Conway Towers - Heritage Landscape - Jersey Heritage

There are a number of towers built by General Conway to defend the Island. Many of them are now available to hire as self-catering accommodation through the Heritage Holiday Lets scheme.


Le Hocq Tower

During the American Wars of Independence (1776-1783) the island was threatened by the French who were the allies of the rebels. General Seymour Conway, the Governor of Jersey, ordered a series of round towers to be built around the coast to defend the island. The first four were completed by 1779. The building programme was sped up after the French invasion of 1781. The towers were entered by a door on the first floor, which was reached by a ladder which could be drawn inside if there was any danger. They tapered slightly from about 10.5 metres in diameter at the base to about 8.7 metres at the top. Inside, the tower was divided so that the magazine and storeroom were on the ground floor and the upper two floors served as accommodation for the militia - one officer and eight or ten men. The main armament was a heavy cannon set on a traversing platform on the roof. Unlike the Guernsey towers which were round, Le Hocq is typical of the Jersey towers as it has four machicolations which project from the top to allow marksmen on the roof to fire downwards.

How to get there.

This link shows the location of La Hocq Tower.

Archirondel Tower

This was one of the later Jersey design round towers built by General Conway. It was completed in 1794 on a rocky outcrop just offshore.  

Like La Rocco in St Ouen’s Bay it had a gun platform around its base and instead of four machicolations projecting from the top there are only three. The extra cost was paid for by cancelling the work on the towers at Anne Port and Rozel. When work began on the harbour at St Catherine in the 1840s a southern breakwater was to have been built but work was abandoned just after they had reached the tower. The tower was extensively altered by German forces in the Occupation who removed the original stair and built concrete floors. The battery was modified so that machine guns could be mounted. It is now painted red and white to act as a navigational aid.

Archirondel Tower is one of Jersey Heritage's Heritage Holiday Lets and is availlable for hire.  To find out more visit the Heritage Holiday Lets page.

How to get there.

This link shows the location of Archirondel Tower.

Seymour Tower

Seymour Tower is built on L’Avarison islet, about two miles offshore, and is accessible with care on foot at low tide.  

The tower was described, during the Napoleonic Wars, as commanding the entrance into the bay. It was part of the Island’s round tower building scheme although, because of an earlier structure on the site and the shape of the islet, it had to be square. It was in sight of east-coast sentries placed on the road from Mont Orgueil. Candles were needed for communication with the other towers and the castle, these being shown every half hour, with the tower’s guard issued with 12 lb of them every month. The structure was probably named after General Sir Henry Seymour Conway, the instigator of Jersey’s 18th-century towerbuilding programme. But the surname also belonged to a 16thcentury Jersey Governor - Sir Edward Seymour, the brother-inlaw of Henry VIII, whose sister was the unfortunate Queen Jane. He was also an ancestor of General Conway. The British government took over its upkeep from Jersey’s States in 1797. It was then manned with two 12-pounder guns, gradually increasing to two 24-pounders and then two of 32 lb, and a gun carriage. The States bought it back for £120 in 1923.

Seymour Tower is one of Jersey Heritage's Heritage Holiday Lets and is availlable for hire.  To find out more visit the Heritage Holiday Lets page.

How to get there.

Seymour Tower is situation in the Royal Bay of Grouville and is accessible at low tide, however, Jersey Heritage would recommend that you use an official Seymour Tower Guide if you want to walk to the tower safely.

La Rocco (Gordon’s) Tower

La Rocco Tower, built half a mile offshore between 1796 and 1801, cost about £400 to build and was named in honour of Lieutenant General Gordon, Jersey’s Lieutenant Governor. It was the last, and largest, of the Conway towers and differed from the others in profile. The circular walls are steeply battered, but after ten feet they rise vertically. Like Archirondel it was built on a tidal islet and has a surrounding battery, which helps give it a distinctive silhouette. It was extensively damaged by German artillery during the Occupation, when it was used for target practice, and then after the Liberation it was left as a ruin and two more decades of deterioration followed. The tower was restored in the 1970s with the help of a public appeal after it had been feared that erosion of the foundations would cause it to collapse into the sea.

How to get there.

This link shows the location of La Rocco Tower, please do not attempt to walk out to the tower on a low tide.