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Title: The Channel Islands
Author: Morris, Joseph E. (Joseph Ernest)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Transcriber's Note:

  Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original document have
  been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

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  signs=.



  [Illustration]



     _Beautiful Britain_

     _The Channel Islands_

     _By_
     _Joseph E. Morris B.A._


     _London Adam & Charles Black_
     _Soho Square W_
     _1911_



CONTENTS


     CHAPTER                                            PAGE

       I. JERSEY                                           5

      II. GUERNSEY                                        32

     III. ALDERNEY, SARK, AND THE LESSER ISLANDS          53

          INDEX                                           63



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


      1. ST. PETER PORT, GUERNSEY             _Frontispiece_

                                                 FACING PAGE

      2. THE CASQUET ROCKS AND LIGHTHOUSE                  9

      3. MONT ORGUEIL CASTLE, JERSEY                      16

      4. LA CORBIÈRE LIGHTHOUSE, JERSEY                   25

      5. THE NEEDLE ROCK, GRÈVE AU LANÇON, JERSEY         27

      6. THE PEA STACKS, JERBOURG, GUERNSEY               30

      7. MOULIN HUET, GUERNSEY                            32

      8. HERM AND JETHOU FROM GUERNSEY                    43

      9. A FIELD OF CHRYSANTHEMUMS IN GUERNSEY            46

     10. THE COUPÉE, SARK                                 49

     11. THE SISTER ROCKS, ALDERNEY                       56

     12. NOIRMONT POINT, JERSEY               _On the cover_



THE CHANNEL ISLANDS



CHAPTER I

JERSEY


If on a fine day we take our stand on one of the terraces, or
battlements, of Mont Orgueil Castle--and there is hardly a pleasanter
spot in Jersey in which to idle away a sunny summer afternoon--we
shall realize more completely than geography books can tell us that
the Channel Islands really constitute the last remnants of the ancient
Norman dukedom that still belong to the English Crown. For there,
across the water, not more than twenty miles away, and stretching from
north of Carteret far southwards towards Granville and Mont St.
Michel, is the long white line of the Norman coast itself--on a clear
day it is even possible to make out the tall, twin spires of
Coutances, half a dozen miles inland, crowning, like Lincoln or Ely,
their far-seen hill. No part of France, it is true, approaches so
closely to Jersey as Cap de la Hague (the extreme north-west point of
the Cotentin) approaches to the north-east corner of Alderney. Still,
under certain atmospheric conditions--such, for example, as Wordsworth
experienced when he wrote his fine sonnet headed _Near Dover,
September, 1802_--the "span of waters"--hardly greater than the
Straits of Dover themselves--really seems almost to shrink to the
dimensions of "a lake or river bright and fair." Contrast with this
proximity the long stretches of open sea that separate these islands
from Weymouth or Southampton, and we begin to realize how, physically
at any rate, Jersey is more properly France than England:

     Elle est pour nous la France, et, dans son lit des fleurs,
     Elle en a le sourire et quelquefois les pleurs.

The impression thus gained is hardly diminished when we quit our lofty
watch-tower and descend to the plain. The Channel Islands are
doubtless destined in the end to be wholly anglicized, but the process
is one of imperceptible transition. A curious French patois, that is
really the last relics of the ancient Norman speech, is still the
common language of the people. "It is probably," says Mr. Bicknell,
in his charming _Little Guide_, "the nearest approach now extant to
the French spoken at the time of the Norman Conquest by the Normans in
England." French is also the language used commonly in the country
churches; and it is strange to follow the familiar English liturgy
rendered thus in a foreign tongue. The Channel Islands, though
jealously retaining their ancient independence, and as separate in
many respects from England as are Canada and Australia, are yet
integrally part of the established English Church. The Reformation
freed them from the yoke of Coutances only to subject them to the yoke
of Winchester. French, too, or rather Norman, is the curious "Clameur
de Haro" that plays so strange a part in the ancient island law. This
is the regular machinery, in actions connected with real estate, to
maintain the existing _status in quo_ till the action can be fought
out at length; and in Jersey is set in motion by the plaintiff
himself, whereas in England it is necessary to invoke the Courts of
Law. "At the disputed place the aggrieved person, in the presence of
two witnesses, orders the aggressor or his agent to desist by
exclaiming: 'Haro! Haro! Haro! A l'aide, mon Prince, on me fait
tort.' After this he denounces the aggressor by exclaiming: 'Je vous
ordonne de quitter cet ouvrage'; upon which, unless he desist
instantly, he is liable to be punished for breach of the King's
authority, the property being supposed to be under the King's special
protection from the moment the 'cry' is made." Afterwards the action
is tried; and, of course, if it prove that the complainant has invoked
the "haro" wrongly (the word is said by some to be derived from the
Frankish "haran," to cry out, or shout; but by others to be a
corrupted form of "Ah Rollo"--the first Norman Duke--or "Ah Rou"--Oh
my King), he is liable to be fined by the court. It is sometimes said
that this strange process was in constant use in Normandy long before
the arrival of Rollo and his fierce followers from the North.

  [Illustration: THE CASQUET ROCKS AND LIGHTHOUSE.
   This group of rocks lies N.N.E. of Guernsey, and is passed by the
   steamers which serve the islands from England.]

French, again, is the architecture of the churches, that in some ways
has no parallel in England. French, in many particulars, is the aspect
of the towns, whose long rows of whitewashed houses, with their
never-ending sun-blinds, testify to a warmth and sunlight too
conspicuously rare in England. Actually French are many of the faces
that one encounters in the streets or on the quays. The Channel
Islands of late years have become a favourite touring-ground for
summer visitors from France, who so seldom venture to cross the
Channel to explore the beauties of England itself. The admirable
little _Guides Joanne_ now include a volume on the _Iles Anglaises de
la Manche_. It is amusing, however, to read in this work that in one
respect at least Jersey is still definitely English. "L'observation
stricte du dimanche règne à Saint-Hélier comme en Angleterre. La ville
déserte, avec ses boutiques fermées, offre un silence sépulchral." But
the closed shops, if not the sepulchral silence, are now becoming
common in France itself.

Mont Orgueil, where we stand, is not a bad starting-point from which
to commence our exploration of Jersey. Happy, indeed, the visitor who
arrives at this little port from France--and the steamer comes from
Carteret in little more than an hour. Most English tourists, on the
other hand, make Jersey first at St. Helier, which happens to be a
town of considerable dulness, and compares very badly with St. Peter
Port, in Guernsey. Mont Orgueil, however, may be reached at once from
St. Helier by one of the two strange little railways that traverse the
south coast of the island. The traveller should quit the train at the
previous station of Gorey Village, and walk thence across Gorey Common
to the Castle. This last, placed bravely on its boss of rugged rock,
grows more and more impressive the nearer we approach it. Superb in
situation, and unusually picturesque, this "hill of pride" has yet few
features of real architectural interest. Parts of it date from about
the end of the twelfth century, and the archæologist, of course, will
gather "sermons" from every stone of it. But the ordinary sight-seer
will be best delighted with the picturesque approach up long flights
of steps past successive gateways; with the beautiful views of land
and sea to be got from its towers; and, best of all, by the general
view of the castle itself, dominating the little harbour that crouches
below its walls. The structure is built of a soft-red granite, that is
very pleasant to look on, and not least so in spring, when its broken
walls are beautifully variegated with a thousand brilliantly orange
wallflowers. One is reminded for a moment of the famous verse--

     A rose-red city, half as old as time--

which is said to have won the Newdigate prize for Dean Burgon's poem
on _Petra_. Nor is Mont Orgueil by any means lacking in tragic
"foot-notes" to history. William Prynne had been condemned to lifelong
imprisonment by the Star Chamber in 1634, and to lose both his ears in
the pillory. Two years previously he had published his _Histriomastix_,
"a volume of over a thousand pages," in which he had upheld, with many
ancient and modern instances, the immorality of the drama and of
play-acting. Unfortunately, at about this time Henrietta Maria had
herself taken part in some private theatricals, and a certain passage
in the index, "reflecting on the character of female actors in
general, was construed as an aspersion on the Queen." For this, and
other offences, he received the savage sentence, which was carried
into execution with unrelenting cruelty. At first he was imprisoned in
the Tower; but three years later (having in the meanwhile been found
guilty of another "seditious libel," and branded on both cheeks) he
was removed, first to Carnarvon Castle, and afterwards to Mont
Orgueil. With the meeting of the Long Parliament, in 1640, Prynne was
immediately set at liberty. In Jersey he had occupied an enforced and
tedious leisure by indulging a propensity for verse-making. His
_Mount Orgueil, or Divine and Profitable Meditations_, was
published in 1641; and _A Pleasant Purge for a Roman Catholic_ in
1642; "Rhyme," says Mr. C. H. Firth, in the _Dictionary of National
Biography_, "is the only poetical characteristic they possess." A line
or two may be quoted from _Mount Orgueil_ as a sample:

     _Mount Orgueil Castle_ is a lofty pile,
     Within the Easterne parts of _Jersy Isle_,
     Seated upon _a Rocke_, full large and high,
     Close by the Sea-shore, next to Normandie.

