Bailiwick of Guernsey
Bailliage de Guernesey
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: "God Save the Queen" (official)
"Sarnia Cherie" (official for occasions when distinguishing anthem required)
Location of  Guernsey  (Dark Green)
Location of  Guernsey  (Dark Green)
Capital Saint Peter Port (Saint Pierre Port)
49°27′N 2°33′W / 49.45°N 2.55°W / 49.45; -2.55
Official language(s) English (predominant)
French (legislative)
Recognised regional languages Guernésiais, Sercquiais (Auregnais is now extinct)[1]
Ethnic groups  predominantly north European
Government British Crown Dependency
 -  Duke Queen Elizabeth II, Duke of Normandy
 -  Lt. Governor Peter Walker
 -  Bailiff Sir Geoffrey Rowland
 -  Chief Minister Deputy Lyndon Trott
British Crown Dependency
 -  Separation from mainland Normandy...
 -  Liberation
from Nazi Germany

9 May 1945 
 -  Total 78 km2 (223rd)
30.1 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0
 -  July 2007 estimate 65,573 (197th)
 -  Density 836.3/km2 (12th1)
2,166/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2003 estimate
 -  Total $2.59 billion (176th)
 -  Per capita $40,000 (10th2)
HDI (n/a) n/a (n/a) (n/a)
Currency Pound sterling3 (GBP)
Time zone GMT
 -  Summer (DST)  (UTC+1)
Drives on the left
ISO 3166 code GG
Internet TLD .gg
Calling code +44 spec.
     (Cable and Wireless Guernsey Ltd)
     (Guernsey Airtel Limited and Cable and Wireless Guernsey Ltd)
     (Wave Telecom and 24 Seven Communications Ltd)
1 Rank based on population density of the Channel Islands including Jersey.
2 2003 estimate.
3 The States of Guernsey issue their own sterling coins and banknotes (see Guernsey pound).

Guernsey, officially the Bailiwick of Guernsey (play /ˈɡɜrnzi/ gurn-zee; French: Bailliage de Guernesey, IPA: [bajaʒ də ɡɛʁnəzɛ]) is a British Crown dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy.

The Bailiwick, as a governing entity, embraces not only all 10 parishes on the Island of Guernsey, but also the islands of Herm, Jethou, Burhou, and Lihou and their islet possessions. The Bailiwick of Guernsey also administers some aspects of two nearby crown dependencies (Alderney and Sark), and the island of Brecqhou.

Although its defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom,[2] the Bailiwick of Guernsey is not part of the UK; and while it participates in the Common Travel Area, it is not part of the European Union.

The Bailiwick of Guernsey is included (along with the Bailiwick of Jersey) in the grouping known as the Channel Islands.



The name of Guernsey , as that of neighbouring Jersey, is of Old Norse origin. The second element of Guernsey (-ey) is the Old Norse for "island". The first element is uncertain, traditionally taken to mean "green," but perhaps rather representing an Old Norse personal name, possibly Grani's.[3][unreliable source?]


Rising sea levels caused by prehistoric global warming transformed Guernsey from being the tip of a peninsula jutting out into the emergent English Channel around 6000 BC, into an island when it and other promontories were cut off from continental Europe.[4]

At this time, Neolithic farmers settled the coasts and built the dolmens and menhirs that dot the islands. The island of Guernsey contains three sculpted menhirs of great archaeological interest; the dolmen known as L'Autel du Dehus also contains a dolmen deity known as Le Gardien du Tombeau.[5]

During their migration to Brittany, the Britons occupied the Lenur Islands (former name of the Channel Islands[6] including Sarnia or Lisia (Guernsey) and Angia (Jersey). It was formerly thought that the island's original name was Sarnia, but recent research indicates that might have been the Latin name for Sark; although Sarnia remains the island's traditional designation. Coming from the Kingdom of Gwent, Saint Sampson (abbot of Dol, in Brittany) is credited with the introduction of Christianity to Guernsey.[7]

In 933 the islands, formerly under the control of William I, then Duchy of Brittany were annexed by the Duchy of Normandy. The island of Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Duchy of Normandy.[7] In the islands, Elizabeth II's traditional title as head of state is Duke of Normandy.[8]

