Herm

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This article is about the Channel Island called Herm. For other uses, see Herm (disambiguation).
Herm
Haerme
Coat of arms
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Sarnia Cherie  (Guernsey)
Official languages
  • English
  • French
Government Dependency of Guernsey
 -  Duke Queen Elizabeth II
 -  Lt Governor Peter Walker
 -  Tenants John and Julia Singer
British crown dependency
Area
 -  Total 2 km2
0.77 sq mi
 -  Water (%) negligible
Population
 -  2002 census 60
 -  Density 30/km2
77.7/sq mi
Currency Pound sterlinga (GBP)
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
 -  Summer (DST) WEST (UTC+1)
Internet TLD .gg  (Guernsey)
a. The States of Guernsey, of which Herm is a dependency, issue their own sterling coins and banknotes; see Guernsey pound.

Herm (Guernésiais: Haerme) is one of the Channel Islands and part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, located in the English Channel, north-west of France and south of England. It is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long and under 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide; orientated north-south, with several stretches of sand along its northern coast. Guernsey lies to the west and Jersey to the south-east, and the smaller island of Jethou is just off the south-west coast.

Herm was first discovered in the Mesolithic period, and the first settlers arrived in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Many tombs from that period remain today, the majority in the north of the island. The island was annexed to the Duchy of Normandy in 933, but returned to the English Crown with the division of Normandy in 1204. It was occupied by Germany in the Second World War and the scene of Operation Huckaback, but was largely bypassed. Herm is currently managed by Herm Island Ltd, formed by Starboard Settlement, who acquired Herm in 2008, following fears during the sale of the island that the 'identity' of the island was at threat.

Herm's harbour is on its west coast. There are several buildings of note in the vicinity including the White House, St Tugual's Chapel, Fisherman's Cottage, "The Mermaid" pub and restaurant, and a small primary school with about eight children. During a busy summer season, up to 100,000 tourists visit the island, arriving by one of the catamaran ferries operated by the Trident Charter Company. Cars are banned from the island, as are bicycles; quad bikes and tractors used for staff and luggage transport respectively are allowed.

History[edit]

The common in the north of the island. Standing stones can be seen on the grass, while the island of Sark lies in the background.

Ancient history to Middle Ages[edit]

Herm was first found in the Mesolithic period (between 10,000 and 8,000 B.C), when hunters were in search of food.[1] In the Neolithic and Bronze ages, settlers arrived; the remains of chamber tombs have been found on the island, and may be seen today; specifically on the Common, and the Petit and Grand Monceau;[1] it has been suggested that the northern end of the island, i.e. the Common, was set apart for burials.[2] After a three-year project by the University of Durham, supported by specialists from the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, and the Guernsey museum, they stated that the "density of tombs suggests that the northern end of Herm may have been a place set apart for funerary activity".[2]

A prehistoric grave, known as Robert's Cross

The first records of Herm's inhabitants in historic times are from the 6th century, when the island became a centre of monastic activity; the followers of Saint Tugual (also called Tudwal) arrived, establishing Saint Tugual's Chapel.[1] In 709, a storm washed away the strip of land which connected the island with Jethou.[3]

An important moment in Herm's political history was in 933, when the Channel Islands were annexed to the Duchy of Normandy,[1][4] they remained so until the division of Normandy in 1204, when they became a British Crown Dependency.[5] After the annexation, Herm gradually lost its monastic inhabitants, and between 1570 and 1737 the governors of Guernsey used it as a hunting ground; visiting to shoot, hunt, and fish.[1][4]

19th century to the Second World War[edit]

In 1810, an inn was founded; and during the Industrial Revolution, roads, paths, a harbour, accommodation, a forge, blacksmiths, a brewery, a bakery and a prison were built to cater for the largest number of inhabitants since prehistoric times. Most were quarrymen working in new granite quarries.[1] Several quarries can still be seen at present, such as on the Common.[1] When the Prince[1] and Princess Blücher[6] leased the island from the British government during the First World War, he introduced a colony of Red-necked wallabies to the island, around 60-70 in number.[7] They increased up to the First World War, after which they decreased in numbers, and the remaining few were re-captured and put in enclosures.[7]

