Gorey Castle-as it is popularly known-was built in the 13th century as the island's main defence against the French whose coastline was only 14 miles away.
The castle was built at Mont Orgueil because sea and cliffs protected the castle on three sides. Also, the granite that the castle was built on meant that it was virtually impossible to undermine. During the next century it survived sporadic attacks-and a 7 year occupation- by the French and was the English Crown's administration centre, home to the Governor of Jersey. It was also a desolate home to debtors, criminals and the occasional suspected witch.
By the 16th century however , Mont Orgueil Castle was out of date. With the new ship-mounted cannon and gunpowder, it was now open to attack from the bay and the hill opposite so a new castle was built to replace it, nearer to the strategic port of St. Helier.