Tour de Tatihou

History and description

The tour de Tatihou was constructed in 1694 on the île de Tatihou (isle of Tatihou), at the same time as the tour de La Hougue, during the war of the League of Augsbourg. It was intended to protect the roadstead of Saint-Vaast, which had come under attack following a French naval defeat in June 1692. The construction got underway on 11 June 1694. The engineer De Combes applied the plans of Vauban. It was a tapered truncated tower, 26 metres in diameter at its base, with walls 3.60 metres thick and a contrasting stair turret with a height of 27 metres. The storeys were vaulted, equipped with cannon embrasures and the summit was an artillery platform with cannon battlements. The stair turret was also covered in a hemispherical crown. The basement housed a cistern, food shops and a powder keg. To protect the entrance of the tower, a false rampart preceded by a dry moat and crossable by drawbridge completed the installation. The gate was equipped with shooting battlements and a deadfall. At a distance of 3 kilometres from the tour de La Hougue constructed at the same time, La Hougue could provide crossfire with the latter and prevent any attempts to moor ships. The only difference with La Hougue was the fact that the tour de Tatihou was designed to shelter large artillery (La Hougue could only accommodate small cannons).
In the 18th-19th centuries, the tower was surrounded by a bastioned rampart, including a bastion and two demi-bastions, on the flank facing the isle. This defensive wall was preceded by a flooded moat.

Current state

Just like the tour de la Hougue, the tour de Tatihou still exists. The asylum of the isle has been transformed into a naval museum and the whole set, property of the Conservatory of the Littoral and managed by the Departmental Council of the Manche, has been open to the public since 1992. The site is included on the World Heritage List as part of the fortifications of Vauban.

Tour de Tatihou

Tour de Tatihou
49° 35' 20" N, -1° 14' 36" E

coastal tower
François le Clerc, Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban, Benjamin de Combes
  • BAUDE (J.J.), « Les Côtes de la Manche » in Revue des Deux Mondes, s. l. 15 décembre 1858, p. 890-930.
  • FAUCHERRE (N.), LECUILLIER (G.), La route des fortifications en Bretagne Normandie, Paris, 2006.
  • FOURNIER (P.), « L’Ile Tatihou » in Vauban et ses successeurs sur les côtes de la Manche, Paris, 2003, p.369-372.
  • LAGNEAU (J.-F.), Etude préalable à la restauration générale et la mise en valeur du fort de Tatihou, Paris, 1989.
  • Ouvrage Collectif, Sagas de Tatihou, histoire d’une île normande, Bayeux, 2012.
  • THIN (E.), Quand l’ennemi venait de la mer, Saint-Lô, 1992.
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