The German occupation of the Channel Islands during the Second World War essentially by-passed Herm. The island was claimed on 20 July 1940 by the Third Reich,;[1] a few weeks after the arrival of German troops in Guernsey and Jersey, German soldiers landed on the island to shoot a propaganda film, The Invasion of the Isle of Wight.[1] Herm's sandy beaches were soon used for practising landings from barges, in preparation for the invasion of England, but otherwise the island saw little of the Germans beyond officers making trips to shoot rabbits.[8] Herm had only a little German construction during the war; a flak battery was placed on the island, and mines were placed in an area.[8]

Operation Huckaback[edit]

Operation Huckaback was a British Second World War military operation that was originally designed to be a raid on Herm, Jethou and Brecqhou, but instead was only a raid on Herm on the night of 27 February 1943, following an earlier attempt that had been aborted.[9] Ten men of the Small Scale Raiding Force and No. 4 Commando under Captain Patrick Anthony Porteous VC landed 200 yards to the north-west of Selle Rocque on a shingle beach and made several unsuccessful attempts to climb the cliff in front of them. Porteous finally managed to climb up the bed of a stream and pulled the others up with a rope. They later reported that they had found no sign of any Islanders or Germans (who were supposed to be billeted near the harbour).[10]

Since 1945[edit]

In 1949, the States of Guernsey bought Herm from the Crown because of the "unspoilt island idyll that could be enjoyed by locals and tourists alike".[11] One of the island's most influential tenants was Major Peter Wood, who looked after the island from 1949 to 1980 with his wife.[11][12] The island was run down when he arrived, with the manor hidden in undergrowth, the windows and roofs of the houses having been blown off by a sea mine drifting into the harbour shortly after their arrival,[13] but they created a school, and restored St Tugual's Chapel.[12] Major Wood's daughter Pennie Wood Heyworth and her husband Adrian succeeded them;[12] Major Wood died in 1998.[12] Their early efforts are recorded in Herm, Our Island Home, written by Major Wood's wife Jenny Wood.[14]

On 17 May 2008, the BBC reported[15] that the tenants had put the remaining 40 years of their lease up for sale, with an asking price of £15,000,000.[16] Within four days, there were over 50 potential buyers,[17] which led to fears from residents[17] that the island's identity would be lost if it was bought by the wrong owner.[18] In September 2008 it was announced that Starboard Settlement, a trust, had acquired the remainder of the lease[19] for considerably less than the asking price.[20] The trust formed a company based in Guernsey, Herm Island Ltd, to manage the island for the trustees.[19]

Geography and geology[edit]

An aerial shot showing Herm (centre), Jethou to the right, Sark in the right background and Guernsey in the foreground

Herm is only 1½ miles long and less than half a mile wide.[12] It is oriented so that its greatest length runs north–south.[12] In the northern part of the island are the Le Petit Monceau and Le Grande Monceau hills. To the north of this is a common, leading to Mouisonniere Beach on the northern coast, with Oyster Point in the northwestern corner and La Pointe du Gentilhomme or Alderney Point at the northeastern corner.[21] To the east of the common is Shell Beach and to the west is The Bear's Beach, leading down to the harbour.[22] Half of the coastline of the northern part of the island is surrounded by sandy beaches; the southern half is rocky.[23] Much of Herm's bedrock is granite.[24] In 2008, Adrian Heyworth, who was at the time the island's tenant, said that two or three metres of sand were being lost annually at Alderney Point.[25]

Shell Beach, northeastern coast
Caquorobert, east coast

Off the northwestern coast of Herm is the islet of Le Plat Houmet, and beyond that Fondu, which like Herm belongs to Guernsey.[21] In Belvoir Bay on the eastern side of the island are the islets of Mouliere, situated off Frenchman's Point which is to the northeast of the manor village, and Caquorobert.[22] To the south of this off the southeastern coast is Puffin Bay, which contains the islet of Putrainez near the coast and the islet of Selle Rocque further out to the south.[22] The far southwestern point of the island is Point Sauzebourge, and Bishop's Cove is just to the north of this.[21] North of the cove and south along the beach from the harbour and White House are the Rosiere Steps, with a quarry and cottage of the same name in the vicinity. The Mouette and Percee reefs are offshore here. Hermetier, along known as Rat's Island, lies about 250 metres (820 ft) off the western coast between Fisherman's Beach and The Bear's Beach, to the north of the harbour, linked by a low causeway from the beach.[26]

