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|Saint Ouen, Jersey|
|People of Jersey|
Grosnez Castle is a ruined 14th century castle in Saint Ouen situated in Grosnez, the north west corner of the island of Jersey in the Channel Islands. Grosnez Castle is depicted on the reverse of the Jersey 50 pence coin.
The name is from the old Norse words for "grey headland" - grar nes - an accurate description of the site when seen from the sea, rather than from the French for big nose. A nearby headland to the west has a similar name, Rouge Nez.
The castle was built around 1330 on the orders of Sir John des Roches. The walls are of local granite and are thickest on the landward side. Its position on a clifftop 200 ft (~ 60 m) above the sea means that the natural features of the site protect it on three sides. A ditch dug into the rock provides protection on the fourth side. The remains of ruined walls, mostly footings, are still present.
- There were no sally ports for counter-attacks;
- There were only two simple buildings providing accommodation;
- Most importantly, there was no water well inside the walls.
The French captured the castle twice, in 1373 and 1381. The castle was probably demolished around the time of the French occupation of Jersey (1461–1468). In 1483 the Seigneur of St Ouen was allowed to fortify his manor house and it is unlikely he would have been given permission if Grosnez was still in use.
In 1806, a naval signal station was established at Grosnez to send messages to Guernsey.
- Hammond, Reginald J W (Ed.), Channel Islands, (London, Ward Lock Red Guides, 1970), p63, ISBN 706354141