Britannia, by William Camden

British Islands on the Coast of France.⌉

Big M MORE Westward, some Islands shew themselves in the Sea near France, yet belonging to the Crown of England. The first that appears hard by Normandy, otherwise the Coast of the Lexobii (whom our Welsh call Lettaw, as much as to say Coasters) is Alderney;Alderney. termed in the Records of the Tower Aurney, Aureney, and Aurigney; so that one would take it for the AricaArica. which Antoninus (according to a Manuscript in the King of Spain’s possession) reckons among the Islands of the British Sea. Others suppose it to be that Ebodia or Evodia,Evodia. of which P. Diaconus, who was but little acquainted with these Parts, makes mention, and none else but he, placing it thirty Miles distant from the mouth of the River Seine; and tells us of a continual noise of Waters, as it where from a Charybdis or Whirlpool, heard to a great distance hereabouts. ⌈This is Poetical and exaggerated: But thus much is true, that the many rocks and foul grounds along this Coast, make a very terrible and roaring Sea in bad weather.⌉

This Alderney is about one good league and a half from Cape La Hague in Normandy; in circuit about eight miles; enjoys a fruitful Soil, either for Corn or Pasture; and has in it one Church, and * * So, ann. 1607. but now more.fourscore Houses. I am in doubt whether I ought to take notice of a Giant’s ToothSee below.
Giant’s tooth.
found here, of the bigness of a man’s Fist, seeing St. AugustinDe Civ. Dei, Lib.xv. c.9. writes he had seen one so large that it might be cut into a hundred others as big as any ordinary man’s. fossils guernsey lighthouse ciderAlderney is a high Land (as are all the Isles in this Tract) and much the nearest to France. That narrow Sea which runs betwixt the two Shores, is by them called Le Ras de Blanchart, and by us, the Race of Alderney;Race of Alderney. and is reputed a dangerous Passage, when the Currents, which are very strong, encounter with tempestuous Winds, and both meet in contrary motion. Otherwise, it is safe enough, and has a depth of Water sufficient for the biggest Ships. Through this Race part of the French Fleet made their escape, after their defeat at La Hougue, in the year 1692. The Habitations lie not here dispers’d as in the other Islands, but are brought together for greater safety into one Town of about two hundred Houses, and a thousand Inhabitants. Nor is this Island so much inclosed as the others. They boast of a common Field of about five hundred Acres, that bears excellent Corn, and has not lain fallow once this hundred years. It is kept thus always in heart by manuring it with Vraic, that Sea-weed, of which mention is made below. The Harbour is to the South, capable only of small Vessels; and the Island is a dependance of the Government and Jurisdiction of Guernzey.⌉

From hence westward there stretches out a range of high Rocks dreadful to Mariners, who call them Casquets.Casquets. ⌈By Casquet, in the singular number, is meant that principal Rock which advances at the head of all the rest, and looks into the Chanel; and by Casquets in the plural, is meant the whole Range, lying for three Leagues together betwixt that main Rock and Alderney. A Light upon Casquet would be a great Security to the Navigation of the Chanel, from the middle whereof one may at once, in a clear Day, descry this Rock and the Head of Portland in England. Sure it is, that for want of such a Light, many good Ships have been lost here and on the back of Guernzey. This was the fatal Place, where William Son of Henry the first, so miserably perished, in his Passage from Normandy to England, as the Norman writers testify, and as hath been mention’d above.⌉

Southward of these ⌈viz. of Alderney and the Casquets,⌉ and * * Scarce 12 miles, C.about nine Leagues distant, lies Cæsarea,Cæsarea. mention’d by Antoninus. Caesarea Caesar Praetextatus Coutentin The French have now contracted this name of Cæsarea into that of Gearzey,Jersey. as they have done Cæsaris-burgum, which is a Town of Normandy, into Cherbourg, and the Spaniards their Cæsar-Augusta into Saragosa. Gregorius Turonensis calls it the Island of that Sea which is nearest to the City of Coutance; where he relates how Prætextatus Bishop of Rouen was banished hither. In like manner Papirius Massonius calls it The Island of the Coast of Coutance,Coutance. because it lies over-against the ancient City of that name. De Gest. Franc. Lib.3. cap.26.Aymonius Monachus describes it also by this Character of it’s nearness to Coutance.⌉ Which Coutance seems to be the Castra ConstantiaCastra Constantia. in Ammianus, and the Moritonium of former times. For Robertus Montensis writes thus, Comes Moritonij, i.e. Constantiarum; unless here be an interpolation of the Transcriber ⌈as it must be, if Mortaigne be there meant;⌉ because MoritoniumMori­tonium. (or Mortaigne as it is now called) is more remote from the Sea. ⌈But in truth, Moritonium is not Mortaigne; but Mortain, lying within the Coûtentin, which is a large Tract of Normandy so denominated from the City of Coutance. It is this Mortain, that gave the Title of Earl to our King John, while he was a Subject. It’s being within the Coutentin, the Ager Constantiensis, might cause Robert du Mont to express himself so loosely. But the City of Coutance was never call’d Moritonium. As for Mortagne, there are two or three of that name, but a great way off; and the Latin of them is Mortagnia, Moritania, &c.⌉


The Island ⌈of Jersey⌉ is † † About, C.above thirty miles in compass, and is defended by Rocks and Shelves, which are dangerous to such as sail that way ⌈being Strangers.

