St Catherine's Fort

Tenby, United Kingdom

The Royal Commission on the Defence of the United Kingdom, which Lord Palmerston had established in 1859 in response to a perceived threat of invasion by Emperor Napoleon III of France, recommended the fort's construction in Tenby. The design of the fort is credited to Colonel William Jervois. It is a simple rectangular work, consisting of three artillery casemates on two opposite sides, for RML 7-inch guns firing through iron shields. A further three gun platforms for RML 9 inch 12 ton guns are located on the roof. The guns facing north were intended to cover Tenby Harbour and the beach towards Saundersfoot, while those facing south covered the beach towards Penally. The entrance at the western (landward) end of the fort is approached by means of a drawbridge over a dry ditch and is defended by two caponiers or 'flanking galleries', each of three storeys pierced with loopholes for small arms fire. At the eastern end at basement level are located the powder magazine and shell store. There was accommodation for a garrison of 150 men.

The work was completed by 1870. In 1907 the fort was decommissioned and sold to the Windsor Richards family who converted it into a private house. The gun shields were replaced by windows and the interior was lavishly decorated, although the fort was apparently garrisoned by the army during the First World War. During the Second World War, the fort was compulsory purchased in 1940 and the house contents were auctioned by Harrods. During the war an anti-aircraft battery was built in front of the fort; units serving there included the Royal Marines, 4th Defence Battery and a Light Anti-Aircraft Battery of the Royal Artillery, a detachment of the Belgian Army, the Home Guard, and an Air Sea Rescue detachment of the RAF.



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Founded: 1870
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Antonio Monfermoso (12 months ago)
Well worth a visit and only £5 that helps towards the up keep of this very interesting place. So much history and the lovely lady who sells the guides can tell you so much about the history and island. Bad memory I think it’s Liz
Andrew Kemp (2 years ago)
One of the most iconic landmarks in tenby caldey Island in the distance and St Catherines has decades of history only £5 for adults with a 30 minute video of the history of this fascinating place
marlie Flinders (2 years ago)
The staff were nice and welcoming, cost was alright, walk up to the castle/fort was okay. The staff made it sound like it was going to be amazing, unfortunately, it wasn’t, I was expecting it to be massive and the history be interesting and was easy to understand, there was a lot of activities which was fun for children, wish it was better for the money I paid!!
Jacqueline Carpenter (2 years ago)
It is a unique place and the money goes back into restoration, so 5pounds is reasonable. The views from up on the island make it worth. They need to work on the slide show as it is very slow.!!!
DAZ Ashton (2 years ago)
Access from the beach for a small price of £5 June 2022 a walk up some steep steps to the top ( carefully slippy) across a small bridge brings to to the top after a hill path. The views from top are amazing. Inside you can walk around even sit and watch a video all about the history of the Fort. Great to get a feel of how it was in the day.
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