Gate(!), directly on the Longwood road, facing northwest, just east of St. Matthew’s Church. From the front there are four upstairs windows, and downstairs there is (left to right): door; high-level window; door with porch; high-level window. At the back there are various outbuildings. The store bears a distinctive sign which remains today, even though the building is no longer a store. It is designated as a Grade II Listed Building.

The earliest record of a dwelling on this site is in 1673. The Crallan Report in 1974 found no definite proof that a building of this date still existed, but considered the possibility that the current building dates from this time. In 1673, following the Dutch capture of St Helena, Richard Keigwin’s men landed at Prosperous Bay and marched across the island to surprise the Dutch at the fort in Jamestown. On their way, they stopped for breakfast at a farm called ‘The Hutts’, the name relating to a sort-of shanty-town for the enslaved (see our page Place Names).

It is thought the building was originally a military post, given its commanding position on the only road to Longwood and the north east. Apparently there was also at one time an Inn on the site, known as the Rose & Crown{10}, which in 1877 was the only public house outside of Jamestown, but no remains of this can be identified today. It is not known when the building first became a shop.

By then start of the 21st Century it was still an active shop, and in September 2001 the following notice appeared in the St Helena Herald:

Hutts Gate Store will be reopening on Saturday 29th September at 10am. On sale will mainly be groceries to start with but will be branching out to clothing and hardware soon.{n}


The store was put up for sale as a going concern in September 2002 but evidently there were no buyers. It closed soon after and the building, unoccupied, was left to deteriorate. In March 2006 part of the rear of the store collapsed, possibly as a result of ill-advised building work. The owner was forced to put the building up for sale by auction.

After two attempts at auction, on 2nd September 2006 and on 24th March 2007, it sold.


It has now been restored by the new owners as a private house.

The Sign

In an article reproduced on our page Health Issues the author claims that the Hutts Gate Store sign was originally the sign above The Pharmacy in Jamestown. Looking closely at the two it does seem possible that this is the case (though it was inverted in the transition as well as being repainted). We have not seen any paperwork to support the claim but on balance can see no reason to dispute it.

‍The Emporium‍

Lower Jamestown, c.1910

Lower Jamestown from Ladder Hill, 1881

The Emporium, the DIY store at the bottom of Napoleon Street operated by W A Thorpe & Sons, is itself a Saved Building, but it was rescued a very long time ago - by William Alexander Thorpe himself. You can see that it needed rescuing if you look at the 1881 photograph of Lower Jamestown (near right), where you can clearly see it roof-less (locate The Cannister, then go up and right) - apparently another victim of the White Ants.

We know little of the restoration. Family memory does not say precisely when it happened, though it was obviously after 1881 and before 1918, when William died. It’s certainly shown restored and operating in the photograph (far right) which we date from around 1910. According to Nick Thorpe A long deceased resident talked of cart-loads of rubble being sent down to West Rocks. If you can help please contact us.

The Emporium should not be confused with the Solomon’s Emporium from the early half of the 19th Century.

Read More

Article: The Old Ways are the Best

Lime Mortar
Lime Mortar

Published in The Independent 27th March 2009{11}

On Tuesday morning, Ben Jeffs, who is working on the High Knoll Fort and the Round Tower renovations, showed how lime mortar is better than cement in just about every way.

Ben organised a practical demonstration in the PWD Yard in Jamestown. About 30 people who were PWD workers, private contractors and planners attended.

By the end of the demonstration Ben had convincingly shown that lime is much better than cement mortar for all buildings, new or old, in several different advantages. Not only does lime help to keep a building cool in the summer heat or warm when it’s chilly, it stays good longer, needs less maintenance and is much cheaper to buy than cement mortar.

Lime based paint or ‘lime-wash’ was also shown by Jeff to be better and cheaper than the modern paints now in common use. It does not flake off and less preparation is needed before a surface previously painted with ‘lime-wash’ receives a fresh coating.

Ben emphasised that the Island’s old stone buildings must be maintained using lime mortar. Cement mortar causes too much damage to the stone. Restoration work on the rock fall damaged Baptist Church in Jamestown includes the use of lime mortar and the new Boat Shed on the wharf has had lime mortar included in part of the work and in the mix used to paint the renovated buildings.

Lime mortar was in widespread use long before cement was even though of as a building material. Now, lime as a building material for blocks and mortar is fast returning to common usage. Lhoist UK is part of Groupe Lhoist, the largest manufacturer of lime in the world. Based at Buxton in the Derbyshire Peak District, Lhoist UK produces high [97%] purity Quicklime and Hydrated Lime. Lhoist tells prospective users of lime on its website at www.lhoist.com:

Lime is frequently used in mortars as it ensures superior workability and less wastage making mortars easier to use. From an engineering perspective lime mortars display greater long-term durability and enhanced flexural strength. These characteristics can reduce or even eliminate the need for construction joints in brick and blockwork. In addition, their ability to react with water provides a self-healing capability for minor cracks. Increasingly in new build applications as well as in historical refurbishment, lime is specified not only for mortars but also for plasters, renders and screeds. The advantages of the breathability of lime based products and their self-healing and ductility characteristics make them ideal for these purposes.


{a} William John Burchell{b} On Royal Engineers 1872 map{c} Ed Thorpe{d} Chris and Sheila Hillman{e} John Tyrrell{f} Copyright © 1962 Film Unit, used with permission{g} Nick Thorpe{h} Neil Fantom{i} Winston Churchill{j} Neil Fantom{k} St Helena News Review, 24th January 1986{11}{l} W A Thorpe & Sons{m} Ed Thorpe{n} St Helena Herald, 28th September 2001{11}{o} Thomas Jackson, Island Chemist{p} Dr. Richard Cresswell; for a time a doctor in Jamestown, 1881


{1} The veranda was built by Boer PoWs. The people shown are presumed to be the Lewis family.{2} The primary target of this picture is the Flax Mill at Hutt’s Gate.{3} If you can identify the people, please contact us.{4} Damage repaired - just needs a coat of paint!{5} This was an attempt to re-create the 1961 photo from the same spot, but unfortunately the flax (left) has grown so high you can’t actually see Hutts Gate Store from the spot where the 1961 photograph was taken!{6} His son, Hudson Ralph Janisch, became Governor of St Helena in 1874, in which office he remained until his death in March 1884 at the age of 59. He remains the only person born on the island to have served as Governor.{7} The Moss family were a prominent island family for several generations. They were partners in Solomons with extensive holdings that included Farm Lodge and much of Rosemary Plain, Longwood House, and Porteous House in Jamestown. George Moss later moved into Rosemary Plain house, which his wife designed.{8} Naturally we cannot verify this.{9} Strictly it should be Wrangham’s - there was a Wrangham - but Wranghams is the currently-used name.{10} No relation to the current Rose & Crown Group.{11} @@RepDis@@