Castle Cornet is a large island castle in Guernsey, joined to the island by the castle pier. It used to be a tidal island, important for the defence of the island and of the roadstead. Since 1859 it has been one of the breakwaters of St Peter Port’s harbour. It was first fortified as a castle between 1206 and 1256, following the division of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204. It is considered to have little order in its construction. Six gateways must be passed before the citadel is reached – the main gate on which are the arms of Elizabeth I, the outer ward, a second curtain wall from the English Civil War period, the Barbican from the 13th century with a portcullis, and the citadel with another portcullis. There used to be a round tower, but this was destroyed in an explosion in 1672.
The married quarter’s barracks were built around 1750. The Sutler’s House is the oldest domestic building, having escaped the 1672 explosion. The hospital in the Inner Bailey was built in 1746. The north-east corner of the Castle holds the Royal Battery, built around 1575. It is from the curtain battery that the noonday gun is fired.
In its long history, there have been many attacks, including the time in 1338 when a French force captured the island, and the garrison of 11 men and 50 archers were all massacred.
Today Castle Cornet is a museum incorporating The Story of Castle Cornet, the Maritime Museum, 201 Squadron RAF Museum and the Royal Guernsey Militia Museum.
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