Record of Napoleon’s Burial




While looking through St Helena’s official archives, I found the record of Napoleon’s death and burial in May, 1821.






In the middle of the page is the entry, “Napoleon Bonaparte, late Emperor of France, he died on the 5th Instant at the old House at Longwood, and was interred on Mr Richard Torbett’s Estate.” Click on the photos to see them in larger detail.




  • Melanie
    May 22, 2011 - 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Wow, Margaret! What a find! I’m sure you felt a rush encountering such a record – being able to handle it. Thanks so very, very much for posting pictures!

    (says Melanie, the bibliophile of old or particularly ancient records šŸ˜‰ )

  • mrodenberg
    May 23, 2011 - 12:24 pm | Permalink

    You’d go crazy over the archives on St Helena. They run from 1650 to the present, with all the official records, from land disputes and burials to revoking a tavern’s license for selling beer on a Sunday in 1821. I wish I’d had more time to spend reading them.

  • David Torbett
    September 12, 2011 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    I was most interested to read of your recent trip to St Helena and in particular to see the copy of the burial register which I had not seen before.
    I am a G.G.G. Grandson of Richard Torbett, one of many, on whose estate Napoleon was buried.

    Richard Torbett was born on the island where he was married and by that marriage had 5 children. However his first wife Sara died in April 1801 and sometime after that date he travelled to England where he married again, to Elizabeth. They had 3 children born in England. In January 1815 they took out EIC bonds to return to the Island. I guess the timing of this move would have coincided with the Treaty of Fontainebleau and Napoleonā€™s exile to Elba. Little did they know that within a year Napoleon would be a neighbour!

    A further 6 children were born to Richard and Elizabeth on St Helena, one of whom, Charles, was my G.G. Grandfather. (1826). Richard died in 1834 and Elizabeth returned to England in 1849.

    I thought you might be interested in this snippet of background information

  • mrodenberg
    September 20, 2011 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    David, thank you! That is fascinating. If you don’t mind, I’ll repeat your information in a blog post so that my other readers will be sure to see it.

    Have you been to St Helena? The tomb is a very moving spot.


  • Barry Perrins
    February 7, 2012 - 6:23 am | Permalink

    For years Iv’e been interested in the Island. My connection is though Matthew Bazett ( My mouther is a Bazett.) who arrived on St Helena in 1684.
    There where rumours of a connection with Napoleon and even an affair with one of the Bazett girls. I however have never been able to find a link.

    The Bazett’s had a long history on the Island but records fizzle out in the early 1800’s. I have no idea if anybody with that name still lives on St Helena.

    Good luck with your book.

    Best wishes,
    Barry Perrins.

  • mrodenberg
    February 9, 2012 - 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Hello, Barry,

    Thanks for your comment. St Helena has a fascinating past and present–perhaps with the new prospect of an airport opening in 2016, you’ll get a chance to visit. Meanwhile, if you haven’t already, you might enjoy following the news of the island through the website of the St Helena Independent Newspaper. You might even come across mention of a long-lost relative. I’ll keep an eye out for your family name as I continue my research. I hope you’ll subscribe to updates of my blog, as I’ll periodically cover news and history of the island.

    Take care,

  • Chantel Torbett
    June 13, 2012 - 10:01 am | Permalink

    Richard….i think we are related…….I believe i am also a GGG Grandaughter.

  • mrodenberg
    June 14, 2012 - 8:58 pm | Permalink

    Hello, Chantel, I’ll forward your comment on to David Torbett to be sure that he receives it. Do you have any additional information about your St Helena ancestors?


  • sarah Bazett
    August 5, 2013 - 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I’m Barry’s cousin and I’d like to elaborate on the Napoleon story. Matthew Bazett was a Huguenot from France who ended up on the island, Apparently he was one of Napoleons guards (not surprisingly, both on the island at the same time) together with being governor for a while (a very short while). Apparently Napoeleon left some stuff to our family, one thing being his carriage which they donated to Madame Tussauds’s which was destroyed by fire in 1925. We still have a silver spoon which is alledged to have been Napoleons (its of french origin)

  • mrodenberg
    August 5, 2013 - 8:24 pm | Permalink

    I find these family histories fascinating, Sarah. Have you discovered any other documentation about the carriage or the time when your ancestor was governor? When you say that Matthew Bazett was a guard,do you know if he was employed by Napoleon or the British? It would be interesting to know.

    Hold on to that spoon!You might be able to verify that it’s the same pattern as what Napoleon took to St Helena. Have you heard that, when the British refused to provide sufficient funds to maintain the Emperor’s household, Napoleon had much of his silver melted down and sold to raise money? Also, I wonder if Tussaud’s has photographs of the carriage.

    Enjoy and take pride in your family being a part of this great story!

    All the best,


  • Barry Perrins
    August 17, 2013 - 7:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi, me again!
    Matthew Bazett died in March 1719 so was dead 96 years before Napoleon arrived on St helena. His Grandson also called Matthew died in 1801 so both of these men could not have been around at the time of Napoleon.
    Iv’e also heard the story about the Emperor and my family the ‘Bazetts’ but as hard as I have tried I can find no proof of a connection. Indeed, according to records by 1815 there were no Bazetts left on the Island.
    However, at times people who had close links with the family sometimes named their children Bazett. Thus Bazett is also a first name. In 1895 a man called Bazett Leggg took up the job of looking after French propriety’s on the island including Napoleons grave. He held this post for 50 years! This is the only connection I have ever found, so far! More info in link below.

  • mrodenberg
    August 19, 2013 - 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the clarification, Barry. I will keep an eye out for your family’s name during my on-going research. When it comes to Napoleon and the Bonaparte family you never know what you’ll come across.

    And what a great article by Michel Martineau. I’d be proud to have an ancestor (whether he’s a blood relative or not) like Bazett Legg.

    Take care!

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