Formerly a tidal island, Cornet Rock was first fortified as a castle between 1206 and 1256, following the division of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204. In 1339 when a French force captured the island and occupied it for several years, Cornet was besieged and captured, and the garrison massacred. With the advent of cannon and gunpowder, the castle was remodelled between 1545 and 1548. Prof. John Le Patourel, in The Building of Castle Cornet mentions that in 1566, iron and hammers were taken to 'Creavissham' (i.e. Crevichon), and that island quarried for the castle.

Castle Cornet served as official residence of the Governor of Guernsey until 1672 when the keep was catastrophically destroyed. A bolt of lightning struck the magazine of the castle, destroying the keep and a number of living quarters. The Governor at the time was Lord Hatton. His mother, wife and a number of members of staff were killed in the explosion. It became integrated into the breakwater after the period of the Napoleonic Wars. Along the breakwater, a pond for toy yachts was constructed in 1887 for Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, which served as a seaplane base during World War I. In World War II, it became occupied by a small group of German troops. It was presented to the people of Guernsey in 1945 by the Crown.

The castle incorporates today several museums, like castle museum, maritime museum and Royal Guernsey Militia museum.

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Founded: 1206-1256
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Michael Scott (4 years ago)
Really cool monument and very interesting museum, would be 5 star but some areas were locked when we went- don't know if you need a specific tour to go into the depths of the fortifications. Top spot, go for the views- stay for the cannons!
Steve C (4 years ago)
Nice place to visit. Interesting and has a shop and cafe there. It is best to buy a 'discovery pass' which allows access to the castle as often as you like and three other attractions (Wartime museum, shipwreck museum and the art gallery).
Lewis Gibson (4 years ago)
Fascinating castle without being overloaded with exhibitions and displays. Great view and fun tour with Fred, a really knowledge and funny guide who lived through the German occupation and happy to pass on his stories. Go for the noon gun firing and don't miss the lovely little kitchen for lunch. Prepare to spend 2-3 hours to see it all properly
Jonathan Boyle (4 years ago)
Fantastic place to take the children. We stayed all day and have come again for a second visit. The cannon is louder than you think, so cover little ears and your own if you have a spare pair of hands! The displays are very informative and the daily play was great fun. This was the unexpected highlight of the holiday.
Jackie Church (4 years ago)
What a lovely place. We were surprised by the beautiful gardens inside the walls. Our guide, Steve, was so knowledgeable and enthusiastic. So much so, we came away saying we will definitely be back. The re-enactment was great fun with a gentleman playing a superb part and I got to play the part of a French frigate!
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