Jersey has a wide range of defensive fortifications dating from prehistoric times through to the 1940s. In 1772, it was advised in a survey that the Bay of Arch Hirondelle required defences as it was vulnerable to French forces, and a plan was proposed by General Conway in 1778 to build a series of 30 towers around the Island to deter French invasion. Archirondel, as it is known today, was the 22nd Tower to be built and is an evolution of the basic Conway design. Unusually, the Tower is predominantly built of rhyolite. This was due to Archirondel’s location, which is relatively significant distance for the nearest source of granite.
Archirondel Tower was built on an offshore rocky outcrop called La Roche Rondel, with construction work beginning on 17 November 1792, and was completed by 1794 at a cost of £4,000. A year later, once professional soldiers of the Artillery and Engineers were introduced into the garrison, it was decided to build a permanent masonry gun platform around the base of the Tower. This was a prototype later used for La Rocco Tower in St Ouen’s Bay. It was this element that kept Archirondel Tower as a significant defensive work long after the other Towers became redundant, and it remained effective until the 1860s.
In 1923 the Tower was purchased by the States of Jersey from the Crown for £200. It was left largely obsolete until German Occupying Forces extensively altered the Tower during the Second World War. The original stair was removed along with the floors being replaced with concrete. An opening was formed in the Tower at ground level and a small extension formed within the battery, which was modified so machine guns could be mounted. When you stay at the Tower you will also see above a steel blast door to the first floor the inscription ‘1941’ along with an image of a swastika.
In March 2006, the Tower was registered as owned by the Public of the Island of Jersey and was initially fitted out as a basic coastal base until 2016, when it was decided to refit and modernise the interior so as to let it out as a self-catering property from summer 2019.