The isle of Jethou is around three-quarters of a mile to the southwest beyond Point Sauzebourge.[21][27] It is possible that in AD 709 a storm washed away the strip of land that connected Jethou to Herm.[28] About 215 metres (705 ft) off the northern coast of Jethou is the islet of Crevichon, which measures about 212 metres (696 ft) by 168 metres (551 ft), with an area of less than three hectares. To the west, between Herm and Guernsey, lies the channel Little Roussel (Petit Ruau); between Herm and Sark, to the east, lies the Big Roussel (Grand Ruau).[23] Bréhon Tower, a Victorian-era fortification, is in the Little Roussel between Herm and St Peter Port.[29] The tower was created by Thomas Charles de Putron (1806–1869) using granite from Herm between 1854 and 1856.[30]

Politics[edit]

Herm is a dependency of Guernsey, and is rented out to various tenants.[31] Unlike the largely autonomous islands of Sark and Alderney within the Bailiwick, Herm is administered entirely by the States of Guernsey, and elects members to the States of Deliberation as part of the St Peter Port South electoral district.[32]

Cars and bicycles are banned from Herm,[11] in order to keep "peace and tranquility".[12] However, Herm does allow quad bikes and tractors for staff and luggage transport respectively.[12]

Economy and services[edit]

Herm Harbour in 1968
The inner harbour in 2004

Tourism is Herm's main source of income.[12] During a busy summer season, up to 100,000 tourists visit the island,[12] arriving by one of the Travel Trident catamaran ferries operated by the Trident Charter Company.[33] Money is also made from vegetable growing, livestock and the occasional issue of stamps.[34] The residents in Herm are workers on the island and their families.[35]

There are three volunteer Special Constables resident on the island, trained and supervised by the States of Guernsey Police Service.[36] On Bank Holidays they are augmented by a visiting full-time Constable from Guernsey.[37] Crime rates on the island are low.[36]

There are no medical facilities on Herm and no resident doctor.[12] A small team of first aiders and community first responders is maintained amongst the resident population,[38] and receives regular training from the Guernsey Ambulance and Rescue Service, a private company operating on a charitable basis under the umbrella of the Venerable Order of Saint John.[39] Medical evacuation to hospital in Guernsey, where necessary, is achieved by means of the ambulance launch 'Flying Christine III' operated by the Guernsey Ambulance and Rescue Service.[38]

A voluntary fire service operates on the island. Herm Fire Brigade operates a tractor-hauled fire tender with a hose-reel, a pump, a 2,000-litre water tank, and basic fire-fighting equipment[40] which they use while waiting for assistance from the Guernsey Fire Brigade, who also provide the Herm volunteers with training and support.[40]

Notable landmarks[edit]

The nondenominational St Tugual's Chapel dates to the 11th century, but it is believed that there was a place of worship on Herm as far back as the 6th century, although it hasn't been confirmed whether the chapel was founded by St Tugual himself or his followers at a later date.[41] The current building is Norman and appears to have been a monastery during medieval times. Of particular note is its stained glass windows featuring Noah's Ark and Guernsey cows and Jesus talking to the fisherman at Herm harbour.[41] In 2010 and 2011, the chapel was closed for restoration work.[42]

The obelisk on The Common on Herm
A picture of Antony Gormley's statue, XI (11) in his Another Time series

Other buildings on the island include the White House hotel, "The Mermaid" pub and restaurant, and 20 self-catering cottages.[12] The most notable cottages are Fisherman's Cottage, north of the harbour, and Manor Cottage.[43] There is an obelisk on The Common, in the north of the island.[1] The White House has no clocks, televisions, or phones, which is described as "part of its charm", and has a customer return rate of 70% (i.e. each year, 70% of customers have been before).[17][44] Herm has no consecrated religious buildings or resident professional clergy,[45] but visiting clergy conducts non-denominational weekly services during the summer months, and monthly services, led by local lay people, are held during the winter.[45]

Sculptor Antony Gormley had a sculpture installed on Herm in 2010,[46] originally planned to be removed after one year, but it received such a positive reception that it was kept for two years, and removed in 2012.[47] The statue was number XI (11) of the Another Time series.[48]

Education and culture[edit]

Travel Trident ferry approaching Herm

A number of French/Norman placenames remain, from the period when the island was in the jurisdiction of the Duchy of Normandy.[1] The Herm Island map, published by the tenant of Herm, states that main place names, including the island name itself, have unclear origins, although there is an un-official Anglicisation of names; for example, La Pointe du gentilhomme was changed to "Alderney Point".[23] The primary present language on Herm is English.

