The earth mound behind the fort is believed to date from the Iron Age when promontory forts like this were found here in Jersey, and around the coast of Cornwall.
It is also very likely that it was still being used as a ‘castle of refuge’ as late as the early 15th century. We have records, made by one of Pero Nino and Hector de Pontbriand’s 1406 invasion force that describes Le Catel as one of five such castles in Jersey at that time.
The later defences around the bay stem from the failed invasion of Jersey by the Prince of Nassau in 1779. It was discovered that the Prince had planned to land half his force here at Greve de Lecq, which prompted the Governor Sir Henry Seymour Conway to quickly erect a guardhouse and magazine. In fact, the Jersey Round Tower in the car park was one of the first built in 1778.
This fort dates from the late 18th century. It was built in 1789 using the proceeds of a public lottery, and it designed to protect the beach below. Within it was a battery of three 32 pounders mounted on traversing platforms. The fort is surrounded by a granite wall with musket loops, and the entrance is guarded by a roofed outwork or carponniere. The guardhouse has a water cistern and an open fireplace. The fort was manned by a sergeant and 15 artillerymen.
© Arthur Lamy