GUERNSEY is an island in the
English Channel off the coast of
Normandy . With several smaller nearby islands, it forms a
jurisdiction within the
Bailiwick of Guernsey , a
Crown dependency .
The jurisdiction is made up of ten parishes on the island of Guernsey,
three other inhabited islands (
Lihou ), and many
small islets and rocks. The jurisdiction is not part of the United
Kingdom , although defence and most foreign relations are handled by
the British Government.
The entire jurisdiction lies within the
Common Travel Area of the
British Isles and is not a member of the
European Union , but has a
special relationship with it, being treated as part of the European
Community with access to the single market for the purposes of free
trade in goods. Taken together with the separate jurisdictions of
Sark it forms the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The two
Jersey together form the geographical
grouping known as the
Channel Islands .
* 1 History
* 1.1 Etymology
* 1.2 Early history
* 1.3 Early modern history
* 1.4 20th century
* 1.5 21st century
* 2 Politics
States of Guernsey
* 2.2 Courts
* 2.3 Crown
* 2.4 External relations
* 2.5 Parishes
* 3 Geography
* 3.1 Climate
* 3.2 Geology
* 4 Economy
* 4.1 Infrastructure
* 4.2 Transport
* 4.3 Business
* 4.4 Tourism
* 4.5 Taxation
* 4.6 Funds and debt
* 5 Population
* 5.1 Demographics
* 5.2 Border control
* 5.3 Housing restrictions
* 5.4 People from or associated with
* 6 Culture
* 6.1 Sport
* 7 Education
* 8 Emergency services
* 9 Image gallery
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 External links
History of Guernsey
The name "Guernsey", as well as that of neighbouring "
Jersey ", is of
Old Norse origin. The second element of each word, "-ey", is the Old
Norse for "island", while the original root, "guern(s)", is of
uncertain origin and meaning. (It could be from the latinification of
the word "Kvern", or "mill", in old and new Icelandic and Norwegian,
See also: Duchy of
Around 6000 BC, rising seas created the
English Channel and separated
the Norman promontories that became the bailiwicks of
Jersey from continental Europe .
Neolithic farmers then settled on
its coast and built the dolmens and menhirs found in the islands
During their migration to
Brittany , Britons occupied the _Lenur_
islands (the former name of the
Channel Islands ) including _Sarnia_
or _Lisia_ (Guernsey) and _Angia_ (Jersey). Travelling from the
Kingdom of Gwent , Saint Sampson , later the abbot of Dol in Brittany,
is credited with the introduction of Christianity to Guernsey.
In 933 AD, the
Cotentin Peninsula including
Avranchin which included
the islands, were placed by the French King Ranulf under the control
of William I . The island of
Guernsey and the other Channel Islands
represent the last remnants of the medieval Duchy of Normandy.
The island of
Guernsey seen from 33,000 feet (10,000 m), looking north
Middle Ages , the island was a haven for pirates that
would use the "lamping technique" to ground ships close to her waters.
This intensified during the
Hundred Years War , when, starting in 1339
, the island was occupied by the Capetians on several occasions. The
Guernsey Militia was operational in 1337 and would help defend the
island for a further 600 years.
In 1372, the island was invaded by Aragonese mercenaries under the
Owain Lawgoch (remembered as _Yvon de Galles_), who was in
the pay of the French king. Owain and his dark-haired mercenaries were
later absorbed into
Guernsey legend as invading fairies from across
EARLY MODERN HISTORY
See also: Maritime history of the
Channel Islands Castle Cornet
seen at night over the harbour of
St Peter Port
St Peter Port .
In the mid-16th century, the island was influenced by Calvinist
reformers from Normandy. During the
Marian persecutions , three women,
Guernsey Martyrs , were burned at the stake for their Protestant
English Civil War ,
Guernsey sided with the
Parliamentarians . The allegiance was not total, however; there were a
few Royalist uprisings in the southwest of the island, while Castle
Cornet was occupied by the Governor, Sir Peter Osborne , and Royalist
troops. In December 1651, with full honours of war, Castle Cornet
surrendered; it was the last Royalist outpost anywhere in the British
Isles to surrender.
