The Channel Islands have a rich legacy of churches, chapels, and places of worship.
The first significant evidence of Christianity is documented as coming to the Channel Islands around 520AD when Samson of Doi visited Guernsey and in 540AD when Helier arrived in Jersey. He lived as a hermit until he was killed by pirates, who were considered the early Vikings.
The Vikings grew in strength and occupied the area which became the land of the North Men (Normandy). Religion was deepened in the area with the conversion of the Normans to Christianity in the 10th Century.
Many churches were built by the Normans in the 11th and 12th centuries. Numerous churches were constructed on top of previous pagan places of worship. Throughout the second millennium, there were several swings between Protestantism and Catholicism as the dominant religion.
A 2010 breakdown shows that 84% identified as Christians in the Channel Islands and 14% as Agnostics.
If you are visiting the Channel Islands, there are many fascinating churches to attend for services or to admire.
The Little Chapel in Guernsey is a place that is as much a novelty as a work of art. Erected in the last century, it’s covered in shells and broken bits of China. The church is the smallest functioning and consecrated church in the world. It is definitely worth a visit.
Several churches, including the Castel Church in Guernsey, open to the public, have been built using materials dating back to the Roman Empire.
The Parish Church of St Helier, originally built in the 11th century has a beautiful display of stained-glass windows, and its services are well attended. The church building is open to the public from Monday through Saturday and has free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee.
St. Annes Church in Alderney is often referred to as ‘The Cathedral of the Channel Islands’ because of its size. During WWII, the church was used as a general store by the occupying German forces with a machine gun mounted in the belfry.
Many churches throughout the Channel Islands have a unique story to tell and are worth a visit.
There are some interesting churches of the principal denominations to visit in Alderney. Here is a list of churches with some history to entice and links to service times.
Guernsey is steeped in a long history of worship from the early French catholic influence to Anglicism, Methodism and more recent denominations. You can find a list of all denomination churches here for Guernsey.
Many of the churches in Jersey are built on old pagan sites. Most of the main religions are catered for on the island of Jersey.
You can also see some interesting churches in Sark.
There are no mosques or meeting places in Guernsey, but a Meeting House in Jersey has a close community and meets at a Muslim community centre.
A synagogue in Saint Helier was built in 1843 and maintains a small but solid collection of Jewish community members.
Jersey has the only Quaker Meeting House in The Channel Islands.
Whether you wish to discover the history of religion in the Channel Islands, explore beautiful buildings or attend a quaint service or meeting, you have an array of choices.
Would you like to learn more about the Channel Islands during the World War II? Then don’t miss the following article: The Channel Islands and WWII