What Happened in June…

1610  Francois Pryard makes his second visit to the island.  He finds the Portuguese chapel desecrated.  The damage was seen as an act of revenge by the Dutch who blamed the Portuguese for taking letters left in Chapel Valley by Dutch ships for their compatriots to collect.   There is evidence to show that letters left by the Portuguese were also taken – probably by the Dutch.

1621  John Hatch in the James spent seven days resting his crew at St Helena.  During this time they caught about fifty pigs and goats and picked about four thousand lemons for the ships stores.  Lemons were an effective deterrent against scurvy.

1628  John Darby, a Master’s Mate, died in St Helena and was buried in the chapel which gave Chapel Valley its name.  The chapel was built in 1571 and though suffering at the hands of some visiting crews was still in existence.

1655 Jan Van Riebeeck, the founder of the first Dutch settlement in South Africa called at St Helena with the Governor General of the Dutch East Indies.  Van Riebeeck recorded in his journal the visit of the Tulp whose crew took aboard pigs, apple saplings and horses. Horses were left on St Helena to breed and then be captured for use by crews of following vessels.

1673  The Dutch were expelled from St Helena the previous month but naval scirmishes continued with Dutch ships sailing homeward from the Cape.  Seven Dutch vessels were sighted off the island and a warning signalled to the fort.  Shore batteries fired on the Dutch vessels which then sailed away into the night.

1678  Governor Blackmore arrives with soldiers and passengers, some of whom left their names on the island permanently.  Trap, Chubb, Downing and Rowland were among them.

1690  Ten of the ‘most lazy and weakly of the Company’s slaves’ were sold for prices ranging from £8 to £27.  The slaves’ ages ranged from eight to twenty-seven.

1707  John Luffin sells his house and 30 acres of land near Great Plantation to the Government before sailing for England.

1714  The severest drought so far known caused cattle and crop losses.  A supply ship from England was expected but well overdue.  Governor Boucher leaves the island due to ill health.

1716  A bullock killed to supply a vessel was refused by the ship’s captain who described it as carrion.  In explanation the butcher said he was unable to hang the beast after slaughter as they were no trees within half a mile.  Asked why he should slaughter cattle in such a location the butcher further explained the shot did not kill the bullock but caused it to run off at great speed.  Dogs were set upon it to give chase.  The bullock ran for half a mile before being caught.

1717  Small pox broke out among the slaves from Madagascar.  They were quarantined in Lemon Valley.

1719  Parson Jones admits to striking Mr Tovey during an argument.  Mr Tovey complained of suffering from a swollen eye.

1734  The water stored in tubs in Chapel Valley is the breeding ground for swarms of mosquitoes which invade every house.

1747  It is reported that lemon trees are now rare.  Many of those which bore much fruit are now dead.

1762  An earthquake was felt at 5.00 am on the 17th.  The strongest tremors were in the south where crockery was shaken off shelves.

1776  Saul Solomon born in London

1782  Register of a runaway – see the document

1787  William Worrall and his slave were caught sheep stealing.  They were seen committing this crime by other slaves who reported the offence.  As the word of a slave could not be taken against a free man, only Worrall’s slave was tried and convicted.  Worrall himself received £15 compensation for the loss of his slave.

1827  The Briars was purchased by the East India Company for £6,000.  The property was used as a silk-worm establishment and for growing Mulberry trees.

1830  The schooner St Helena is captured by pirates.  Most of the crew massacred.

1833  Subscription offer for the setting up of a whale fishery attracts £1,000 of investment.

1836  All male inhabitants of the island are enrolled in the ‘Volunteer’ Corps.

1844  Two frigates take on water at St Helena to transport to Ascension where there is a serious drought.

1849  Official records for births, marriages and deaths are started.

1854  A St Helena museum is opened.  Exhibits included a sea serpent and a flying lizard.  Were they extinct endemic species?

1861  A service at St James’s church is interrupted when hundreds white ants are found eating through a desk and  then the Bible.

1883  The cemetery for paupers and seamen at Half Tree Hollow is closed after 675 burials.

1886  The St Helena Whaling Association is dissolved.

1899  A new drainage system is completed in Jamestown,  carrying waste water in a culvert from Upper Jamestown to the sea front.

1901  A water condensing plant starts operating in Rupert’s Bay

1902  Boer prisoners begin repatriation after taking an oath of allegiance to the British Crown.  The repatriation process lasts twelve months.

1907  Twenty-five Zulu rebels are brought to the island for confinement.  Housed at Ladder Hill barracks, they are employed breaking rocks.

1908  St Helena craftwork is exhibited in London at Caxton Hall.

1913  A suggestion publicised that suffragettes [the votes for women movement] convicted of misdemeanours in UK law courts be sent to St Helena as prisoners.  Just one of many similar suggestions made since.

1920  A lace depot is opened by Solomon’s in Main Street.

1921  Cotton is planted on Prosperous Bay Plain

1926  Electric lights are installed in the General Hospital

1929  The Executive Council is formed by Order in Council.  The Senior Military Officer and Government Secretary are ex-officio members.

1956  The new General Hospital is opened.

1961  An electricity supply is connected to some houses from Half Tree Hollow to White Gate.

1968  The first RSPCA clinics are held at the Red Cross Hut.

1975  Eric O’Dean and Ivan Henry are swept from rocks at Deep Valley.

1976  A team of divers arrive to try to salvage Witte Leeuw a Dutch 17th Century merchantman.

1978  The St Helena Handicapped Persons Aid Society is formed.

1981  Thunderstorms cover the island.

1983  Scott Mill reservoir becomes operational.

1988  The keel is laid for the new RMS St Helena.

1989  The Fisheries Association is formed.

1992  Mr Yu Sang Lee’s proposals to bring inward investment to the island are rejected by the government.

1993  June floods [a fairly regular occurrence] affect the Bulk Fuel Farm at Rupert’s Valley and cause rockfalls. 

1994  The All Party St Helena Group is formed among MPs from the House of Commons and Peers from the House of Lords.

Acknowledgement is due to the Saint Helena Heritage Society’s ‘St Helena 500’ compiled by Robin Gill & Percy Teale