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Montagu Counterguard including Chatham Wicket

Ref: HLFP3/021

A plan of February 1796, now in the Public Records Office in Kew, entitled ‘Progress of the New Works on the Northern Front of the Garrison of Gibraltar’, incorporated the construction of the Montagu Counterguard. In fact, a counterguard was a work of fortification constructed in front of a bastion in order to provide cover for it and to prevent its walls being bombarded by enemy shell and usually followed the same outline as the bastion behind it.

Plan showing designs to incorporate counterguards to shore up the North'West defences dated 1796.

Montagu Counterguard and Wicket leading to Devil's Tongue Battery 1804 (Henry Aston Barker).

The drawing referred to shows the Old Mole detached and joined only by a timber bridge to the said counterguard, with the works completed by 1804. Furthermore, part of a tenaille [a small outwork placed to cover the curtain between two bastions] has been built in front of the curtain between the North and Montagu Bastions and the shape of the ravelin in front has been altered. A ravelin was an outwork placed beyond the ditch and having two faces and a gorge and usually provided with flanks; thus, it looked like a detached bastion. In 1859 it had sixteen guns. On its north-western outer face, there is still evidence in the present day of a blocked-up postern gate, previously a sally port, which served as an early link, via a footbridge, to the Devil’s Tongue Battery.

Montagu Counterguard was the second in an envelope of three counterguards, joined by thin curtain walls, the others being North-West (incorrectly named West Place of Arms) and Chatham Counterguards, that protected North Bastion, Montagu Bastion and Orange Bastion respectively.

Montagu Bastion and Chatham Counterguard, including site of Chatham's Wicket (WO78 715).

1866 Rock Model Montagu Bastion and Counterguard (detail).

Panoramic view of Gibraltar with Montagu Counterguard in centre.

Access to the Old Mole and the Devil’s Tongue Battery was via a drawbridge named the ‘Chatham Wicket’ The Chatham Wicket is clearly illustrated in many old maps and plans and even today the cemented blocked up opening in the sea wall is still visible. The door leading to the Wicket from Fish Market Lane remains extant.

Montagu Counterguard from the Upper Town 1860´s.

Montagu Counterguard wicket bottom left. 17 Orange Bastion. 18. Chatham Counterguard 1870´s.

Chatham Wicket doorway now sealed.

Montagu Counterguard including Chatham Wicket Image