France and Spain during the 17th and 18th centuries gave
Guernsey shipowners and sea captains the opportunity to exploit the
island's proximity to mainland Europe by applying for letters of
marque and turning their merchantmen into privateers .
By the beginning of the 18th century, Guernsey's residents were
starting to settle in North America. The threat of invasion by
Napoleon prompted many defensive structures to be built at the end of
that century. The 19th century saw a dramatic increase in the
prosperity of the island, due to its success in the global maritime
trade , and the rise of the stone industry.
See also: German occupation of the
First World War
First World War , about 3,000 island men served in the
British Expeditionary Force . Of these, about 1,000 served in the
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry regiment formed from the Royal Guernsey
Militia in 1916.
For most of the
Second World War
Second World War , the
Channel Islands were occupied
by German troops . Before the occupation, 80% of
Guernsey children had
been evacuated to
England to live with relatives or strangers during
the war. Some children were never reunited with their families. The
occupying German forces deported over 1,000
Guernsey residents to
camps in southern Germany, notably to the _Lager Lindele_ (Lindele
Biberach an der Riß and to Laufen .
Guernsey was very
heavily fortified during World War II , out of all proportion to the
island's strategic value. Life for the civilians on the island was
very difficult, especially after June 1944 when the island was under
siege. German defences remain a lasting reminder of those times.
During the late 1940s the island repaired the damage caused to its
buildings during the occupation. The tomato industry started up again
and thrived until the 1970s when it hit a sharp, terminal decline.
Tourism has remained important. Finance businesses grew in the 1970s
and expanded in the next two decades and are important employers.
The effect on
Guernsey of the UK leaving the
European Union is
uncertain. The UK have confirmed that the
Crown dependencies position
will be argued in the
Brexit negotiations .
Politics of Guernsey
STATES OF GUERNSEY
States of Guernsey
The deliberative assembly of the
States of Guernsey (_États de
Guernesey_) is called the States of Deliberation (_États de
Délibération_) and consists of 38 People's Deputies, elected from
multi- or single-member districts every four years. There are also two
Alderney , a semi-autonomous dependency of the
Sark sends no representative since it has its own
legislature. The Bailiff or Deputy Bailiff preside in the assembly.
There are also two non-voting members: H.M. Procureur (Attorney
General) and H.M. Comptroller (Solicitor General), both appointed by
the Crown and collectively known as the Law Officers of the Crown.
A _projet de loi_ is the equivalent of a UK bill or a French _projet
de loi_, and a law is the equivalent of a UK act of parliament or a
French _loi_. A draft law passed by the states can have no legal
effect until formally approved by Her Majesty in Council and
promulgated by means of an order in council . Laws are given the Royal
Sanction at regular meetings of the Privy Council in London, after
which they are returned to the islands for formal registration at the
Royal Court .
The states also make delegated legislation known as 'ordinances'
(_Ordonnances_) and 'orders' (_ordres_) which do not require the Royal
Assent . Commencement orders are usually in the form of ordinances.
The legal jurisdiction of
Royal Assent from the Privy
Council for its primary legislation (in a similar fashion to Alderney
and Sark). Each jurisdiction raises its own taxation, although in
Alderney (but not Sark) transferred its fiscal rights to
Courts of Guernsey can be traced back to the 9th century.
The principal court is the ROYAL COURT and exercises both civil and
criminal jurisdiction. Additional courts, such as the Magistrate's
Court, which deals with minor criminal matters, and the Court of
Appeal, which hears appeals from the Royal Court, have been added to
the Island's legal system over the years.
Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey is the "representative of the
Crown in right of the _république_ of the Bailiwick of Guernsey".
The official residence of the Lieutenant Governor is Government House.
Since 2016 the incumbent is
Vice Admiral Sir
Ian Corder KBE, CB.
