Name of Jersey

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Welcome sign: "Séyiz les beinv'nus à Jèrri" - Welcome to Jersey

Jersey (/ˈɜrzi/, French: [ʒɛʁzɛ]; Jèrriais: Jèrri [ʒɛri], officially the Bailiwick of Jersey (French: Bailliage de Jersey), is a British Crown Dependency[1]

Historic mentions[edit]

Société Jersiaise: jersiais is the demonym in French from Jersey
The Wace monument in the Royal Square:
"Jo di e dirai ke jo sui
Wace de l’isle de Gersui
I say and will say that I am
Wace from the Island of Jersey
  • Andium (?) 4th century[2]
  • insula Gersoi 1022/1026.[3]
  • insula Gerseii, var. Gersey, Gersei, Gersoii 1042.[4]
  • Gersus ~1070.[5]
  • insula de Gerzoi 1080/~1082.[6]
  • insula de Gersoi 1066/1083.[7]
  • insula Gersoi 1066/1083.[8]
  • l'isle de Gersui 1160/1174.[9]
  • in Gersoio 1223/1236.[10]
  • Gersuy 1339.[11]
  • Gersui 1339.[12]
  • insula de Jersey 1372.[13]
  • insula de Jereseye 1372.[14]
  • insula de Gersey 1386.[15]
  • insula […] de Jersey 1419.[16]
  • Iarsay [read Jarsay] 1585.[17]
  • Jarsey 1693.[18]
  • Jerzey 1753.[19]
  • Isle de Gersey 1753/1785.[20]
  • Jerry 1829.[21]
  • Ile de Jersey 1854.[22]

Origin of the name[edit]

The Channel Islands are mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary as the following: Sarnia, Caesarea, Barsa, Silia and Andium, but Jersey cannot be identified specifically because none corresponds directly to the present names.[23] Furthermore, later records evoke Angia (also spelled Agna ).[24]

Andium is a Latinized version of the Gaulish (Celtic) *Andion, with and- the Gaulish intensive prefix meaning "very", "much", "big". Andium roughly translates as "big Island", Jersey being the largest of the Channel Islands. The spelling Angia could be an ultimate development of *Andia.

Caesarea Dental Clinic, Saint Helier

Some others identify it as Caesarea, a late recorded Roman name influenced by the Old English suffix -ey for "island";[25][26] this is plausible if, in the regional pronunciation of Latin, Caesarea was not [kaisarea] but [tʃeːsarea]. Another theory is that the variation of the "J" sound today could be connected with phonetical cousins "g" and "k" (International Phonetic Alphabet) through variable pronunciations based on similar spelling. Theoretically, if Caesarea was originally pronounced with a "k", that may have naturally developed into a "g" sound for locals (or foreigners), making Gersei, Gersoi, or the other spellings relatable. Because "g" is pronounced as both a hard glutteral "g" as in "go" or a soft "j" as in "gym" or "gem", the spelling of Jersey could be a result of the variance in its pronunciation.

A member of the Caesarean Cycling Club in Jersey wearing the word Caesarean on his kit

The name Caesarea has been used as the Latin name for Jersey (also in its French version Césarée) since William Camden's Britannia,[27] and is used in titles of associations and institutions today. The Latin name Caesarea was also applied to the colony of New Jersey as Nova Caesarea.[28][29]

Gazette de Césarée, Jersey newspaper, 1812

Angia could be a misspelling for *Augia, that is the Latinized form of Germanic *aujō (> Old English ī(e)ġ > is-land),[30] that could have extended before the Viking Age along the coast of France, as for île d'Yeu (Augia, Insula Oya) or Oye-Plage (Ogia 7th century) and constitutes the suffix -ey in Jersey, Guernsey (Greneroi), Alderney (Alneroi) and Chausey (Calsoi).[31] Chausey can be compared with Cholsey (GB, Berkshire, Ċeolesiġ 891), interpreted by Eilert Ekwall[32] as "Ċeola 's island".