During the Middle Ages the island was repeatedly attacked by continental pirates and naval forces, especially during the Hundred Years War when the island was occupied by the Capetians on several occasions, the first being in 1339.[7]

In 1372 the island was invaded by Aragonese mercenaries under the command of Owain Lawgoch (remembered as Yvon de Galles), who was in the pay of the French king. Lawgoch and his dark-haired mercenaries were later absorbed into Guernsey legend as an invasion by fairies from across the sea.[9]

Castle Cornet seen at night over the boat harbour of St Peter Port

During the English Civil War, Guernsey sided with Parliament, while Jersey remained Royalist.[citation needed] Guernsey's decision was mainly related to the higher proportion of Calvinists and other Reformed churches, as well as Charles I's refusal to take up the case of some Guernsey seamen who had been captured by the Barbary corsairs.[citation needed] 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. Castle Cornet, which had been built to protect Guernsey, was turned on by the town of St. Peter Port, who constantly bombarded it. It was the last Royalist stronghold to capitulate, in 1651,[10] and was also the focus of a failed invasion attempt by Louis XIV of France in 1704.

During the wars with France and Spain during the 17th and 18th centuries, Guernsey shipowners and sea captains exploited their proximity to mainland Europe, 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.[11] The 19th century saw a dramatic increase in prosperity of the island, due to its success in the global maritime trade, and the rise of the stone industry. One notable Guernseyman, William Le Lacheur, established the Costa Rican coffee trade with Europe.[12]

During World War I approximately 3,000 island men served in the British Expeditionary Force. Of these, about 1,000 served in the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry regiment which was formed from the Royal Guernsey Militia in 1916.[13]

The Bailiwick of Guernsey was occupied by German troops in World War II. Before the occupation, many Guernsey children were evacuated to England to live with relatives or strangers during the war. Some children were never reunited with their families.[14]

Guernsey island, seen from 33,000 feet.

During the occupation, some people from Guernsey were deported by the Germans to camps in the southwest of Germany, notably to Biberach an der Riß and interned in the Lindele Camp ("Lager Lindele"). There was also a concentration camp built in Alderney where forced labourers, predominantly from Eastern Europe, were kept. It was the only concentration camp built on British soil and is commemorated on memorials under Alderney's name in French: 'Aurigny'. Among those deported was Ambrose (later Sir Ambrose) Sherwill, who, as the President of the States Controlling Committee, was de facto head of the civilian population. Sir Ambrose, who was Guernsey-born, had served in the British Army during the First World War and later became Bailiff of Guernsey.

Certain laws were passed at the insistence of the occupying forces; for example, a reward was offered to informants who reported anyone for painting "V-for Victory" signs on walls and buildings, a practice that had become popular among islanders who wished to express their loyalty to Britain.[citation needed]

Three islanders of Jewish descent were deported to Auschwitz, never to return.[15]

Guernsey was very heavily fortified during World War II by 4x Russian 305mm guns made in 1911[16] out of all proportion to its strategic value. There are German defences visible all round the coast and additions were made to Castle Cornet and a windmill. Hitler became obsessed with the idea that the Allies would try to regain the islands at any price, and over 20% of the material that went into the Atlantic Wall was committed to the Channel Islands. 47,000 sq m of concrete were used on gun bases.[16] Most of the German fortifications remain intact; although the majority of them are on private property, several are open to the public.[17][18]


The deliberative assembly of the States of Guernsey (French: les États de Guernesey) is called the States of Deliberation (French: Les États de Délibération) and consists of 45 People's Deputies, elected from multi- or single-member districts every four years. There are also two representatives from Alderney, a semi-autonomous dependency of the Bailiwick, but Sark sends no representative. 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 Royal Assent. Commencement orders are usually in the form of Ordinances.

The Lieutenant Governor is the representative of "the Crown in right of the république of the Bailiwick of Guernsey".[19] The official residence of the Lieutenant Governor is Government House. Since 15 April 2011 the incumbent has been Air Marshal Peter Walker.

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 (French: 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.

