Mont Orgueil Castle
Explore Mont Orgueil Castle, one of the world’s finest examples of a medieval castle, which protected Jersey against the French invasion over 600 years ago. Jersey Heritage makes history come to life in your exploration of the network of staircases and secret rooms, discovering hidden treasures. You can even relax and take in the magnificent views over the fishing village and harbour of Gorey.
The site had been fortified in the prehistoric period, but the construction of the castle was undertaken following the division of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204. The castle was the primary defence of Jersey until the development of gunpowder, which rendered the castle ultimately indefensible from Mont Saint Nicholas, the adjacent hill overlooking the castle. Mont Orgueil Castle was updated with platforms for artillery constructed in 1548 and 1549 under the direction of Henry Cornish, Lieutenant of the Earl of Hertford in Jersey.
Mont Orgueil Castle was to be superseded by Elizabeth Castle off Saint Helier, the construction of which commenced at the end of the 16th century. The old castle continued to be used as the island’s only prison until the end of the 17th century, incarcerating troublesome figures including William Prynne and John Lilburne.
In a generally ruinous state at the time of its handover to the people of Jersey by the Crown on 28 June 1907, Mont Orgueil Castle has been managed as a museum site since 1929, although during the Second World War German occupation (1940–1945), the occupying forces garrisoned the castle and added modern fortifications camouflaged to blend in with existing structures.