The poet then goes on to tell us how this stronghold is sometimes
assaulted--but assaulted to no purpose--by sea and wind, "two
boystrous foes":

     For why this fort is built upon a _Rocke,
     And so by Christs owne verdict free from shocke
     Of floods and winds; which on it oft may beate,
     Yet never shake it_, but themselves defeate.

Less than a decade later and the walls of Mont Orgueil witnessed still
blacker tragedy. The quarrel of the Bandinels and the Carterets is an
ugly page of history that almost recalls in its unrelenting ferocity
some of the worst clan "vendettas" of the Highlands. The trouble
began, apparently, with the action of Sir Philip de Carteret, when
Governor of Jersey, in attempting to deprive David Bandinel--the
writer does not know the rights and wrongs of the quarrel--of part of
his tithes as Dean of the island. Shortly after this the Civil War
began in England, and the Channel Islands were immediately plunged
into internecine strife. Philip de Carteret was leader of the
Royalists, while Bandinel espoused the cause of the Parliament. The
latter at first was triumphant, and Carteret and his wife, Elizabeth,
were respectively besieged by the Parliamentary troops, the one in
Elizabeth Castle, and the other in Mont Orgueil. Carteret was not
quite sixty years old, but the severities of the siege were too great
for him. There were wrongs, no doubt, on both sides; but the Puritans
seem certainly to have acted on occasion with a surly lack of
generosity that goes far to atone for the brutal persecution by the
Royalist party of a man like Prynne. In 1644, when Colonel Morris was
besieged in Pontefract, we read in the diary of Nathan Drake that "the
enemy basely stayed all wine from coming to the Castle for serving of
the Communion upon Easter Day, although Forbus (their Governor) had
graunted p'tection for the same, and one Browne of Wakefield said if
it was for our damnation we should have it, but not for our
Solvation." Similarly, in Jersey, the Parliamentary Committee, of whom
Dean Bandinel was one, refused the dying Sir Philip the last
consolations of religion, and even (according to some accounts) the
presence of his wife. This, too, after an appeal so piteous as might
well have drawn

             iron tears down Pluto's cheek,
     And made Hell grant what Love did seek.

Send me Mr. La Cloche, implored the sick man, "to administer unto me
such comforts as are necessary and usual in these extremities, and
that you would permitt my poor wife to come unto me, to doe me that
last duty, as to close my eyes. The Lord forgive you, as I doe forgive
you all." One is glad to read, however, in the _Dictionary of National
Biography_, that Lady Carteret was in fact allowed to visit her
husband, though almost at his very last gasp. "When the flooring of
[St. Ouen's] church was altered 229 years afterwards, the body of Sir
Philip enclosed in a leaden shell was uncovered, when it was found by
the late Francis Le Maistre to be as white as wax, to have suffered
very little decay, and to measure 6 feet 4 inches."

Presently the "jade Fortune" changed her favours, and the island was
recovered for the King by Sir George Carteret, nephew and son-in-law
to its former Governor. Dean Bandinel and his son James, the Rector of
St. Mary's, were immediately clapped into prison in Mont Orgueil
Castle, in the same cell that had formerly been occupied by Prynne. It
does not appear that they were treated harshly, but Sir George was a
man of cruel severity, and it may well be that they dreaded his
further resentment. Anyhow, father and son resolved on a romantic
escape. At about three o'clock in the morning, on the stormy night of
February 10, 1644, they attempted to lower themselves from the window
of their cell by a rope made of knotted napkins, sheets, and pieces of
cord. "It is improbable that they had reconnoitred this place in the
daytime," says Durell, "for had they been aware of the great
elevation, they would never have made the attempt, as long as they
were in their senses." Durell wrote in 1837, when the Tour de Mont
(completed by Henry Paulet in 1553) was in existence for the whole of
its height. This is said to have been 200 feet high, and the place of
imprisonment of the Bandinels was immediately under its battlements.
The building was supposed to be dangerous, and is now pulled down to
its basement. Anyhow, when James Bandinel came to the bottom of the
rope--he was the first to venture on the perilous descent--he found it
was much too short. He allowed himself to drop on the rocks below, and
was seriously hurt by the fall. His father, still less fortunate, was
only halfway down, when the flimsy rope parted in two. He was thus
dashed to the earth from a much greater height than his son, and was
found lying there next morning in a dying condition. The son, after
wrapping his insensible old father in his cloak, had attempted to make
good his own escape. He was caught, however, a few days later, and
conducted back in triumph to his cell. That same day the gates of Mont
Orgueil had been opened to allow his father's body to be taken to the
grave. David Bandinel was buried in St. Martin's Churchyard, two miles
to the north-west of Mont Orgueil by the Faldouet road. I have
searched for his grave on the east side of the churchyard, but there
seems now to be no memorial, and the hawthorn that once marked it has
vanished. It is said, however, to be in close proximity to the
tombstones of Lucy and Mary Roche Jackson. His wife and son were
afterwards laid by his side.

  [Illustration: MOUNT ORGUEIL CASTLE, JERSEY.
   The name, meaning "Mount of Pride," is said to have been given to the
   castle after Sir Reginald de Carteret's successful defence of it
   against du Guesclin in 1374.]

Mont Orgueil was unsuccessfully besieged by the French under the
leadership of the Duc de Bourbon and the great Bertrand du Guesclin,
Marshal of France (whose splendid tomb may still be seen in the north
chapel of St. Laurent, at Le Puy), in 1374. It was in honour of this
achievement that it received its present name from Thomas, Duke of
Clarence, and brother of Henry V.

Looking southward from Mont Orgueil at low tide it is possible to
realize the extraordinary difficulties that attend the navigation of
the Jersey seas. The coast from this point to St. Aubin is flat, but
as far as eye can see the surface of the water is a vast archipelago
of broken rocks and reefs. Still farther out to sea is the hardly
submerged plateau of the Minquiers, with here and there a point that
just lifts above high water. There is a second stretch of low sandy
coast on the west of the island, at St. Ouen's Bay, guarded in its
turn by a second reef of rocks. Nor do these exhaust the possibilities
of coming to ruin on this iron coast. It is not without reason that
the steam-packets from England run in the daytime only in summer,
when the long light evenings give every opportunity of picking their
way through the narrow passages. The fate of the _Stella_ (on the
afternoon of Maunday Thursday, 1899), somewhere in the neighbourhood
of the terrible Casquets, is still too vivid in men's memories to need
re-telling. The exact point of striking is unknown. The _Stella_
settled down in the afternoon mist, and no man has ever traced her, or
identified her grave in "the vast and wandering" main.

Most that is best in Jersey is identified with its coast, except,
perhaps, for the archæologist, who will want to push a little inland,
to investigate the ancient churches of St. Mary, St. Lawrence, and St.
Peter. Inland, too, is the Prince's Tower, built on the Hougue-Hambye
in the eighteenth century. The mound is associated with a serpent
legend, that perhaps has points of contact with the well-known stories
of the Sockburn and Laidley "worms." The old chapel that adjoins it
was remodelled by Richard Mabon, Dean of Jersey, in 1525. He had
returned from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and constructed an
imitation of the Holy Sepulchre; just as Opice Adornes, a hundred
years earlier, had erected the Church of Jerusalem at Bruges.
Preserved in this now-deserted chapel is a font for the exact parallel
of which we shall look in vain in England, though analogous cases
occur in our country, and some precisely similar instances may be
found in France. Attached to the inside of the bowl is a smaller bowl,
which was probably meant to catch the drippings of the consecrated
water that ran off the baby's head. This is the ceremony demanded in
terms by the _Rituale Romanum_, as cited in Mr. F. Bond's beautiful
book on Fonts (p. 60): "Ne aqua ex infantis capite in fontem, sed vel
in sacrarium baptisterii prope ipsum fontem ex-structum defluat, aut
in aliquo vase ad hunc usum parato recepta, in ipsius baptisterii vel
in ecclesiæ sacrarium effundatur." Modern Roman Catholic fonts are now
often constructed in two separate partitions, and this is said to be
the origin of the plural _fonts baptismaux_, of such constant
occurrence in France.

