The People of Gibraltar
1772 - Francis Carter – Algarrobo Trees

Francis Carter was born in 1741. He was a traveller, an antiquarian and a coin collector. He was also the author of A Journey from Gibraltar to Malaga - with a view of that Garrison and its Environs - published in 1777. From the preface of the book we learn that he had lived in Andalucía - and the 'Kingdom of Granada' - from the age of twelve and remained in Spain until 1777, other than for five years which he spent in France.

Francis Carter ( 1779 - James Basire )

Carter's book is illustrated with engravings of his own drawings and includes lengthy comments on Gibraltar's history, fauna, flora and geology interspersed with descriptions of numismatic and antiquarian items which appear to be what he was most interested in.

Gibraltar from Carteia ( 1772 - Francis Carter ) 

The following are a selection of quotes from Francis Carter's Journey from Gibraltar to Malaga. Some of it will be familiar as it will have appeared elsewhere in the chapter on Ignacio López de Ayala's Historia de Gibraltar published in 1782 ( see LINK ). The Spanish historian was an admirer of 'Mr. Carter' and mentions him as one of his sources in his History.

The town of Gibraltar reaches near a mile from land-gate to South-port .; thence to the end of the hill at Europa are two more miles. . . .the red sands fatigued not a little the fair part of our company . . as we ascended the road which winds at the back of the navy hospital . . mounting still higher we came to . . Windmill Hill . . which continues straight to Europa. On its southernmost extremity are the remains of a Moorish tower . . and on Europa point another.

. . . lower down is the grand battery, under which is the Land-gate; above the town appears the hospital for the army and in it Bethlehem barracks, formerly a convent of nuns;

The Convent
The admiralty-house, in the time of the Spaniards, a monastery of White Friars and further on that of St Francis where resides the governor - it is a plain building, more convenient than elegant, but pleasantly situated near the sea, with a large garden; the church of the convent is kept open for divine service, and the only one in town, all the other chapels and places of worship having been turned into store-houses to the great scandal of the Spanish and inconvenience of the Protestants; the bells of the tower, incommoding the Governor, were, by his order, unhung, so that the inhabitants are forced to repair by the beat of drums.

In 1771, the Governor of Gibraltar was Edward Cornwallis ( 1756 Sir Joshua Reynolds )

Under Charles V wall is the armoury and new mole, of use in time of war; the red sands are very conspicuous. Mrs Weber's pleasant house lies next on an eminence near the new barracks; between which and the Naval Hospital is the vineyard . . We remained in Gibraltar from the end of June 1771 to the 23rd of September 1772 . .

Charles V wall in the distance, red sands conspicuous and vineyards probably on the right - could that be 'Mrs Webber's pleasant house' in the foreground? ( 1782 - Thomas Davis - Detail)

Crouchet's (Crutchett's ) House
The batteries facing Spain appear next; the Spaniard call this part of the hill, 'Una Boca de fuego '. The remains of the Moorish Castle are to them; directly under is Crouchet's house and garden where I resided fifteen months.. .

No part of the town can be pleasanter, or more retired from the noise of drums and soldiers - for this house I paid the extravagant price of 40 dollars a month. The garden is still higher, being raised on a terrace against the rock; it has been neglected for years, but as it was my chief and most constant habitation, I made every improvement in it . . The back of this spot is the face of the Rock itself . . very steep and craggy, but quite unfertile . . this barren prospect I converted into a garden. . .

Old sketch of Crouchet's  house   ( 1780s - Unknown )

The Devil's Tower
That the sea once covered these lands . . and formed an island of the hill of Gibraltar admits of no dispute . . . the Devil's tower is built on a rock . . about nine feet above the ground which rock was evidently once washed by the waves . .

Plan of Devil's Tower - 'built on a rock about nine feet above the ground' - and Torre del Molino ( 1727 Antonio de Montaigu de la Perille )

Though the rock of Gibraltar lies surrounded by sea, you find it all over it well-water, pretty good and fit to drink though . . often brackish . . but the rain water which is received from the mountain and filtered through the red sands without Soutport, is exceedingly good and wholesome, and remains uncorupt a long while. It is collected in a reservoir, and thence conducted to the town.