It is twelve miles long, and about six wide at each of the two extremities; for in the middle it is narrower. It is in the Latitude of forty nine Degrees, twenty five Minutes; four Leagues from the nearest Coast of Normandy, and twenty five, or more, from the nearest Point of Land in England: The Winters are generally milder, but more windy than in England. It abounds with Springs of pure and clear Water, perhaps above any Countrey under Heaven. The populousness of the Place, the solidity of the Buildings, all of Stone (for here is no such thing as Mud or wooden Cottages) the many Quicksets and Inclosures, Gardens and Orchards, the double rows of Trees set in the Avenues leading to the Houses, and often along the High-ways, all these give a beauty to the Country. When the People shall please to reduce some of their too numerous Plantations for Cydar, back unto Arable, they may be said to want nothing necessary to Life, though they may be still beholden to their Neighbours for Superfluities and some Conveniencies. Of Flesh, Fish, and Fowl, they have plenty; each good in it’s kind. Their Honey and Butter peculiarly excell. Their Bread cannot be so much commended, especially that which the ordinary People eat, because made of Barley, like the Rye or Oaten Bread in many Parts of England. They know not else what to do with that Grain, having little occasion for Malt in such a plenty of Cydar, which they prefer to Beer.⌉

cider Septembrieres caesarea surplus The Soil is sufficiently fruitful, bearing various sorts of Grain, and well stock’d with Cattle. Of Sheep it feeds good store; among which many * * Are, C.were remarkableSheep with six horns. for having four, ⌈and six,⌉ horns. ⌈But these are now very rare, if any at all be remaining in the Island. Of the six Horns, two were bending forwards towards the nose, two bending back towards the neck, and two erect in the midst.⌉ It enjoys a very wholsome Air, and † † Is, C.was heretofore subject to no other Distemper but certain Fevers, which come in the Month of September, and are for that reason called Septembriéres; so that there ¦ ¦ Is, C.was no occasion here for Physicians. ⌈And it is still true, that naturally no Place is healthier; but a way of Living, fallen into, very different from that of the more sober ancient Inhabitants, has brought in Gouts, and other Distempers, either wholly unknown, or not so common, a hundred years ago.⌉

The Place * * Affording but little Fuel, C.not affording Fuel sufficient, they use ⌈especially in Country-houses⌉ instead of Wood, a Sea-weed by them called Vraic,Vraic a Sea-weed. thought to be the Fucus Marinus of Pliny, which the little ragged Isles and Rocks round the Coast produce in great plenty. Being dry’d in the Sun, it serves for firing; and afterwards with the Ashes as with so much Marle and Dung, they manure and greatly enrich their Land. Nor is it permitted to be gather’d, unless in the Spring and Summer; and then only on certain Days appointed by the Magistrate. At which times the People, in a rejoycing sort of manner, repair on all sides to the Sea-shore with their Carts, and in Boats get over to the neighbouring Rocks, striving who shall be foremost. But what of this Weed is driven ashore by the Sea, the poorer sort are allow’d to carry off for their use. ⌈However, it is certain, that the Island is now pretty well planted with Wood; but yet the Vraic affords still considerable help, and (as hath been said) in Countrey-houses is generally used for the Kitchin, where it makes a hot glowing fire. But a great deal of this Weed is burn’d upon the Sea-shore, merely for the sake of the Ashes, which are laid up afterwards in heaps for Sale; and not only the Ashes, but the Vraic it self, green, and as it comes from the Sea, being spread on the Land, and buried in by the Plough, fertilizes like Dung; of which an Example has been given above, speaking of Alderney. And it is well known, that in many Countries where they have the advantage of the Neighbourhood of the Sea, almost every thing that it casts up, dead Fish, Shells, Mud and Slime, nay Sand and the Sea-water it self, are thus employ’d to very good purpose.⌉

The Island in the middle swells up gently into Hills, under which lie pleasant Valleys water’d with Brooks, and set with Fruit-trees, and † † Pyris.Apple-trees; of the Fruits of which the DrinkCyder. of the Countrey is made. ⌈But to be more particular: The Island is as it were one great continued Hill, stretching it self from East to West in the figure of an oblong Square. The North-side is exceedingly raised, and looks down on the Sea below, from Cliffs of forty Fathoms perpendicular height; and the South-side is declining, and indented or cut into many pleasant hollownesses or Valleys. Nor is it only in these Valleys that one sees Fruit-trees,Fruit-trees. (whatever might be formerly;) the upper Level of the Island abounding no less with them. For within these fifty or sixty years last past, the Humour of the People has so run upon Planting, that much of the best Arable Land has been converted into Orchards. Whereby these two inconveniencies have happen’d; first, a deficiency of Bread-Corn in proportion to the number of the People, whereas there used to be an Overplus, bought up by the Spanish and other Merchants; and secondly, an Inundation of a Liquor, which has occasion’d much excess. For whether it be from the nature of the Soil, or the Qualities of the Fruit, or the Liquor it self being kept unrack’d and undrawn from the Lees for years together, in large Vessels containing three, four, or more Hogsheads; it is certain, that the Jersey-Cydar, made pure, and drunk upon the place, is stronger and more inebriating than English Cydar. Tertullian, I remember, speaks of Apples from which he and other Montanists refrained in their Xerophagias, because of their too generous and vinous Juice;De Jejun. adv. Psych. cap.1. Ne quid vinositatis, says he, vel edamus, vel potemus. It has been computed, that twenty four thousand Hogsheads of Cydar have been made here in one year.⌉

