7th November 1806

Fort Regent construction work begins

As one of the highest points in Jersey, St Helier’s Mont de la Ville (Town Hill) had previously been the site of a dolmen, which was only discovered when workers started to level the area to be used as Fort Regent’s parade ground. Despite being an important part of Jersey’s prehistory, the dolmen was boxed up and transported to the mainland, having been gifted to the governor, Henry Seymour Conway, who wanted to use it as a feature of his estate close to Henley-on-Thames.

Although the hill had long been recognised as a valuable defensive point, construction of Fort Regent didn’t get underway in an official capacity until 7 November 1806. On that day, Lieutenant Governor George Don laid the foundation stone, marking the beginning of eight years of construction work involving an average of 800 workers at a time. Works had already been done to prepare the ground for the ceremony.

Digging a water source

As well as the construction of the walls and ramparts, the digging of ditches and the positioning of cannon at strategic points, the works required the digging of a well to provide a regular water source for the troops who would be stationed at the completed fort. Digging the well was one of the most ambitious tasks, requiring the use of 975kg of gunpowder and employing 12 miners.

Fort Regent was last used in a military capacity by the German forces that occupied the Channel Islands through much of the Second World War. Following the war, it was used for storage and, in the 1960s, converted for use as a sports and leisure centre.

The fort was given its name – Fort Regent – in honour of George III who was, at the time, Prince Regent of the United Kingdom.


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