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Booth’s diaries

Continuing with William Booth's diary...

"Europa Wall begins at a small magazine which contains powder and shot ready for the service of the several Batteries on the Line. This line which Wall has been constructed at about 250 feet distance from the Old Moorish one which was near the Sea, but in building the Wall there has been more care taken to preserve the natural features of the Rock to construct upon than the Defence required against this for land which is spacious enough for the drawing up 2,000 men, besides a landing may be attempted there in a calm or an Easterly wind and other ways unless it blows fresh from the West to the South, besides the Wall to defend this is no more than 7 feet thick at the foundation with a parapet of rubble & mortar of two feet a Banguette 3 ft 6 inches broad with a precipice in the rear; this not only prevents the Parapet firing to be so securely & expeditiously carried on but also cannon from being shipped or placed in proper places that might require it for want of a Rampart which has only been made in very few parts, but none that has space enough to contain 3 Guns; this whole Line is mounted with 15 cannon & the Captains Guard House fronts it which had been a Chapel in the time of the Spaniards.

The South extremity of this Line wall makes one of the Points which forms the Eastern part of the Bay of Gibraltar. The Rock makes a return Easterly and is now changed from the boundary of the Bay to that of the Mediterranean Sea, whose rocks are more regular and inaccessible on this part and is so strongly fortified by nature that where there are pieces of wall built, ‘tis only to prevent the accident of falling into the sea which is continued to Europa Advance at above 100 feet in height: In the Road to it and next the Sea is the remains of a Round Tower arch’d , built by the Moors and within these few years the stairs might easily have been traced, which winded round the outside , it had been a Watch Tower and now made use of for a Guard for a Corporal and 3 men detached from Europa at night.

At some few yards distance from this Tower is a Sentry Box built on a Rock which hangs over several feet, the sea having gain’d underneath and washed away part of the rock that makes the southernmost point of Europa; It has one Gun placed there for no other use than to protect vessels that may be pursued and come underneath for protection.

Between this point and the Captain’s GuardHouse at Europa is still seen a Moorish Bath sunk in the Rock of 70 feet long by 45 feet breadth whose arch is supported by 20 small square pillars of brick, most of them intire and but few wanting, the Crown of this Arch in some places is fell in with the entrance in front, the floor has been paved but hardly any traces of it to be seen, in the winter season it has about 4 feet water which diminishes as the summer comes on, & the heat increases, there being no visible spring to be seen to the left of this Bath and at a small distance upon a steep part of the hill, is a cave wherein is water to be found most part of the year, contiguous to this Cave is also a pass to Upper Europa , this very steep and stony yet it is necessary to have some regard to it in case of a landing to the South."

Gibraltar's rugged south-eastern coast has often been hit by storms, making access from sea difficult.
Image: Seesturm bei Gibraltar, circa 1870. Heinrich Jensen. Colour lithograph, Hamburg

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