The fort was built in 1602 by Lord Mountjoy. It was destroyed in 1920 by fire and the only building remaining today is the gatehouse. The name Charlemont came from Charles Blount’s Christian name. It was situated on the Armagh bank of the River Blackwater and was armed with 150 men under the command of Sir Toby Caulfield, whose descendants took the name Charlemont from the place.
The stronghold of Charlemont proved to be of great strategic importance in the Irish Confederate Wars in the 1640’s, as it was one of only a handful of modern fortresses to be found in Ireland at that time. It was captured by the forces of Felim O’Neill in 1641 and the Ulster army of the Irish Confederates managed to hold onto the fort throughout the 1640’s. It was eventually captured by Charles Coote after he had been reinforced by New Model Army Soldiers in late 1650, but hundreds of Coote’s soldiers were killed in the effort. The fort ceased to be used as a garrison on 14 February 1858.
On 30 July 1920 a group of around forty armed men seized the fort, which was being occupied by a caretaker, and burned it down. The ruins were sold in 1921 to a masonry contractor. In 1920 the family also lost their great house Roxborough Castle, Dungannon, County Tyrone, to the same fate.
Directions: Approaching the T junction at the entrance to Charlemont Village from Collegelands Road, the ruins of the gatehouse are up a track on the right, approximately 20 yds from the junction. (Opposite Garrison Place, BT71 7SA).Back