The Island is thickset with Villages and Houses, and divided into twelve Parishes, and has on all sides commodious Bays and Creeks made by the winding in of the Shore, the safest of which is on the South-side of the Island, betwixt the ¦ ¦ Little Towns, C.Towns call’d St. HilarySt. Helier. and St. Alban.St. Aubin. This Bay has within it a small Isle of it’s own, kept by a Garrison, and cut off from all access, where it is said, that St. Hilary Bishop of Poictiers, sent hither into Banishment, lies buried. For just opposite to it, stands the Town dedicated ⌈(as hath been suppos’d)⌉ to his name; and reckon’d the chief of the Countrey, both because it is the Market, and because it is likewise the Seat of Justice. ⌈But the true names of the two foremention’d Towns, are St. Helier, and St. Aubin; and what is commonly said concerning St. HilarySt. Hilarius. Bishop of Poictiers (as before) is a mistake. He was, indeed, driven for a time from his See, by the violence of the Arians, for opposing their measures in the Council of Beziers, Ann. 356. They complain’d of him to the Emperor Constantius who favoured them, and he at their Sollicitation order’d the good bishop into Banishment. But the place of his Confinement was not Jersey, but Phrygia, on the other side of the Hellespont. Catal. Script. Eccl. Num.3. Hist. Sac. Lib.2. Propè sinem. For so St. Jerom tells us expressly, adding that he died at Poictiers. And Sulpitius Severus confirms his dying at Poictiers, the place of his Birth, six years after his return from Banishment. His death falls in the year 367, and we have nothing in ancient writers so high as that Time concerning Jersey, except its bare name of Cæsarea in Antoninus. He then of whom the chief Town in Jersey is named, is not St. Hilary of Poictiers, but St. Helier, in Latin Helerius, or without the aspiration, Elerius; a holy man, who liv’d some Centuries after in this Island, and was slain by the Normans (as yet Pagans and Heathens,) at their first coming into these Parts. As a sufferer for the Faith of Christ, he has a Place in the Martyrology of Coutance; and in memory of him, a noble Abbey of Canons Regular was in after-time founded on that small Isle of the Bay, before-mention’d. The little solitary Hermitage, which the holy man had chosen for his retreat from the World, according to the Piety of those times, with a Bed cut into the hard Stone, remains yet standing on one of the out-lying Rocks, and is visited by the curious. As for the Abbey, it’s fateVid. Du Monstier Neustria Pia. in S. Helerio. p.712. was to be annex’d to that of Cherbourg in Normandy, in the Reign of Henry the second, so that, at it’s suppression, it was no more than a Priory.

The two Towns, of St. Helier, and St. Aubin, beforemention’d, are seated in one and the same Bay,St. Aubin’s Bay. call’d from the latter St. Aubin’s Bay, and are about three miles asunder; but the whole compass of the Bay is a great deal more. This Bay opens to the South; and at the East-end is St. Helier, a well built and well inhabited Town, which hath been improv’d very greatly (within these hundred years) by accommodating it with publick Conveniencies, and enlarging it with new Streets. The Market-Place in the midst of the Town, is spacious, faced round with handsome Houses, and among them with the Cohur Royale, which is the Court of Judicature. Hither doth the whole Island (in a manner) rendezvous upon a Saturday (which is the Market-day,) for Business, or Conversation. To the West-end is St. Aubin, a Town properly of Merchants and Masters of Ships, who have been invited by the neighbourhood of the Port to build and settle there. It is less than St. Helier by more than one half; tho’ greatly increas’d within these hundred years. The Port is made by a strong Stone-work, or Mole, carried a good way into the Sea, where Ships of good burthen lie safe under the Guns of a Fort contiguous to it.

In this same Bay, but more to the East, is the smallIsle of St. Helier. Isle of St. Helier, shut in by the Sea, at, or about, every half-Flood, and having in Circuit near a mile. Here stood the Abbey of St. Helier, and now in it’s place, Elizabeth-Castle, which is one of the largest and stoutest Fortresses in the King’s Dominions. Queen Elizabeth began it, and gave it her name; King Charles the first enlarg’d it, and King Charles the second perfected it. It takes up the whole ground of the small Isle on which it stands, and is the Residence of the Governour, with a Garrison in time of Peace no less than War. In all other Openings and Creeks round the Island, where an Enemy might land, there are Lines and Batteries cast up, mounted with Canon; and seventeen or eighteen Watch-Houses on the most prominent Points, to discover Ships afar off. The whole number of Inhabitants is computed something under twenty thousand; and of them three thousand are able to bear Arms, and are formed into Regiments, and better disciplin’d than a Country-Militia usually is. When at a general Review, this Militia is drawn up in the Sandy Bay, betwixt St. Helier and St. Aubin, with a Train of twenty or more Brass-Field-Pieces belonging to the Parishes in their Center, two small Bodies of Horse upon the Wings, their Officers at their head, and the Governour giving Orders to the whole; they make a handsome appearance: and, being unanimous in their Affection to England, would doubtless behave well upon occasion.⌉

