Links and documents
1715/01/01 to 1717/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Fort Frederick is the site of an eighteenth century English fort located in the community of Placentia, NL. This site is situated on a point of land just at the harbour mouth and is marked by a stone and concrete monument flanked by two cannon. The designation encompasses the area as described by the boundaries.
Fort Frederick (Borden number ChAl-01) has been designated a Municipal Heritage Site because it holds historic values. The fort consisted of a semi-circular redoubt mounting twelve guns, a guard house, barracks and storehouse surrounded by a palisade. It was erected on the town side of Placentia in 1717 to protect English interests in the seasonal fishery. However, as a permanent population on the island grew, the role of the military increasingly became one of maintaining public order and suppressing civil unrest. England withdrew its military garrisons from Newfoundland in 1870, thus paving the way for the establishment of a civilian police force.
Fort Frederick was the military headquarters in Newfoundland from 1721-1746. However, the fort was poorly maintained from the beginning and by 1744 the redoubt had to be strengthened by a timber and sod-work facing and the number of guns reduced to eight. Bastions were then added to the landward angles of the palisade, upon which were mounted Coehorn mortars (a mortar first used in 1674 which fired at a fixed angle of elevation of 45 degrees). After a partial repair in 1762 the works were allowed to decay and were finally abandoned in 1811 when the ordnance was removed. Two 12 pounder cannon were mounted behind a temporary earthwork battery near this site in 1813 as protection against American privateers and can still be seen. Much of the Portland stone facing of the redoubt is incorporated in the fabric of the Placentia convent of the Presentation Sisters.
Fort Frederick is historically valuable for the archaeological information it reveals about eighteenth century military life. Archaeological work on the Fort Frederick site in 2000-2002 revealed a large collection of artifacts. Archaeologists uncovered barrel staves, cannon and musket balls, flints, Dutch tobacco pipes, pieces of pottery and tableware and coins. One coin in particular dates to 1630, confirming that Placentia was occupied by people before the French colony of Plaisance was established in 1660.
Source: Town of Placentia Council, March 7, 1972; moved by Councillor Richard McLennon and seconded by Councillor Gus Mooney.
All those remaining elements of the eighteenth century English fort, including:
-existing commemorative plaque;
-any evident above ground features and the visible remains of the redoubt which has been covered by sods; and
-the openness of the landscape and lack of built structures upon the landscape.
All those elements that respect the archaeological site and artifacts, including:
-in-situ archaeological remnants of Fort Frederick in their location, form and materials as well as artifacts removed from any and all of these sites in an intact and documented state.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
- Commemorative Monument
- Civil Defence Site
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, P.O. Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5
Cross-Reference to Collection