Herm has one primary school, with around eight pupils; they are taught by a teacher who travels from Guernsey daily.[12] Children over nine are schooled in Guernsey, usually as boarders.[12]

Herm has won Britain in Bloom categories several times:[49] in 2002, 2008, and 2012, Herm won the Britain in Bloom Gold Award.[50] Compton Mackenzie, who owned the island, represented it in Fairy Gold, albeit in a fictional representation.[1]

See also[edit]


References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "History – Up to the 16th Century". Herm Island. Retrieved 28 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Introduction". Durham University. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Welcome to the Herm Home Page". Island Life. 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Sark and Herm Travel Guide". iExplore. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  5. ^ Evelyn 1921, p. vii.
  6. ^ a b Long 2003, p. 42.
  7. ^ a b Page 1995.
  8. ^ Forty 2005, p. 195.
  9. ^ Messenger 1985.
  10. ^ a b c Taylor, Jerome (25 September 2008). "Herm Island: Lovers' rock". The Independent. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Herm Island Staff Handbook 2013". Herm Island. 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  12. ^ "A Life Less Ordinary". 20 March 2006. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  13. ^ Wood 1972.
  14. ^ "Lease on Channel Island for sale". BBC. 17 May 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  15. ^ "Candidate picked for Herm tenancy". BBC. 23 July 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  16. ^ a b c Eames, Andrew (7 June 2008). "Island for sale: A Herm from home". The Telegraph. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  17. ^ Wilkes, David (25 September 2008). "No place like Herm: Couple buy the tiny Channel island where they fell in love". Mail Online. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  18. ^ a b "New company is set up to run Herm". BBC. 7 October 2008. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  19. ^ "New Herm tenants vow to keep it open to all". This Is Guernsey. 23 September 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Herm map". BBC. 1986. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  21. ^ a b c "Herm map". BBC. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  22. ^ a b c Herm Island Map. Herm Tenant. 
  23. ^ "Trench B". Durham University. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  24. ^ "Herm struggling to stem tide of erosion". The Guernsey Press. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  25. ^ Stevens & Jee 1987, p. 128.
  26. ^ "Google Maps". Google. Retrieved 20 January 2014. 
  27. ^ "About Herm". Island Life. Archived from the original on 2008-07-04. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  28. ^ "Brehon Tower". BBC. 1 July 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  29. ^ Lowry 2006, p. 53-4.
  30. ^ "Seventh Periodic Report from the United Kingdom, the British Overseas Territories, the Crown Dependencies". UK Government. December 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  31. ^ "General Election – 23.4.2008". Guernsey Government. Archived from the original on 2011-05-21. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  32. ^ "Getting Here". Herm Island. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  33. ^ "CD of British Locals (Including English, Welsh and Scottish Islands)". Pabay.org. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  34. ^ "Recruitment". Herm Island. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  35. ^ a b "Policing on Herm". Herm Island. 26 September 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  36. ^ "Policing on Herm". 26 September 2011. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  37. ^ a b "Herm has more First Responders". Herm.com. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  38. ^ "About Us › 75th Anniversary". Guernsey Ambulance & Rescue Service. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  39. ^ a b "New trailer for Herm firefighters". This is Guernsey. 11 January 2003. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  40. ^ a b "1,400 years of religious history in Herm's chapel". BBC. 21 May 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  41. ^ "Church out of service". Guernsey Post. 10 December 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  42. ^ Mann, Clare (29 June 2009). "Herm, Channel Islands: where small is beautiful". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 8 February 2014. 
  43. ^ Duncan, Fiona. "The White House hotel, Herm, Channel Islands: review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
  44. ^ a b "1,400 years of religious history in Herm's chapel". BBC News. 21 May 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2013. 
  45. ^ "Antony Gormley statue on Herm". Herm Island. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  46. ^ "Antony Gormley leaves Herm". Herm Island. 11 June 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  47. ^ "ANOTHER TIME XI ON HERM, GUERNSEY". Antony Gormley. Retrieved 30 December 2013. 
  48. ^ "Herm aims for fourth gold medal in Britain in Bloom". BBC. 27 January 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013. 
  49. ^ "Herm Garden Tour". Herm Island. Retrieved 1 January 2014. 
Bibliography

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 49°28′N 2°27′W / 49.467°N 2.450°W / 49.467; -2.450