Font size






Orange Bastion, incl. two 10” 18 ton RMLs and including cannon in embrasures

Ref: HLFP3/027

This was a small irregular-shaped bastion located in the approximate vicinity of the earlier Plataforma de Santa Ana [Platform of St. Anne], with its main face designed to cover the south side of the Old Mole. In 1758, it had held a battery of six guns preventing any hostile ship drawing twenty-two feet of water approaching to within six or seven hundred yards of this coast.

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

Tower or remains of Spanish bastion re-built and re-used as a guardhouse.

As part of Green’s recommendations the gun platform on Orange Bastion, previously the Plataforma de Santa Ana, was to be enlarged and formed into a small demi-bastion with a retired flank, protected by an orillon, where an 8-inch howitzer and two 9-pdrs. could scour the face of the curtain to the north. Along halfway along the sea line, at the site of the Plataforma de San Lorenzo, he proposed the construction of a circular bastion with retired flanks covered by orillons, well-armed and supplemented by a 13-inch mortar on the terreplein. This latter proposal was approved but consequently modified and constructed as the King’s Bastion instead.

Plans for this new improved fortification were completed by 29th June 1773 under the direction of the Chief Engineer of Gibraltar, Lieutenant Colonel William Green and named the Prince of Orange’s demi-bastion in honour of King William III, Prince of Orange. Its reconstruction included the provision of a retired flank behind the orillon with parapets twelve feet thick; its total cost was £4850.  It was to be armed with one 10-inch howitzer and two 18- or 25-pdrs. on its face and an 8-inch mortar with two 9-pdrs. in the flank. In actual fact, it was really a platform or flat bastion with one flat face and two flanks, rather than a true demi-bastion and it was later covered and protected by the Chatham Counterguard.

1773 Prince of Orange demi bastion designed and built by Colonel William Green.

During the long and protracted Great Siege (1779-83), this part of the Rock’s defences experienced quite heavy damage; nevertheless, as from September 1782, the military engineers of the garrison, in the face of powerful enemy artillery, were able to rebuild the whole 120 feet long flank of the bastion with solid masonry. Later that year, at daybreak on 10th October, a Spanish two-decker of 72 guns, the San Miguel, was driven almost on shore next to the Orange Bastion. She was crippled by the stormy courses and had lost her mizzen topmast, but realising the danger posed by the enemy’s lee-shore batteries, she was able to proceed from this area but was subsequently captured by the Speedwell cutter when she grounded near the Ragged Staff.

The capture of Spanish ship of the line San Miguel, 1782.

Plan Northern Defences 1796.

At the end of the Great Siege, considerable improvements were carried out on the bastion under the supervision of Sir William Green, with the works including the construction of counterguards in front of the original walls. By 1834, there were eleven guns on the bastion, consisting of three 24- pdr. carronades and eight 24-pdrs; these would be later replaced in 1859 with three 32-pdr. carronades and eight 32-pdrs. A Treatise on Fortifications and Artillery by Hector Straith, published in 1850, had the following information on the bastion, at the time, as follows:

The casemates in the King’s and Orange Bastions at Gibraltar have, by long experience, been found good healthy quarters for troops. They are all about 16 feet wide and of the same height up to the crown of the arches, which are semi-circular. The piers are about 5 feet thick with a door of communication in each …. The Orange bastion casemates are about 90 or 100 feet long, each having two narrow loop-holes in front towards the bay, and three vertical air-holes cut in the arch, which at top are only about 4 or 5 inches wide.’

Drawings of the fortifications & works for the Line Wall, 1826 (WO 78 715).

A photo dated to around the 1860’s shows what appears to be a loophole on the North-West wall, confirming Straith’s account.


Chatham Counterguard and North West wall under Orange Bastion. A gun loop can be seen at the base of the wall.

The Right Flank with the sally ports at ground level. From Rollo p. 415

WO 78 4448 Maps of War Department & Admiralty Properties 1861-63.

Orange Bastion site plan 1866 (Gibraltar National Archives)

Following the 1868 report by Colonel W.D.F. Jervois, a heavy RML battery was placed here; completed on 23rd May 1877, the battery mounted two 10-inch guns on the face of the bastion behind iron shields.

During the Second World War, a 40-mm Bofors gun was placed on the site. A pillbox was erected on one of the embrasures facing North to cover the approaches to Irish Town from Fish Market Lane.

Prince Albert´s Front and Orange Bastion overlooking Chatham Counterguard. The four guns covering the gap between the two lines can be seen middle right of the photograph.

WWIII pillbox at Orange Bastion (Defence of Gibraltar).

Between 2006 and 2008, the Orange Bastion was subject to a major restoration with two Victorian RML guns from the King’s Bastion relocated to this spot. These two 10-inch RML Mk II guns have been placed behind iron shields known as ‘Gibraltar Shields’ and can be described as a sandwich of armour plate and teak that was especially invented for use in Gibraltar to protect the gun embrasures from enemy fire. In addition to the RML guns, a further four 24-pdrs were also removed from King’s Bastion and positioned in pairs to cover the left and right flank of the bastion. These guns are placed on a replica pattern 1867 Garrison Standing metal gun carriage.

Orange Bastion refurbishment works 2013.

10-inch RML's at Orange Bastion left embrasure (John Cummings).

10 -inch RML's Orange Bastion right embrasure (John Cummings).

Brick-domed circular room, Orange Bastion.

Entrances to the 18th Century magazine.

19th Century limestone facade.

Orange Bastion casemates.

Orange Bastion 10-inch RML casemates.

Orange Bastion, incl. two 10” 18 ton RMLs and including cannon in embrasures Image