Even if you’ve never visited Mont Orgueil Castle, it is likely to look familiar. Symbolic of Jersey, the photogenic fortress is reproduced on countless postcards, holiday brochures and guides.
Commanding a spectacular promontory above the harbour, built into the granite rocks, it makes a wonderful backdrop to Gorey Harbour. The earliest fortifications date back to the very early 13th Century when King John had lost control of Normandy and the island needed protection against the threat of French invasion.
Over the years the castle has been a fortress, a prison and a place of refuge for aristocrats fleeing the reign of terror and the guillotine in France. In 1907 the castle was finally given by the Crown to the States of Jersey and in 1996 Queen Elizabeth II handed it over to the islanders.
The harbour village of Gorey, below the castle, is a picture postcard ensemble of quaint houses, pubs and seafood cafes, clustering around a harbour of fishing boats, yachts and pleasure crafts. In the early 19 Century the port grew prosperous on the oyster trade, becoming known as the ‘pearl of the east’.
But the fishermen were over ambitious and by the 1860s the oyster beds were almost exhausted. The villagers returned to its shellfish-producing traditions and up to 600 tonnes of oysters are now produced annually.
4 thoughts on “Road Trip Jersey 2022 | Mont Orgueil Castle and the Harbour Village of Gorey”
This has just reminded me of a visit to the Jersey Pearl factory – is that still there? In fact I still have the pearl stud earrings that I bought there!
It’s such a pretty island and your photos are worthy of inclusion in any tourist info literature – absolutely lovely.
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Jersey Pearl is still there – on the NW coast, overlooking St. Ouen’s Bay. My guys weren’t interested in calling in …
I agree with Deb, your photos & write up of this village should be part of the island travel brochure. I know this is somewhere I should visit for the rich history, plus my paternal side still has relatives in Jersey; originally they were part of the Huguenots departure of France.
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Haha, I get most of the factual stuff from my guidebooks!
What fun if you came to Jersey in search of your ancestors!