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Essex Castle

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Essex Farm; Fort Essex; Les Murs de Haut; Upper Fort

On the Isle of Alderney.

Latitude 49.71765° Longitude -2.17567°

Essex Castle has been described as a certain Artillery Fort.

There are major building remains.


Salter writes "Incorporated into one corner of a large C19 fort above Longley Bay is a fragment of a fort begun in 1546, left unfinished in 1553, and later referred to as Essex Castle. The original fort was designed to have corner bastions and a central building with angle turrets."

Aldernay was surveyed with consideration for a defence in 1547 and work was in progress by 1549. By 1553 £9210 had been spent but in 1554 Queen Mary's Council order the work stopped, the ordnance to be removed and the buildings to be 'rased and defaced'. Although dismantled rather than demolished, the forts were never rehabilitated, and for the rest of the sixteenth century Alderney remained without effective defences. The Tudor forts appear to have been those known as Essex Fort, overlooking the harbour in Longis Bay, and the 'Chateau de Longis', or 'the Nunnery' (as it was later called), on the shore of the same bay. The latter incorporated the shell of an earlier fortification possibly of Roman date, and was converted into a dwelling in 1584-6. The former was never finished and was partly demolished to make way for a Victorian fort in the 1840s. (HKW)

Comments (by Philip Davis)

It has been suggested this was built within an Iron Age promontory fort but this idea is now not generally accepted. It may have been possible there was an earlier watch tower here, an outpost of The Nunnery although there is no actual evidence to support that suggestion.
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This record last updated on Tuesday, August 11, 2015