Font size






Line Wall Curtain to South Bastion

Ref: HLFP3/017

This is part of the curtain wall that faces out to sea and runs all the way south from the North Bastion to South Bastion. The bird’s eye view elevations and plans prepared in 1627 by Don Luis Bravo de Acuña, present a formidable series of highly sophisticated walls and bastions protecting this very long stretch of Gibraltar’s western seashore showing a total of five towers, referred to as platforms, which suggests that the Spanish cut down these rectangular towers to form gun platforms at the level of the parapets of the curtain wall. This would have been the normal practice at the time when insufficient funding was available for building new pentagonal bastions, two of which appeared to have been proposed but never built. The shortcoming of these platforms was that, although they provided good emplacements for guns firing out to sea, their outer faces could not be flanked from the adjoining curtain wall. These platforms projected in front of the coastal wall and were known, as follows: Plataforma de Santa Ana [later the site of the Orange Bastion], Plataforma de San Lorenzo [later enlarged to form the King’s Bastion], La Plataforma de San Diego [site of the present day Wellington Front, North Demi-Bastion] and Plataforma de San Francisco [site of the present day Wellington Front, South Demi-Bastion]. The Line Wall continued all the way to the Baluarte de Nuestra Señora del Rosario [site of the present day South Bastion] The sections between these large platforms were punctuated in between fourteen smaller square towers, together with the fortified Puerta de Mudarra, situated just south of the present day Zoca Flank Battery.

Plan of the town of Gibraltar (1627 - Luis Bravo de Acuña- annotated by Fa and Finlayson - 2006).

Following the capture of the Rock in August 1704 by Anglo-Dutch forces, the sea wall curtain was hastily repaired, but remained intrinsically the same as the Spanish had left it. In 1720 Dalton refers to four 4-pdrs. and four 32-pdrs. dismounted ‘upon ye line wall’ but after the 13th Siege the batteries along the line were referred to by their individual names. According to Rollo, in the early 18th Century Line Wall was considered to be in two parts, North Front and West Front, which included the following batteries:

North Front: Prince of Hesse’s Battery, Grand Battery, North Bastion, Old Mole.

West Front: Montagu Battery, Navy Yard Battery, Prince of Orange Battery, Saluting Battery, White Cloister Battery, Zoca or Fountain Battery, Main Guard Battery, The 8th Battery, Bombhouse Battery, Columbine’s or Norman’s Battery, Church or Cockayne’s Battery, Convent or Governor’s Battery, South Bastion.

1753 - James Gabriel Montresor Line Wall to South Bastion (detail).

After the 1727 siege, [13th Siege] the wall from Waterport to South Bastion was again repaired over a period stretching from1730 to 1738. The repairs followed the old Moorish/Spanish sea-wall with certain sections covered by new work.

In his report submitted to the Board of Ordnance in London in 1770, the Chief Engineer of Gibraltar, Colonel William Green had emphasised the weaknesses in Gibraltar’s defences and referred to the fact that the Line Wall had no advanced works such as ravelins or a tenaille to protect it from bombardment and assault. A ravelin was an outwork placed beyond a ditch, resembling a detached bastion, having two faces and a gorge and could be provided with flanks. A tenaille was an advanced outwork, placed to cover a curtain wall between two bastions, taking its name from the Latin – ‘tenaculum’, meaning tongs or pincers. One of Colonel Green’s aims was also to strengthen the sea front by increasing the artillery and ordering the use of grape shot from 9-pdrs. and 8-inch howitzers which could fire from the flanks in the batteries of the Line Wall. The new works included the Prince of Orange’s and Duke of Montagu’s Batteries, both old works which were improved and enlarged between 1770 and 1779.

1728 - Hermann Moll Map and View of Gibraltar.

The Line Wall Curtain to South Bastion

This section of wall followed was situated directly to the rear of Wellington Front, colloquially known as Lover’s Lane, stretching all the way to South Bastion. Before the remodelling of the new Line Wall in the 1840’s to incorporate Wellington Front, this section of the Line Wall was comprised of the following batteries:

Church or Cokane’s (Cockayne’s) Battery

Church Battery took its name from the Franciscan Church which was situated immediately to its rear. The battery consisted of four embrasures to the south of Columbine Battery. In 1771 the battery was armed with four 24-pdrs and in 1781 two 24-pdrs and four empty embrasures are recorded. The 1826 plan for the improvement of the Line Wall shows three embrasures about 30 yards apart. In 1834 when the last recorded armaments are listed, there were three 32-pdrs. On John Roque’s 1782 map (published in 1797), the Battery is shown as Cokane’s. A Mr. Cokane or Cockayne had been Secretary to the Governor in 1727. The battery was demolished when Wellington Front was built.

Convent Battery or Governor’s Battery

This battery owed its name to the Franciscan Monastery and Governor’s residence immediately to its rear. In 1771, there were two 24-pdrs. and two brass 8-inch howitzers. By 1781 this had been increased to six 24-pdrs., one 12-pdr. and one 4-pdr. with two empty embrasures. The 1826 plan for the improvement of the Line Wall shows two embrasures on the East Face and one on each flank. There were another two embrasures on a small flank, about 50 yards to the north, facing south, which may have been part of Convent Battery. In 1834, the last recorded armament for this battery showed three 32-pdrs. The battery was demolished in 1845 when work began on Wellington Front.

Part of the Line Wall, Gibraltar by Edridge 1830's - Gibraltar Museum.

Lover's Lane on site of former Church or Cokane’s (Cockayne’s) Battery


Line Wall Curtain to South Bastion Image