Edit: this post was originally published in 2013 and has been reposted.
Last time I was in Guernsey I stayed in La Barbarie Hotel in St Martin’s Parish. But this time around I wanted to stay in a different area of the island, and after a bit of research I determined that it was more cost-effective to stay in a self-catered cottage vs a hotel. Flash forward and here I find myself in the most adorable cottage on La Pointe Farm in St Saviour’s Parish. A bit more rural, I am currently sharing the property with a few horses and a goat – dream come true (literally – I kid you not – no pun intended). As you may surmise, this parish is a bit more rural; on today’s walk I passed several farms and miles of country lanes.
Ruettes Tranquilles are designated lanes across the Island with a recommended speed limit of 15 mph. They are open to all traffic but give priority to walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. Together they form a growing network across the following parishes of: Vale, Castel, Forest, St Andrews, St Martins, St Sampsons, St Saviours. Each entry point to a Ruette Tranquille is signposted. *From the States of Guernsey website.
I set out with the intention of visiting two local sites:
- St. Saviour’s Parish Church, and
- St. Saviour’s Reservoir Nature Reserve
The following information was found on the website for St. Saviour’s Parish Church. It is an old building, some parts stemming back to the 14th and 15th centuries. There has been worship at St Saviours for over 1000 years, and is part of the Church of England and is in the Diocese of Winchester.
Like many Christian sites, there is a link back to the days of the Pagans. Here in St. Saviour’s, there is a stone with two crosses cut in it, one on either side, which serves as a gate post at the north-east entrance to the St Saviour churchyard. It is thought to be a menhir, and as such regarded by the pre-Christian inhabitants as sacred.
Want to know what else I learned?
Church services were almost invariably in French until after the middle of the 19th century and that language did not cease to be used in St Saviour’s Church until about 1932. As a consequence, in 1553 King Edward’s second Prayer Book was translated into French for use in the Channel Islands.
And always interesting; the Occupation history of the island.
During the Occupation of 1940-1945 the church again had a military use when the Germans used the tower as an observation post, constructing a chamber in the spire and cutting peep holes through the lead covering. Also, a hug complex of tunnels was constructed, extending under the church land, mined by the labour of enslaved Todt workers.
It took approximately twenty minutes to walk down to the church and on the way I passed a large group of women (think 12) wearing brightly colour jackets (like me!) and wielding hiking poles. It seems that the country ramble is a popular past-time and these ladies – though engaged in banter amongst them – were clearly on a mission. Alas, I felt a bit creepy were I to sneak a photo of them as they moved along the ‘Ruette Tranquil’, so I have no proof of this sighting.
My next destination was the reservoir, which is the next post in this Guernsey series.