Jersey buildings

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Jersey buildings

British hotel-1.jpg
Avranche Manor.jpg

So much of Jersey's history is contained in its buildings, both public and private houses. The history lies in the structures themselves, the way they have been changed over the years, and most significantly in those who have owned them, lived and worked in them. This section of Jerripedia is about the public buildings. For our comprehensive coverage of private houses go to Jersey houses.

Public buildings

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Most of Jersey's oldest buildings are either churches or defensive structures and information on these can be found in dedicated Jerripedia sections.


Coastal towers

Jersey has an amazing collection of ancient defensive installations, most of them designed to keep French invaders at bay. From the time when Jersey separated from Normandy in 2004 until the end of the Napoleonic wars, every time England went to war with France, Jersey was right in the firing line. And in the years between actual wars, the French still coveted Jersey and many attempts were made to recapture it, some of them successful for varying periods.

But it was in Napoleonic times that the greatest threat existed and a decision was taken to protect all potential landing places with a ring of coastal towers. Often mistakenly called Martello Towers, Jersey's coastal towers mostly predate the towers of this name and design which can be found along England's eastern coast.

The majority of Jersey's towers, built in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, survive today, although regrettable some were blown up during the Occupation when German invaders created their own up-to-date defensive installations in their place.

Visit Coastal towers to find out more about the original towers and which remain today.

Contribute to this section

You can make your own contribution to this and all sections of Jerripedia. We want them to become the most comprehensive reference work yet assembled on the subject. You can contribute articles on the history of any of Jersey's public buildings .

Have you already written articles, essays or other work on these subjects, or built up a detailed knowledge about a buildingwhich you have never been able to share with others? Then get in touch with us (editcontact@theislandwiki.org) to let us know what you have to offer, and we will discuss how to add it to the site.

Mont Orgueil Castle

Mont Orgueil 1680.jpg

Mont Orgueil Castle was Jersey’s major defensive installation for several centuries, and also a central part of island life, housing its garrison, providing a home for the Governor and a prison.

It came under seige on several occasions, both when islanders sought refuge there from invading troops and when forces which had invaded the island were removed from other areas and made a last stand in the castle.

Elizabeth Castle

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When it became clear in the 16th century that Mont Orgueil Castle, Jersey's principal fortress for about three centuries, could no longer withstand the technology of Elizabethan warfare, a decision was taken to build a replacement, and the site chosen was a rocky islet much closer to the island's capital, St Helier. The new castle was named Elizabeth Castle after his Queen by the governor of the time, Sir Walter Raleigh.

Jersey's government retreated to the castle on more than one occasion and it was at the centre of events during the English Civil War, as well as holding out against French invaders on the day of the Battle of Jersey.

The Castle still stands today, and many of its fine buildings have been restored and are open to the public.

Fort Regent

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Fort Regent was the last major defensive installation to be built in Jersey (if we discount the concrete structures built by the Germans during their occupation of the island from 1940-45). Although the Fort never fired a shot in anger, it was home to successive British regiments which formed the island's garrison, and, as such, played a very important role in the life of Jersey for over a century.

In the late 20th century it was transformed into a leisure centre, but the conversion was not a happy one and the Fort, now resplendant with white domed roof, has never really fulfilled its modern-day potential.


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