On the East-side, where the Island faces the opposite City of Coutance, there stands upon a high craggy Rock, a Castle, ⌈heretofore⌉ very strong, called by the lofty name of Mont-Orgueil,Mont-Orgueil. and owing much to Henry the fifth as its restorer; and he who † † Is, C.was appointed over the whole Island, * * Commands, C.did command therein with a Garrison; whose Stile and Title formerly was that of Custos lnsulæ, i.e. Warden of the Island, and his Salary in the Reign of Henry the third two hundred Pounds yearly. lnsulae caesar d'argentre ⌈But this Castle was a Place of note and strength, before Henry the fifth did any thing to it. It had, in the declining years and Fortune of Edward the third, sustained a Siege from the French, with the famous Constable Du Guesclin in Person at their head, and could not be taken; although every where else, at that fatal juncture, all resistance fell before that too successful Enemy of the English. It is now slighted, and the Residence of the Governour transferr’d to Elizabeth-Castle.Elizabeth-Castle; yet even in it’s neglected State, it retains an appearance and air of Greatness, very well answering it’s name.⌉

From the South-side of the Island, but at a greater distance ⌈than from the East-side to Coutance,⌉ one † † St. Malo lies low, and cannot be seen from hence.sees St.  Malo,St. Malo. which takes its present name from Maclovius, a man renown’d for Piety. It was before, call’d the City of the Diablintes, and Aletum in the old Notitia. For so in a Manuscript of Isidorus Mercator, we expressly read, Civitas Diablintum, quæ alio nomine Aletum; i.e. the City of the Diablintes, otherwise called Aletum.Aletum. ⌈These Diablintes were one of the Armorican Nations, mention’d by Cæsar.De Bello Gall. Lib.3. In succeeding Ages (as hath been said) we find their City call’d Aletum, of which Maclovius, vulgarly St. Malo, was Bishop, in the year 540. Aletum falling afterwards to decay, a new City rose up two miles from it, which from the Bishop, tho’ dead many years before, was named St. Malo. Where Aletum stood,D’argentré. Hist. de Britagne. Liv.1. ch.15. is now a small Village call’d Quidalet.⌉

The Inhabitants ⌈of Jersey⌉ use the Fishing Trade, but are more bent upon Tillage and Husbandry.Employment. Their Women gain considerably by knitting of Stockings, which we therefore call Jersey-Stockings.Jersey-Stockings. ⌈And this Manufacture is also carried on in all the Islands; but is much sunk from what it was heretofore.⌉

Civil Government. As to what concerns their Polity, the Governour sent by the King of England is the Supreme Magistrate. ⌈Heretofore⌉ he * * Appoints, C.appointed a Bailly, who with twelve Jurats his Assessors, chosen out of each of the twelve Parishes by the Votes of the Parishioners, † † Holds, C.held the Pleas in Civil Matters: In Criminal Causes, with seven of the Jurats; in Causes of mere Right and Property, with three. ⌈His Power was once much larger; but that wise King, Henry the seventh, who had been in Jersey, thought it too great, and accordingly qualified it. However, the Governour is still the first in Dignity, and more immediately represents the Soveraign. But the Bailly now, is neither of his nomination, nor dependant on him. The one has the Military Command, with some Special Powers reserved to him for the preservation of the Peace. The other is at the head of the Civil Jurisdiction. The Twelve Jurats are Gentlemen of the best Families and Interest in the Island. Nor is it required, that they should be one out of each Parish; but they are chosen with a Latitude, so that two, three, or more, may be, and frequently are, of the same Parish. And because the word Bailly sounds somewhat low and mean in English, it is not amiss to observe, that it has quite another signification in this Island, as well as in France and other Countries. It is an Office here of great Honour; of which let this be an

Argument, that a Peer of England, the Lord Carteret, one of His Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State, disdains not to hold it at this day.

