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  • Alex Kither

Cockburn’s Battery

The Fortifications of St Helena and Cockburn’s Battery.


Rear Admiral Cockburn was Captain of the Northumberland, the ship that brought Napoleon to St Helena. He believed that the fortifications at Old Woman’s Valley were insufficient, and so chose Egg Island to construct the new battery that would take his name.

Cockburn’s Battery is unique amongst the fortifications of St Helena. It is both the only off-shore fortification of the island and one of the only batteries constructed during the period of Napoleon’s exile.




(Shot Kiln at Cockburn's Battery)


The battery accommodated three 24pound SB guns mounted on stone platforms, a 10 inch mortar on a wooden platform and a single 24 pound carronade cannon mounted above the landing place to aid in it's defence. Behind the main gun position there was a building to accommodate the gunners, a powder magazine and a shot furnace.


The steep cliffs made access to the battery difficult as well as causing numerous accidents. A plaque in St James Church commemorates one George Singer, who fell to his death while manning the battery.

(Discarded cannon)


In September 2020, Napoleon200 ran an internship programme alongside the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH). Interns worked to produce research reports and blogs for use in bicentenary events.