External relations of Guernsey
Several European countries have a consular presence within the
jurisdiction. The French Consulate is based at
Victor Hugo 's former
Hauteville House . The German Honorary Consulate is based
at a local design and advertising agency.
While the jurisdiction of
Guernsey has complete autonomy over
internal affairs and certain external matters, the topic of complete
independence from the British Crown has been discussed widely and
frequently, with ideas ranging from
Guernsey obtaining independence as
a Dominion to the bailiwicks of
Jersey uniting and
forming an independent Federal State within the Commonwealth, whereby
both islands retain their independence with regards to domestic
affairs but internationally, the islands would be regarded as one
Parishes of Guernsey
Each parish is administered by a Douzaine. Douzeniers are elected for
a six-year mandate, two Douzeniers being elected by parishioners at a
parish meeting in November each year. The senior Douzenier is known as
the Doyen (Dean). Two elected Constables (_Connétables_) carry out
the decisions of the Douzaine, serving for between one and three
years. The longest serving Constable is known as the Senior Constable
and his or her colleague as the Junior Constable.
Guernsey is divided into ten administrative parishes for local
government purposes. Guernsey's Church of
England parishes fall under
the See of Canterbury (from 2015), previously under the Bishopric of
Winchester . The biggest parish is Castel, while the most populated is
St Peter Port.
AREA (VERGEES )
AREA (SQ MI)
St Peter Port
St Peter Port
St Pierre du Bois
The parishes of Guernsey.
Guernsey and its sister islands that make up the Bailiwick
Situated around 49°35′N 2°20′W / 49.583°N 2.333°W /
49.583; -2.333 , Guernsey,
Herm and some other smaller islands
together have a total area of 71 square kilometres (27 sq mi) and
coastlines of about 46 kilometres (29 mi). Elevation varies from sea
level to 110 m (360 ft) at Hautnez on Guernsey.
There are many smaller islands, islets, rocks and reefs in Guernsey
waters. Combined with a tidal range of 10 metres (33 feet) and fast
currents of up to 12 knots , this makes sailing in local waters
dangerous. The very large tidal variation provides an environmentally
rich inter-tidal zone around the islands, and some sites have received
Ramsar Convention designation.
The island of
Guernsey has a population of around 63,000 in 24 square
miles (62 km2) and forms the legal and administrative centre of the
Guernsey and the shopping and service centre for all
three jurisdictions. The parliament of the whole jurisdiction of
Guernsey, including the nearby inhabited islands of
Lihou , plus the neighbouring jurisdiction of
Alderney is the States
Guernsey . ‹ The template below (_Geographic location _) is
being considered for deletion. See templates for discussion to help
reach a consensus. ›
Cotentin Peninsula ,
Guernsey coastal rocks.
Guernsey's climate is temperate with mild winters and warm, sunny
summers. It is classified as an oceanic climate , with a dry-summer
trend, although marginally wetter than mediterranean summers. The
warmest months are July and August, when temperatures are generally
around 20 °C (68 °F) with some days occasionally going above 24 °C
(75 °F). On average, the coldest month is February with an average
weekly mean air temperature of 6 °C (42.8 °F). Average weekly mean
air temperature reaches 16 °C (60.8 °F) in August. Snow rarely falls
and is unlikely to settle, but is most likely to fall in February. The
temperature rarely drops below freezing, although strong wind-chill
from Arctic winds can sometimes make it feel like it. The rainiest
months are December (average 112 mm (4.4 in)), November (average 104
mm (4.09 in)) and January (average 92 mm (3.62 in)). July is, on
average, the sunniest month with 250 hours recorded sunshine; December
the least with 58 hours recorded sunshine. 50% of the days are
A number of records were set in 2014. It was the highest annual mean
temperature of 12.4 °C (54.3 °F). This is 0.3 °C (32.5 °F) higher
than for any other year, due to an almost complete absence of cold
snaps during the winter months. Three very wet months meant that the
winter was the wettest on record. Halloween turned out to be warmer
than any other on record, with the temperature peaking at 18.3 °C
CLIMATE DATA FOR GUERNSEY (1981-2010 NORMALS)
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE PRECIPITATION DAYS (≥ 0.2 MM)
AVERAGE SNOWY DAYS
MEAN MONTHLY SUNSHINE HOURS
Guernsey Met Office 2014 Weather Report
Geology of Guernsey
Geology of Guernsey
Geology of Guernsey
Geology of Guernsey
Guernsey has a geological history stretching further back into the
past than most of Europe. There is a broad geological division between
the north and south of the Island. The SOUTHERN METAMORPHIC COMPLEX is
elevated above the geologically younger, lower lying NORTHERN IGNEOUS
Guernsey has experienced a complex geological evolution
(especially the rocks of the southern complex) with multiple phases of
intrusion and deformation recognisable.