The ending -ey denotes an island.[33]

These -ey names could have been reinforced by the Viking heritage, because -ey is similar, so that it is possible to interpret the first part of the toponym as an Old Norse element. The source of it is unclear. Scholars surmise it derives from hjörr (Old Norse for "sword") or jarl (earl), or perhaps a personal name, Geirr ("Geirr's Island").[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " – Welcome to the States of Jersey website". States of Jersey. 2006. Retrieved 15 October 2006. 
  2. ^ Antonine Itinerary, 4th century
  3. ^ Marie Fauroux, Recueil des actes des ducs de Normandie (911–1066), Mémoire de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie XXXVI, Caen, 1961, p. 161, § 49.
  4. ^ ibid., p. 255, § 99.
  5. ^ Adrian Room, Dictionary of place names in the British Isles, Bloomsbury, London, 1988, p. 188.
  6. ^ Lucien Musset, Les actes de Guillaume le Conquérant et de la Reine Mathilde pour les abbayes caennaises, Mémoires de la société des Antiquaires de Normandie XXXVII, Caen, 1967, p. 84, § 8.
  7. ^ ibid., p. 94, § 11.
  8. ^ ibid., p. 97, § 12.
  9. ^ Wace, Roman de Rou (1160/1174), édition de Hugo Andersen, Heilbronn, 1877, III, v. 5302, 5305.
  10. ^ Julie Fontanel, Le cartulaire du chapitre cathédral de Coutances, Archives départementales de la Manche, Saint-Lô, 2003, p. 411, § 273.
  11. ^ Léopold Delisle, Les actes normands de la Chambre des Comptes sous Philippe de Valois (1328–1350), Rouen, Le Brument, 1871, p. 208, § 116.
  12. ^ Ibid., p. 209, § 117.
  13. ^ Rôles Normands et Français et autres pièces tirées des archives de Londres par Bréquigny en 1764, 1765 et 1766, Mémoires de la société des Antiquaires de Normandie XXIII (3e série, 3e volume), 1re partie, Paris, 1858, p. 4b, § 42.
  14. ^ ibid., p. 4b, § 46.
  15. ^ ibid., p. 5b, § 61.
  16. ^ ibid., p. 72a, § 393.
  17. ^ Gerard Mercator (1512–1594), Britannia et Normandia cum confinibus regionibus, Duisbourg, 1585 [NBF, Collection d'Anville, cote 00456 bis].
  18. ^ Greenville Collins, Chart of the channell, Manche, 1693 [BNF, Collection d'Anville, cote 00757].
  19. ^ Herman van Loon, [= Deuxième] carte particuliere des costes de Normandie contenant les costes du Cotentin depuis la Pointe de la Percée Jusqu'a Granville ou sont Comprises les Isles de Jersey, Grenezey, Cers, et Aurigny, avec les Isles de Brehat. Comme elles paroissent a basse Mer dans les grandes marées, Atlas Van Keulen, Amsterdam, 1753 [BN]
  20. ^ Cassini's map.
  21. ^ La Gazette de l'Île de Jersey. 24 January 1829.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ V. Lavasseur, Atlas National Illustré des 86 départements et des possessions de la France, A. Combette éditeur, Paris, 1854.
  23. ^ Dominique Fournier, Wikimanche.
  24. ^ "History of stamps". Jersey Post. Archived from the original on 8 May 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2006. 
  25. ^ Harper, Douglas (November 2001). "Online Etymological Dictionary". Retrieved 7 October 2006. 
  26. ^ Le Messurier, H. W. (December 1916). "The Early Relations between Newfoundland and the Channel Islands". Geographical Review (American Geographical Society) 2 (6): 449. doi:10.2307/207514. JSTOR 207514. 
  27. ^ Marguerite Syvret and Joan Stevens (1998). Balleine's History of Jersey. La Société Jersiaise. ISBN 1-86077-065-7. 
  28. ^ "The Duke of York's Release to John Lord Berkeley, and Sir George Carteret, 24th of June, 1664". Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  29. ^ "So what's all this stuff about Nova Caesarea??". Retrieved 2011-09-22. 
  30. ^ T. F Hoad, English Etymology, Oxford University Press paperback 1993.
  31. ^ François de Beaurepaire, Les noms des communes et anciennes paroisses de la Manche, éditions Picard 1986. p. 100.
  32. ^ The Concise Oxford Dictionary Of English Placenames, Oxford 1947.
  33. ^ Lepelley, René (1999). Noms de lieux de Normandie et des îles Anglo-Normandes. Paris: Bonneton. ISBN 2862532479. 
  34. ^ "Jersey", Concise Dictionary of World Place-Names. John Everett-Heath. Oxford University Press 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Jersey Library. 6 October 2006 [1]