Elizabeth Castle is located on a tidal island. Construction was started in the 16th century when the increasing power of cannon meant that the existing stronghold at Mont Orgueil was insufficient to defend the Island and the port of St. Helier was vulnerable to attack by ships armed with cannon. Construction of the earliest parts of the castle, the Upper Ward including the Queen Elizabeth Gate, began in 1594. Once the Upper Ward was complete, the Governors of Jersey moved their official residence from Mont Orgueil to Elizabeth Castle. The Lower Ward was constructed between 1626 and 1636 on the site of the ruined Abbey church. This area of the castle became a parade ground, surrounded by a barrack building and officers' quarters. Fort Charles was added on the northern end of the island in 1646. During the Civil War the castle held out against Parliament from 1643 until 1651. After the war the area between the Lower Ward and Fort Charles was enclosed and turned into the Outer Ward. It the beginning of the 19th century it ceased to be important when a new land fort, Fort Regent, was built on the hill above St Helier which could protect against attack from sea or land.
The castle is managed by Jersey Heritage and is open to visitors.
|St Aubin’s Bay, St Helier JE2 3NU|