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Our gallery shows some of the exhibits that can be found at the Museum of St Helena.


Wilcox Telescope St Helena Museum
Loaned by the Governor of St Helena to Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon who used this  telescope through the whole term of his captivity after which it was presented by the Governor to Vice Admiral J. Willcox C.P

St Helena Magazine February 1936 edited and printed by L. C. Walcott, Jamestown, St Helena

“In 1810 a gold sword was presented to Sir William Doveton by the St Helena Volunteers. This sword has been very kindly given by Miss E. A. Doveton for exhibition St Helena, and will be placed in the Council Room at the Castle, where Sir William once sat as a member for more than twenty years. It will be an interesting memento of a family distinguished for its long and devoted public service on the Island. The sword is of very fine workmanship in a gold scabbard of beautiful design.” The sword, made by Drury Cutler to His Majesty Strand London, is inscribed “The gift of gratitude to Public merit”

The telescope potentially arrived in 1818 with an East India Company trader. Napoleon wished to purchase the telescope but was denied by Hudson Lowe. There are no records that show what happened to the telescope after this date but it’s quite likely that it stayed on the island, potentially at Plantation House, despite there being no record to confirm this. James Willcox was a lieutenant on the HMS Waterwitch, a ship part of the Royal Navy’s West Africa Squadron tasked with apprehending ships carrying slaves or fitted for carrying slaves from Africa to Brazil. The ship is commemorated with a memorial in the Castle Gardens, Jamestown. Many of these Liberated Africans once rescued went on to serve on the Waterwitch and one even took the name ‘Wilcox’ after James Willcox. Willcox was presented the telescope by the governor of St Helena, presumably for his service to the island on the Waterwitch, James helped look after the Liberated Africans on St Helena. After leaving the island and the Waterwitch James Willcox served in the Royal Navy all around the world leading a varied and adventurous naval career, eventually reaching the rank of Vice Admiral.

This watch belonged to Lieutenant Stephen Young whose name replaces the numbers on the dial. On 21st March 1809 Stephen Young was killed in a duel at Chubb’s Spring by Lieutenant Robert Wright. Young had agreed with Wright to do the duty of the Orderly officer in his stead but failed to turn up. Wright demanded satisfaction. They met at Chubb’s Spring and at a distance of 20 yards turned. Wright fired first and Young fell dying. Wright, advancing to Young said, “Young speak – are you dying?” “Young – you must die. You ought to have known me better” Young, aged 31, left a widow and three children. Wright was acquitted of Wilful Murder.