Most of the interest of Jersey, however, except its fields of giant
cabbage-stalks, and its green lanes of quaint little pollarded trees,
will probably be found on the sea-coast, or near it. Let us, from Mont
Orgueil, set our faces to the west, calling, on our way towards
modern St. Helier, at the two ancient parish churches of Grouville and
St. Clement's. In Grouville churchyard are buried seven soldiers who
fell in a skirmish with a detachment of the French who had been left
behind by Rullecourt, when he landed on this spot and advanced on St.
Helier on January 6, 1781. Grouville church itself has little
interest. Like other churches in the island, it is built of granite,
and has windows with good Flamboyant tracery, except where this last
has been cut away for the insertion of ugly "church-warden" sashes. It
possesses, however, in the south wall of the south chapel, a very
curious feature, the object of which is obscure. This is a niche on
the level of the floor, with a late segmental head, and with what
seems a broken cavity in the lower part at the back. I do not know
whether this was once used as an oven for baking the sacramental
wafer, such as those that are sometimes thought to have been found in
the Surrey churches of Limpsfield, Nutfield, and Dunsfold. St.
Clement's, a mile to the south, and lying off the direct road to St.
Helier, should be visited for the sake of its ancient wall-paintings.
One of these exhibits St. Michael; another St. Margaret of Antioch,
emerging from the body of the dragon, who had vainly tried to swallow
her; and another St. Barbara of Heliopolis, standing near her tower.
Still more interesting are the scanty relics of the "Trois Vifs" and
the "Trois Morts"--the legend of the three Kings, who, when hunting in
the forest, were suddenly confronted by three open graves, or by three
hideous skeletons. The classical instance of this morality is in the
Campo Santo at Pisa; and there is another fine example, in a kind of
vestry, on the south side of the great abbey-church of St. Riquier,
near Abbeville. It was altogether rather a favourite subject with
medieval, religious artists, not less than twenty-three examples being
recorded in England by Mr. Keyser, as well as one at Ste. Marie du
Chastel, in Guernsey. It must not be confounded with the parallel
"Dance of Death," of which there are only five recorded instances, in
addition to the one at old St. Paul's. There is still a grand example
of this last on the back of the north choir stalls, in the strange old
abbey-church of La Chaise Dieu, in Central France.

St. Helier, we have hinted, is a somewhat tedious town; by which we
mean only that the place contains few objects of special interest,
and is a trifle too large and urban for so very small an island. No
doubt some of its aspects are agreeable enough. The parish church is a
restored building of small architectural interest, but contains the
grave of the gallant Major Pierson, who fell in Jersey, in 1781, in
the conflict with the French in the Royal Square. His adversary,
Rullecourt, who also perished, is buried on the north of the
churchyard. Rullecourt landed to the east of St. Helier during the
night of January 5, and took the town by a sudden assault. The
Governor, Major Moses Corbet, was captured in his bed; and was forced
to sign a capitulation, as well as an order to Major Pierson to
surrender the troops in his charge. Pierson, however, charged the
enemy in the Royal Square, where they had barricaded themselves, and
fell at the first assault. Undeterred by the loss of their leader, the
Jersey soldiers and militia-men continued fighting, and cleared the
French from the town. St. Helier possesses yet other claims to
historical distinction, in the mystery of James de la Cloche. This
last was the eldest illegitimate son of Charles II., and is known to
have been a Jerseyman. His story has recently attracted much
attention; and Mr. Andrew Lang, in his _Valet's Tragedy_, once even
went so far as to suggest that de la Cloche was "The Man with the Iron
Mask." This theory he afterwards abandoned; but it is still stoutly
maintained by Miss Edith Carey in her beautiful volume on the Channel
Islands. It is remarkable, indeed, that James de la Cloche disappears
finally from history after November 16, 1668, whilst "The Man with the
Iron Mask" makes his first appearance on the scene on July 19, 1669.
De la Cloche may also, when in London, have easily learned secrets
from his father, as to Romish plots, that imperilled the crown of
Charles II., and may well have caused anxiety to Louis XIV. "Doubts,"
says Miss Carey, "may be cast on a theory which involves an apparently
affectionate father consigning his son to a living tomb, and a King of
France spending money and trouble to keep a King of England's secret.
But in reply it must be urged that Charles's conduct is consistent
with all we read in history respecting his cowardly selfishness. In
reply to complaints made to him of Lauderdale's cruelty in Scotland,
he said: 'I perceive that Lauderdale has been guilty of many bad
things against the people of Scotland, but I cannot find out that he
has acted against my interests.'"

Charles' headquarters, when a boy in Jersey, were in Elizabeth Castle,
whither he was sent by his father for greater safety in 1646. Later in
the same year he left for Fontainebleau, but returned to the Channel
Islands in September, 1649. In the meanwhile the elder Charles had
perished on the scaffold at Whitehall; and Jersey, unlike Guernsey,
still loyalist to the core, was one of the few places--Pontefract
Castle, in Yorkshire, was another--where his son was immediately
proclaimed as King, on February 17, 1649. Elizabeth Castle itself is
another of those picturesque places of semi-insulation that are not
uncommon among historical sites--Holy Island, and the two Mounts St.
Michael, are other famous examples. At time of low water it is
picturesquely approached by a rough and rocky causeway across the
sands; but the building itself has been greatly altered, and presents
very little archæological interest.

From St. Helier westward, round the half-moon curve of St. Aubin Bay,
past West Park, Millbrook, and Beaumont, is now largely a crescent of
continuous houses. St. Aubin's itself is a picturesque little
watering-place, with far greater natural advantages than its bigger
neighbour. Immediately to the south of the town begins at once the
fine, red line of granite cliffs, which, turning definitely westward
at Noirmont Point, continues, past Portelet and St. Brelade's Bays, to
the south-west corner of the island at Corbière Point. Portelet Bay is
a charming recess, with the rocky little Ile au Guerdain in its
centre. On the summit of this last is Janvrin's Tower. It is said that
Philippe Janvrin, returning home from Nantes, then desolated with
plague, was forced to undergo quarantine in this bay in 1721; and that
here the poor wretch died within actual sight of home, but without
ever exchanging a word with his wife and children. He was buried at
first in the Ile au Guerdain, but afterwards removed to St. Brelade's
churchyard.

  [Illustration: LA CORBIÈRE LIGHTHOUSE, JERSEY.
   The white tower stands at the extremity of a particularly dangerous
   reef.]

St. Brelade's Bay, nearly two miles across, if we measure from Le Fret
to La Moye Point, is perhaps the most gracious on the Jersey coast.
The church has a very picturesque outline, with a saddle-backed tower
like that of St. Sampson's, in Guernsey. It was admirably restored a
few years ago, when the plaster was stripped from the vaulted roof
that is common to most old churches in the Channel Islands, and is
probably analogous to the vaulted roofs of the fortified churches of
Pembrokeshire. Mr. Bicknell, however, is wrong in saying that "the
interior walls ... look very dignified in their original condition."
Nothing is more certain than that medieval churches--at any rate in
cases where the walls are of rubble masonry--were plastered, and
commonly covered with wall-paintings. Such plastering and old
wall-painting may still be found at St. Brelade's in the Chapelle ès
Pécheurs, or Fishermen's Chapel, that remains in the parish
churchyard. These, according to Mr. Keyser, represent parts of two
Dooms or Final Judgments, Our Lord before Herod, an Annunciation, the
Assumption of the Virgin, and the Offering of the Magi. They probably
date from the fifteenth century, and the attendant makes them visible
by the simple expedient of throwing the light on them with a mirror.
The existence of this old chapel side by side with the parish
church--the same thing seems formerly to have happened at
Grouville--is a subject of curious inquiry. Chantrey chapels were
sometimes built in churchyards--there is still a fourteenth-century
example at Carew, in Pembrokeshire, and there was formerly one at
Newdigate, in Surrey--but these would be generally of later date;
whereas the Fishermen's Chapel is supposed to date from quite the
beginning of the twelfth century. In the grounds of the St. Brelade's
Hotel is an ancient cross of the kind that is stated by Mr. Bicknell
formerly to have "stood at nearly every place where four cross roads
met in the island."

