Fishguard Fort

I recently had the opportunity to visit the ruins of Fishguard Fort in Pembrokeshire, Wales (UK). Built between late 1779 and 1781 the fort is now a ruin.  During the American War of Independence, in early 1779, an American privateer (which some sources suggest was Luke Ryan’s Black Prince while others suggest it may have been the more famous John Paul Jones) demanded a ransom of £1,000 for the town’s safety and the return of a local merchant ship they had seized. The town rejected the demand and the privateer began to bombard the houses surrounding Lower Fishguard’s harbour. The American privateer was only driven off when a local smuggler brought his small vessel into range and opened fire on the privateer.

While the town only suffered some superficial damage, to homes and St Mary’s Church, the town council decided to build a fort to protect Fishguard. Sir Hugh Owen, Pembrokeshire’s Lord Lieutenant, financed the construction of the fort and purchased a piece of land owned by Gwynne Vaughan on the northern headland. (see images #1 & #2). The small fort was built above a rocky crag, it’s simple fan-shaped layout is still visible today.

Fishguard Fort had eight 9-pounder cannons manned by three invalid gunners from Woolwich and members of the local militia. The fort was reached along a steel sloping path which narrowed at the neck of the headland. The fort’s entrance survives today (see images #3, #4 & #10) a heavy iron reinforced, wooden door would have barred the entrance. The perimeter wall which surrounded the fort was made from local stone was in places approximately 10 feet high and 1.5 feet thick. Today, much of the fort is overgrown and it is unclear what sort of temporary defences, such a ditches and palisades, were in place when the fort was in use.

Satellite image showing the position of Fishguard Fort in relation to Lower Fishguard’s harbour. (source: Google Maps)

The footprints of the gun embrasures are still visible (see images #7 & #8) as is a single surviving loophole overlooking the bay (see image #9). Built just below the level of the barbette (the platform the guns were positioned on) is a stone barrel-roofed garrison room, store and powder magazine (see image #6 & #9). Despite the fort’s impressive array of guns they were unable to protect the entirety of Fishguard Bay with much of Upper Fishguard and Goodwick Bay out of range.

Unlike many British coastal forts of the period Fishguard Fort briefly saw action during the French Revolutionary Wars. On 22nd February 1797, a French lugger, the 14-gun Vautour, entered the bay to scout the harbour. A small French squadron was in the area looking for a landing place for a force of 1,400 French troops. The men at the fort had been warned of suspicious ships in the area and when the Vautour entered the harbour at 2pm the fort, manned by three gunners and a small force of Fishguard Fencibles (the local militia unit formed in 1793) commanded by an Ensign, fired a shot forcing the lugger to beat a hasty retreat. 

The invasion force eventually landed at Carregwastad Point several miles up the coast beginning the last invasion of Britain. The fort briefly became the focal point of British operations with seventy of the Fishguard Fencibles mustering there on the night of the invasion. Believing the French landing force to be much larger it the Fencibles decided to abandon the fort, spike its guns and destroy its powder. The guns, however, were not spiked and the gunner’s hurriedly removed the ammunition from the fort by cart. The Fencibles retreated north towards Newport leaving Fishguard undefended and at the mercy of the French. The French invasion, however, was a failure which culminated in the surrender of the French force two days later.

With the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815 Fishguard’s fort fell out of use and slowly became a ruin. Locals no doubt salvaged and repurposed parts of the fort’s masonry. It is now owned and curated by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and is accessible via the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and by a path down from the main road leading into Lower Fishguard. Today the fort boasts four cannon arrayed to give visitors an impression of the fort’s former appearance.


Images: All photographs taken by author.

Fishguard Fiasco: An Account of the Last Invasion of Britain, J.S. Kinross (1974)

Fortress - A History of Military Defence, I.V. Hogg, (1975)

Discovering Fortifications: From the Tudors to the Cold War, B. Lowry, (2006)

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qui sul tumblo sono conosciuta principalmente come Vir. le persone mi chiamano Vir, io mi firmo con Vir ecc. ecc.
questo principalmente perché, prima di avere come url sonounagiraffina, avevo virmaaow e, prima ancora, per tanti anni, virspeakloud.
dovete sapere, però, che in realtà, al di fuori di qui, nessuno mi chiama Vir.
la mia famiglia mi chiama Vì e gli altri quasi tutti Virgi.

il soprannome Vir è nato quando facevo il quarto ginnasio, durante una lezione di latino. la professoressa spiegava la seconda declinazione, in particolare stavamo declinando vir viri, che - come ovviamente sapete - vuol dire uomo.
i miei compagni di classe, allora, si sono inventati una teoria secondo la quale il mio nome derivava proprio da quel sostantivo latino e perciò mi chiamavo “uomo”. a nulla sono valsi i miei tentativi di spiegare che il mio nome deriva da tutt'altra parola, perciò, da allora, hanno iniziato a chiamarmi Vir per prendermi in giro - sapete come sono fatti i quattordicenni -.
e io, proprio come i movimenti artistici, ho preso il mio nome da quella che voleva essere una presa in giro.


Went on a 5-day, 1400-mile road trip all over parts of Oregon and Northern California for the first time with my buddy Shaun. We slept in the car, woke up at sunrise to photograph, and stayed up until 3 in the morning to see the Milky Way. In the end, were exhausted and badly in need of a shower, but I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

Various state/national parks in Oregon and California. July 2016. (Instagram)

Andy Samberg’s Bike Doping Limited Series Tour de Pharmacy Ordered at HBO, Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs to Star

Following on the success of their tennis satire 7 Days in Hell, Andy Samberg and Murray Miller’s next HBO mockumentary project will take on doping in the world of professional cycling.

Titled Tour de Pharmacy, the limited series will star Samberg (as one of the competing cyclists) as well as Hamilton‘s Daveed Diggs, who takes his final bow in the Broadway smash tonight. The cast also includes Last Man on Earth‘s Will Forte, as well as Julia Ormond, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren, John Cena, Mike Tyson and Nathan Fielder.

Miller and Samberg will both executive produce (with Miller writing) alongside David Bernad. M Elizabeth Hughes will also produce. Jake Szymanski will direct and co-executive produce.

SWEET HOLY JESUS, NOW WE KNOW WHY. Oh my GOD, I’m so happy and proud I could burst.

Concept: we’ve made a blanket fort. We’re laying on piles of pillows and playing video games. I keep winning but I think you’re letting me. This is the most at-home I’ve felt in weeks, and I feel more comfortable with you every day


The Florida mosque where Pulse shooter attended was set on fire on the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Members of the Islamic community in Fort Pierce, Florida, woke up to find that their local mosque had been set on fire overnight in the early hours of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha, a four-day festival that started on Monday and signals the end of the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Omar Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 clubgoers at Pulse nightclub in June, worshipped at the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce before his death in June. Surveillance video revealed exactly how the fire was started.

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