An island divided dividing islands

The English Civil War pitted fathers against sons,brothers against brothers in the bitter conflict between King and Parliament thatdivided the country. The enmity spread far beyond the borders of England. Althoughroutinely referred to as the English Civil War, its effects were felt inScotland, Ireland and England’s overseas colonies.


Eventhe Channel Islands would succumb to intrigue and division. Jersey, the largestof the islands, remainedin the hands of the Royalists under George de Carteret. It became a placeof refuge for the future Charles II, as recountedin an inscription: “he has been twice received in safety when he wasexcluded from the remainder of his dominions … during the fury of the civilwars.”

Given the rivalry between the islands, it is perhapsno surprise that Guernsey sidedwith Parliament. Well, most ofGuernsey. Castle Cornet, overlooking St. Peter Port and under the Governorshipof Peter Osborne, remainedloyal to the King. One explanation for the people of Guernsey’s anti-Royalistsentiment was the highproportion of Calvinists on the island.

The fortress and town would exchangeintermittent cannon and musket fire for the best part of a decade, riddlingboth the castle and waterfront with shot and damaging many buildings. Castle Cornetsurvived amidst its hostile hinterland by receiving supplies from neighbouring,and Royalist, Jersey. By the end of the Civil War, the castle would be the lastpoint of Royalist resistance in the British Isles, finally succumbing toParliamentary forces on 17 December 1551 (Jersey’s Elizabeth Castlesurrendered on 12 December 1551).


Jersey wasrewarded for its loyalty on the Restoration, with Charles II presentinga sumptuous Royal Mace to the Bailiff of Jersey on 28 November 1663.Guernsey was left toimplore Charles II for his “gracious pardon” for having “quitted theirdutys to obedience to their native Soverain”. Clemency was granted on 13 August 1660.