Some of Alderney’s historical fortifications are depicted across a range of stamps to be issued by Guernsey Post on 22 July.
Working closely with Living Islands, a pioneering tourism and community development project which focuses on promoting Alderney’s wildlife and history, Guernsey Post has depicted six forts for its stamps ranging from the large Victorian Fort Tourgis (42 pence) to the Roman fort at Longis Bay which dates from around 300AD (77 pence).
The second largest of the Victorian forts, Tourgis was designed to accommodate 346 men and mount 33 heavy cannon in five batteries. Following extensive clearance and conservation work co-ordinated by the Living Islands project, Cambridge Battery has recently been restored and is now open to the public. A second site, at Bibette Head overlooking the harbour entrance, has also recently been completed.
Extensively and sympathetically restored by the Landmark Trust, Fort Clonque (56 pence), completed in 1855, guards the western approach to the Victorian harbour, covering the dangerous channel of The Swinge.
The first of the Alderney Victorian forts to be completed, in 1853, Fort Grosnez (57 pence) guarded the new harbour and the construction of the massive breakwater. The forts defended Alderney as a base from which French naval activities at Cherbourg could be monitored.
On a small islet facing Normandy, the Victorian Fort Houmet Herbé (62 pence) may have been inspired by medieval castle design, with rounded towers at each corner. Different in style and resembling a classical building from the landward side is Fort Chateau à l’Etoc (68 pence), with cast-iron shutters protecting Georgian style windows.
Known locally as The Nunnery, the Roman fort at Longis Bay dates from around 300AD, a time when raiders from northern Europe threatened the trade routes of the Roman Empire. One of the finest surviving small Roman forts in northwest Europe, it is thought to have been built early in the 4th century AD and appears to have been occupied almost ever since – during the Middle Ages, then by the Tudors before eventually becoming the home of the Governor of Alderney for a time.
Guernsey Post’s philatelic marketing manager, Bridget Yabsley said: “Alderney’s concentration of historic fortifications, such as those depicted across our stamps, are a real draw and something quite special that the island has to offer – and an obvious choice for attracting new visitors whilst inspiring local people about their heritage.
“We are extremely grateful to Living Islands’ manager Martin Batt for his wealth of information about the forts and their significance in the island’s history,” she added.
The stamps are available to pre-order by visiting www.guernseystamps.com or by contacting philatelic customer services on (01481) 716486.