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St Peter Port Town Defences

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Beauregard Tower; Tour Beauregard; La Tour Grand; Le Tourgand

In the parish of St Peter Port.
On the Isle of Guernsey.

Latitude 49.45314° Longitude -2.53743°

St Peter Port Town Defences has been described as a probable Urban Defence.

There are no visible remains.


In 1350 King Edward III sent instructions to the Bailiff of Guernsey that he was to build a wall around the town. St Peter Port is built in the lee of a steep hill. No evidence has yet been found for a wall around the town, and there would have been little point in building one as any enemy could have stood on the top of Mont Gibel (as one still can) and shoot down into the town. Instead the Royal Court or the Governor of the island (the States of Guernsey had not yet been constituted) appear to have arranged to have two large forts built, one at either end of the town, and between these forts the backs of the houses on the western side of the town, against the hill, appear to have been in a fairly continuous line with very few windows and doors. On the eastern side of the town the cliff fell fairly steeply to the sea, with very little beach, and this was presumably deemed to be sufficient protection.
Opposite the second barriere stone was the fort which defended the southern access to the town, called the Tour (or tower) Beauregard, on what is now the Mignot Plateau. This was a large walled defensive position with buildings inside it which commanded the southern and western approaches to the town. It is interesting that the name Beauregard, which means good view or good outlook was also a popular name for fortified positions in England at this time.
This was also the site of the only known gateway out of town, and marked the end of Cornet Street.
at the northern end of the Pollet between the barriere stone and the short road called Le Tourgand. 'Gand' can be loosely translated as 'place of safety', but no trace of this fortification has ever been found. However there are references to wood from the Forest of Bere being imported to the Islands to build barricades in the Middle Ages, and the Constable of the Tower of London was asked to issue an export licence, so it is possible that it was only an earthwork with a palisade, rather than a stone building. (Lenfestey)

Feb. 18 1350: Licence, with the assent of the council for the good men of Port St. Peter in Gerneseye, in view of the fact that the castle of Chirburg in that island, wherein in time of war the people used to find refuge, jl is destroyed and cannot be repaired to the king's advantage, as he is informed, to enclose their town with a good and strong wall, and to crenellate such wall, and to take towards their expenses therein, for one year from 1 April next, a custom at the rate of four tournois on every pound of merchandise sold and bought in the island in money of Tours, 1 one half to be paid by the vendor and the other by the buyer. (CPR p. 478)

As Castle Cornet on its islet was inaccessible to the population of Guernsey in an emergency, this left them without a refuge, and the king authorised the men of St. Peter Port to levy a tax on merchandise in order to raise money to build a wall. The islanders objected the form of the levy, but £80 were eventually collected, and with this sum a tower called Beauregard was built in 1357 at the south-east of St Peter Port. The town as a whole appears never to have been walled, but Le Tour Beauregard was maintained as a satellite to Castle Cornet. (HKW)

Beauregard was more than just a tower. Built on a hill at the south end of St Peter Port, it had an adjoining yard. The tower came under the keeping of the Warden, who controlled a garrison that served both Castle Cornet and Beauregard. In 1375, in summer, it numbered 30 hommes d’armes and 30 crossbowmen. The garrison was halved in the winter, the chances of a French invasion being smaller (Carey 1920, p. 246). The tower has been interpreted as a refuge. It seems more plausible to see it as primarily part of the defence of the town. Soldiers garrisoned at Beauregard were better positioned to protect the town than soldiers stationed across the water in Castle Cornet. (Cox 2012)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1350 Feb 18 (Click for details of this licence.).
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This record last updated on Tuesday, April 18, 2017