And thus much of the Island of Jersey; to which we shall only add, that in the ninth year of King William the third, it was erected into an Earldom in the person of Edward Viscount Villiers; upon whose death, the titles descended to his son and heir, the present Earl.⌉


Twenty miles North-west of this, is another Island, call’d SarniaSarnia. by Antoninus, and by us at this day Garnsey;Garnzey.
Perhaps Granona (by a transposal of Letters) which Antoninus mentions in the Notitia.
laid out from East to West in fashion of a Harp. It is not to be compared to the Cæsarea before described, for extent or fruitfulness: for it has in it no more than ten Parishes; yet to be preferr’d in this respect, that it breeds no venomous Creatures, like the other. It is also more safe and secure by nature, as being surrounded with steep and craggy Rocks; and among these is found the Smyris, which is a very hard sharp Stone, used by Lapidaries for polishing Jewels, and by Glaziers for cutting their Glass. We call it Emeril. It’s having likewise a more commodious Port, and in consequence a larger concourse of Merchants, gives it a greater reputation for Trade. caesarea pier For at almost the extremity of the Island Eastward, * * On the South-side, C.where it joins to the South-side; the Shore bends it self in, like a Half-moon, and makes a Port capable bf receiving large Ships. And hereon stands the little Town of St. Peter,St. Peter’s. stretching it self in one long and narrow Street. ⌈The Port consists of a good Road, from whence Ships may go out to Sea with any wind; in which it is confessedly better than St. Aubin’s Bay in Jersey. From this Road, Ships pass under the Guns of the Castle into the Peer, close up to the Town; which Peer is indeed a noble Work, and the Glory of this Island. It is all of vast Stones, piled up one upon another to a great height, and laid close together with much regularity and Art. It has stood firm against all the violence of the Sea upwards of four hundred years, it’s foundation being laid in the beginning of the reign of Edward the first, and it may so stand to the end of the World. It is not only a security to the Shipping within it, but being contiguous to the Town, is handsomely laid at top with large smooth Flags, and guarded with Parapets; and also being of great length and proportionable breadth, it serves for a Place of Pleasure, and is the ordinary Walk of the Gentlemen and Ladies of the Town; and from thence is a fine Prospect to the Sea and the neighbouring Islands. The Town, call’d St. Peter’s Port, is the only one in the Island; a good Town, but so straitened betwixt the Sea and the over-hanging Hills, that it cannot easily be extended. It is the Market, and admirably supply’d with Fish at all times.⌉

This Town is well replenish’d with Military Stores, and ⌈was⌉ very much frequented by Merchants upon the breaking out of any War. Free Trade. For by an ancient Privilege of the Kings of England, there is here a kind of perpetual Truce, and how hot soever the War be, the French and others have liberty to come hither to Trade, and depart again without molestation. ⌈Which notable Privilege belong’d equally to all these Islands, and not singly to Guernzey; and was not owing to the Favour of the Kings of England only, but to the joint concurrence of neighbouring Princes also, and was strengthen’d moreover by a Bull of Pope Sixtus the fourth, denouncing the highest Censures of the Church against the infringers of it, which Bull is recited at length in an Inspeximus of Henry the eighth. Every one readily understands the benefit of free and neutral Ports: But though this Privilege be declared and confirm’d in all the Charters of these Islands ever since, it is now as good as given up and forgotten; the Islanders themselves having in truth render’d it impracticable by their Privateering in time of War.⌉

The entrance of the Port, pretty well set off with Rocks, is on both sides guarded by Castles. On the left, by an old Castle ⌈of no account.⌉ On the right, by another call’d Cornet,Cornet Castle. lifted up indifferent high on a solid rocky Mass, with the Sea quite round it when the Tide is in. In Queen Mary’s time, new Fortifications were added to it by Sir Leonard Chamberlan, Governour of the Island, and * * Lately, C.since that, by ⌈Sir⌉ Thomas Leighton, who succeeded him. For therein resides for the most part the Governour of the Island, with a Garrison, who on no account will suffer either French, or Women, to come into it. ⌈This Castle is indeed of great importance, as it commands the Town and Harbour, and is separated from the Land by an arm of the Sea, which is not less than six hundred yards wide, and not fordable but at low Water, in great Spring-Tides. It made a better figure, before it’s upper Walls and Buildings, which were very high and noble, with a lofty Tower seen above all the rest, and carrying the Standard, were blown up by Lightning. As to it’s strength, it remains the same in the main, the Powder having had little or no effect on the Ramparts and Batteries which lay lower. That terrible Accident happen’d in the year 1672, under the Lord Viscount Hatton’s Government, who himself was wonderfully preserved, but his Lady was kill’d.

To return once more to the Port: Upon a Survey of this Island by the Lord Dartmouth, in the Reign of King Charles the second, a Place was found and pitch’d upon to the North-west, and more in the Chanel, for making another. It was to be a Mole, which would have admitted of very large men of War, and was for it’s defence and security to have a Cittadel added to it. But the Estimate of the Charge ran too high, for the condition that the Exchequer was in at that time. How glad would the French be to have but one such Place any where betwixt Dunkirk and Brest, and how little would they value any cost to render it fit for their purpose!⌉

To the North of the Island, adjoins a Peninsula, call’d Le Val,Le Val. which once had a House of Religious on it, by the name of a Priory. To the West, near the Sea, is a Lake of a mile and a half compass, well stored with Fish, Carps especially, which are much commended for their largeness and exquisite Taste. The Inhabitants do not use the like Industry, in cultivating their Land, as they of Jersey; but very busily apply themselves to Navigation and Merchandize, for a more uncertain gain. Every man’s humour being here to have his own ground to manage apart, the whole Island is thereby broken into small Parcels by hedges and inclosures, which they reckon not only an improvement, but a security to the Countrey against an Invader.

