From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Jump to: navigation, search
For other uses, see Guernsey (disambiguation).

The Bailiwick of Guernsey (French: Bailliage de Guernesey) is a British crown dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy.

As well as the island of Guernsey itself, it also includes Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou, Burhou and other islets. The island of Guernsey is divided into 10 Parishes. Together with the Bailiwick of Jersey, it is included in the collective grouping known as the Channel Islands.

Bailiwick of Guernsey
Bailliage de Guernesey

(in detail)
Coat of Arms of Guernsey
Location of Guernsey
Official languages English (predominant), French (legislative use only), Dgèrnésiais recognised as regional language
Capital St Peter Port
Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief Sir John Foley
Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland
Chief Minister Laurie Morgan
Currency Guernsey Pound (on par with Pound Sterling); Jersey, UK and Scottish currency is accepted interchangeably.
Time zone UTC (DST +1)
National anthem God Save the Queen (official), Sarnia Cherie (official for occasions when distinguishing anthem required),
National Day Liberation Day, 9 May
Internet TLD .gg
Calling Code +44-1481



Rising sea levels transformed Guernsey into the tip of a peninsula jutting out into the emergent English Channel until about 6000 BC, when Guernsey and other promontories were cut off from continental Europe, becoming islands. At this time, Neolithic farmers settled the coasts and created the dolmens and menhirs that dot the islands. The island of Guernsey contains three sculpted menhirs of great archaeological interest; Le Dolmen de Dehus also contains a dolmen deity.

Saint Samson of Dol is credited with the introduction of Christianity to Guernsey.

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

The Bailiwick of Guernsey was occupied by German troops in World War II.Before the occupation, many Guernsey children were evacuated to England to live with relatives or strangers during the war. Some children were never re-united with their families. During the occupation, many people from Guernsey were deported by the Germans to camps in the southwest of Germany, notably to Biberach an der Riss and interned in the Lindele Camp ("Lager Lindele").


The States of Guernsey, officially called the States of Deliberation, consists of 45 People's Deputies, elected from multi- or single-member districts every four years. There are also two representatives from Alderney, a self-governing dependency of the Bailiwick, but Sark sends no representative. There are also two non-voting members - the Attorney General and the Solicitor General both appointed by the monarch. Laws passed by the States are known as 'Ordinances'.

Each parish is administered by a Douzaine. Douzeniers are elected for a six year mandate, two Douzeniers being elected by parishioners at a Parish Meeting in November each year. The senior Douzenier is known as the Doyen. Two elected Constables carry out the decisions of the Douzaine, serving for between one and three years. The longest serving Constable is known as the Senior Constable and his or her colleague as the Junior Constable.

The legal system is derived from Norman French and English common law, justice being administered through a combination of Magistrates Court and the Royal Court. The Royal Court is presided over by the Bailiff and 12 Jurats (a permanent elected jury), the ultimate court of appeal being the Privy Council.


Map of Guernsey
Map of Guernsey

At 49°28′ N 2°35′ W, Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Sark, and some other smaller islands have a total area of 30 sq mi (78 sq km) and a coastline of about 30 miles (50 km). Lihou, a tidal island, is attached to Guernsey by a causeway at low tide. The terrain is mostly level with low hills in southwest.

Elevation varies from sea level to 375 feet (114 m) at Le Moulin on Sark. The highest point in mainland Guernsey is Hautnez (363 feet), in Alderney at Le Rond But (306 feet), in Jethou (248 feet) and Herm (322 feet). Natural resources include cropland.

There is a large, deepwater harbour at St Peter Port.

The climate is temperate with mild winters and cool summers. 50% of the days are overcast.

The Casquets, a group of islets, are notable for the lighthouse facility constructed there.

The island of Guernsey is divided into ten parishes (the parish of St Anne, Alderney is not generally included in the enumeration of parishes in the Bailiwick):

Parish Population
(census 2001)
Castel 8,975 6,224 10.1
Forest 1,549 2,508 4.2
St Andrew 2,409 2,752 4.4
St Martin 6,267 4,479 7.3
St Peter Port 16,488 4,074 6.5
St Pierre du Bois 2,188 3,818 6.2
St Sampson 8,592 3,687 6.0
St Saviour 2,696 3,892 6.2
Torteval 973 1,901 3.1
Vale 9,573 5,462 8.8


Financial services - banking, fund management, insurance, etc. - account for about 55% of total income in this tiny Channel Island economy. Tourism, manufacturing, and horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers especially freesias have been declining. Light tax and death duties make Guernsey a popular tax haven. However, the evolving economic integration of the European Union nations is changing the rules under which Guernsey operates. Though Guernsey does not have an official ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 code, ISO has reserved the GGY code to indicate this country; market data vendors, such as Bloomberg, will report products related to Guernsey using this code.

