Font size






Line Wall Curtain to Wellington Front

Ref: HLFP3/018

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.

After the 1727 siege, [13th Siege] the wall from Waterport to South Bastion was again repaired over a period stretching from 1730 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.

1760's - William Green's plan for the King's Bastion on the site of the Three Gun Battery.

The Line Wall Curtain to Wellington Front

Extending from King’s Bastion, this section of the Line wall was intersected in 1845 by the construction of Wellington Front.  The stretch of wall is colloquially known as the Bulevar Hebreo [Jewish Boulevard] which before the remodelling of the new Line Wall in the 1840’s was comprised of the following batteries:

The Eighth Battery or Three Gun Battery

This was the name of the three-gun battery facing the old Soldiers Barracks No. 13, now part of the King’s Bastion complex. It was also called the 8th Battery because it was the eighth battery from the north along Line Wall West Front. On completion of King’s Bastion this battery ceased to exist. In both 1771 and 1773 it was recorded as being armed with three iron 18-pdrs. and one 8-inch brass howitzer.

1753 - James Gabriel Montressor Line Wall batteries.

Bombhouse Battery

This was an 18th Century battery situated along the old Line wall immediately to the South of King’s Bastion. The old Bombhouse (now the Gibraltar Museum) was to its left flank hence the name. In 1771, this battery was composed of an 18-pdr. and a 4-pdr. In 1834 there were two 32-pdrs there. The battery was dismantled in 1840’s when work on remodelling of Line Wall began.

Columbine’s or Norman’s Battery

Situated just east of the Duke of Kent House along the old Line Wall Front. This Battery was named after general Columbine, who was Governor of Gibraltar from 1739 to 1748. On John Roque’s 1782 map (published in 1797), the Battery is shown as Norman’s Battery. In 1771, the battery is recorded as being composed of three 24-pdrs and two 4-pdrs. By 1781 this had become one 18-pdr., four 9-pdrs., one 4-pdr and one 13-inch mortar. The 1826 plan for the improvement of the Line Wall shows three embrasures on the face with a small projection from the wall to the south with two flank embrasures. The last recorded armament is in 1834 when there were four 12-pdrs and one 8-inch Howitzer. The battery was dismantled in 1845 when work on remodelling of Line Wall and King’s Bastion began.

Approximate positions of the old Bombhouse and Columbine Batteries following the improvements of the Line Wall carried out in the 1840's.

1826 Plan for the improvement of the Line Wall.

1927 - Funeral cortege for Colonel James Fitzgerald as seen from the Line Wall.

Line Wall curtain to Wellington Front/Town from Genoese Battery 1860´s (unknown).

Line Wall Curtain to Wellington Front Image