  [Illustration: THE NEEDLE ROCK, GRÈVE AU LANÇON, JERSEY.]

The walk across the south coast of Jersey, from Mont Orgueil to the
Corbière, taking the train for the four dull miles, where there is
nothing to see, between St. Helier and St. Aubin, will probably almost
exhaust, except for the archæologist of the Dry-as-Dust school, the
artificial attractions of the island of Jersey. Of course, there are
other antiquities to see: St. Ouen's Manor, for example, now recently
restored, and the ancient house of the Carterets; the cromlechs at
Gorey and the Coupéron; and the seven old churches that we have not
yet visited. But when we have seen the wall-paintings at St. Brelade's
and St. Clement's; have inspected Elizabeth Castle, and the curious
font at Prince's Tower; and, above all, have made every stick and
stone of Mont Orgueil our own treasured possession, it will be time
for most of us to turn our attention, less to the artificial
attractions of Jersey, than to its wonderful natural beauties. It is
lucky that these lie mostly on the north coast, which is well out of
reach of St. Helier. It would be sad indeed if this silent succession
of bays, stretching in stern sublimity from Grosnez Point to the long
useless breakwater on the south of Fliquet Bay, were infested with
tea-gardens, and boarding-houses, and villas. For this twelve miles of
coast is both wholly unspoilt, and one of the loveliest imaginable.
Brakes, no doubt, in the season, with their hordes of jolly trippers,
invade for a few hours the sacred silences of Grève de Lecq and Rozel
Bay. These, however, are limited to definite times and places; nor
will it be hard for the quiet lover of Nature to evade their unwelcome
gaieties. Every inch of this glorious stretch of coast should be
walked over, if possible; should often be revisited; and should be
lingered over lovingly. Where else have these rose-red cliffs a
counterpart, jutting out into the bluest, or most emerald, of seas,
and haunted by myriads of clanging sea-fowl, unless it be on the
borders of lost Lyonesse? Waters that rest on a granite bed are always
of amazing translucency--

     Pleased to watch the waters sleep,
     Round Iona green and deep--

and those that never rest round the igneous cliffs of Jersey are no
exception to this beautiful rule. Here and there, of course, the
explorer will come across some special point of interest, though the
coast, to be enjoyed at its best, must always be enjoyed as a whole.
At Grève de Lecq is a cave to visit which thoroughly entails some very
rough scrambling, and some rather giddy climbing up an almost vertical
cliff. Less than two miles to the east, as the crow flies--it adds to
the distance enormously to follow all the sinuosities of this deeply
indented coast--is the Creux-du-Vis, or Devil's Hole--one of those
strange, roofless caverns, connecting with the sea by a tunnel through
which the tide ebbs and flows, but set back some little distance from
the margin of the cliff, that are found again in Sark, in the Creux
Derrible and Pot. In many respects they resemble the famous
"pot-holes" that occur in the mountain limestone of the Craven
district in North-West Yorkshire, though their origin, it is clear, is
wholly different. Creux, of course, is connected with the French
_creuser_, to dig; and "derrible," which has nothing whatever to do
with "terrible," is an old Norman word, unknown to modern French, that
really expresses the same idea: "Cavité d'un rocher formée par un
éboulement de terre, attenant à un précipice." "Creux" is used again
of artificial cromlechs. East of the Creux-du-Vis is the Mouriers
Waterfall, where a little stream leaps down the rocks into the sea.
The path along the cliff is rather giddy, and those who take it must
remember that a slip may be followed by fatal consequences, like the
accident that happened to Mrs. Guille, in 1871, at the Gouffre, in
Guernsey. The steep grass slopes in spring are plentifully sprinkled
with the dainty yellow blossoms of the little wild narcissus. Beyond
Sorel Point comes suddenly the deep hollow of La Houle, guarded by
granite cliffs of sheer sublimity; and beyond this, in long
succession, round innumerable intervening points, come Mourier, and
Bonne Nuit, and Giffard, and Bouley, and Rozel, and Fliquet Bays. A
week may well be spent, and more than a week, in leisurely exploration
of this gloriously broken coast. Or the visitor who has less energy,
or is weary of much scrambling, may sit here day after day in the
sunshine, on promontory or cliff, watching the "blind wave" at its
never-ending business of "feeling round its ocean hall." There are
less pleasant ways than this of spending a summer holiday for those
whose brains are fagged by weeks of dull work in London. And always
across the water, far-seen on the dim horizon, are the faint grey
lines of the Cotentin, and the cliffs of fairy-like Sark.



  [Illustration: THE PEA STACKS (TAS DE POIS), JERBOURG, GUERNSEY.
   Isolated and wall-sided masses of rock of this type are typical of
   the Channel Islands.]



CHAPTER II

GUERNSEY


Jersey, with larger acreage and a bigger population, is content to
form a kingdom by itself; Guernsey is fain to ally itself with its
immediate neighbour, Sark, and even seek bonds of union with Alderney,
twenty miles away. The diversity maintained jealously in these little
islands, which an Englishman is too hastily accustomed to regard in a
lump, is complex and even amusing. Just a few trivial details must
suffice. In Guernsey the toad is altogether unknown, except for some
few stuffed specimens in the Guille-Allès Museum; whereas Jersey
exhibits an exaggerated species that is supposed to be quite peculiar
to itself. The mole, again, though common in Jersey and Alderney, is
unknown in Guernsey, though the last has a field-vole of its own.
Guernsey, in fact, is supposed to have become an island at least
14,000 years ago, whilst Jersey was torn asunder from France not
more than 3,000 years before Christ. Guernsey thus received only the
Continental fauna that flourished at the period of its final
insulation. All the islands, like Iceland, are exempt from poisonous
snakes. In domestic animals, again, the distinction is strongly
marked. Jersey has a picturesque cow of its own, mottled white and
yellow, placid, and rather big. Guernsey, on the other hand, has a
smaller breed of cattle, much more wiry in movement, and a kind of
tawny red. Beasts from Guernsey and Alderney are allowed to
inter-breed, but the Jersey cattle are looked on as undesirable
aliens, and sternly prohibited from the sister State. In all three
instances the cattle are tethered when at pasture, as happens also in
some parts of France. The animal, thus driven to forage in a circle,
perhaps crops the ground more closely than when free to range at will.

  [Illustration: MOULIN HUET, GUERNSEY.
   A particularly attractive bay on the southern side of the island.]

Guernsey, whatever were its merits half-a-hundred years ago, will now,
perhaps, be found the dullest of the Channel Islands. Owing to the
frenzy for intensive cultivation, the inland parts of the island are
now literally covered with glass. Acre after acre of ugly rows of
hothouses have displaced over most of the interior what once were
pleasant fields. Attached to each such settlement is an ugly concrete
house, and each has a skeleton iron windmill, for pumping up water,
that completes the repellent aspect of the scene. The writer has
travelled over most of the island on foot to explore its twelve old
churches, and investigate its coast. Frankly, he is driven to put on
record that he found it a dismal task. Features, of course, remain of
interest and beauty, if one is willing to walk about in blinkers, and
seldom raise one's eyes above the ground. The old, granite-built
farmhouses, standing back, as a rule, but a little from the road, are
uncommon, and extremely picturesque. Inland Guernsey, again, possesses
one single glory that is almost unknown in Jersey. Everywhere in the
island, commencing even with the very suburbs of St. Peter Port
itself, the low, green, sod walls that divide the little fields are
covered with millions of saffron primroses. Such a wealth of primroses
I have never seen elsewhere--not even in the remotest lanes of the
Surrey or Sussex Wealds. How the primrose has survived in such
excessive fertility, with so huge a population, and with such bitter
cultivation, is a problem easily stated, but not very easily solved.
Whether it is likely long to survive is a question one fears to ask.
In Sark, again, the primrose--though here it is no marvel--carpets the
ground like daisies on a "wet bird-haunted English lawn"; like
daisies, too, in Switzerland, the stalks of the Sark primrose grow to
remarkable length. But as soon as we cross to Jersey--and when the
writer noted this strong contrast, he crossed directly from Guernsey
to Jersey, and almost directly from Jersey to Sark--the primrose is
seen no more by thousands in the hedge-side. The only spot where I
have noticed it growing in profusion in the larger island was on the
prehistoric "hougue" at Prince's Tower.

