Friday, 5 May 2017

Jersey In Colour - Part 2

Today is an extract from an early 1960s Jarrold Guide to Jersey, entitled "Jersey In Colour". How beautiful the Island looked in the 1960s! Even St Aubin looks lest spoiled. The text also mentions the German War cemetery at St Brelade's Church: all German Military war dead were transferred to Mont de Huisnes, close to Mont St Michel, in late 1961.

Jersey In Colour - Part 2

St Aubin’s is today only a tiny town on the shores of the bay of the same name, but there are many reminders of the days when it was the principal port of Jersey and a town of considerable importance.

The harbour was begun in 1675 with the building of a pier extending from the Fort, and completed by the construction of the South Pier in 1754 and the North Pier in 1816. For many years St. Aubin's was a prosperous port, but the building of the harbour at St. Helier saw the beginning of a decline.

However, ships continued to be built at St. Aubin's until well into the nineteenth century. In 1870 Jersey's first railway from St. Helier to St. Aubin's was opened. It was later extended to La Corbière, but in 1935 it closed and was replaced by a bus service.

It is a pleasant walk from St. Aubin's to Belcroute Bay and the view of St. Aubin's from this spot is a charming one. Belcroute with its tree-clad cliffs is in many ways one of the most delightful bays on the southern coast of Jersey.

Yet there were days when Belcroute was far from popular, for it was here that ships which had sailed from ports where plague was raging were forced to lie at anchor during their period of quarantine.

The great headland of Noirmont, which forms the south-western arm of St. Aubin's Bay, is now the property of the islanders.

It is an impressive mass of dark rock, clad with heather. Noirmont Manor was built in 1700 but the original house was pulled down and replaced by the present structure a century later. Lily Langtry, the "Jersey Lily", spent her honeymoon here.

Between the points of Noirmont and Le Fret is PORTELET BAY, a pleasant spot with a fine sandy beach enclosed by green hills.

In the centre of the bay rises the Ile au Guerdain on which stands a round Martello tower. This is often wrongly called Janvrin's Tomb, for Philippe Janvrin was buried on the island, but nearly a century before the tower was erected. He had brought his ship from Nantes with the plague aboard and was refused permission to land. Most of his crew died and finally the captain too, but it was still forbidden to bring his body ashore. So he was first buried on the Ile au Guerdain, but afterwards he was reinterred in the churchyard of St. Brelade's.

The western headland of the bay has yielded many examples of primitive flint implements.

The "Fishermen's Chapel" in the churchyard of St. Brelade's Church is one of the smallest and certainly one of the oldest places of worship in the island.

In the fourteenth century the interior of the tiny building was adorned with frescoes depicting Biblical incidents; one, over the altar, representing the Annunciation, was discovered beneath a later painting.

There were originally two little chapels in the churchyard, the second is still here, for it was incorporated in the chancel of the present church nearby which is without doubt one of the very oldest in Jersey. It was begun in the eleventh century and is notable for its saddle-back tower and Celtic turret.

The churchyard of St. Brelade's, which is washed on two sides by the sea, is the last resting-place of over 200 German soldiers who died in both world wars.

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