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Morne Fortuné

With excellent views of Castries Harbour and the island’s central mountains, Morne Fortuné ridge tops out at a height of 852ft. This site is considered Saint Lucia’s premier military heritage site. Morne Fortuné means “Hill of good luck,” but that is far from the truth, since this area was, on many occasions, the bloody battleground between the French and the English colonial forces. The area was renamed Fort Charlotte in 1794 by the father of Queen Victoria, but to this day everyone still knows it as “Morne Fortuné.”

Status:

Open to public. Unstaffed.

What:

Historic monuments; canons, gravesites, colonial military buildings; views

Cost:

There are no fees to enter the Morne Fortune sites, but if you enjoy these sites, please donate towards the upkeep here or Purchase our digital self-guided explorer tour for $25.

Location:

Top of the Morne above Castries

Opening Times;

Monday – Sunday 9am – 5pm

Rules:

Take nothing with you except what you came with, your photos, memories. Leave nothing behind.

Contact: 1 – 758 452 5005, info@slunatrust.org

There are numerous sights of interest in this area including: the old colonial buildings that now house the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College; the Four Apostles Guns, (where you can stand on the exact geographic coordinates of 14N 61W, considered the location of Saint Lucia); the old English and French Cemeteries; the Powder Magazine – the oldest building (on the morne?); and, from more recent history, the Iniskilling Regiment and the graves of the  island’s two Nobel Laureates, Sir Arthur Lewis – Economics, and Sir Derek Walcott – Literature. 

The site was fortified in 1768 after the French transferred their main settlement town from the exposed Vigie Hill to the present-day location of Saint Lucia’s capital, Castries.

Most of the earliest buildings no longer exist, with only four of French origin remaining on the Morne – the Powder Magazine and three of the Guard Cells. Similarly, many of the British-built buildings have also been lost or damaged. For example, the Pavilion, residence of the Governor, was destroyed in a hurricane of 1817. The remaining buildings on the Morne were built during the latter part of the 19th century.

In the late 1800s, Morne Fortuné served as a garrison to defend the Castries Harbour, which was then a coaling station. In 1906 the British garrison left Morne Fortuné.

Morne Battery (Apostles Battery)

Situated above the eastern side of Morne Road, at the exact official coordinates of Saint Lucia – 14N 61W – is the Morne Battery. The official War Office name for the site is Morne Battery, but it is better known as the Apostles Battery, believed to be a reference to the four 9-inch rifled muzzle-loading guns which could shoot nearly 6 miles! These guns were installed in 1892 to protect Castries Harbour. When the site was abandoned in 1905, the guns were discarded over the abutments until 2015. In 2015, the Saint Lucia National Trust remounted the guns, with assistance from an Godfrey Weir, a British civil engineer seconded from People & Places to the National Trust.

The Powder Magazine and Guard Cells

The Powder Magazine and Guard Cells, built by the French during the period of 1763 – 1765, are the oldest existing buildings on Morne Fortuné.

The Powder Magazine was built with walls ?? thick, for the storing of gunpowder/ammunition. This building is often mistaken for a chapel due to the abutments that feature prominently in its architecture. These were used to increase structural strength in case of the incendiary contents exploding by accident or under attack.

The Guard Cells served as jail cells for soldiers and are situated next to the stables, which were also built during the period of 1763 – 1765.

Morne Fortune, Castries Saint Lucia - Guard Cells historic stone ruins with view of Castries

27th (Inniskilling) Regiment of Foot

This regiment of the British Army originated in Co Fermanagh, Ireland in 1689. Its very first overseas posting was in 1701 to the West Indies.

The capture of St Lucia in 1796 was the second time the 27th Regiment was involved in the capture of the island. The first was in 1778, but the island was later returned to France.

General Abercrombie credited the bravery of the 27th Inniskilling Regiment with playing a vital part in Saint Lucia’s recapture, giving the regiment two significant honours: (1) The surrendering French garrison laid down its arms before their ranks; (2) The regiment was given the unique honour of having its Colours flown from the flagstaff of the fortress for an hour before the Union flag was raised. Also in honour of this victory, In April 1836, the 27th was granted permission to bear on its Colours, the words St Lucia.

The French and British Cemeteries

These are the burial grounds of French and British soldiers and civilians on the Morne. The only visible sign of the French burial ground near to the British Cemetery are two nameless tombs. In the British cemetery lay some of the past Governors of St. Lucia. The last Governor to be buried there was Sir Ira Simmons in 1974. This was also the burial grounds of a few civilians, military personnel and their families. The earliest known grave is that of “Emillia, wife of Major-General, Alex Wood, C.M.G.” who died on November 8th, 1810. There were also mass graves at this site, of persons who died from epidemics of Yellow Fever, Cholera etc.

Prevost Redoubt

Prevost Redoubt was named after General Prevost, who was the Lieutenant Governor of the island from 1798-1802. This area served as a look out point where a few men were stationed with muskets. From this site, the view of the entire Castries Harbour, the Vigie Peninsula, Rat Island and Pigeon Island gave it the reputation of being an ideal look out point. It has been earmarked as the site for the National Heros Park.