Brehon Tower

From The Star, August 31, 1915.

Brehon Tower was constructed for military purposes about the year 1856, when Guernsey relied upon its defence against the enemy on a ring of forts, batteries, and martello towers which still encircle the island. The constructor was the late Mr Thomas C de Putron, who carried on business at the Pierre Percée. When it was finished it was provided with several 68-pounder guns. The tower was dismantled during the 70s of last century.

A small garrison of Royal Artillery was maintained at the Tower, whose needs were supplied from Guernsey by means of boats. Fresh water was taken to the garrison for drinking purposes, but for general use the water which fell on top of the tower was collected in a cistern. The writer has never been fortunate enough to set foot on Brehon Tower, but he is informed that it is about forty feet in height, and that the inside was devoted to dwelling rooms on the first floor, while the lower floor was set aside as store rooms and magazines. The guns were placed at the top of the tower.

Mr John Williams, manager of the Ceylon Tea Stores, in the Arcade, when a young man, was frequently engaged in carrying stores from the Island to Brehon. He remembers hearing the cannon fired from the tower for the first time, when one side of the tower was fractured from top to bottom by the concussion. As far as we can gather there never was a lighthouse on the rock on which the tower now stands.

There appear to be no survivors of the original workmen who assisted in building the tower, but one workman who was employed on several occasions to effect repairs to the tower is still living, and in perfect health. This is Mr Peter Vining, who is employed by Mr Langlois, the electrician, at his house in St Martin’s.

PS: since the above was put in type, we have been informed that there is another survivor of those who assisted to build the tower. He is Mr W Murton, who is upwards of 80 years of age, and who resides at New Road, St Sampson’s. Mr Murton informed us that the tower was commenced in 1856 and completed in 1857.

See also 'Brehon Tower,' Quarterly Review Guernsey Society, Winter, 1950, in the Library, and the Library's Forts and Fortifications file, 'Brehon Tower: Old fortifications visited.'