Guernsey, however, though thus irritatingly spoilt in its
interior--for the visitor comes to see beautiful scenery, and not to
assist at a horticultural triumph--still possesses in its south coast
a feature of distinction that neither recklessness nor greed of money
has so far been able to spoil. It also possesses in St. Peter Port a
capital so pleasant, and withal so picturesque, that it makes one
desiderate all the more keenly the beautiful environment in which it
was once set. Approaching this port in the early morning light, the
colour and grouping of the little town seem almost fantastically
correct. Surely this more resembles an imaginary sketch than a city
actually realized in this commonplace, workaday world. St. Peter's
Church, in the middle of the picture, has just the required outline,
and is set in just the right place. The tall, brown houses behind it,
with their mellow red roofs, are of just the right colour, and in just
the right number. The new church of St. Barnabas is just rightly
designed, and is built just exactly where it ought to be built. And
lastly, the wooded amphitheatre behind all, with its sprinkling of
white villas, is just neither more nor less than such a background
ought to be. A composition like this on the drop-scene of a theatre
would scarcely surprise us, but here we rub our eyes. We land; and the
cheerful anticipation of the sea-view is hardly hurt at all by contact
with actual fact. A pleasanter little town than this, or more full of
bustling happiness, is not readily conceived. Darker aspects no doubt
are there, but they do not obtrude on the casual view.

Castle Cornet, immediately on our left as we approach the harbour,
holds much the same position to St. Peter Port as Elizabeth Castle
holds to St. Helier. Castle Cornet, indeed, is connected with the
mainland by a causeway; but as a building it is equally uninteresting.
In fact, the only object of antiquarian interest in St. Peter Port is
the old parish church, so conspicuous on the quay. This has a central
tower, with a good leaded spire, that is luckily not twisted like the
leaded spire at Chesterfield. At the side is a small cote for the
sanctus bell, exactly as at Barnstaple, in Devonshire. More frequently
these cotes were placed on the east gable of the nave, whilst at
Oxenton, in Gloucestershire, the sanctus bell swings to the present
day in a curious little opening high up on the south face of the
fifteenth-century tower. It is possible, too, or even probable, that
the curious "low-side" windows--once absurdly called "leper
windows"--which generally occur, when they occur at all, towards the
south-west corner of the chancel, were used to enable the sanctus bell
to be rung through their opening by hand. On the ringing of this bell
the passer-by would bow his head in reverential awe, just as the
peasants in Millet's picture bow their heads at the ringing of the
Angelus. Inside, the chief feature of St. Peter's Church is the
strangeness of the nave arcades, the arches of which spring from
piers that are only two or three feet high. Notice also the Flamboyant
tracery of the windows, so typical of the Channel Islands, and the
very striking piscina in the south aisle of the choir.

Historically the chief interest of Guernsey is comparatively recent,
and centres round the residence here of Victor Hugo. After the _Coup
d'État_ Hugo settled first in Jersey, where he occupied a house in
Marine Terrace. But the English Government, which maintained friendly
relations with the new French Imperialism, pleased him little better
than that of his native land. His conduct, indeed, was as wantonly
tactless as that of an earlier fellow-poet. If Shelley flaunted his
tract on the _Necessity of Atheism_ in the face of grave clerical dons
at Oxford, Hugo and his comrades were equally reckless when they
imagined that _la justice_ or _la verité_ were wronged. "Encore un
pas," cried this enthusiast bravely, "et l'Angleterre sera une annexe
de l'Empire français, et Jersey un canton de l'arrondissement de
Coutances." The occasion of this outbreak was the banishment of three
of his compatriots from the island in 1855. "Et maintenant," thundered
the poet in retort, "expulsez nous." Whether he intended it or not,
he was taken at his word. The protest was written on October 17, 1855,
and Friday, November 2, 1855, saw the expulsion of the whole band, 33,
who had signed the defiant document. Hugo at once removed to St.
Peter Port, and established himself there in Hauteville House. Here he
resided from 1855 to 1870, when Sedan rendered possible his return to
France, and the house still belongs to his family. To the Guernsey
visitor it is now a place of pious pilgrimage, not less than that
other old house, in Paris, in the charming Place des Vosges. Much of
the furniture and fittings remains almost exactly as he left them
fifty years ago, and much is of real historic interest. Thus a table
in the Red Dining-room once belonged to Charles II. of England; whilst
a fire-screen was worked by Madame Pompadour, and some bead-work
belonged to Queen Christina of Sweden. From the upper windows it is
possible to enjoy the same lovely view towards Sark, with Jethou and
Herm in the middle distance, that is got from all the upper parts of
St. Peter Port--as, for instance, from the grounds of the Priaulx
Library, or from the gardens of the Old Government House Hotel.

It is pleasanter to picture Victor Hugo at Guernsey, writing here his
novel, _Les Travailleurs de la Mer_--the scene of which is laid at
Torteval, in the extreme south-west corner of the island--and always
looking longingly towards the invisible shores of France, than to
dwell on certain other episodes in the history of the island, which,
however disagreeable, cannot lightly be put aside. The tale of Bailiff
Gaultier de la Salle, though wholly misconceived, will not quickly be
displaced from its niche in island tradition. He is said to have
resided in the Ville au Roi, though it is hardly likely that the house
now pointed out as his is really as old as the fourteenth century. A
neighbour called Massey had an easement to draw water which took him
in front of the Bailiff's windows. Annoyed at this invasion of his
treasured privacy, Gaultier laid a trap to get rid of the intruder.
Doubtless he had read the old history of Joseph, and of the silver cup
that was hidden in the corn-sack of Benjamin. But Gaultier's intention
was far less kindly, and he concealed the two silver cups in Massey's
wheat-rick in order that Massey might be accused of their theft. Here
is some deep confusion in the story, for we should naturally have
expected that the discovery of the wine-cups would be made the
machinery for fixing the crime on the victim. Why else should the cups
be hidden in Massey's wheat-rick, when they might easily have been
hidden in some much surer place? Anyhow, the Bailiff, suborning
perjured evidence, fixed so black a case on Massey that the Judge
pronounced sentence of death. Then, at the last moment, there burst
into the court-house a witness who had found the cups that very
morning in taking down the rick. Whatever evidence had procured the
condemnation of Massey might well have seemed quadrupled by this new
and damning fact. But the inconsistent story makes the Bailiff exclaim
in anger: "Thou wretch, did I not tell thee not to touch that rick?"
Convicted thus by the words of his own mouth, the Bailiff was sent to
the self-same death as he had schemed for a fellow-citizen. The place
of his execution--an oblong recess in the wall, not unlike those in
which road-makers break stones--is still pointed out at the
"Friquet-au-Gibet"; and a rudely-scratched cross on the pavement near
at hand indicates the spot where the criminal received his last
Communion on the way to the gallows. Miss Edith Carey styles this
story "pure invention," and thinks that it "is probably derived from
a confused recollection of the doings and motives of the rival 'wicked
Bailiff' of Jersey, Hoste Nicolle." There was really, however, as Miss
Carey establishes, a Gaultier (Walter) de la Salle, who was condemned
to death in 1320 for having assisted in imprisoning a certain Ranulph
Gaultier in Castle Cornet, "and there wickedly killing him by various
tortures."

  [Illustration: HERM AND JETHOU FROM GUERNSEY.
   These two little islands add greatly to the picturesqueness of the
   scenery of the eastern shores of Guernsey.]

Another dark picture, and unhappily more authentic, is the burning,
with attendant circumstances of extraordinary brutality, of three poor
heretic women, by order of Dean Amy and Bailiff Helier Gosselin, on
July 18, 1556. The mother, Katherine Cauches, was tied to a stake in
the middle, with a married daughter on either hand--Guillemine Gilbert
and Perotine Massey. An attempt was made to strangle them before the
faggots were lighted--a merciful privilege that was also extended to
women in executions for "petty treason"--but one of them, at least,
fell alive into the fire. This poor wretch, Perotine Massey, the wife
of a Protestant pastor, was delivered of a baby in the middle of the
flames. The child was rescued from the burning by a man called House,
but cast back again by order of the Bailiff. This repulsive
incident is preserved by Foxe, and is interwoven by Tennyson in _Queen
Mary_:

                             Sir, in Guernsey,
     I watch'd a woman burn; and in her agony,
     The mother came upon her--a child was born--
     And, sir, they hurl'd it back into the fire.

