Parishes of Guernsey

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"Chambre de la Douzaine" - sign of the Douzaine Room of the parish of Torteval

The Bailiwick of Guernsey includes the island of Guernsey and other islands such as Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou, and Lihou. Each parish is administered by an elected council known as a Douzaine.[1]


The island of Guernsey is divided into ten parishes (the parish of Saint Anne, Alderney and the parish of Saint Peter, Sark are not generally included in the enumeration of parishes in the Bailiwick as the names are not of administrative significance):[2][3]

Parish Population (2001) Area (vergees) Area (km²) Area (sq mi)
1. Castel 8,975 6,224 10.200 3.938
2. Forest 1,549 2,508 4.110 1.587
3. St Andrew 2,409 2,752 4.510 1.741
4. St Martin 6,267 4,479 7.340 2.834
5. St Peter Port 16,488 4,074 6.677 2.578
6. St Pierre du Bois 2,188 3,818 6.257 2.416
7. St Sampson 8,592 3,687 6.042 2.333
8. St Saviour 2,696 3,892 6.378 2.463
9. Torteval 973 1,901 3.115 1.203
10. Vale 9,573 5,462 8.951 3.456
Map of the parishes of Guernsey.


Population of Guernsey by parish.

Each parish is administered by a Douzaine. Douzeniers are elected for a four-year mandate, three Douzeniers being elected by parishioners at a parish meeting in November each year. The Vale elects four each year and St Peter Port five. The senior Douzenier is known as the Doyen (Dean). To stand for election the candidate must reside in the Parish.[4]

Two elected Constables (French: Connétables) carry out the decisions of the Douzaine, serving for between one and three years. The longer-serving Constable is known as the Senior Constable and his or her colleague as the Junior Constable. Historically the Constables have been in existence since at least 1481 although their duties have been reduced over the centuries.[4]

Both Douzeniers and Constables can be removed by the Royal Court for failing in their duty.

Parish business[edit]

Amongst the many varied duties:

  • Obligation to ensure roadside hedges are trimmed
  • Supervise watercourses (douits)
  • Administer Parish cemeteries
  • Maintain wayside pumps and troughs
  • Collecting Parish rates

Parishes officials also advise the States of Guernsey on matters pertaining to the Parish, such as licensing drinking, entertainment and betting establishments.[4]


Inhabitants of each of the parishes of Guernsey also have traditional nicknames, although these have generally dropped out of use among the English-speaking population. The traditional nicknames are:[5]

Parish Guernésiais English Translation
St Peter Port Cllichards (spitters)
St Sampson's Rôines (frogs)
Vale Hann'taons (cockchafers)
Castel Ânes-pur-sàng (pure-blooded-donkeys)
St Saviour's Fouormillaons (ants)
St Pierre du Bois Etcherbaots (beetles)
Forest Bourdons (bumblebees)
St Martin's Cravants (ray fish)
St Andrew's Les croinchaons (the siftings)
Torteval Ânes à pids d'ch'fa (donkeys with horses' hooves)

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Census, Guernsey official website
  3. ^ Parishes of Guernsey,
  4. ^ a b c Ogier, Darryl. The Government and Law of Guernsey. States of Guernsey. ISBN 978-0-9549775-1-1. 
  5. ^ Dictiounnaire Angllais-Guernésiais