Mont Orgueil and the defence of Jersey
Jersey became part of the Duchy of Normandy in 933 when Duke William II - Longsword - annexed the land of the Bretons next to the sea. This included the Channel islands. Until 1204 the islands remained a bit of a peaceful backwater and then within months the situation changed dramatically.
King Philippe Auguste of France attacked Normandy and forced the Duke John to retire to his other possession England. For the next 600 years the Channel Islands became frontier posts on the edge of a war zone. Whenever England and France went to war the Islands were thtreatened and so John ordered the first castles to be built. Castle Cornet to potect the anchorage in St Peter Port, Guernsey and and even bigger castle at Gorey (later to be known as Mont Orgueil) on the east coast of Jersey to threaten Normandy.
Using the latest technology and designs, the castles were to grow and develop over the following centuries. Gradually as Mont Orgueil became out dated it was replaced as the major stronghold in Jersey by the beginning of the 17th century by Elizabeth Castle in St Aubin's Bay. This in turn was replaced by Fort Regent at the beginning of the 19th century.
The most important thing to bear in mind when looking at castles is that no one builds a castle to look pretty. They are built with a specific purpose - to defend/protect something and that something can be a river crossing, a cross roads on a trade route, a market town, a harbour or a landing bay. They were built to proclaim power and so they were often whitewashed to make them stand out in the countryside.
Worksheet - Attacking Mont Orgueil. Things to look for as you go around the castle.
Worksheet - Label the parts of the 13th century St George's Gate.
Fact sheet - Plan of Mont Orgueil castle in the late 13th century showing the different wards and the missing curtain walls.
Fact Sheet - about the different ways of attacking and defending a castle.
Fact Sheet - Why were the Channel islands so important to the English Kings.
Fact Sheet - Use this information to find out what different feature of the castle are called. Learn the difference between a buttery and a buttress or a merlon and a crenel.
Fact Sheet - Use this information sheet to learn about which famous people are associated with which parts of the castle.