St. Peter Port is an admirable centre from which to visit every
quarter of the compact little island; but, indeed, as already
adumbrated, there is but little in Guernsey (except for the
antiquarian) that is really worth seeing outside its capital, except
the south coast. St. Sampson's may be visited for its picturesque
church, which is one of the oldest and most interesting on the island.
The road by which we gain it is so ugly--one continued line of
houses--that no one need hesitate to use the electric tram, which was
one of the earliest of its kind in the British dominions. It is hardly
worth while to get out on the way to visit the poor remains of Ivy
Castle: the situation of the ruins is unusually unpicturesque, and the
ruins themselves are uninteresting. Opposite St. Sampson's itself,
across the busy little harbour, is the rather better ruin of Vale
Castle. This would be exceedingly pleasant to look on, were it not
for the mammoth granite-quarries that pave the streets of
Westminster, but effectually disfigure what were once the charms of
Guernsey. The Castle itself, like Ivy Castle, is little more than a
shell; in fact, the latter has the additional credit of what is
possibly a chapel, with a rudely vaulted stone roof. Ivy Castle,
moreover, boasts at least authentic pedigree, having first been
built--if the date be really right--by Robert, Duke of Normandy,
before the Norman Conquest; whereas of the origin of Vale Castle
practically nothing is known. Its ancient title, Le Château de St.
Michel l'Archange, is perhaps responsible for the tradition that it
was built by monks from Mont St. Michel as a place of protection for
the neighbouring priory in case of a sudden invasion. From Vale
Castle, if we like, we may cross the island--here less than a couple
of miles broad--to Vale Church, built on the edge of what was once a
sea-creek, but has long since silted up, or been reclaimed. It is
pleasanter, however, to follow round the coast, past Bordeaux Harbour,
and across breezy L'Ancresse Common, especially as this takes us past
the L'Autel de Déhus, and the L'Autel des Vardes, the two finest
remaining dolmens in the Channel Islands. The finest of all is
supposed to have been that which was discovered behind St. Helier in
1785, and which was "unanimously voted" to the then Governor, Marshal
Conway, "in a moment of enthusiasm." The Marshal, unfortunately, in
another moment of enthusiasm, carried it off and re-erected it at his
country seat in Berkshire. These Channel Island dolmens are of wholly
different type from the familiar cromlechs of the mushroom pattern of
Kits Coty House, near Aylesford, or of Pentre Evan, in Pembrokeshire.
They are, in fact, considerable, stone-built, subterranean
burial-chambers, with traces in some instances of a long succession of
interments. The islanders call them "pouquelayes"; which is derived by
Miss Carey from either the Celtic _pwca_, a fairy, and _lies_, a
place, or from _pouq_, an excavation, and _lekh_, a stone. In this
connection it is interesting that they are supposed to be haunted by
fairies--one is called the Creux des Fées, and another the Roche à la
Fée--who are supposed to "bring ill-luck on those who interfere with
them, a fact which has saved many of them from the spoiler." "The
restorer, however," adds Mr. Bicknell dryly, "has unfortunately not
been idle, and the Little People do not appear to have found a
punishment to 'fit the crime' in this case." Unhappily the same must
be admitted in the case of the navvies employed on the harbour works
in Alderney, who "amused themselves by smashing up all the megaliths
that they could lay their hands on." Many of the relics from these
cist-vaens--bones and pottery--have found their way into the Lukis
Museum at St. Peter Port.

Vale church itself, not far from the Grand Havre, and in a flat,
unlovely neighbourhood, is possibly the most interesting,
architecturally, in the island. The chancel arch should be noticed,
with its chevron ornament; the chancel, vaulted in two compartments (in
contrast with the rude, pointed vaults of most of the other churches);
the piscina in the aisle; and the wall arcade. Another striking
feature is the brackets for images on the columns of the arcade,
between the nave and its aisle. A series like this is uncommon; though
there is a group of churches in West Yorkshire--sometimes supposed to
have been built by the Tempest family--Kirkby Malham is the
finest--which has traces of canopied niches in the same position. The
finest single niche that the writer knows of this kind is on the
south side of the nave in the fine, fifteenth-century church of
Lechlade, in Gloucestershire. Towards the west end of the churchyard
is another tumble-down dolmen. Thus Christians of the twentieth
century are buried in the same soil that received the bones of their
neolithic ancestors no one knows how many thousands of years ago.

  [Illustration: A FIELD OF CHRYSANTHEMUMS IN GUERNSEY.
   The climate encourages the growing of flowers, and the northern half
   of the island is mostly devoted to this industry.]

Though Vale is not uninteresting, it is with a feeling of relief that
one turns one's back on this north corner of the island that once
perhaps was so beautiful, but is now so hopelessly spoilt. The glory
of Guernsey, as already stated, is now wholly confined to its south
coast. Moulin Huet is a gracious bay, too well known from photographs
to need further description; whilst the little Saints Bay to the west
of it--a shrine within a shrine--is almost equally charming. Westward
from Icart Point, itself a splendid promontory, the coast sweeps round
in another great curve to La Moye Point; beyond which, again, to
Pleinmont, at the south-west corner of the island, the cliffs, though
everywhere deeply indented, continue, on the whole, a more uniform
direction. The great hollow between Icart and La Moye Points is
apparently nameless, unless it be Icart Bay. There is no authoritative
Ordnance map of the Channel Islands, to which one might adhere
whether right or wrong; and the best map of Guernsey with which I am
acquainted, in the late Mr. C. B. Black's guide-book, gives the name
Icart to the eastern recess of the great main bay, and Petit Bot and
Portelet to the two small recesses to the west of it. Anyhow, Petit
Bot is the most secret and intimate of the three, and entirely
picturesque with its disused mill and martello tower. This is one of
the points on the coast to which the chars-à-bancs descend from St.
Peter Port; and the drive down the glen by which we approach it is
delightful. The next calling point is Le Gouffre, just beyond La Moye
Point, which here runs out into the sea in long ribs of warm red
granite. Here the cars generally halt for a couple of hours, whilst
the tripper feasts on lobster in the pleasant little inn. The Gouffre
may be taken as roughly the centre of the grand seven miles of cliff
line of this splendid south coast. The section hence to the west is
less frequently explored, though the picturesque cave of the Creux
Mahie, again roughly halfway, is often paid a visit, and is well worth
visiting. Pleinmont and Torteval come into the "Toilers of the Deep";
and this corner of the island, the farthest of all from St. Peter
Port, is luckily less injured than the rest. The north-west coast of
Guernsey, from Pleinmont Point to Vale, past the huge sweeping
hollows--some of them singularly symmetrical--of Rocquaine, Perelle,
Vazon, and Cobo Bays, is chiefly a matter of rocky beach and of slight
elevations shelving down in gentle declivity to the sea. The
glass-houses, moreover, which have languished much at Torteval,
flourish again in amazing vigour as we draw near Cobo Bay. There are
two points of interest, however, in this corner of the island that
justify even the dull, direct journey by which we approach them from
St. Peter Port. The first of these is the little Chapel of St.
Apolline, which is stated in all the guide-books, on documentary
evidence, to have been founded by Nicolas Henry in 1394, or
thereabouts. Even documentary evidence, in architectural matters, is
not always to be trusted. Only the day before writing these lines the
writer was re-visiting the Lady Chapel at St. Albans Cathedral, which
is said to have been built--again on documentary evidence--_circa_
1310; though the Inventory lately published by the Royal Commission on
Historical Monuments adds cautiously: "The tracery of these windows
... is very advanced in character for the date." The tracery, indeed,
is so advanced, if the date be really right, as hopelessly to confuse
all previously held notions as to the systematic evolution of English
architecture. That the building was at any rate finished by this date
is altogether incredible. I notice that the late Lord Grimthorpe, in
his pugnacious little handbook, after setting out the evidence from
the Abbey Records, adds significantly, "but the style of the windows
suggests a much later date." And the case is much the same with this
Chapel of St. Apolline. On October 13, 1392, Nicolas Henry received
permission from the monastery of Mont St. Michel, in Normandy, to
alienate certain fields to provide an endowment for the Chapel of
Notre Dame de la Perelle, _which he had recently erected_; and in an
Act of the Royal Court, dated June 6, 1452, we come across the phrase,
"La Chapelle de Notre Dame de la Perelle appellée la Chapelle Sainte
Apolline." Certainly the identification seems complete. On the other
hand, the writer believes that no one visiting this chapel who has
previously read Professor Baldwin Brown's beautiful volume on Saxon
Architecture--and it so happened that the writer paid his first visit
to the Channel Islands almost immediately after its perusal--can fail
to detect in this building quite a number of _criteria_ that are there
set out as indicating, at any rate in England, a pre-Conquest era of
building. Unfortunately I have kept no note of these features, but the
impression then made on my mind is vivid. I may, of course, be wrong;
but it seems to me at least possible that we have here the solitary
survivor--far older than the Fishermen's Chapel at St. Brelade's in
Jersey--of those many chapels that are known to have been built in the
Channel Islands in the eighth and ninth centuries by the successors of
St. Magloire.

