The island of Guernsey is a British crown dependency and is the second largest of the Channel Islands. Most people do not know too much about the island even though it has a long rich history that consists of mystery and folklore.
Let’s explore some of the most interesting myths, legends, and historical facts about Guernsey you may not know!
Guernsey During the War
Guernsey (and the other surrounding Channel Islands) were the only British soil that was occupied by the German troops during WWII. Because of this, during the years 1940 – 1945 / 17,000 of the islands 40,000 residents were evacuated to England for safety reasons.
The islands became cut off from the rest of Europe after the D-Day Normandy landings in 1944, which resulted in food and fuel supplies becoming scarce. With amenities running low, residents and occupying forces began to suffer and luckily by the end of that same year, a life saving Red Cross ship sailed over to deliver much needed supplies.
Many artifacts remain as reminders of the past, such as bunkers and watch towers. You can learn more about the WWII history of Guernsey at the Occupation Museum, which is located near the airport.
Guernsey has a strong mythical connection with fairies and there are many legends on the island that feature these whimsical creatures.
One of the famous local folklore stories tells of a time when Guernsey was invaded by fairies!
The story has it that the fairy King was found lying under a hedge with a beautiful girl. When the fairy king awoke, he immediately fell in love with the girl, who he convinced to come with him to the Fairy Kingdom – surprisingly she obliged and became his queen!
The second part of this tale is where things get a bit more violent.
Being so impressed with the beauty of their new queen, the male fairies all decided to travel to Guernsey to get themselves beautiful human wives.
Legend has it that upon arrival to Guernsey the fairies were spotted by local men, and one thing led to another – which resulted in a battle over the Guernsey women.
Another story relating to fairies in Guernsey’s folklore is related to fairy rings.
It is said that wishes made at the fairy ring – located on the western side of the island, will come true if you walk around it three times. If you come to Guernsey and find yourself on the western side of the island, make sure to visit and see if your wish comes true.
Interesting Facts about Guernsey
The island is a friendly place with a relaxed pace of life that leads itself to feeling (sometimes) as though you have stepped back in time.
One of the things that leads to this friendly community feel is Guernsey’s “Hedge Veg” stalls. Dotted around the roadsides of the island, these little shops contain a variety of fresh local produce where you pay for your food via a honesty system.
Another interesting fact about Guernsey is that cars go slower here – the speed limit around the island is 35mph, which drops to 25mph in and around the town.
So, if you’re visiting Guernsey you don’t have to worry about me whizzing past you, while you’re trying to cross the street!
Although the island of Guernsey uses the same currency as England, you may notice something slightly different… Guernsey and the islands still use £1 notes.
This note is a local issue of Sterling and has the same value as mainland money. For a great memento of your trip, try to get a £1 note as change to take home as a souvenir!
While visiting Guernsey, don’t miss the other islands as well! Here you can find Guide To Adventures In The Island Of Herm