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24 September 2014
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The castles of Jersey
Mont Orgueil castle
Mont Orgueil
Mont Orgueil and Elizabeth Castle are good examples of how Jersey defended its coastline throughout the centuries.
La Hougue Bie
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of the earliest Neolithic burial mounds in Jersey
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Mont Orgueil & Elizabeth Castle
Two examples of how Jersey has defended its coastline through the centuries
Jersey War Tunnels
A stark reminder of the German Occupation
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Elizabeth Castle was named by Sir Walter Raleigh, governor of Jersey from 1600 - 1603


Elizabeth Castle is actually built on two islands, which were joined together during the 1660's

The number of cannons sited at Elizabeth Castle over the years has varied from 15 to 84  

Elizabeth Castle is surrounded by sea for 7 hours out of every 12

Mont Orgueil is one of the best preserved castles in Britain  
Mont Orgueil is also one of the most photographed sites in Jersey  
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One of the defences built onto granite
One of the defences built onto granite

Mont Orgueil

When King Philippe Augustus invaded Normandy in the 13th century, King John of England ordered that money was raised to defend the islands.

The castle was built at Mont Orgueil because of the prime position of the site. Sea and cliffs protected the castle on three sides.

Also,the granite that the castle was built on meant that it was virtually impossible to undermine.

New Weaponry

The lower level of Mont Orgueil
The lower level of Mont Orgueil

By the 16th century, Mont Orgueil was out of date. New weapons were introduced, meaning that Mont Orgueil was now susceptible to attack from ship-mounted guns.

A new castle needed to be built that was out of the range of new weapons like cannons and gunpowder. 

Elizabeth Castle

Work began on Elizabeth Castle during the 1550's, when a gun platform was built on the highest part of the islet.

40 years later, Queen Elizabeth sent her military engineer over to construct a new castle.

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries the castle developed and grew in size. By the 1640's the castle had been extended twice.

Elizabeth Castle
Elizabeth Castle


Mont Orgueil remained the island's secondary defence until 1907, when it was given to the people of Jersey as an historic monument.

Elizabeth Castle was bought by the States of Jersey in 1923, also for use as an historic monument.

They have both continued in this capacity, except for a few years during the occupation when the Germans refortified both castles.

Find out about a rural Jersey farmhouse on the next page

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