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24 September 2014

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You are in: Guernsey > History > Local History > Fort Grey

Fort Grey

Fort Grey.

Fort Grey

The Cup and Saucer is a very distinctive island landmark which now houses the shipwreck museum.

Fort Grey now stands on the site of an earlier small castle known as the Chateau de Rocquaine. It is not known exactly when the castle was built although we know it did stand there by 1617 when "Collette du Mond confessed that she attended a witches' Sabbath near 'Le Chasteau du Rocquaine'".

In 1803 Sir John Doyle, Lieutenant-Governor of Guernsey began the task of strengthening the island defences against Napoleon. He had the old castle pulled down and a battery built in its place.

Anchor and fishing nets inside the fort

Anchor and fishing nets inside the fort.

In 1804 the States of Guernsey, at the request of Doyle, erected the tower that we see today. It stands 7.9 metres high (26ft) with a diameter at the base of 11.3m (37ft). Its walls are 2.1m (7ft) thick at the base and 1.8m (6ft) at the top.

Fort Grey stood guard over Guernsey during the nineteenth-century, providing protection from French invasion.

From 1891 the fort was no longer needed to defend during years of peace. The fort was therefore leased to a local family for five shillings a year. It was also during this time that it was repainted white as a mariner's seamark.

During World War II it was again used for defence purposes, when the Germans used it during the occupation years. Sadly however, in the years after this it fell into disrepair.

Restoration and conservation work to turn Fort Grey into the Shipwreck Museum began in 1970 and was finally completed in 1976. New displays were then also installed in 1993.

Cannon from HMS Boreas

Cannon from HMS Boreas.

Visiting the Fort

When visiting today, it is impossible not to be struck by the beauty of Fort Grey. As you walk across the causeway and up to the flight of granite steps you are met with not only a magnificent view, but also a huge eighteenth-century anchor recovered from St Peter Port Harbour.

Inside is a similar story. Gaps where cannons used to point provide you with beautiful glimpses of the coast. There is however one cannon still remaining from HMS Boreas, which points towards the Hanois reef where she sank in 1807.

The museum itself lies within the white tower and is a stunning piece of craftsmanship, filled to the brim with historical information on the many wrecks of Guernsey's west coast.

last updated: 03/04/2008 at 15:02
created: 14/06/2007

You are in: Guernsey > History > Local History > Fort Grey



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