History and FOBA
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)
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
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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