Fort Grey is a Martello tower located on a rock in Rocquaine Bay. It was previously the site of local witches' Sabbaths. The existing fort, with its white tower was originally built as a defence by the British in 1804 during the Napoleonic Wars, it was named after Charles Grey, 1st Earl Grey, who was Governor of Guernsey from 1797 to 1807.

The Fort Grey tower, like the other two Guernsey Martello towers, Fort Saumarez and Fort Hommet, was intended as a keep for the battery in which it was placed. The Guernsey Martellos are smaller than the British towers, with the Fort Saumarez and Fort Hommet towers being smaller than the Fort Grey tower. Each mounted a 24-pounder carronade on the roof to protect the battery. Fort Saumarez and Fort Hommet also have exterior staircases up to the second floor. The War Office in London sold Fort Grey to the States of Guernsey in 1891 for £185.

During the Occupation of the Channel Islands in World War II, the Germans occupied the fort, as they did most of the other fortifications in Guernsey. More recently Fort Grey has been adapted for other more peaceful uses and now operates as a local shipwreck museum, housing a number of items of marine salvage from famous wrecks, including the MV Prosperity and Elwood Mead. The items also include a cannon from HMS Boreas that points towards the nearby Hanois rocks where Boreas sank in 1807 with the loss of her captain, at least half her crew, and possibly the captain's wife.

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Founded: 1804
Category: Castles and fortifications in United Kingdom

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User Reviews

Derek Sherrington (3 years ago)
Superb small but very full museum, lots of one off exhibition material. Excellent information panels as well as supporting photographs. Outside has more exhibits as well as the excellent local views. Very glad we went, made use of the Discovery Pass which is fantastic value.
Patricia Dear (3 years ago)
Very interesting spot providing a wealth of information on the islands marine history.
Paul Kent (3 years ago)
Small shipwreck museum in an interesting setting. Very helpful and attentive staff.
John Merrien (3 years ago)
An authentic representation of the suffering from the numerous wrecks around Guernsey's coast. The Roman Wreck & Guernsey Pearl over the road are also brilliant. Perhaps Guernsey's best carvery on a Sunday.
Dave Dome (3 years ago)
Great views and excellent location for walking. Museum is small but perfectly formed, with info on the shipwrecks in the area. Also the Roman ship found in the harbour is viewable across the road by the Pearl centre, where there is also a good cafe for refreshments. A must visit if you are in the area.
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The first historical record of Lednice locality dates from 1222. At that time there stood a Gothic fort with courtyard, which was lent by Czech King Václav I to Austrian nobleman Sigfried Sirotek in 1249.

At the end of the 13th century the Liechtensteins, originally from Styria, became holders of all of Lednice and of nearby Mikulov. They gradually acquired land on both sides of the Moravian-Austrian border. Members of the family most often found fame in military service, during the Renaissance they expanded their estates through economic activity. From the middle of the 15th century members of the family occupied the highest offices in the land. However, the family’s position in Moravia really changed under the brothers Karel, Maximilian, and Gundakar of Liechtenstein. Through marriage Karel and Maximilian acquired the great wealth of the old Moravian dynasty of the Černohorskýs of Boskovice. At that time the brothers, like their father and grandfather, were Lutheran, but they soon converted to Catholicism, thus preparing the ground for their rise in politics. Particularly Karel, who served at the court of Emperor Rudolf II, became hetman of Moravia in 1608, and was later raised to princely status by King Matyas II and awarded the Duchy of Opava.

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In the 16th century it was probably Hartmann II of Liechtenstein who had the old medieval water castle torn down and replaced with a Renaissance chateau. At the end of the 17th century the chateau was torn down and a Baroque palace was built, with an extensive formal garden, and a massive riding hall designed by Johann Bernard Fischer von Erlach that still stands in almost unaltered form.

In the mid-18th century the chateau was again renovated, and in 1815 its front tracts that had been part of the Baroque chateau were removed.

The chateau as it looks today dates from 1846-1858, when Prince Alois II decided that Vienna was not suitable for entertaining in the summer, and had Lednice rebuilt into a summer palace in the spirit of English Gothic. The hall on the ground floor would serve to entertain the European aristocracy at sumptuous banquets, and was furnished with carved wood ceilings, wooden panelling, and select furniture, surpassing anything of its kind in Europe.