The legal system is Guernsey customary derived from Norman French customary law, heavily influenced and overlaid by English common law, justice being administered through a combination of the Magistrates' Court and the Royal Court. Members of Guerney's legal profession are known as Advocates (French: Avocats), there being no distinction between solicitors and barristers as in England and Wales: Guernsey Advocates fulfil both roles. The Royal Court of Guernsey (French: la Cour Royale de Guernesey) is made up of the Bailiff (French: le Bailli), who presides and determines issues of law, and between twelve and sixteen Jurats (French: Jurés-Justiciers de la Cour Royale), who determine issues of fact and are elected to office by an electoral college known as the States of Election (French: les États d'Élection). Appeals lie from the Royal Court to the Guernsey Court of Appeal and thereafter to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.[20]

Several European countries have consulate presence in the island. The French Consulate is based at Victor Hugo's former residence at Hauteville House. The German Honorary Consulate is based at local design and advertising agency Betley Whitehorne.

While 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 Guernsey and 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 state.[7]


The Bailiwick of Guernsey
Guernsey coastal rocks

At 49°28′N 2°35′W / 49.467°N 2.583°W / 49.467; -2.583, Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Sark, and some other smaller islands have a total area of 30 square miles (78 km2) and a coastline of about 30 miles (48 km). By itself, the island of Guernsey has a total area of 25 square miles (65 km2). Guernsey is situated 30 miles (48 km) west of France's Normandy coast and 75 miles (121 km) south of Weymouth, England and lies in the Gulf of St Malo. Lihou, a tidal island, is attached to Guernsey by a causeway at low tide. The terrain is mostly level with low hills in southwest.[citation needed] The southeastern point is Jerbourg Point, used by the Germans during World War II. Elevation varies across the bailiwick from sea level to 375 ft (114 m) at Le Moulin on Sark. The highest point in mainland Guernsey is Hautnez (363 ft/111 m), in Alderney at Le Rond But (306 ft/93 m), in Jethou (248 ft/76 m) and Herm (322 ft/98 m). Natural resources include cropland.[citation needed]

Guernsey contains two main geographical regions, the Haut Pas, a high southern plateau, and the Bas Pas, a low-lying and sandy northern region. In general terms, the Haut Pas is the more rural of the two, and the Bas Pas is more residential and industrialised.

There is a large, deepwater harbour at St Peter Port. The Casquets, a group of islets, are notable for the lighthouse facility constructed there.


The climate is temperate with mild winters and cool sunny summers. The warmest months are July and August, when temperatures are generally around 20 °C (68 °F) but occasionally reach 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 108 mm/4.3 in, November (average 98 mm/3.86 in) and January (average 89 mm/3.50 in). July is on average the sunniest month with 250 hours recorded sunshine; December the least with 50 hours recorded sunshine.[21] 50% of the days are overcast.

Climate data for Guernsey
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 9
Average low °C (°F) 5
Precipitation mm (inches) 92
Sunshine hours 59 82 134 193 232 240 258 226 164 121 70 52 1,831
Source: Climate Data for Guernsey[22]


Guernsey is divided into ten parishes. The smaller islands of Alderney and Sark are not parishes of Guernsey, except in ecclesiastical terms (like Guernsey, their parishes fall under the Bishopric of Winchester and their respective parish churches are Saint Anne and Saint Peter).

Parish Population (2001) Area (vergees) Area (km²) Area (sq mi)
1. Castel &100000000000089750000008,975 &100000000000062240000006,224 10.200 3.938
2. Forest &100000000000015490000001,549 &100000000000025080000002,508 4.110 1.587
3. St Andrew &100000000000024090000002,409 &100000000000027520000002,752 4.510 1.741
4. St Martin &100000000000062670000006,267 &100000000000044790000004,479 7.340 2.834
5. St Peter Port &1000000000001648800000016,488 &100000000000040740000004,074 6.677 2.578
6. St Pierre du Bois &100000000000021880000002,188 &100000000000038180000003,818 6.257 2.416
7. St Sampson &100000000000085920000008,592 &100000000000036870000003,687 6.042 2.333
8. St Saviour &100000000000026960000002,696 &100000000000038920000003,892 6.378 2.463
9. Torteval &10000000000000973000000973 &100000000000019010000001,901 3.115 1.203
10. Vale &100000000000095730000009,573 &100000000000054620000005,462 8.951 3.456
The parishes of Guernsey.


