Fort George (Scotland)
Fort George is an 18th century fortress and lies northeast of Inverness in northeast Scotland on a headland on the Moray Firth. The fort is considered to be one of the most important, almost original European structures from this time. It was built to pacify the Scottish highlands after the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745/1746 and replaced an earlier structure that was destroyed in this context.
The first Fort George from 1727
The first fortification called "Fort George", intended for a garrison of 400 men, was built in Inverness in 1727 on a hill on the River Ness at the site of a medieval castle. Oliver Cromwell had a fortification built in its place in 1657, which was later abandoned. During the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, the garrison surrendered to the insurgents under Charles Edward Stuart (also known as Bonnie Prince Charlie) when they occupied Inverness in February 1746. Under the guidance of a French engineer by the name of L'Epine, preparations were made to blow up the facility; L'Epine was killed in the premature explosion of the explosive charges. In 1747, engineer officer William Skinner was commissioned to rebuild Fort George, but chose a different location at the request of Inverness City Council.
The construction of the fort
After the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie and his insurgent troops in the Battle of Culloden in 1746, King George II had a huge defense system built against further unrest by the Jacobites. Fort George thus became the most powerful artillery installation in Great Britain.
A headland near Ardersier was chosen as the new location, located 18 km northeast of Inverness, jutting out into the Moray Firth and thus dominating the sea route to Inverness. Because of this location, the fortress is protected from attackers on three sides by the sea. Work began in 1748 with around 1,000 soldiers. In 1757 the main fortifications were built and in 1769 the work was finally completed. The cost ended up being over £ 200,000 , or around £ 1 billion by today's standards (2012), an enormous sum even then, larger than Scotland's gross national product of 1750. With no more uprisings, Fort George served primarily as the location of several highland regiments of the British Army - The Seaforth , The Cameron and The Gordon Highlanders ; currently (2008) it houses the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland , The Black Watch .
The garrison had a large number of buildings, ramparts and parade grounds, artillery pieces and cannons , as well as a collection of weapons, including swords , pikes and muskets with bayonets and cartridge pouches for the infantry . It provided space and accommodation for a governor, officers, an artillery division and a 1,600-strong infantry regiment . The facility is surrounded by a boundary wall measuring almost a mile and has a magazine for 2,500 barrels of gunpowder , ammunition, grocery stores, a brewery and a chapel .
Fort George shows the construction typical of fortresses of that time. The walls, reinforced with masonry and many meters thick, consist of earthworks. They hide barrel-vaulted casemates that could serve as bulletproof accommodation for the crew and their supplies in the event of a siege. The ramparts are provided with protruding bastions , from which attackers from several directions could be caught in a crossfire and the own fortifications could be shielded. In the apron there are gently rising earth embankments ( glacis ), which largely hide Fort George from view and thus also protect it from direct artillery fire. The entrance is reached via a ravelin (a fortified bridgehead on the other side of the ditch), which in this case consists of a fortress with a guard house, into which the fortress artillery has a clear field of fire. From there a wooden bridge with a drawbridge section leads over the moat. It is in turn protected by two bastions from which the bridge can be caught in the crossfire. The deep dry trench - which can, however, be flooded during floods - served as an obstacle to the approach and would have been a deadly trap for enemy troops in the event of war, which would have been exposed to the defenders' fire from several directions, completely unprotected.
The entrance leads over the main wall and a ramp into the interior of the fortress, where there are first two barracks buildings, then two three-wing buildings, which are arranged around a central square. There are also other garrison buildings.
Fort George has largely been preserved in its original 18th century condition. The barracks are still used for military purposes, but a significant part of the fortress is open to visitors and is looked after by the Scottish Foundation for Monument Protection “Historic Scotland”. Part of the barracks houses an exhibition about life in Fort George's early years, and a weapons collection (the Seafield Collection of Arms) can be viewed in the “Big Magazine”. Will also find reenactment instead -Auftritte in which the everyday lives of soldiers of the 18th century are represented. In the headquarters building , the regimental museum is Queen's Own Highlanders . The facility also offers visitors a café and a small souvenir shop.
- - Description of the fortress on historic-scotland.gov.uk (English)
- Fort George on Undiscovered Scotland
- Fort George on Undiscovered Scotland (English)
- Historic Scotland - description of the fortress on historic-scotland.gov.uk (English)