Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site of Canada
Carleton Martello Tower
Tour Martello de Carleton
Links and documents
1812/01/01 to 1815/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site of Canada is a round, stone defence tower erected on a steep, rocky open ground. It is located on Carleton Heights across the harbour from downtown Saint John, New Brunswick. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Carleton Martello Tower was declared a national historic site of Canada because:
- it was built for the defence of Saint John during the War of 1812-1814;
- of its significance as a type of military architecture.
The heritage value of Carleton Martello Tower lies in its construction origins. It was built by the British government between1812 and 1815 to protect Saint John from an American land attack from the West, during the War of 1812. The tower was briefly used for military purposes during World War I.
The heritage value of Carleton Martello Tower also lies in its architectural significance. The original structure is representative of the type of coastal defence used by the British inter alia in the British Isles during the Napoleonic period, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The tower is constituted of round walls, thick at the base, gradually tapering and slopping inward toward the ceiling. A two-storey addition was built on top of the tower in 1941 and it accommodated Saint John harbour defence facilities until 1948.
The heritage value of Carleton Martello Tower lies in its strategic location. Located 68.5 metres above sea level, on Carleton Heights, the tower was erected on the height of land in West Saint John. This location offered viewplanes of the surrounding area surrounding area and seaward.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1930, 1981; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 1999.
Aspects of this Carleton Martello Tower National Historic Site of Canada which contribute to its heritage value include:
- the squat, conical two-storey massing of the original stone tower;
- the tower’s symmetry, with circumference and height of equal proportion;
- the defensive design with a second storey entrance reached by a steep exterior staircase, few windows, bomb-proof construction with thick stone walls, central pillar, vaulted ceiling, and fireproof stone construction materials;
- the functional interior layout with its interior staircase, lower storey powder magazine and food provision areas;
- siting on a steep rocky height with unobstructed viewplanes of the downtown Saint John and the harbour to the north and northeast, and of the Bay of Fundy to the east and southeast, as well as other harbour defences including Partridge Island, Courtney Bay Breakwater, Fort Dufferin, Fort Mispec and various searchlight locations.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1941/01/01 to 1948/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Military and Defence
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
- Military Defence Installation
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection
Carleton Martello Tower
Located on a high rocky promontory overlooking the harbour, the Carleton Martello Tower is a strongly built, plain, squat, cylindrical stone tower that is two storeys high. The…