Sure telephone boxes on Guernsey

Unlike many countries, Guernsey has not delegated money creation to the central bank and has instead issued interest-free money from 1822 to 1836, stimulating the growth of economy after Napoleon's wars without creating public debt and without increasing taxes. Also gold and silver coin remained money in Guernsey in the period 1822 to 1836 – and indeed long after.

Financial services, such as banking, fund management, and insurance, account for about 32% of total income.[23] Tourism, manufacturing, and horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers, especially freesias, have been declining. Light tax and death duties make Guernsey a popular offshore finance centre for private equity funds. However, while Guernsey is not a member of the European Union, the EU is forcing Guernsey to comply more and more with its rules . As with other offshore centres, Guernsey is also coming under pressure from bigger nations to change its way of doing business. Guernsey is changing the way its tax system works in order to remain OECD ( and EU ) compliant. From 1 January 2008 it has operated a Zero-Ten corporate tax system where most companies pay 0% corporate tax and a limited number of banking activities are taxed at 10%. As a result it is confronting what it terms a financial "black hole" of forty-five million pounds or more according to some estimates which it aims to fill through economic growth and indirect taxation. Guernsey now 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 Reuters, will report products related to Guernsey using the alpha-3 code. Guernsey also has a thriving non-finance industry. It is home to Specsavers Optical Group, which manages the largest optical chain in the UK and Ireland and also operates in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Spain. Healthspan also has its headquarters in Guernsey.[24]

Guernsey issues its own sterling coinage and banknotes. UK coinage and (English, Scottish and Northern Irish faced) banknotes also circulate freely and interchangeably.[25] Public services, such as water, wastewater, the two main harbours and the airport are still owned and controlled by the States of Guernsey. The electricity, and postal services have been commercialised by the States and are now operated by companies wholly owned by the States of Guernsey. Guernsey Telecoms, which provided telecommunications, was sold by the States to Cable & Wireless. Newtel was the first alternative telecommunications company on the island providing a range of residential and business telecommunication services as well as high specification data centres. Wave Telecom, owned by Jersey Telecom, also provides some telecommunications excluding local loop services. Newtel was acquired by Wave Telecom in 2010. Gas is supplied by an independent private company. Both the Guernsey Post postal boxes (since 1969) and the telephone boxes (since 2002) are painted blue, but otherwise are identical to their British counterparts, the red pillar box and red telephone box. In 2009 the telephone boxes at the bus station were painted yellow just like they used to be when Guernsey Telecoms was state-owned.


Ports and harbours exist at St Peter Port and St Sampson's. There are two paved airports in the Bailiwick (Guernsey Airport and Alderney Airport), and 3 miles (4.8 km) of railways in Alderney. The States of Guernsey wholly own their own airline Aurigny Air Services. The decision to purchase the airline was made to protect important airlinks to and from the island and the sale was completed on 15 May 2003. It was announced that the States would sell Aurigny to a rival Channel Islands' airline, Blue Islands, in July 2010, but the talks fell through in September 2010 due to uncertainty as to whether the Gatwick slots could be guaranteed.[26]

The Guernsey Railway, which was virtually an electric tramway, and which began working on 20 February 1892, was abandoned on 9 June 1934. It replaced an earlier transport system which was worked by steam, and was named the Guernsey Steam Tramway. The latter began service on 6 June 1879 with six locomotives. This leaves Alderney as the only Channel Island with a working railway.[27]


The population is 65,726, as of 2008.[23] The median age for males is 41 years and for females is 43 years. The population growth rate is 0.228% with 8.57 births/1,000 population, 10.09 deaths/1,000 population, and 3.8 migrant(s)/1,000 population. The life expectancy is 77.64 years for males and 83.76 years for females. 1.4 children are born per woman. Ethnic groups consist of British and Norman descent, Portuguese, Latvian and South African.

