St Helier Commonwealth Walkway

Jersey / Europe

JERSEY Jersey (officially the Bailiwick of Jersey) is the largest of the Channel Islands, between England and France.  It is a self-governing Crown Dependency of the United Kingdom, with a mixture of British and French cultures, famed for its beaches, cliffside walking trails, inland valleys and castles.  The island has been, variously, a strategic Viking stronghold, an island outpost, much fought over by the French and English, and it was occupied by the Germans in World War II. There are pre-historic remains of Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) humans at La Cotte de St. Brelade, and there is evidence of the Neolithic Period (New Stone Age) and the Bronze Age.  The island was known to the Romans as Caesarea.  Documents from the 11th century show 12 parishes as part of the diocese of Coutances.  In the 12th century, Norman landowners dominated the island, which was divided into three units for the collection of the King-duke’s revenue. Jersey was separated from Normandy in 1204, retaining its Norman law and local customs but, with the other islands, was administered for the King by a warden or sometimes by a lord.  By the end of the 15th century, Jersey had its own captain, later called Governor.  His office abolished in 1854 when the duties devolved upon a Lieutenant Governor, who still performs them.   In 1617 justice and civil affairs were assigned to the Bailiff.  The States of Jersey, or States Assembly, separated from the Royal Court in 1771 and assumed the court’s residual powers of legislation.  Parish deputies were first elected in 1857. In the 17th century the Carterets, seigneurs of St. Ouen, dominated the island, holding it for the King from 1643 to 1651. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the island was torn by feuds—Magots versus Charlots, Laurels versus Roses.  However, it prospered from the Newfoundland fisheries, privateering, and smuggling and, later, from cattle, potatoes, and the tourist trade. Jersey was occupied by the Germans from 1 July 1940 until 9 May 1945.  Fun fact 
  • Jersey shrinks twice a day due to boasting some of the biggest tides in the world. The island measures 9 miles in length and 5 miles in width – when tides are in the island shrinks by a 5th.
  ST HELIER  The Town of St Helier is the largest settlement of Jersey.  It was named after Helier (died in 555 AD), a 6th-century ascetic hermit who became the patron saint of Jersey.  He was hailed as the healing saint for diseases of the skin and eyes.  According to the mythology, he was born in Belgium, found his way to Normandy and came to Jersey to bring them the gospel and guide them after they had suffered attacks from Vikings or Saxons.   Until the end of the 18th century, the town was just a row of houses and shops along the coastal dunes.  St Helier was given £200 towards the construction of a new harbour by King George II.   The French tried to seize Jersey in the Battle of Jersey.  English immigrants settled over the decades.  Georgian style houses and terraces were built.  Over the years Jersey has exported produce to France and England. 

1.9 miles / 3.1 kilometres

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