Hotel: Farm Lodge Country House Hotel
Picture of Farm Lodge Taken in the late 1950s from Mount Eternity
Picture of Farm Lodge Taken in the early 1960s from Mount Eternity
Farm Lodge was originally an East India Company planter’s house, built circa 1670.
In 1665, the bubonic plague arrived in Europe. Consequently, it decimated the London population. This was followed in 1666 by the Great Fire. Many Londoners had died. Significant numbers of those left were unemployed and homeless. Therefore, there was a strong appetite for a new life. The East India Company exploited this situation to further its own ends. They employed entire families and promised them a new start as a part of a drive to develop the business. This was the context which served as the backdrop to many of these families settling on St Helena as planters.
Ordinarily, en route to the island, fathers would serve on the decks of East India Company ships. Other family members would do be called upon to do menial work.
Upon arrival they would choose 10 acres of land and be supplied with tools, animals, plants and seeds etc. They then had about 3 years to build a house, clear and plant the land and produce fresh foodstuffs. Half of their produce they could keep or sell and half had to be given to the East India Company as rent. This in turn was used to victual the Company's fleet of ships that were trading between England and the Far East.
As well as food, other supplies such as water, rope and spare masts could be procured. Demand for these items led to the growth of many Norfolk Pines and flax on the island. Norfolk pines were used for masts and spas and the flax was used for making rope and cordage.
In 1700, a Colonel Smith bought the property from the East India company. Many years later it changed hands and was purchased by the Moss family who remained in residence for over 200 years. It is thought that in the late 1970s George Moss sold the house to the retiring governor HE Jeffrey Guy, who then sold it to Father Crook circa 1985 – who was a surgeon in Borneo and priest in St Helena. Upon his death, his entire estate was bequeathed to the Anglican Church on St Helena. It remained empty for about 2 years and went into disrepair.
We bought the derelict house and land in 1995 and restored the house and grounds to their Georgian elegance over a period of 5 years.
It was originally envisioned to be a private country house. However, funding the cost of renovation necessitated an income. Therefore, extra en suite bedrooms were added, taking the number of bedrooms from 3 to 6.
Farm Lodge Country House hotel has gained an international reputation as a boutique hotel, offering an exclusive eco-style experience for the discerning traveller.
It is known that the French Emperor Napoleon visited Farm Lodge on horseback during his early days of incarceration on St Helena and expressed a wish to live in the house. However, he was refused by Governor Hudson Lowe who was worried about his possible escape via nearby Lemon Valley which is on the leeward side of the island.
Consequently, he was housed on the windward side of the island where it was difficult for a ship to sail in against the wind.
The octagonal Wine Cooler in the dining room and the Chaise Lounge in the hall came from Longwood House and originally belonged to Napoleon. It was during this time the second storey was added to the house.
Farm Lodge Wine Cooler Previously Belonging to Napoleon
Farm Lodge Chaise Lounge Previously Belonging to Napoleon
Napoleon was not the only person of note to have visited Farm Lodge. Others have included:
Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne (The Princess Royal)
Sir Ranaulph Finnes, the explorer
Mr Tim Wonnacott, - presenter of the Antiques Roadshow and Bargain Hunt
Sir Nigel & Lady Thompson – CEO of Ove Arup
Lord Shutt - MP
Lord Iveagh, (Edward Guiness)