For immigration and nationality purposes it is UK law, and not Guernsey law, which applies (technically the Immigration Act 1971, extended to Guernsey by Order-in-Council). Guernsey may not apply different immigration controls to the UK and EEA nationals free movement rights to enter the territory of the British Islands and remain apply also in Guernsey, although there are de facto restrictions on occupation of housing by everyone.

The housing market is split between local market properties and a small number of open market properties. Anyone may live in an open market property, but local market properties can only be lived in by those who qualify – either through being born in Guernsey (to local parents), by obtaining a housing licence, or by virtue of sharing a property with someone who does qualify.

Housing licences are for fixed periods, and are usually only valid for as long as the individual remains employed by a specified Guernsey employer.

These restrictions apply equally regardless of whether the property is owned or rented, and only applies to occupation of the property. Thus a person whose housing licence expires may continue to own a Guernsey property, but will no longer be able to live in it.

There are a number of routes to qualifying as a "local" for housing purposes. Generally it is sufficient to be born to at least one Guernsey parent, and to live in the island for ten years in a twenty year period. Once "local" status has been achieved it remains in place for life. Even a lengthy period of residence outside Guernsey does not invalidate "local" housing status.

Although Guernsey's inhabitants are full British citizens, an endorsement restricting the right of establishment in other European Union states is placed in the passport of British citizens connected solely with the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Those who have a parent or grandparent born in the United Kingdom itself (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), or who have lived in the United Kingdom for 5 years, are not subject to this restriction.

Emergency services


The Guernsey Grammar School

Guernsey adopts mainly England's National Curriculum, including the use of the GCSE and A Level system, in terms of content and structure of teaching. Children are allocated a primary school on a basis of catchment area, or are allowed to attend either of two Catholic primary schools. In terms of admissions however the island continues to use the 11 plus exam to decide whether a child should receive education at the Grammar School, or receive state funded places at the independent schools Elizabeth College for boys, and The Ladies College for girls or Blanchelande Girls College for Roman Catholics. Parents have the choice to send children to independent schools as fee payers. For children who are not selected for the Grammar School or colleges, they attend the secondary schools of La Mare de Carteret School, Les Beaucamps School, or St Sampson's High.

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 FE – a performing arts centre. The construction of St. Sampsons High was completed summer 2008 and admitted its first students in September 2008.

In the past, students 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 students, the majority choosing to complete their GCSEs and then either begin employment or continue their education. From 2008 onwards, the school leaving age was raised to the last Friday in June in the year a pupil turns 16, in line with England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This means students will be between 15 and 10 months and 16 and 10 months before being able to leave.

In 2001 along with redevelopment of secondary schools the then Education Council tried unsuccessfully to abolish this system.[What system? clarification needed] Nevertheless there is now a redevelopment of state schools across the island, however most of the plan is subjected to securing state funding.

Post GCSE students have a choice of transferring to the state run The Grammar School and Sixth Form Centre, or to the independent colleges for academic AS/A Levels. They also have the option to study vocational subjects at the island's Guernsey College of Further Education.

There are no universities on the island. Students who attend university in the United Kingdom receive state support towards both maintenance and tuition fees. Recently however, the States of Guernsey Education Department has proposed the introduction of student loans for middle and upper income earners due to the black hole deficit in state spending in 2008.[citation needed] This has been met with much opposition by local politicians, families and students who argue that it will deter future students from going and returning from university, due to very high housing and living costs in Guernsey. The department argues that it had no choice but to introduce them. The decision was first deferred to 2009, however upon the election of new deputies in the 2008 April elections, the decision is now deferred until 2011.[citation needed]


Children on the Beach of Guernsey, 1883, by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

English is the language in general use by the majority of the population, while 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. Sercquais is spoken by a few people on the island of Sark and Auregnais was spoken on the island of Alderney until it became extinct in the early twentieth century. Until the early twentieth 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. Georges 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 nineteenth century and proceeded inexorably for a century, accelerated sharply when the majority of the island's school children were evacuated to the U.K. for five years during the German occupation of 1940–1945.

Georges 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 Paris. In 1866, he published a novel set in the island, Travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea), which he dedicated to the island of Guernsey.