This aqueduct was firstly begun by Moors and carried on by earthen pipes . . . it reached in its time to the end of town supplying the 'Atarasana' and the Castle; that existing at present goes no further than the grand parade; it was planned by a Spanish Jesuit. . . That inexhaustible fund of excellent water, greatly contributing to the health of the inhabitants of Gibraltar

The water fountain at the Grand Parade ( 1771 - Thomas James )

St Georges ( Saint Michael's ) Cave
The soil is excellent for vines and figs; the higo-chumbos and wild berries grow out of their reach in precipices. . . The algarroba (sic)  is tall and woody, the fruit grows in a shell like a large pea-pod . . . they give it to the cattle shell and all . . it is sweet to the palate . . The algaroba tree . . was formally very plentiful all over the hill; under Saint Michael's cave, in 1705 was a grove of them standing, thick enough to conceal 500 Spaniards that had climbed up the back of the rock. . .

On examination, I found great reason to conjecture, that the ancient Spaniards as well as the Moors, made use of St George's Cave as a strong hold, to which they were probably determined by the plenty of good water . . . there are still standing the remains of a strong wall, forming a platform twenty feet long before the mouth of the cave.

The 'Monkies'
. . so little are they afraid of man that often they declare war, and act in an hostile manner; not long ago they got a trick of throwing such a number of stones on our miners at work under the head of rock, that they frequently obliged them to leave off and retire beyond their reach.

The Moors . . .called it Algezira-Hadira - the former signifies 'a green island', and in fact there is a small one covered with verdure opposite the port.
Algeciras owes its present existence to the reigning king, who thought proper to new-settle it, deeming the port, though a very bad one, some shelter for boats and small vessels, and convenient station for cruzers in time of war. It consists of a wretched mole, defended by the above mentioned fort on the island, of a parish church, a convent of friars, and two or three tolerable streets; they are supplied with water from a spring on the top of a hill to the North of the town. .

Isla de Algeciras (1734 - Juan de Subreville )

The country behind Algeciras is not unfruitful or unpleasant ; the mountains rise at about a league distance; the woods of cork-trees with which they are covered, serve the inhabitants with firing . . .

The castle was built to the south of the city, which, with the suburbs about it, being parted from the city by a rivulet, gave Algeziras the appearance of a double town and induced the Spaniards to name it in the plural 'Las Algeziras' . .

Las Algeciras ( 1786 - Vicente Tofino de San Miguel - detail )

The custom of setting the hills on fire after harvest is immemorial in Spain, the farmer esteeming it of service to the ground and the only way to clear it of vermin. .

San Roque
Some distance from the sea, about three miles nearer Gibraltar, is San R$oque, built and peopled by the Spanish inhabitants of that garrison on its changing masters; this settlement has been honoured with the title of city, by the Spanish monarch though a poor despicable town, remarkable for nothing but the pleasantness of its hill.

Gibraltar from the pine woods near San Roque ( 1860s - George Washington Wilson )

. . . the most famous, ancient, and venerable of them all though at present in so deplorable a state, that it is difficult to ascertain even its location

The bay of Gibraltar is abundant in various sorts of most excellent fish, and in particular the Bonitos, especially about the mouth of the river Guadarranque. . .

A small mile nearer Algeciras is another and larger river than the Gadaranque, though it has so bad a bar that none but barks ascend it to load charcoal for Cadix; it is called the Palmones; neither of these rivers is fordable at any time, but are past on boats kept on purpose.

Map showing Gibraltar, Algeciras, Palmones ( Palimenos), Guadarranque, San Roque and the Orange grove ( 1760s - William Faden ) LINK

The Orange Grove
Half way between Carteia and the Spanish lines, runs into the sea a little river, collected from different springs about a mile up the country; on its pleasant banks several Spaniards have established themselves, and planted gardens of orange-trees, sweet canes, pomegranates, and evergreens; the eternal blossom of the oranges, and the advantage of angling in a river full of fish, induced a gentleman of the garrison to erect a little hut of canes under the shade of an enormous walnut, where the officers find beds, and the little requisites for passing an agreeable day in this amiable spot.

The Orange Grove ( 1772 - Francis Carter )