Mont Orgueil is a castle in Jersey Island. The site had been fortified in the prehistoric period, but the construction of the castle was undertaken following the division of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204. The castle was first mentioned in 1212. The castle was the primary defence of the Island until the development of gunpowder which then rendered the castle ultimately indefensible from Mont Saint Nicholas, the adjacent hill which overlooks the castle.

Mont Orgueil was updated with platforms for artillery constructed in 1548 and 1549 under the direction of Henry Cornish, Lieutenant of the Earl of Hertford in Jersey. Mont Orgueil was to be superseded by Elizabeth Castle off Saint Helier, the construction of which commenced at the end of 16th century. Walter Raleigh, Governor of Jersey in 1600, rejected a plan to demolish the old castle in order to recycle the stone for the new fortifications.

The old castle continued to be used as the Island's only prison until the construction of a prison in St. Helier at the end of the 17th century. A report for the States of Jersey in 1691 declared that the barracks accommodation was so dilapidated that it was impossible to quarter troops there. Two years later, the castle was stated to be in a ruinous condition and subsequently was abandoned as a prison. This was because Elizabeth Castle had been built and the castle was neglected and not needed any more. Repairs were carried out 1730-1734 and for the rest of century parts of the castle were adapted for garrison accommodation.

In 1800 the Corbelled Tower was fitted out for use by Admiral Philippe d'Auvergne as his headquarters for the secret service organisation he was running in Brittany and mainland Normandy. Until the second half of the 19th century the castle was open to the public on one day a year, Easter Monday, and crowds used to flock from all over the Island. This is believed to be a survival of the pre-Reformation custom of visiting St. George's Chapel inside the castle on St. George's Day. In a generally ruinous state at the time of its handover to the people of Jersey by the Crown on 28 June 1907, Mont Orgueil has been managed as a museum site since 1929, although during the Second World War German Occupation (1940–1945) the occupying forces garrisoned the castle and added modern fortifications camouflaged to blend in with existing structures.

The heritage site has been managed by the Jersey Heritage Trust since 1994. In the early 21st century, the Trust planned to build a Tudor hall within the castle's keep. On 2 April 2006, after a long building programme the castle was reopened to the public by the Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey. Restoration work has opened up previously inaccessible areas of the castle to the public. Newly built additions in modern style have enclosed sections of the castle and made them weatherproof, parts of the structure have been reinterpreted, and artistic interventions in the grounds and structure of the castle have provided attractions for visitors.

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Founded: 1204
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Kenneth Laing (4 months ago)
Fascinating castle with a long history. We went along to one of the tours, included in the ticket, with an extremely enigmatic and knowledgeable tour guide who recounted lots of facts, stories, tales and folklore about the Castle, the history, the people and the changes over the years.
Lee Thomson (5 months ago)
A still very much intact castle. As such, it is quite extensive and there are many pathways. It is hard to truly know if you have seen every room! They offer a scavenger hunt game for £1 to help you confirm you've seen it all!
Caleb Jones (5 months ago)
Knowing that millions of people around the world would be watching in person and on television and expecting great things from him — at least one more gold medal for America, if not another world record — during this, his fourth and surely his last appearance in the World Olympics, and realizing that his legs could no longer carry him down the runway with the same blazing speed and confidence in making a huge, eye-popping leap that they were capable of a few years ago when he set world records in the 100-meter dash and in the 400-meter relay and won a silver medal in the long jump, the renowned sprinter and track-and-field personality Carl Lewis, who had known pressure from fans and media before but never, even as a professional runner, this kind of pressure, made only a few appearances in races during the few months before the Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, partly because he was afraid of raising expectations even higher and he did not want to be distracted by interviews and adoring fans who would follow him into stores and restaurants demanding autographs and photo-opportunities, but mostly because he wanted to conserve his energies and concentrate, like a martial arts expert, on the job at hand: winning his favorite competition, the long jump, and bringing home another Gold Medal for the United States, the most fitting conclusion to his brilliant career in track and field.
Sonia Chavasse (6 months ago)
As many other visitors say this is a very interesting and exciting castle to visit. It has everything you could want from a castle visit from open areas outside to a maze of rooms and staircases inside. Beautiful views from the windows, even a children's outdoor play area. Guided tours were every 2hrs on the November day we visited although we did not arrive at the right time (they were 10.30\12.30\2.30). We spent over 2 hours exploring and may have stayed longer but it was a very cold, windy day. Dress warmly if you visit on a cold day. Fabulous visit and we would happily return.
Martina Gildea (7 months ago)
I have visited many castles all over the world. This was the most beautiful and interesting one. The cost is really worth it. Takes about 2 hours to see everything. Many Steps and passages, each one leading to a show of history. Loved it!! Stunning views.
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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.