The greatest novel by a Guernseyman is The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, by GB Edwards which, in addition to being a critically acclaimed work of literature, also contains a wealth of insights into life in Guernsey during the twentieth century.[31] In September 2008 a Blue Plaque was affixed to the house on the Braye Road in which Edwards was brought up. A more recent novel by Guernseyman Peter Lihou[32] called Rachel's Shoe describes the period when Guernsey was under German occupation during the Second World War.[33]

Henry Watson Fowler moved to Guernsey in 1903 where he and his brother Francis George Fowler composed The King's English and the Concise Oxford Dictionary, and much of Modern English Usage.

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 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.

The 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,[34] Guernsey cattle are increasingly being raised for their beef, which has a distinctive flavour and rich yellow fat. Although the number of individual islanders raising these cattle for private supply has diminished significantly since the 1960s, Guernsey steers can still be occasionally seen grazing on L'Ancresse common.

There is also a breed of goat known as the Golden Guernsey, which is distinguished by its golden-coloured coat. At the end of World War II, the Golden Guernsey was almost extinct, due to interbreeding with other varieties on the island. The resurrection of this breed is largely credited to the work of a single woman, Miriam Milbourne. Although no longer considered in a 'critical' status, the breed remains on the "Watch List" of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.[35]

Guernsey people are traditionally nicknamed donkeys or ânes, especially by 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:[36]

Parish Guernésiais English Translation
St Peter Port Cllichards (spitters)
St Sampson's Rôines (frogs)
Vale Hann'taons (cockchafers)
Castel Ânes-pur-sàng (pure-blooded-donkeys)
St Saviour's Fouormillaons (ants)
St Pierre du Bois Etcherbaots (beetles)
Forest Bourdons (bumblebees)
St Martin's Cravants (ray fish)
St Andrew's Les croinchaons (the siftings)
Torteval Ânes à pids d'ch'fa (donkeys with horses' hooves)

The Guernsey Lily Nerine sarniensis (Sarnia is the traditional name of the island of Guernsey in Latin) is also used as a symbol of the island.

A local delicacy is the ormer (Haliotis tuberculata), a variety of abalone harvested from the beach at low spring tides, although strict laws control their harvesting.[37]

Of the many traditional Guernsey recipes, the most renowned is a stew called 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 mixed peel.

In July 2006 smoking in enclosed public places was banned, a law put in place to protect workers' right to a healthy working environment.


The island's traditional colour (e.g. for sporting events) is green.

Guernsey participates in the biennial Island Games, which it hosted in 1987 and 2003 at Footes Lane. Guernsey participates in its own right in the Commonwealth Games.

In sporting events in which Guernsey does not have international representation, when the British Home Nations are competing separately, islanders that do have high athletic skill may choose to compete for any of the Home Nations – there are, however, restrictions on subsequent transfers to represent another Home Nation. The football player Matt Le Tissier for example, could have played for the Scotland national football team but ended up playing for England.

The Guernsey Football Association runs Guernsey football. The top tier of Guernsey football is the Sure Mobile Priaulx league where there are 7 teams (Belgrave Wanderers, Northerners, Sylvans, St Martin's, Rovers, Rangers and Vale Recreation). The champions in 2006–07 were Northerners. The champions in 2010–2011 were St Martin's. The second tier is the Jackson league which is a mixture of top league players, lower players and youth players. The third tier called the Railway League, no longer exists, it featured three extra teams, Alderney Nomads, Guernsey Police and Port City. In 2008 – 2009 there was a split between the two social leagues (Saturday Football League & Sunday Soccer League). In 2011 – 2012 season, Guernsey FC was formed and entered the UK Combined Counties League Division 1 for the first time. Guernsey currently sit top of this table (Sept 2011).

The Corbet Football Field donated by Jurat Wilfred Corbet OBE in 1932 has fostered the sport greatly over the years. Although more recently the island has upgraded to a larger, better quality stadium, in Foote's Lane.[38]

Approximately 200 people play table tennis on a regular basis across four senior and two junior leagues. The GTTA centre, located next to the Hougue du Pommier, is equipped with 12 match tables, 6 training tables, a bar and a small café area. Guernsey sends teams to represent the island in UK and world tournaments.