⌈In the second year of Her Majesty Queen Anne, Heneage Finch,See Ailesford, in Kent. second Son of Heneage late Earl of Nottingham and Lord High Chancellor of England, was advanced to the Honour of Baron Guernsey.

Comparison of Jersey and Guernzey. These two Islands, having been described separately, are now, in some particulars, to be compared, and then to be jointly considered. Of late years, particularly before the two last Wars with France, Jersey hath been thought to equal, if not surpass, Guernzey, in Commerce and number of Shipping. And as to Inclosures, (which are mention’d above,) Jersey is far more inclosed, thicker planted, and better wooded. Guernzey lies naked enough, and bare of Forest-Trees. Neither is it so well peopl’d. Their Train-bands muster but about twelve hundred men, therefore not regimented as in Jersey. The Land is high on the South, and declines to the North, quite contrary to Jersey.⌉

Things common to Jersey and Guernsey. Both Islands are adorn’d with many Gardens and Orchards, which supply them with an artificial sort of Wine, made of Apples. Some call it Sisera, we Sydre. cider fuel The Inhabitants of both are originally either Normans or Britons, and their Language is French; yet they cannot endure to be thought or call’d French, but are pleas’d when you call them English. In both, Vraic is the Fewel for firing, or Sea-coal brought to them from England: Both abound with Fish, and both have the same form of Government; ⌈varying a little, in some Particulars.⌉

Both belong’d to Normandy. These two Islands, with the others in the neighbourhood, belong’d once to Normandy. But after that Henry the first King of England, had in the year 1108 defeated his Brother Robert, he annex’d both Normandy and these Islands to the Crown of England; and ever since they have stedfastly adher’d to England; even at that juncture when King John of England, being convicted of the murther of his Nephew, was by formal Sentence adjudged to have forfeited his right to Normandy, which he held as Vassal of the French King, and the whole Province fell off from him; and also when afterwards Henry the third King of England quitted all claim to Normandy for a Sum of Money. From thence-forward they have with great constancy, and much honour to themselves, stood ever true to their Faith and Allegiance plighted to the English; and are all that now remains to the Kings of England, of their Ancestor William the Conqueror’s inheritance, and of the Dutchy of Normandy; and that in despight of all attempts made upon them by the French, to whom it has long been a great eyesore to have these Islands in view of their Coast, and see them not in their’s, but in the English possession. ⌈Nor is it merely out of a Punctilio of Honour, that the French see with uneasiness these Islands so near them under the English Power. Their want of Harbours upon the Chanel, with which these Islands would furnish them, and the annoyance they receive from them in time of War by Privateering, are Reasons of great weight and force, to make them wish themselves Masters of them. But the same reasons must ever oblige England, so long as it understands it’s Interest, to hold them fast, and to have a vigilant eye on their preservation: not to say, that the Fidelity of the Inhabitants well deserves protection and defence.⌉

Attempts of the French to recover them. It appears from the Records of the Kingdom, that in the Reign of Edward the fourth, the French seiz’d * * Guernzey, C.Jersey; but through the Valour of Richard Harleston, Valect of the Crown, (as the Style ran in those days) they were † † Soon driven out, C.driven out again; for which brave Action the King rewarded him with the Government of both the Island and the Castle. Francica, 16 Edw. 4. Likewise in the Year 1549, when England under an Infant-King was embroiled with Rebellions at Home, Leo Strozzi, Commander of the French Galleys, invaded the same Island, but having lost many of his Men in the repulse given him, was forced to desist from that Enterprize. ⌈The first of these happen’d during the Contest betwixt Henry the fourth and Edward the fourth for the Crown; when the French had found means to surprize Mont-Orgueil-Castle in Jersey by Treachery, and to get possession of about half the Island; while Philip de Carteret, Seigneur of St. Ouen, secured the other half for England. Henry the sixth being dead, and Sir Richard Harlinston Vice-Admiral of England coming to Guernzey with a Squadron of Ships, his assistance was crav’d, and the Castle (hardly otherwise to be recover’d) surrender’d for want of Provision. But as to Strozzi’s Galleys, their main design seems to have been against some English Ships at anchor in the Road of that Island. Not succeeding therein, they sailed to Jersey, and there it was that the Descent was made, and that they were repuls’d.⌉