Guernsey Post pillar box .
Financial services, such as banking, fund management , and insurance,
account for about 37% of GDP. Tourism, manufacturing, and
horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers, especially freesias ,
have been declining. Light tax and death duties make
popular offshore finance centre for private equity funds .
Guernsey does not have a Central Bank and it issues its own sterling
coinage and banknotes . UK coinage and (English, Scottish and Northern
Irish-faced) banknotes also circulate freely and interchangeably.
Guernsey has the official
ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 code GG and the official
ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 code GGY; market data vendors, such as
will report products related to
Guernsey using the alpha-3 code.
Guernsey has been given a credit rating of AA-/A-1+ with a stable
outlook from Standard "> Sure telephone boxes on
Guernsey Telecoms , which provided telecommunications, was sold by
the States to Cable ">_ Children on the Beach of Guernsey_ (1883)
Pierre-Auguste Renoir . Main article:
Culture of Guernsey
English is the language in general use by the majority of the
Guernésiais , the
Norman language of the island, is
spoken fluently by only about 2% of the population (according to 2001
census). However, 14% of the population claim some understanding of
the language. Until the early 20th-century French was the only
official language of the Bailiwick, and all deeds for the sale and
purchase of real estate in
Guernsey were written in French until 1971.
Family and place names reflect this linguistic heritage. George
Métivier , considered by some to be the island's national poet ,
wrote in Guernesiais. The loss of the island's language and the
Anglicisation of its culture, which began in the 19th century and
proceeded inexorably for a century, accelerated sharply when the
majority of the island's school children were evacuated to the UK for
five years during the German occupation of 1940–45. _ George
Métivier , considered by some to be the island's national poet.
Victor Hugo wrote some of his best-known works while in exile in
Guernsey, including _
Les Misérables _. His home in
St. Peter Port ,
Hauteville House, is now a museum administered by the city of
In 1866, he published a novel set on Guernsey, _Travailleurs de la
Toilers of the Sea _), which he dedicated to the island.
The greatest novel by a Guernseyman is _The Book of Ebenezer Le Page
_ by G. B. Edwards . In addition to being a critically acclaimed work
of literature, it contains a wealth of insights into
during the 20th century. In September 2008, a blue plaque was affixed
to the house on the Braye Road where Edwards was raised. A more recent
novel by Guernseyman Peter Lihou, _Rachel\'s Shoe _, describes the
Guernsey was under German occupation during the Second
Henry Watson Fowler moved to
Guernsey in 1903. He and his brother
Francis George Fowler composed _The King\'s English _, the Concise
Oxford Dictionary and much of _
Modern English Usage
Modern English Usage _ on the island.
The TV comedy series
This is Jinsy is based on
Guernsey and its two
writers, Chris Bran and Justin Chubb, came from the island.
Guernsey cattle . A
Guernsey cow .
The national animals of the island of
Guernsey are the donkey and the
Guernsey cow . The traditional explanation for the donkey (_âne_ in
French and Guernésiais) is the steepness of
St Peter Port
St Peter Port streets
that necessitated beasts of burden for transport (in contrast to the
flat terrain of the rival capital of St. Helier in Jersey), although
it is also used in reference to
Guernsey inhabitants' stubbornness.
