Elizabeth Castle is a 16th-century castle on St Aubin’s Bay. It was built by Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), Governor of Jersey from 1600 to 1603, one of the most notable figures of her reign, who determined the need to modernise the island’s defences. Work began in 1595 to create a defensive stronghold when Mont Orgueil proved insufficient to defend the Island and port from ships armed with cannon. The Lower Ward was built between 1626 and 1636 and became a parade ground surrounded by a barrack and quarters for officers. King Charles II stayed here in 1649, having been proclaimed King by the Governor, Vice-Admiral Sir George Carteret (1610-80). The British Government relinquished the castle in 1923, following which it has been run as a museum by the States.
Among the historical displays is the regimental museum of the Royal Jersey Militia with several centuries of military memorabilia. There is a museum that discusses the evolution of cannons and fortifications that holds several pieces from the 19th century, and earlier.
Every Sunday through the season when the castle is open, a team of Historical Interpreters recreate the garrison of 1781, at the time of the battle of Jersey. They give displays of musket and cannon firing, and civilian life.
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