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 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.[39]

Guernsey was declared an affiliate member by the International Cricket Council (ICC) in 2005[40] and an associate member in 2008.

Guernsey also enjoys motor sports. In season, races take place on the sands on Vazon beach on the west coast. Le Val des Terres, a steeply winding road rising south from 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 Angling around 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. Fishing in Guernsey.

2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button "resides" on the island.

Guernsey people


See also


  1. ^ The Language of Auregny, Le Maistre, Jersey/Alderney 1982
  2. ^ Darryl Mark Ogier (2005). The government and law of Guernsey. States of Guernsey. ISBN 978-0-9549775-0-4. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Guernsey". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "La Cotte Cave, St Brelade". Société Jersiaise. Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  5. ^ Evendon, J (11 February 2001). "Le Dehus – Burial Chamber (Dolmen)". The Megalithic Portal. 
  6. ^ "Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK". BBC. Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  7. ^ a b c d Marr, J., The History of Guernsey – the Bailiwick's story, Guernsey Press (2001)
  8. ^ "Channel Islands". The Royal Household Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  9. ^ de Garis, Marie (1986). Folklore of Guernsey. OCLC 19840362. 
  10. ^ Portrait of the Channel Islands, Lemprière, London 1970 ISBN 0709115415
  11. ^ Guernsey's emigrant children. BBC – Legacies.
  12. ^ Sharp, Eric (1976). "A very distinguished Guernseyman – Capt William le Lacheur, his ships and his impact on the early development, both economic and spiritual of Costa Rica". Transactions of La Société Guernesiaise (Guernsey) XX (1): 127ff. 
  13. ^ Parks, Edwin (1992). Diex Aix: God Help Us – The Guernseymen who marched away 1914–1918. Guernsey: States of Guernsey. ISBN 1871560853. 
  14. ^ "Evacuees from Guernsey recall life in Scotland". BBC News. 12 November 2010. Retrieved 12 November 2010. 
  15. ^ Janie Corbet I escaped the Nazi Holocaust, 9th July, 2005,
  16. ^ a b "Русские пушки на службе германского вермахта". 24 April 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  17. ^ "Channel Islands Occupation Society (Jersey)". CIOS Jersey. Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  18. ^ "Fortifications". CIOS Guernsey. Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  19. ^ "Review of the Roles of the Jersey Crown officers" (PDF). 30 March 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  20. ^ "Role of the JCPC". Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. Retrieved 24 March 2010. 
  21. ^ "Met Observatory Weather and Climate Info". Guernsey Airport. Retrieved 16 September 2008. 
  22. ^ "Average Weather for Guernsey, ENG — Temperature and Precipitation". August 2011. 
  23. ^ a b "Guernsey". CIA World Factbook. CIA. Retrieved 1 December 2007. 
  24. ^ "About Healthspan". Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  25. ^ "About Guernsey". Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  26. ^ "Aurigny sale to Blue Islands 'no longer on table'". BBC News. 14 September 2010. 
  27. ^ Notes on the Railway taken from The Railway Magazine, September 1934 edition
  28. ^ "Welcome to the Guernsey Ambulance & Rescue Service website". Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  29. ^ "Fire & Rescue Service". Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  30. ^ "Sea Safety". Guernsey Harbour Authority. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  31. ^ Chaney, Edward, GB Edwards and Ebenezer Le Page, Review of the Guernsey Society, Parts 1–3, 1994–5.
  32. ^ "". Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  33. ^ "Rachel's Shoe". 10 December 2008. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  34. ^ "HEALTH , Milk protein blamed for heart disease". BBC News. 9 April 2001. Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  35. ^ "Golden Guernsey" Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Retrieved 10 October 2007.
  36. ^ Dictiounnaire Angllais-Guernésiais
  37. ^ Good Food Guernsey – The Ormer[dead link]
  38. ^ "BBC photo of Guernsey Stadium". Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  39. ^ Guernsey Softball Association
  40. ^[dead link]
  41. ^ "Interview: John Savident". Lancashire Telegraph. 18 January 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2011. 

External links

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