Castle Hill

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Castle Hill (1693-1811) - Castle Hill was a set of French Colonial period Coastal fortifications located on Castle Hill near present day Placentia, Newfoundland. Turned over to the British in 1713 as a result of the Treaty of Utrecht (1713). Deactivated in 1811.


The French royal colony of Plaisance (now Placentia) was established in 1662 to support the French fishery and to stop English fishermen from expanding into Newfoundland. Castle Hill itself overlooked the colony and the harbor entrance. Forts had been constructed earlier at the harbor entrance, a narrow gut, to directly block that entrance, but they were vulnerable and it became necessary to provide protection from above.

Gaillardin Redoubt

Between 1690 and 1710, the defenses of Plaisance were greatly strengthened. The first work on present-day Castle Hill was the Gaillardin Redoubt in 1692. The Gaillardin Redoubt was originally built to protect Fort Louis at the base of Castle Hill.

Fort Royal

Fort Royal on Castle Hill was begun in 1693 and completed ten years later in 1703. This was a strong, square fort with three half-bastions and a full bastion enclosing a blockhouse. Outer works on the waterside included the La Fontaine Battery and a Detached Redoubt to protect the batteries from a rear attack.

Queen Anne's War (1702-1713)

The town was a base from which the French waged several destructive campaigns against the English. The Royal Navy made three unsuccessful attempts to capture Plaisance before implementing an unsuccessful blockade of Placentia Bay. The French settlement survived to the end of the war in 1713.

The Treaty of Utrecht (1713) recognized British sovereignty over Newfoundland. The French were forced to abandoned Plaisance and other south coast settlements. The British occupied the town, which they renamed Placentia. In 1757, a British military engineer first used the name Castle Hill.

French & Indian War (1754-1763)

During the French & Indian War, there was significant military construction in the town itself. The only major construction on Castle Hill was a blockhouse that was built within the walls of Fort Royal. Castle Hill was not attacked but served to protect people from other locales that were attacked. The French & Indian War ended with the Treaty of Paris (1763) and the French removed from their lands east of the Mississippi.

The fortifications continued on under British control until they were abandoned in 1811.

Castle Hill Fortifications
Fortification Established GPS Notes
Fort Royal 1693 47.2511,
Gaillardin Redoubt 1692 47.25323,
Detached Redoubt 47.25122,
La Fontaine Battery 47.25086,

Current Status

Now Castle Hill National Historic Site of Canada. Contains the remains of French and British defences. Eight period mounted cannons are on display.

Location: Castle Hill, Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada.

Maps & Images

Lat: 47.25122 Long: -53.97258

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: .....'

See Also:


  • Prowse, D. W. Q.C., LL.D., A History of Newfoundland from the Engish, Colonial, and Foreign Records, 2nd Ed., 1896, London, Eyre and Spottiswoode, Pdf


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