Ecclesiastical Government. As to Ecclesiastical Affairs, they were subject to the Bishop of Coutance in Normandy, until he, * * So said, ann. 1607.within our memory, refus’d to renounce the Authority which the Pope claims in England, as our Bishops do. Upon that, follow’d a reparation and dismembring of them from the Diocese of Coutance by Queen Elizabeth; and they were annex’d to the Diocese of Winchester for ever; so that the Bishop of Winchester and his Successors are to perform and execute all things here, which pertain to the Episcopal Jurisdiction. Nevertheless, the Discipline of the Church of Geneva having been introduc’d by French Ministers, it * * Continues, C.continu’d a good while to be the Rule by which Church-Matters ¦ ¦ Are still, C.were directed. ⌈But to be somewhat more particular upon these heads. While these Islands went along with Normandy, they could not be more conveniently laid, than to the See of Coutance, which is nearest to them. After they became English, that Bishop held his Jurisdiction over them very precariously, notwithstanding the sameness of Religion. King John threaten’d to substract them, and annex them to Exeter. Henry the seventh actually procur’d a Bull from Pope Alexander the sixth to unite them to Salisbury; and then, changing his mind as to the Diocese, he got another from the same Pope to transfer them to Winchester. And the reason recited in the Bull for obtaining it, is the danger which might accrue to the Islands, by the French having access to them, and visiting them at pleasure, under pretence of a subjection to them in Spirituals. It is added in the Bull, that for a like reason, Calais, then in the hands of the English, had been exempted from it’s Metropolitan the Archbishop of Tours, and laid to Canterbury. But however this Bull is in Bishop Langton’s Register, it remain’d without execution. But when Religion came to be concern’d, the Substraction was effectually made by an Order of Council, in the year 1568, the 10th of Queen Elizabeth. As to the Discipline before-mention’d, how undesignedly soever it might be brought in at the first, the means afterwards us’d to establish it were not so warrantable; of which a good account is given by Dr. Heylin, and to him the Reader must be referr’d. Survey of Guernzey and Jersey, Passim. It prevailed in Jersey until the twenty first year of King James the first; and in Guernzey, Alderney, and Sark, until the Restoration of King Charles the second. At this day, the Liturgy of the Church of England, translated into French, is receiv’d in all the Islands; nor is there one Publick Congregation professing a dissent from it. Parishes. The twelve Parishes in Jersey have each their Minister, call’d Rector; no Pluralities being there allow’d. Four of the ten Parishes in Guernzey being united, that Island has but eight Ministers; and Alderney has one; and Sark another. This is meant only of such as have Institution; for, besides them, Assistants are sometimes taken in, in the nature of Lecturers. In the two former Islands, one of the Ministers is Commissary to the Bishop of Winchester, and is call’d the Dean. Dean.He has a Jurisdiction, and keeps his Court; but the other Ministers sit with him in Judgment, and he takes their Opinion before he gives Sentence. The Churches generally are large and strongly built, with lofty Towers or Spires of Stone, but somewhat too naked of Ornaments within; which in great measure is owing to the Discipline that once obtain’d here.⌉

Civil Government. As to the Civil Customs and Constitutions of these Islands, I might, by the help of our publick Records, mention some of them here; as namely, That King John instituted Twelve sworn Coroners; ⌈now better known by the name of Jurats, and Justices, of whom mention was made before, in Jersey,)⌉ to hold the Pleas, and preserve the rights belonging to the Crown; and granted, for the Security of the Islanders, That the Bailly might thenceforward, with the * * Visum.View and Concurrence of the Coroners, Try Causes, without Writ of Novel Disseisin within the year, of Mortdancester within the year, and of Dowry within the year, &c. That the Jurats shall not delay Judgment beyond the year; That in Customs ⌈or Duties upon Merchandize⌉ and in all other Affairs, the People of these Islands shall be treated as Englishmen born, and not as foreigners. But I think it best to leave these Matters to the more curious enquiry of others. In general this may be said, that the Norman Customs, ⌈or Laws⌉ prevail here in most things. coutume ⌈For the Body of the Norman Laws is call’d La Coûtume de Normandie. And this Custom of Normandy, as it stood pure and unalter’d, before that Dutchy was wrested from England, is still the Law of these Islands. King John’s Constitutions, mention’d (in part) above, and the Ordinances of Henry the seventh, and of other English Kings, have been superadded since. By means of all which, these Islands enjoy many valuable Privileges and Immunities. For instance, That for any Matter or Cause arising within the Islands, the Inhabitants shall not be drawn into the Courts of Westminster, nor shall be obliged to obey any Writ or Process issued out from thence; That when the King shall please to send over Commissioners (as in some extraordinary Cases has been done) such Commissioners shall come with no less Authority than of his Broad Seal, shall proceed according to the Laws and Customs of the Islands, and shall have the Bailly and Jurats of the Place sitting and making conjunctive Records with them; with other Privileges of the same nature, of which it were too long to speak here.

If ought occurs, which concerns the whole Community, the States are call’d to deliberate about it. When Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards the great and noble Earl of Clarendon, was in Jersey, attending on the Prince in that Tragical year 1648, he was surpriz’d to hear them talk of calling the States, but found no impropriety in the Word, when he understood, that, bating the vast disproportion betwixt them and the States of great Kingdoms, they truly had what is most essential to such Assemblies. Nor did the Crown ever deny them the honour of receiving Addresses and Deputations from them under that name. These States consist of the Bailly and Jurats, as the first Body; of the Beneficed Clergy, that are Natives or naturaliz’d, as the second; and of the Representatives of the Parishes, as the third; with the Governour, or his Lieutenant, inspecting their Debates, that nothing pass in prejudice of the King’s Service; in which case he has a Negative upon them, till his Majesty’s Pleasure be known; otherwise not. Briefly, the whole Civil Polity of these Islands is well framed, and wisely constituted, and bears withal signal Marks of the indulgence and gentleness of the English Government.⌉

