Bulwarks and bastions
When first built, the bastions were known as bulwarks, each called after a person associated with the city from King James I to the Governor of the Plantation. They were renamed during the 1689 siege. This is Hangman's Bastion where a man nearly killed himself when he became entangled in the rope which he was using to escape. The nearby Coward's Bastion, one of the three bastions that have been demolished, was the safest place in the city.
Defending the walls
There were originally eight bastions and two platforms built out from the walls. Three bastions were positioned at points when the wall changed direction. Four were large enough each to take four cannon. During an attack the gunners had a good view of the straight stretch of wall on either side. They could sweep the area outside the walls with fire.
'Blackened with hunger'
During the 1689 siege thousands of people took refuge in the city. Central stores were set up to issue rations of food. Horses killed in battle were dragged into the city and salted. According to Governor Walker, by the end of June the garrison was reduced to eating horse flesh, dogs, cats, rats and mice. By the 105th day of the siege, the city was starving.
Next came the spectre, famine; he came with noiseless feet;
Lightly he scaled the City walls, and strode through every street,
Smiting the strong with weakness, smiting the weak with death;
Sowing the seeds of fever in the fumes of his fetid breath.
And men who never cowered at the face of a human foe
Shrunk at the glare of his ghastly eyes, and shuddered at their glow.
James Henderson, 1912
More than half a billion years ago
The walls are made of schist or whinstone. Over 600 million years ago layers of mud settled at the bottom of an ocean and hardened into stone. 200 million years later the continents that were to form Europe and America collided heating, compressing and bending the rock to make schist. The walls were built of thin blocks of stone as schist splits easily into layers.