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The Carey Tower - Castle Cornet

The place of Peter Careye's imprisonment in 1643 was remarkably enough, part of Castle Cornet named many centuries before as Careye Tower. The Tower has been known as Careye Tower for centuries. In 1374, Thomelyn de Appelby, the King's Receiver, and Pierre Guyon, the Serjeant-at-Arms of the King, in the presence of Colin le Feyvre, Lieutenant Bailiff, and several Jurats, the King's Prevot, the King's Advocate (the Procureur) and several other officials, reported on repairs required to the Castle.

Among those detailed as necessary is the following:

'Item la reparacon de la Toure Quarré en masonerie taunt en eignie come pr matir XXij frs.'
(Also the reparation of the Carey Tower in masonry, both for workmanship and for materials 22 Francs.)

Had this been the only mention of the Tower, it might mean that the translation should be the 'square tower.' However, there are other documented reports which provide more definite evidence and furthermore there are no square towers in the castle. They were all round.

In 1567, a report on the castle was made to Queen Elizabeth:

A note of the decayed state of Quene's Maties Castell Cornett in Guernsey.
'Item the kepe otherwyse called the Dongian wth the olde hawll adjoyning to it and the Tower Careye being all rooms used for storage are so decayed as the hole tymbre of them is failed and of the old hall the stonework lykewise.'

State Paper Office.

In 1567, Francis Chamberlayn, Governor of Guernsey, in a 'Certicat,' or report on the castle to Queen Elizabeth, mentions repairs required: 'to the said Castle frontyng ageinst the hill and towne of St Piere port, viz, from Careye's Tower to the highe gate, where the ward is comonly kept.'

Further in the accounts of Sir Thomas Leighton, for repairs to the Castle in 1577, he mentioned 'the decayed wawles of the Tower Carry' and later ' worke done about the Tower Cary, setting up the rooffe, and mounting of Ordinance.'

The position of the Tour Quarré of 1374, and the Carey Tower of 1577, in the castle are identical.

The Tower of circular shape on plan, was originally of four stories, but the disastrous explosion of 31 December 1672, when Lady Hatton, the wife of the Governor, Lord Hatton, her mother, and many others were killed, demolished the top story of the four.

The Tower has clearly been shortened leaving the corbels on which the upper story was supported still in position. The lowest storey known as the 'basse fosse' and used as a place of punishment, is underground, and approached by a flight of steps. It had been used as a coal cellar by the troops occupying the Castle, but is practically in the same state as it was in Pierre's time.

The upper story was the room in which Pierre Careye and his companions were detained and from which they attached ropes to the timber framing of the high pitched roof in order to get down into the room below.