Guernsey cow is a more internationally famous icon of the island.
As well as being prized for its rich creamy milk, which is claimed by
some to hold health benefits over milk from other breeds, Guernsey
cattle are increasingly being raised for their distinctively flavoured
and rich yellowy-fatted beef. Butter made from the milk of Guernsey
cows also has a distinctive yellow colour. Although since the 1960s
the number of individual islanders raising these cattle for private
supply has diminished significantly,
Guernsey steers can still be
occasionally seen grazing on
Guernsey also hosts a breed of goat known as the
Golden Guernsey ,
distinguished by its golden-coloured coat. At the end of the Second
World War , the
Golden Guernsey had almost been rendered extinct due
to interbreeding on the island. The resurrection of this breed is
largely credited to the work of a single woman, Miriam Milbourne.
Although no longer considered to be critically endangered , the breed
remains on the watchlist of the
Rare Breeds Survival Trust .
Guernsey people are traditionally nicknamed _donkeys_ or _ânes_,
especially by rival
Jersey people – who, in turn, are nicknamed
_crapauds _ ("toads "). Inhabitants of each of the parishes of
Guernsey also have traditional nicknames, although these have
generally dropped out of use among the English-speaking population.
The traditional nicknames are:
St Peter Port
St Pierre du Bois
"the siftings "
_Ânes à pids d'ch'fa_
"donkeys with horses' hooves "
Guernsey Lily , _Nerine sarniensis_, is also used as a
symbol of the island, although this species was introduced to the
island from South Africa.
A local delicacy is the ormer (_Haliotis tuberculata_), a variety of
abalone harvested under strict laws from beaches at low spring tides .
Of the many traditional
Guernsey recipes, the most renowned is a stew
Guernsey Bean Jar . It is a centuries-old stew that is still
popular with islanders, particularly at the annual '
Viaer Marchi '
festival, where it served as one of the main events. Chief ingredients
include haricot and butter beans, pork and shin beef.
Guernsey Gâche is a special bread made with raisins, sultanas and
In July 2006, smoking in enclosed public places was banned , a law
put in place to protect workers' right to a healthy working
Sport in Guernsey
The island's traditional colour – including for sporting events –
Guernsey participates in the biennial
Island Games , which it hosted
in 1987 and 2003 at
Footes Lane .
Guernsey participates as part of the
Bailiwick of Guernsey team in the
Commonwealth Games .
In those sporting events where
Guernsey does not have international
representation, but the British
Home Nations are competing separately,
highly skilled islanders may choose to compete for any of the Home
Nations. There are, however, restrictions on subsequent transfers to
represent other Home Nations. The football player
Matt Le Tissier ,
for example, could have played for the Scottish or Welsh football
teams, but opted to play for
Guernsey is run by the
Guernsey Football Association .
The top tier of
Guernsey football is the FNB
Priaulx League where
there are seven teams (Belgrave Wanderers, Northerners, Sylvans, St
Martin's, Rovers, Rangers and Vale Recreation ). The second tier is
Jackson League .
In the 2011–12 season,
Guernsey F.C. was formed and entered the
Combined Counties League Division 1, becoming the first Channel Island
club ever to compete in the English leagues.
Guernsey became division
champions comfortably on 24 March 2012, they won the Combined
Counties Premier Challenge Cup on 4 May 2012. Their second season saw
them promoted again on the final day in front of 1,754 'Green Lions'
fans, this time to Division One South of the Isthmian League,
despite their fixtures being heavily affected not only by poor winter
weather, but by their notable progression to the semi-finals of the FA
Vase cup competition. They play in level 8 of the English football
The Corbet Football Field , donated by Jurat Wilfred Corbet
1932, has fostered the sport greatly over the years. Recently, the
island upgraded to a larger, better-quality stadium, in
Footes Lane .
Guernsey has the second oldest tennis club in the world, at Kings,
with courts built in 1875 and the island has produced a world class
Heather Watson .