Guernsey issues its own coinage and banknotes. The Guernsey Pound is at par with the British pound.

Public services, such as electricity, gas, and postal services are all operated by independent (from the UK) companies on Guernsey. Both the Guernsey Post post boxes and the telephone boxes are painted blue, but otherwise are identical to their British counterparts, the red pillar box and red telephone box.

Ports and harbours exist at St Peter Port and St Sampson's. There are two paved airports in the bailiwick (Guernsey Airport and Alderney Airport), and 3 miles (5 km) of railways in Alderney.

The Guernsey Railway, which was virtually an electric tramway, and which began working on 20 February 1892, was abandoned on 9 June 1934. It replaced an earlier transport system which was worked by steam, and was named the Guernsey Steam Tramway. The latter began service on 6 June 1879 with six locomotives.

  • [Notes on the Railway taken from The Railway Magazine, September 1934 edition]


The population is 65,031, as of 2004. The median age for males is 39.6 years and for females is 41.5 years. The population growth rate is 0.31% with 9.16 births/1,000 population, 9.87 deaths/1,000 population, and 3.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population. The life expectancy is 77.17 years for males and for females. 1.38 children are born per woman. Ethnic groups consist of British and Norman-French descent and Portuguese. The Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, and Methodist religions are practised.


Little Chapel on Guernsey.
Little Chapel on Guernsey.

English is the only language spoken by a majority of the population, while Dgèrnésiais, the Norman language of the island, is currently spoken fluently by 2% of the population (according to 2001 census). However, 14% of the population claim some understanding of the language and it is taught in a few Island schools. Until the early 20th century French was the only official language. Family and Place names reflect this linguistic heritage. Portuguese is taught in a few schools and is spoken by around 2% of the population.

Victor Hugo wrote some of his best-known works while in exile in Guernsey, including Les Misérables. His home in St Peter Port, Hauteville House, is now a museum administered by the city of Paris.

The national animals of the island of Guernsey are the donkey and the Guernsey cow. The traditional explanation for the donkey (âne in French and Dgèrnésiais) is the steepness of St Peter Port streets that necessitated beasts of burden for transport (in contrast to the flat terrain of the rival capital of St Helier in Jersey), although it is also used in reference to Guernsey inhabitants' stubbornness. The Guernsey cow is a more internationally famous icon of the island.

Guernsey people are traditionally nicknamed donkeys or ânes, especially by Jersey people (who in turn are nicknamed crapauds - toads). Inhabitants of each of the parishes of Guernsey also have traditional nicknames, although these have generally dropped out of use among the English-speaking population.

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

Sport in Guernsey

Guernsey participates in its own right in the Commonwealth Games.

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

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

Guernsey has recently been declared an affiliate member by the ICC (International Cricket Council)

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

The Channel Islands
Bailiwick of Jersey: Jersey | Minquiers and Ecréhous
Bailiwick of Guernsey Alderney | Guernsey | Sark | Herm | Brecqhou | Burhou | Casquets | Jethou | Lihou
Countries in Europe
Albania | Andorra | Armenia2) | Austria | Azerbaijan1) | Belarus | Belgium | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Bulgaria | Croatia | Cyprus2) | Czech Republic | Denmark1) | Estonia | Finland | France1) | Georgia1) | Germany | Greece1) | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Italy | Latvia | Liechtenstein | Lithuania | Luxembourg | Republic of Macedonia | Malta | Moldova | Monaco | Netherlands | Norway1) | Poland | Portugal1) | Romania | Russia1) | San Marino | Serbia and Montenegro | Slovakia | Slovenia | Spain1) | Sweden | Switzerland | Turkey1) | Ukraine | United Kingdom | Vatican City
Other territories: Akrotiri and Dhekelia 2) | Faroe Islands | Gibraltar | Guernsey | Jan Mayen | Jersey | Isle of Man | Svalbard
1) Includes territories not located in Europe. 2) Geographically in Asia , but often considered part of Europe for cultural and historical reasons.

edit British dependencies Flag of the United Kingdom
Overseas territories: Anguilla | Bermuda | British Antarctic Territory | British Indian Ocean Territory | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Falkland Islands | Gibraltar | Montserrat | Pitcairn Islands | Saint Helena (Ascension, Tristan da Cunha) | South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands | Turks and Caicos Islands
Crown dependencies: Guernsey | Jersey | Isle of Man
UK Sovereign Base Areas: Akrotiri and Dhekelia (in Cyprus)
Personal tools