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A brief history of Fort Belan

The fort was built in 1775 for a reported cost of £30,000 (£3,418,209 as of 2016), by Thomas Wynn, then MP for Caernarfonshire and later to become Lord Newborough. He was worried about the vulnerability of Britain’s coastline to attack, particularly because of the ongoing American War of Independence. Fort Belan was the only purpose-built fort of the American Revolution on the eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean. It guards a narrow passage of 35 m (115 ft) width.

In the late 1780s, the barracks were used to ward off raiding American privateers from the Irish Sea. But despite its military history, "no shots have been fired in anger from the fort". In the 1820s, the Wynn family turned it into a private fort for themselves, adding a small harbor for Spencer Wynn's steam yacht. Major construction works took place between 1824 and 1826. The watchtower was built in the 1890s by Freddie Wynn, and it housed a telescope.

In 1907, Sir Ralph Frankland-Payne-Gallwey described seeing a dock, workshops for repairing vessels, marine storehouses, winches, and cranes. During World War II, the fort was again used for military purposes as the base for the Home Guard and two rescue launches. In the 1950s it was owned by Colonel Robert Vaughan Wynn. The Wynn family sold the property in 1992 to the Blundells as a base for marine biology exploration. In 1996 the fort was reclassified as a Grade I listed building.

Friends Of Belan Association (FOBA)

In July 2004 the ‘Friends of Belan Association’ (FOBA) was formed, which gives moral and practical support to the renovation of the 18th century Fort and associated docks.

FOBA’s scope is to fund raise to generate enough capital and use it to preserve, renovate and restore the historically important features in within the unique complex that is Fort Belan.



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