Guernsey also has one of the oldest softball
associations in the world. The
Guernsey Softball Association was
formally established in 1936, it is now one of the oldest and longest
running softball associations to be found. Affiliated to the
International Softball Federation (ISF) the GSA has both fast and slow
pitch leagues with over 300 members.
Guernsey was declared an affiliate member by the International
Cricket Council (ICC) in 2005 and an associate member in 2008. The
Guernsey cricket team plays in the
World Cricket League and European
Cricket Championship as well as the
Sussex Cricket League .
Approximately 200 people play table tennis on a regular basis across
four senior and two junior leagues. The
Guernsey Gaels was founded in
1996 and competes in the European Gaelic football leagues. The island
hosts its own tournament each year with teams from all over Europe
visiting the island.
Guernsey also has a strong affiliation with motor sports . In season,
races take place on the sands on Vazon beach as well as a quarter-mile
"sprint" along the vazon coast road. More sand racing at Chouet beach.
There is a motorcross track located in torteval and a kart track
located in the capital of St. Peter Port, and finally at Le Val des
Terres, a steeply winding road rising south from
St Peter Port
St Peter Port to Fort
George, is often the focus of both local and international hill-climb
races. In addition, the 2005, 2006 and 2007 World Touring Car Champion
Andy Priaulx is a Guernseyman.
The racecourse on L\'Ancresse Common was re-established in 2004, and
races are held on most May day bank holidays , with competitors from
Guernsey as well as Jersey,
France and the UK participating. Sea
Guernsey and the other islands in the Bailiwick from
shore or boat is a popular pastime for both locals and visitors with
the Bailiwick boasting 12 UK records.
Guernsey Motor Cycle ">
Guernsey Grammar School. Elizabeth
College , in St Peter Port,
The Education Department is part way through a programme of
re-building its secondary schools. The Department has completed the
building of La Rondin special needs school, the Sixth Form Centre at
the Grammar School and the first phase of the new College of Further
Education – a performing arts centre. The construction of St.
Sampsons High was completed summer 2008 and admitted its first pupils
in September 2008.
In 2008, the school leaving age was raised so the earliest date is
the last Friday in June in the year a pupil turns 16, in line with
Wales and Northern Ireland. This means pupils will be between
15 and 10 months and 16 and 10 months before being able to leave.
Prior to this, pupils could leave school at the end of the term in
which they turned 14, if they so wished: a letter was required to be
sent to the Education department to confirm this. However, this option
was undertaken by relatively few pupils, the majority choosing to
complete their GCSEs and then either begin employment or continue
GCSE pupils have a choice of transferring to the state run
Grammar School ">
Guernsey coastal rocks.
Guernsey coastal rocks.
A road in Guernsey.
Towers in Guernsey.
Little Chapel , Les Vauxbelets .
Little Chapel interior.
Fountain Bordage signs, St Peter Port.
Guernésiais BBC sticker.
Festival of the Sea (Guernésiais).
Victoria Tower .
The QE2 Marina, St. Peter Port.
Relief map of
Outline of Guernsey
Index of Guernsey-related articles
Bibliography of Guernsey
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* ^ Darryl Mark Ogier, _Reformation And Society In Guernsey_,
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* ^ _The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 65_. p. 621.
* ^ Guernsey\'s emigrant children. BBC – Legacies.
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Guernsey Gross Domestic Product First Release 2010". States of
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* ^ "About Guernsey". Visitguernsey.com. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
* ^ "Island Credit Rating Remains The Same". Island fm. 30 January
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* ^ "
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* ^ "
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* ^ Notes on the Railway taken from _The Railway Magazine_,
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* ^ "Guernsey-based
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* ^ "GUERNSEY’S DIRECTOR OF CIVIL AVIATION ISSUES ITS SECOND AIR
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* ^ "Where is the greenest, cleanest, prettiest place in Britain?".
* ^ "St Peter’s wins class in national Britain in Bloom".
* ^ "
Herm aims for fourth gold medal in Britain in Bloom". BBC. 27
January 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
* ^ "