Fort Royal (1693-1811) - A French Colonial era Fort established in 1693 on Castle Hill near present day Jerseyside, Newfoundland, Canada. Turned over to the British in 1713 as a result of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). Abandoned by the British in 1811. Also known as Castle Graves.
History of Fort Royal
Queen Anne's War (1702-1713)
Completed in 1703, the fort was a square work with three demi-bastions and one full bastion. The overlapping faces of the demi-bastions formed a flank that eliminated any cover close to the walls where an attacker could hide. The full bastion had two flanks. This provided additional protection along the fort’s most vulnerable gate face. The full bastion also contained the powder magazine. The fort walls were 16' high and a ditch was dug in front of the gate to make it even more difficult to attack. The fort complex sat at about 328' above the water line below and no ship's cannon could reach it.
The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) ended Queen Anne's War and recognized British sovereignty in Newfoundland. The French were forced to abandoned Plaisance and other south coast settlements. The British occupied the town and renamed it Placentia. During the peace after the treaty, Placentia’s defences were neglected and some of the works on Castle Hill went to ruin.
French & Indian War (1754-1763)
During the French & Indian War the British repaired and modified Fort Royal. Governor Thomas Graves was temporarily based in Placentia because of the French occupation of St. John’s in the summer of 1762.
The barracks were replaced by a wooden blockhouse, the guardhouse was enlarged for use as a barracks and store room, and a new guardhouse and stockade wall were built. The stone walls were repaired and given a wood and earthen parapet. The upgraded fort was renamed Castle Graves in honor of the governor.
After the end of the French & Indian War in 1763, Placentia declined in importance. In 1811 the few remaining troops in the Placentia garrison were removed to St. John’s and the fortifications on Castle Hill, including Fort Royal, were abandoned.
Now a part of the Castle Hill National Historic Site. Ruins of the fort and outer works remain along with the remains of barracks, a powder magazine, a guardhouse, and a later British blockhouse (1762). The Visitor center has displays and five or six markers with information about the Fort. Mounted period canons.