Nicolle history of St Helier - Chapter 8

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Elizabeth Castle

At the beginning of the 17th century Elizabeth Castle had been partly completed, thanks to the energy displayed by Paul Ivy. The plan of fortifying the Town hill having come to nothing, when the Civil War broke out and Sir Philippe de Carteret had retired into Elizabeth Castle, the town found itself at the mercy of the guns of that fortress. The battery in the churchyard was powerless and the Parliamentarians determined to fortify the Town Hill.

In this enterprise they were aided by the unceasing efforts of the Rev Pierre d'Assigny, the Rector of St Helier, and a violent enemy of Sir Philippe de Carteret. Jean Chevalier, the Chronicler, relates how from his pulpit one Sunday evening d'Assigny delivered an inflammatory address to his congregation and appealed to them to destroy the Royalists. After the service he speedily found his way to the Governor's house near the Rectory and having there obtained spades and mattocks, was to be seen in the marketplace distributing them to all the able-bodied of his parishioners as they came out of church. This militant Rector and his band of workers at once scaled the hill and there commenced setting up earthworks.

The Castle garrison fired many a round of heavy shot to attempt to damp the ardour of the zealous townsmen, but without making much impression. The new works proceeded apace and were soon completed. It was during the bombardment of the Castle from the Town Hill in 1651 that the ancient Abbey Church was blown up, through a shot igniting the magazine.

Nicolle: The Town of St Helier
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