Turquoise and cerulean seas round offshore rocks at Jersey

Jersey, Home of the Toads - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue
Date: 10th July 2018
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Is Jersey Part of the United Kingdom?

The Bailiwick of Jersey is the largest and most southerly of the Channel Islands, in the English Channel, plus some other rocks and uninhabited islands, closer to the Normandy coast than England. It is part of the British Isles, but is designated as a self-governing British Crown dependency and is divided into 12 parishes. Its assembly is presided over by the Bailiff of Jersey.

Jersey  became part of the British Isles because it was under the control of the Duke of Normandy, when he invaded in 1066. Because of its proximity to France it has remained strategically important, as a defence against invasion from mainland Europe and it bristles with castles and maritime fortifications.

Facts and Factoids

  • Jersey is a small island, nine miles long by five miles wide, with 50 miles of extremely varied and dramatic coastline. Nevertheless, Jersey has one of the highest numbers of cars per person in the world. They say that wherever you are in the island, you’re never more than three (or ten depending on whose advice you take) minutes away from the sea.
  • Jersey’s tidal range of over 11 metres is one of the largest in the world. At low tide the island nearly doubles in size.
  • The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles occupied by the Germans in World War II.
  • The Jersey cow is a symbol of the island. It is the second most popular cattle breed in the world, renowned for producing sought after dairy products; this is because of the high butterfat and protein levels in its milk.
  • Another of the island symbols is the crapaud, or toad. It's said that the French came up with this moniker, for the Jersey islanders, in return for the British calling them Frog(eater)s. An alternative explanation is that the people from Guernsey dubbed those those from Jersey crapauds - because they don't have any toads there. Whatever, the people of Jersey take a certain ironic pride in their nickname. There's even a toad sculpture, on a nine-foot column.
  • The island used to be famous for its woollen trade. Knitting was one of Jersey’s main industries and so lucrative that that men had to be banned from knitting during the peak summer fishing season. Eventually, knitted jumpers came to be called jerseys, after the island,. The first recording of a jumper being called a jersey is in 1837.
  • Charles II spent several years in exile in Jersey and it was here, in 1649, that he was proclaimed king. In return for Jersey's support, King Charles II gave the island’s Bailiff, Sir George Carteret, several parcels of land in the colonies. One of them became the state known as New Jersey.

What Currency Is Used in Jersey?

  • Jersey is described by some as one of the top worldwide offshore financial centres and by others as a tax haven.
  • The currency is the Jersey Pound - worth the same as the British Pound sterling.

Are There Fairies in Jersey?

Channel Islanders believe they are descended from ‘pouques’ – or fairies. Many of the older houses in Jersey have a witch's seat in them, which comprise stones that jut out of the houses' gables. The islanders believed that  providing a seat for passing witches to rest on would prevent them from falling foul of evil spells. The last reported fairy sighting on the island was in the early 1900s!’

What to See in Jersey?

The real magic of Jersey is in its craggy coastline, sandy beaches and myriad and various fortifications. I went for four days with a friend - Jersey - Spectacular Coastline and Beautiful Beaches

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