Sark. I need say but little of Sark, Jethow, and Arne; because not mention’d in ancient Writers: The first a small Island, seated in the midst of all the rest, and moated round with Rocks and Precipices, and by Queen Elizabeth granted to J. ⌈Philip de Carteret, Seigneur⌉ de St. Ouen in Jersey, who made a Settlement on it (to the bettering, they say, of his Estate,) when before the Island lay waste; the * * See below.Antiquity of which Gentleman’s Family, some, upon what ground I know not, carry up even beyond St. Ouen’s time: The second,Jethow. serving the Governour of Garnsey for a Park to fatten Cattle, and keep Deer, Rabbits, and Pheasants in: The third,Arne. bigger than this, having once a House of Franciscans on it. ⌈Sark indeed, was not without a name pretty early, on account of the Convent of St. Maglorius, a very ancient foundation here. This was a holy man, a Christian Briton, who, with many others, flying from before the prevailing Heathen Saxons into Armorica, was made Bishop of Dol, and became the happy instrument of planting Christianity in these Islands, about the year 565. The Convent bearing his name, and in which he himself is said to have sometime resided, was standing in the Reign of Edward the third, and had a Pension paid to it yearly out of the Exchequer. As for the Island, the French having laid hands on it, and kept it a while, it was recover’d in Queen Mary’s Reign; yet so, that after they were gone, it remain’d uninhabited. Lest they should return, and by their neighbourhood create perpetual trouble to the other Islands, Philip de Carteret, mention’d above, a worthy Gentleman, and of a publick Spirit, undertook to place such a Colony in it as should keep out the French. He got a Grant from Queen Elizabeth, and the Island was made over to him and his heirs, to hold it of the Crown under a small acknowledgment. And now, in short, it is a very pretty Island, tho’ but two miles long; being well supplied with good Water, and bearing excellent Corn, even more than the Inhabitants need for their use, who are in number about three hundred; all, Tenants to the Seigneur of St. Ouen, and living happily and easily under him. It is by it’s situation one of the strongest places in the World, the Land being vastly high, and wholly unaccessible, except in two or three places, where yet the Ascent is very steep and difficult. There was no way for Draughts and Carriages from the Sea: Therefore Philip de Carteret caused one to be cut, with hands, through the overhanging Cliff, going a while under-ground and in the dark, and then rising up within the

Island; much like the famous Passage through Mount Pausilyppus near Naples; and this moreover is secured by a Gate, and defended with Canon. As Alderney, so is this Island also a Dependence of Guernzey. For tho’ here have been four Islands accounted for, yet are there no more than two Governments and Jurisdictions. Jersey of it self, is one; Guernzey, Alderney, and Sark together, are the other. Jetho and Arm are not reckon’d, as being inconsiderable; they are nevertheless of great use, as plac’d by nature, where they are, for giving shelter to the Road of Guernzey. Philip de Carteret. As to the Antiquity ascribed to the family of Philip de Carteret, as intimated above; it is certainly very great: For, to go back from the year 1564, when Philip de Carteret began his settlement on Sark, to the year 677, when St. Ouen Archbishop of Rouen died, it is no less than 887 years. And yet there is extant an old Manuscript-History of Jersey, brought down to the year 1585, written with as much appearance of Truth and Sincerity as any History ever was, which tells us of such a Succession of Seigneurs of St. Ouen, of the name of Carteret, following one another from Father to Son in a direct Line, as will more than fill up that space. Be that as it will, it is unquestionably a Family of great Antiquity, and mention’d with honour in the History of Normandy. For there the name of Renaud de Carteret stands upon the List with those of the Count d’ Eu, and other distinguished Noblemen and Chevaliers, who accompanied Duke Robert to the Conquest of the Holy Land. Du Moulin: Hist. de Normandie. vers la fin. The name of Carteret is from a Seigneurie and Tract of Land in Normandy, so call’d to this day, once possess’d by this Family, till lost for their adherence to England at the Revolution of that Dutchy under King John; as on the other hand, divers Norman Gentlemen who had Estates in these Islands, forfeited them for transferring their Allegiance to France. Of later years, this Family hath been deservedly raised to the Dignity of * * See p.340.Peers of England, and now of Great Britain.⌉

After these, upon the same Coast, appears an Island, which Antoninus calls Liga;Liga. and which it still retains in the present name Ligon. Siadae Hiadatae Next to this, lie seven Islands which Antoninus calls Siadæ from the number (for Saith in British signifies seven) and the French at this day, Le set Isles. These I take to be corruptly call’d Hiadatæ by Strabo; from which he tells us it is not a days-sail to Britain. Seven furlongs from these Siadæ, lies Barsa,Barsa. mention’d also by Antoninus: the French call it the Isle de Bas, the English Basepole: for bas in British signifies shallow,Spec. Britan. and so the Sailors find the Sea here, when they found it. For it is hardly above seven or eight fathom deep; whereas in other parts of the Coast, they find twelve, eighteen, or twenty fathom water; as we may see by their Hydrographical Charts. Where the British Sea is deepest. Between these Islands and Foy in Cornwall, they find the British Sea very deep; namely, fifty eight fathom or thereabouts in the Chanel.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52