  [Illustration: THE COUPÉE, SARK.
   A romantic and almost terrifying pathway among the precipitous rocks
   of the island.]

The other point of interest in the neighbourhood of L'Erée is the
rocky islet of Lihou, approached by a causeway across the sands, or
more properly the rocks, but only at low tide. Here are the scanty
fragments of the Priory and Chapel of Notre Dame de la Roche,
apparently a cell to the monastery of Mont St. Michel, which seems to
have had so much to do with the spiritual matters of the Channel
Islands. The tide at St. Michael's Mount is said to rush up across the
level sands more quickly than the fleetest horse can gallop, and
visitors to Lihou will be well advised to remember that here again
its onset is unexpected and swift. At L'Erée village is another
dolmen, the Creux des Fées, to which passing allusion has already been
made. St. Peter's Church in this neighbourhood--in full, St. Pierre du
Bois--is perhaps the handsomest, though not necessarily the most
interesting, of all the twelve churches in the island, and exhibits
some Flamboyant work of a very pleasing character.



CHAPTER III

ALDERNEY, SARK, AND THE LESSER ISLANDS


Hitherto, in dealing with the two larger of the Channel Islands, we
have found their claims to natural beauty in their coasts. The
interior of Jersey is no doubt pleasant, with its lush-green valleys
running north and south, with its quiet little villages, and with its
never-ending potato-fields. The interior of Guernsey, on the other
hand, is frankly hideous, save here and there a cottage, or a
picturesque old farm, hidden in the folding of some safely secluded
dell. But in both cases alike the real distinction of the island is
limited to cliffs that for warmth of colour and strangeness of
contortion can surely be paralleled in Cornwall alone. Sark, on the
contrary, is almost wholly coast; the interior in comparison is a
negligible quantity! And almost as much may be said of Alderney. Both
these islands are exceedingly small--Sark being only a trifle more
than three miles in length, and about one and three-quarters of a mile
in breadth (measuring, not precisely from east to west, but at right
angles to the axis); and Alderney being about three and a half miles
in length, from north-east to south-west, and one and a quarter miles
in breadth. Alderney is undoubtedly the less beautiful of the two, and
is probably by far the least frequently visited of all the different
members of the Norman archipelago. The voyage from St. Peter Port, in
a very small boat, and made only two or three times in a week, is
dreaded, and not without reason, by those for whom rough seas have no
welcome. Alderney, again, is the least foreign of the Channel Islands
in local colour, though nearest France in situation; and here the old
Norman patois has been entirely replaced by English. It possesses in
its capital, St. Anne, a small, old-fashioned country town that is
wholly without parallel anywhere else in the islands. The harbour is
at Braye, a short mile north from the centre of the town; and the
visitor, in strong contrast with what happens at Sark, is landed in
the least romantic corner of the island. Of the old church nothing now
remains but a picturesque tower, and even this does not seem to be
mediæval. The new church was erected from designs by Sir Gilbert
Scott, and is, perhaps, the most striking modern building in the
Channel Islands. The interior of Alderney, or Aurigny, to use the
French form--

     Her crew hath seen Castile's black fleet, beyond Aurigny's isle--

is strongly individualized, and rather wild and remote. One feels at
once that this little island has a flavour of its own--a state of
things no longer felt among the villadom and glass-houses of Guernsey.
The strength of Alderney, however, lies chiefly in its west and south
coasts; no one would visit the island except to visit these, or unless
one happened to be an enthusiast for the world's neglected and
inaccessible spots. I do not know how far the barbarous quarrying that
was projected some six or seven years ago on the south side of the
island has since been carried out, or how far it has injured the
amenities of the coast. Anyhow, the Two Sisters, towards the
south-west corner of the island, are hardly to be rivalled in their
splintered grandeur, even in Jersey or Sark.

To Sark we come at last in our long exploration of the Channel
Islands, and for Sark we may well be content to have waited patiently,
and to have wandered far. For this, by universal acclamation, is
certainly the gem of the whole group. Already we have often seen it in
the distance--a long, level line of cliff (save where broken by the
Coupée)--from the north coast of Jersey, or from the piers at St.
Peter Port. Now, as we approach it more closely, threading the narrow
strait between Herm and Jethou, and doubling the cliffs of Little Sark,
at the south corner of the island, this hitherto unbroken, monotonous
wall begins to resolve itself into an infinity of broken cliffs and
promontories, isolating and half concealing a thousand fairy-like
bays. Surely nowhere else is another coast like this--everywhere so
irregular in its general trend and outline--everywhere so deeply
bitten into by the mordant unrest of the sea. Sark, we have said
already, is little else than coast; and certainly it is the coast
which first arrests and charms us, and the coast which lingers last
and most clearly in our memory, when other impressions begin to be
obliterated, or vanish altogether in the steady lapse of years. Not a
yard of this gracious girdle of cliff is monotonous, or repeats
itself, or is even grim (as parts of the coast of Alderney are grim),
or is relatively less interesting, or less beautiful, or dull;
everywhere and always it is singularly lovely, and everywhere and
always at the same high pitch. There is really very little to be said
about Sark, except that the whole island is beautiful throughout:
there is nothing to be gained by giving a long catalogue of successive
promontories, caves, and bays. It was thus that Olivia made a schedule
of her beauty--"_item_, two lips indifferent red; _item_, two grey
eyes, with lids to them; _item_, one neck, one chin, and so
forth"--and at the end of the inventory we have no better picture of
the real Olivia than before she was thus appraised in detail.

  [Illustration: THE SISTER ROCKS, ALDERNEY.
   This island is generally ignored by visitors to the group, but the
   quaint little town of St. Anne and the fine rocks at the southern end
   are quite worth seeing.]

The history of Sark, for so small an island, is unusually interesting,
and in some respects instructive. It is set out by Miss Carey in an
interesting chapter, and some of its episodes may be summarized here.
Sark, like its sister islands, must have been occupied by neolithic
man, for the remains of two poor dolmens still exist in the island,
and formerly, no doubt, there were very many more. St. Magloire, in
the sixth century, built a chapel and founded a small monastery in
the island, but apparently he found it unpopulated when first he
arrived. In the middle of the fourteenth century the island was
inhabited by a crew of lawless wreckers, who were a menace to the
navigation of the whole Manche. The merchants of Rye and Winchelsea
then put their heads together, and agreed to do by subtlety what they
could not effect by force. Landing on Sark with an armed force must
well-nigh have been impossible, till Helier de Carteret cut his tunnel
through the rocks, when he colonized the island in the reign of Queen
Elizabeth. The merchants, accordingly, constructed a piece of strategy
that may well have been borrowed from the Trojan horse, but in that
case was certainly invested with much ingenious detail of its own. The
story is told by Sir Walter Raleigh in his _History of the World_,
though, as Miss Carey points out, he postdates the incident by some
200 years, and describes it as having occurred to the crew of a
Flemish ship. "Yet by the industry of a gentleman of the _Netherlands_
[the island] was in this sort regained. He anchored in the Road with
one Ship, and, pretending the death of his Merchant, he besought the
_French_ that they might bury their Merchant in hallowed Ground, and
in the Chapel of that Isle.... Whereto (with Condition that they
should not come ashore with any Weapon, not so much as with a Knife),
the _French_ yielded. Then did the _Flemings_ put a coffin into their
Boat, not filled with a Dead Carcass, but with Swords, Targets, and
Harquebuzes. The French received them at their Landing, and, searching
everyone of them so narrowly as they could not hide a Penknife, gave
them leave to draw their Coffin up the Rocks with great difficulty....
The Flemings on the Land, when they had carried their Coffin into the
Chapel, shut the Door to them, and, taking their Weapons out of the
Coffin, set upon the French."

