Wednesday, 5 June 2013

1932 Guide Book to the Channel Islands: Mont Orgueil to Bouley Bay

A few more extracts from the 1932 Guide Book to the Channel Islands are given below. This was a kind of "Bradshaw" for the Channel Islands, telling visitors where to go, and what to see.

It should be noted that most early guide books call Faldouet Dolmen "druidical" or a "druid's temple", it predates that period by at least 3,000 years. It is a Neolithic monument - new stone age - from around 4000-3200 BC. The time of the druids was in the Iron Age (1200 BC - 400 AD). There is no evidence of any druids in Jersey.

The remaining dolmen (all but the largest capstone has been destroyed) is a 5 metre long passage leading into a large circular chamber beyond which is a large capstoned end chamber. Several smaller side chambers and cists form the edges of the main chamber. Human bones from at least three individuals have been recovered as well as pottery, stone axes and flints.

Archirondel is derived either for La Roche Rondel or from surname recorded 1607 to 1984. There is no connection with the French 'hirondelle' (a swallow) nor with the name Arundel; however as the surname Rondel may be synonymous with Rond or Rondin, l'Archirondel may be, as G.F.B. de Gruchy believes, 'the rounded rock'. Archirondel Farm was nearby, serving both as a working farm for Agriculture and fishing and as a guest house and tea-room into the 1960s, run by Mr. & Mrs. Ferry. The Tower on the breakwater was built 1792-4 on a rock in the bay and preceded the building of the breakwater, which was the incomplete southern arm of St. Catherine's Harbour. This tower has for some decades been painted red and white facing the sea, as a navigation aid. 

1932 Guide Book to the Channel Islands: Mont Orgueil to Bouley Bay
In this section of the coast the scenery is pretty rather than grand, but the cliffs are higher and more precipitous as we approach the north. From Mont Orgueil Castle two roads lead northward, one running down to the beach, the other mounting the hill. Taking the latter, we reach in a short distance some fine Druidical remains, in a field close to the road. These remains are sometimes called the Gorey Dolmen, because on the hill overlooking Gorey, sometimes the Faldouet Dolmen and La Pouquelaye.

A lane leads down to the sea, joining the main road at Anne Port, a prettily situated village, about 5 miles from Royal Square. It is popular with picnic parties, offering cool walks on hot days, for it faces east, and there is a pebble beach which affords good bathing.

Standing about half a mile ahead is Archirondel Tower, on the small completed portion of what was to be the southern arm of a great harbour of refuge in St. Catherine's Bay.

The work was commenced with laudable intentions, but with insufficient knowledge of local conditions, and when the northern breakwater was finished it was found that the water enclosed had not sufficient depth for the purpose intended. When the piers were found to be absolutely useless the British Government handed them to the States, who maintain the light at the extremity, keep the great wall in repair, and in return receive the rental of the adjacent lands that were acquired by the Government.

A road follows the shore to Verclut Point, the northern horn of the bay. Here is the northern breakwater, half a mile long. It was begun in 1847, finished in 1855, and cost £250,000.

A mile or so inland is St. Martin, connected with St. Helier by motorbus.

The road continues past Fliquet Bay and a little headland: La Coupe, nearly 200 feet high, and then wanders inland, but we can take a cliff path over grass and furze. On nearing Rozel Bay a pretty valley opens up on the left. On high ground overlooking the sea is a Dolmen 24 feet long. The stones are of a peculiar conglomerate.

The view of the coast is fine. Five miles out at sea can be seen the rocky islets known as Les Ecrehous, noted for their fishing. The catches include lobsters, shrimps, bass, bream, conger eels, rays, rockfish, mullet and whiting, but these are less abundant than formerly. For many years an old man, known as King Pinel of the Ecrehous, lived on the largest island, Maitre lie. Under the shelter of its highest point are the ruins of a monastery, built in 1203 by monks of Val Richer, near Lisieux, Normandy. The boat to Carteret generally passes quite close to the islands.

Before reaching Rozel Bay the well-timbered park of Rozel Manor is passed. Prettily situated in the grounds is a small chapel, a good specimen of Norman architecture. It cannot be viewed without special permission.

Should Rozel Bay be reached when the tide is up, a fairer sight is not to be found on the coast- A short pier shelters a few boats and a sandy beach, while thickly wooded hills form an amphitheatre around.

Many motors visit Rozel Bay, and lunch may be taken at the Rozel Bay Hotel. From the hotel a steep road leads up a delightful valley, well wooded, to the high ground over-looking-Bouley Bay, 4 3/4 miles from St. Helier. About opposite the central portion of its shore is a common-like expanse, called Jardin d'Olivet, from which a fine view is obtained. The French coast is plainly visible, and sometimes the spire of Coutances Cathedral can be seen, but this usually foretells bad weather.

The vehicles do not descend, but put up at the Bouley Bay Hotel. The way down the steep cliff is by a serpentine path beginning in front of the hotel, and enchanting peeps between the hills reward those who essay the descent. The beach has interesting pebbles of various kinds and colours, and is a highly popular picnic resort. (Fresh water can be obtained from the stream running down the combe.) The cliffs are nearly 500 feet high.

Back to St. Helier by road is just five miles, nearly all downhill. The village of Trinity and the old Church, consecrated in 1163, are close at hand. The spire is 410 feet above sea-level. The chief feature in the interior of the church is the fine monument over the tomb of Edward de Carteret, who became Bailiff of Jersey in 1663. The Manor House was built in Elizabeth's reign.

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