Friday, 16 June 2017

Jersey In Colour - Part 7

Today is the final extract from an early 1960s Jarrold Guide to Jersey, entitled "Jersey In Colour". How beautiful the Island looked in the 1960s!

There are a number of mistakes in the guide. The Jersey Round Towers, or Conway Towers, are not Martello towers and have a very different design. The guide also references Faldouet dolmen, which is a tomb-like megalithic structure, often called a passage grave because of early antiquarian interpretations - a menhir is a single standing stone, and the guide conflates the two.

If you've missed the other parts, here they are:

Jersey In Colour - Part 7

On those summer evenings when Mont Orgueil Castle is floodlit the scene is one of romantic splendour, and we seem to recapture something of the spirit of those stirring times in Jersey's history when the castle was a bulwark of major importance to the defence of the island.

Mont Orgueil, which overlooks Gorey Harbour, was begun by the Normans in the tenth century on the site of "Caesar's Camp". In the centuries which followed considerable additions and alterations were made. The thirteenth-century bastion was greatly enlarged during the succeeding years by the building of stronger walls and mightier towers.

Only twice did the castle succumb to invaders. During the Wars of the Roses it was first surprised by the French, who were supporters of the Lancastrians, only to be recaptured five years later for the Yorkists.

Today the pleasant little township of Gorey seems still to lie secure under the protection of Mont Orgueil, whose two principal towers stand witness to the skill and faith of their builders. Harliston's Tower, constructed in the reign of Edward IV, defends the main entrance, while the topmost point of the keep, known as the Somerset Tower, was built in the sixteenth century.

During the reign of Elizabeth I, it was decided to concentrate on the building of the castle at St. Helier, but Mont Orgueil was saved from the usual fate of destruction through Sir Walter Raleigh, who was then Governor, and it played an important part in the Civil War.

In 1905 Mont Orgueil was acquired by the States and has been skilfully restored. A short distance from Gorey there stands a fine example of a prehistoric menhir, or dolmen.

HAVRE DES PAS is a suburb of St. Helier where shipbuilding thrived until the late1880s, when holidaymakers took over the beaches that the slipways had occupied.

The harbour of its name is little more than a shelter, with a narrow entrance between reefs, and the only advantage to be gained by navigating it is the shelter given by an upstanding rocky spine.

"Des Pas" refers to the shape of two feet found naturally sculptured in a rock. Today the cottages built as married quarters for the soldiers of the fort stand on the site.

The footprints were attributed to the Virgin Mary, and before 1200 a chapel had been built over them. This had a varied history, partly due to its isolation, until it was blown up in 1814 when the fort was built. The military considered that the cover it afforded might be an aid to an enemy storming the fort.

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