The final settlement of Sark--which the French call Serq--dates only
from the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when Helier de Carteret established
himself on the then deserted island, and planted there forty families,
whom he brought from his native Jersey. He also built a church, and
instituted a Presbyterian Vicar, Cosmé Brevint--being himself a
Presbyterian--who continued to hold office till his death in 1576,
being one who spared, or flattered, no one, "great or small, in his
reprehensions." It is rightly said that the constitution of Sark is
still largely feudal in character. The land is parcelled out into the
original forty holdings, and some of these are said still to be held
by descendants of the original holders. The lord of the island is
still the Seigneur, though the lordship has passed from the hands of
the de Carterets--it is said that they were compelled to part with it
by reason of their lavish expenditure on the thankless Stuart cause.
In the so-called "Battery" at the back of the Manor-House is one of
the old guns that were given by Elizabeth to Helier de Carteret. It is
inscribed, "Don de Sa Majesté la Royne Elizabeth, au Seigneur de Serq,
A.D. 1572."

Of the smaller islands of the Norman archipelago only a word or two
need be added here. Roughly halfway between Sark and Guernsey, and
separated from each other by a narrow passage that is difficult to
navigate by reason of its hidden rocks and surging tides, are the
small twin islands of Jethou and Herm. The latter is now occupied by a
German Prince, the great-grandson of the famous Prussian leader, the
exact place of whose meeting with Wellington after the field of
Waterloo--whether at Belle Alliance, or farther along the road towards
Genappe--has often been made the topic of historical discussion, and
is anyhow the subject of a well-known picture. Jethou is considerably
the smaller of the two, and is principally devoted to the purpose of a
rabbit-warren. In Herm are some remains of the old Chapel of St.
Tugual, incorporated with the outbuildings of the present manor-house.
Previous to 1770 Herm was inhabited by deer; and Mr. Bicknell tells us
that they "used to take advantage of the tide to swim over to the Vale
in Guernsey to feed, returning on the next tide." Certainly it is
lucky that there are now no deer in Herm, since they would not find
much pasture now at Vale.

Jethou and Herm belong to Guernsey, and once, no doubt, were
physically parts of it. As seen from St. Peter Port, with Sark dimly
descried on the distant horizon, they still contribute largely to
Guernsey's most charming seascape. Alderney and Sark, again, have each
their attendant isle. Jersey alone, though the biggest of them all, is
a planet without a satellite. The islet peculiar to Sark is Brecqhou,
or the Ile des Marchants, which lies off its west coast, and is
separated from it by the narrow Gouliot Strait, only a few hundred
yards wide. Though measuring more than seventy acres, and possessed of
a small landing-place, it is at present as innocent of human
habitation as was Sark itself immediately before the coming of Helier
de Carteret. Burhou is situated at a considerably greater distance to
the north-west of Alderney, from which it is separated by the
never-resting Swinge. This is, perhaps, the least visited among all
the lesser islands, as is Alderney itself among the major four.



INDEX


_The principal reference is given first after names_

     Alderney, 54, 32, 46, 53, 57, 61, 62

     Architecture, 8

     Amy, Dean, 42


     Bailiff Helier Gosselin, 42

     Bandinel, David, Dean, 13-16

     Bandinel, James, 16

     Bandinels and Carterets, quarrel of, 121

     Beaumont, 24

     Blücher, Prince, 60

     Bordeaux Harbour, 44

     Braye, Alderney, 54

     Brecqhou, 61

     Burhou, 62


     Cabbage-stalks, giant, 19

     Carteret, 5, 9

     Carteret, Helier de, 58, 59, 60, 62

     Carteret, Lady, 13, 14

     Carteret, Sir George, 15

     Carteret, Sir Philip de, 12, 13, 14

     Castle Cornet, 36, 37, 42

     Cattle, Guernsey, 33

     Chantrey chapels, 26

     Charles II., 22, 23, 24, 39

     Christina, Queen of Sweden, 39

     Civil War, the, 13

     "Clameur de Haro," 7

     Cloche, James de la, eldest illegitimate son of Charles II., 22

     Cobo Bay, 49

     Corbet, Major Moses, 22

     Corbière Point, 25, 27

     Coupée, the, Sark, 56

     Coutances, 5, 7

     Creux des Fées, 52, 45

     Creux-du-Vis, or Devil's Hole, 29

     Creux Mahie, 48

     Cromlechs, see Dolmens


     Dolmens, 27, 44, 45, 47, 52, 57

     Du Guesclin, Bertrand, 17


     Elizabeth Castle, 24, 13, 26, 36


     Font at Prince's Tower, Jersey, 19

     French language and patois, 6-7


     Gaultier de la Salle, Bailiff, 40, 42

     Gaultier, Ranulph, 42

     Gorey, 10

     Gouffre, the, 30, 48

     Gouliot Strait, 61

     Granite quarries, 44

     Grève de Lecq, 28, 29

     Grouville, 26

     Grouville, churches of, 20

     Guernsey, 30-61

     Guernsey, south coast of, 47

     Guillemine, Gilbert, 42


     Hauteville House, 39

     Henrietta Maria, Queen, 11

     Heretic-burning in Guernsey, 42

     Herm, 60, 61, 39

     Hugo, Victor, 38, 39, 40


     Icart Bay, 47

     Icart Point, 47

     Ile de Guerdain, 25

     Ile des Marchants, 61

     Intensive cultivation, 33

     "Iron Mask, Man with the," 23

     Ivy Castle, 43, 44


     Janvrin's Tower, 25

     Jersey, 5-31

     Jersey churches, 18

     Jersey, coast of, 28

     Jersey cows, 33

     Jethou, 61, 39, 60


     Kirkby Malham, 46

     Kit's Coty House, 45


     L'Ancresse Common, 44

     La Houle, 30

     La Moye Point, 25, 47, 48

     L'Erée, 51, 52

     Le Fret Point, 25

     Lihou, 51

     Louis XIV., 23

     Lukis Museum at St. Peter Port, 46


     Mabon, Richard, Dean of Jersey, 18

     Massey, Perotine, 42

     Millbrook, 24

     Minquiers, 17

     Mont Orgueil Castle, 5, 9-19, 27

     Mont St. Michel, 5, 24, 44, 50, 51

     Morris, Colonel, 13

     Moulin Huet, Guernsey, 47

     Mouriers Waterfall, 30


     Navigation of the Jersey Seas, 17

     Noirmont Point and Bay, 25

     Norman speech, relics of, 6, 54


     Old Government House Hotel, 39

     Old Priaulx Library, 39


     Perelle Bay, 49

     Petit Bot Bay, 48

     Pierson, Major, 22

     Pleinmont, 47, 48, 49

     Pompadour, Mme., 39

     Pontefract Castle, 13, 24

     Portelet Bay (Guernsey), 48

     Portelet Bay (Jersey), 25

     Primroses in Guernsey and Sark, 34, 35

     Prince's Tower, Jersey, 18, 27, 35

     Priory of Notre Dame de la Roche, 51

     Prynne, William, 11, 13, 15


     Raleigh, Sir W., 58

     Robert, Duke of Normandy, 44

     Roche à la Fée, 45

     Rocquaine Bay, 49

     Rozel, Jersey, 28, 30

     Rullecourt, 20, 22


     Sacrament, refusal of, 14

     St. Anne, Alderney, 54

     St. Apolline Chapel, 49, 50

     St. Aubin Bay, 24

     St. Aubin's, 24

     St. Brelade's Bay, 25

     St. Brelade's Chapel, 26, 51

     St. Brelade's Hotel, cross at, 27

     St. Helier, 21, 9, 22, 24, 45

     Ste. Marie du Chastel, 21

     St. Ouen's Bay, 17

     St. Ouen's Church, 14

     St. Ouen's Manor, 27

     St. Peter Port, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 43, 54, 61

     St. Peter's Church, Guernsey, 52

     St. Sampson's, Guernsey, 25, 43

     St. Tugual, Chapel of, Herm, 61

     Saints' Bay, 47

     Sark, 31, 53-60

     Sark, the Creux Derrible, 29

     Sark, the Manor House, 60

     Scott, Sir Gilbert, 55

     Serpent legend, a, 18

     Snakes, absence of, 33

     Sorel Point, 30

     Star Chamber, the, 11

     _Stella_, loss of the, 18

     Sunday in Jersey, 9

     Swinge, the, 62


     Torteval, 40, 48, 49


     Vale Castle, 43, 44

     Vale Church, 44, 46

     Vazon Bay, 49


     Wall-paintings at St. Brelade's, 26

     West Park, Jersey, 24

     Wordsworth, Wm., 6


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