Monday, December 18, 2017
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St Michael's Isle Derby Fort

History

St Michael's Isle was used by humans for over 8000 years. Its position was long recognised as both a defensive and attacking point. As far back as Viking times defensive banks were set up. The isle saw many different armies land upon it and some of the most famous battles for control of the Isle of Man in the 1200's were started on St Michael's Isle. Hence the building of a Round Fort in the 1540 (16th Century) during the reign of Henry VIII, as part of kingdom wide, coastal defensive system. The Round Fort had 8 foot thick walls with a wall walk at the top and supported eight cannons.

These defenses were re-fortified in 1640 by James 7th Earl of Derby, a strong royalist, against the ships of Oliver Cromwell during the English Civil War. The fort was renamed Derby Fort and the Earl's initials along with a date of 1645 were engraved above the fort door recording the change. The newly restored fort saw a second battery constructed in 1695 on the opposite side of the waters near Ronaldsway. Together the battery and Derby Fort would defend the entrance of Derby Haven Bay from attackers. Later in the late 1700's (18th Century) the fort also functioned as a lighthouse. This consisted of a light placed on a turret built on the rampart walkway and was used by the herring fleet at sea. More recent defenses were added during World War II to protect the airfield at Ronaldsway.

Today the fort stands unused. A relic of a time long passed. It is armed with old cannons found around the island.

Location

At the far end of Langness near Castletown in the south of the island.
Map Ref: SC 297 675

By Vehicle:
Castletown is a main southern town, served by a multitude of roads. Just follow the road signs. Langness is marked by signs, but if in doubt follow signs for the golf course.

By Bus:
Castletown can be reached by the following bus routes: 1, 1C, 2, 2A, 8 X1, X2. Travelling from Douglas, Port Erin, Port St Mary and Peel. Langness is at the far end of Castletown Bay. There is a road along the coast, which leads to it.

By Railway:
Castletown can be reached by the taking the Electric Railway to Douglas and then the Steam Railway to Castletown. Head straight for the coast and follow the bay along to Langness.
Castletown can be reached on the Steam Railway from Douglas going to Port Erin or by taking the Port Erin (Port St Mary) train going to Douglas. Then follow instructions above.


Publications
9th Viking Congress, Isle of Man, 1981: Select Papers: Viking Age in the Isle of Man - Select Papers 9th
Christine Fell, Peter Foote, James Graham-Campbell, Robert Thompson
Viking Society for Northern Research, Hardcover, December, 1983
ISBN: 0903521164
List Price: £12.00
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St Michael's Isle Derby (Round) Fort

St Michael's Isle Derby (Round) Fort

St Michael's Isle Derby (Round) Fort

St Michael's Isle Derby (Round) Fort

St Michael's Isle Derby (Round) Fort

St Michael's Isle Derby (Round) Fort

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