Banks and Mundens Battery
With the arrival of Napoleon, Saint Helena became perhaps the most heavily fortified island in the world. Fortifications were built mostly using labour provided by convicts and slaves. Materials were primarily local stone, but Portland and Purbeck stone brought out from England as ballast in sailing ships was often used in selective positions. While there are many sites built during the 18th Century, and reinforced in the 19th, the priority for the Trust is those sites built and/or fortified during the time of Napoleon. The pressing need for the preservation of these sites was driven home by the collapse of a large part of Banks’ battery – one of the most impressive fortifications - in 2010.
Munden’s battery first existed as two guns in 1673, but was greatly expanded by Governor Roberts in 1708, works being completed on 19th December 1710. The battery protected the harbour of Jamestown, and is reachable from the town centre via a steep and rough trail, giving the site significant potential as a tourist destination and beauty spot.
Built between 1700 and 1740, and modified during Napoleon’s incarceration, Banks Battery sits in a strategic position relative to ships approaching Jamestown. The prevailing south-easterly trade winds enforced the tactical necessity of all ships bearing in towards the island from an easterly direction along the north coast, then changing their course to haul round the north-east side where they would pass Banks Battery. If ships then failed to send a boat to shore to state their identity, destination, and nationality, they would be fired upon. The site was significantly damaged in 2010 and has significantly deteriorated. While the National Trust have conducted some work there is a significant need of urgent protection and restoration.