The Guernsey Quiz 2 : How Well Do You Know the Bailiwick?

Test your knowledge with these 20 questions we’ve gathered from Lukas Aleksandr’s excellent book “Guernsey Quiz Book : 1000 questions for the whole family”.

We’ve assigned our own made up rating system, below, for your score … enjoy ! 🙂

20 correct ………… Super Sarnian !
15-19 correct ………… Splendid Sarnian
11-14 correct ………… ‘Satisfactory Sarnian’
(but some work needed)
6-10 correct ………… ‘Sub-Standard Sarnian’
(some serious work needed)
0-5 correct ………… You must be from Jersey!

(1) Who is the patron saint of Sark?

St Magliore

St Magloire succeeded his uncle, St Samson (the very same man who introduced Chrtistianity to Guernsey) as Bishop of Dol in c.560 AD. He’s credited with introducing Christianity to Sark and as such has been adopted as the patron saint of the island.

You can read more about St. Magloire and his link to Sark in our article entitled St Magloire – Patron Saint of Sark.

(2) On which two Guernsey beaches could you watch motor racing?

Vazon and Chouet

Vazon Bay, on the west coast, is a large 2 mile long beach that is perfect for sand racing events at low tide. Whilst Chouet bay in the north of the island, and also popular with windsurfers, provides anther suitable venue for motor sports.

(3) Against which team would Guernsey be competing if its opponents in a Muratti football game were wearing blue and white?


Some Alderney themed Muratti factoids for you …

  1. The Muratti Vase was actually purchased in Alderney early in 1905 and valued at £20.
  2. The first ever Muraiti Vase match occurred on 17 April 1905 and was between Guernsey and Alderney. Guernsey won the match 6-0.
  3. At the first ever competition match Guernsey actually wore light blue shirts and Alderney yellow and black stripes. Guernsey later switched to playing in in Green and White and Alderney in Blue and white.
  4. Alderney has only ever won the Muratti once winning a 1-0 victory over Jersey at Springfield on 29 April 1920.

(4) What does “hougue”, derived from Norse, actually mean?


Some other Norse themed factoids for you …

  1. The name Normandy is derived from ‘Northmen’ the name given to the area settled around the Seine by Viking raiders from Scandenavia in the 9th and 10th centuries.
  2. When the Norse invaders swept along the coasts of Europe and England they brought with them small dun coloured cattle, noted for their rich milk. These when crossed with other races resulted in cattle of broken colour – the Guernsey Cow is descended from these breeds.

(5) According to the census of 2001, how many people in Guernsey are fluent Guernesiais speakers?

Just 2%

Guernesiais is the descendant of a variety of tongues. It has come down from the old Langue d’Oil of Northern France which itself was a mixture of Low Latin, Gaulish and Frankish.

You can read more about Guernsey’s own language in our article entitled Guernsey Patois – A Language Apart or maybe test yourself to see how much patois you relly know in our article Brush up on your Patois – Guernsey French Phrases.

(6) When was Guernsey's Patron Saint St Sampson born: 485, 585 or 685?

AD 485

St. Samson was born in Wales around the year 485 and is considered one of the greatest missionaries to come from the British Isles. At the age of seven, his parents dedicated him to the service of God in gratitude for his birth after a long period of childlessness. He was enrolled under St. Illtud at his monastery at Llanwit, Glamorgan; when he reached manhood Samson was ordained deacon and priest by Illtud himself.

You can read more about Saint Sampson in our article Saint Sampson and the Christianisation of Guernsey.

(7) From which country was the Guernsey Lily introduced to the island?

South Africa

The first time that this flower was mentioned in connection with Guernsey was in 1664 in a paper called Gardener’s Chronicle. How it first came to island has been the subject of speculation for sometime. One thing is certain, is that it grows and flowers very well in Guernsey.

One local legend states that the first bulbs were washed ashore on the west coast of Guernsey from a Dutch ship wrecked whilst en route from Japan.

You can read more about Guernsey’s National Flower in our article entitled Guernsey Legends – The Guernsey Lily.

(8) When was the Muratti football competition founded?


The first Muratti Football competition took place at Springfield in Jersey between Guernsey and Jersey on Apr 27 1905 where Guernsey win 1-0 . The competition is actually named after Muratti cigarettes, the sponsors who purchased the original trophy.

You can read more about the Muratti in our article entitled The Muratti – Origin of a Local Showdown.

(9) Guernsey is home to the UK’s oldest pillar box still in use. Where is it?

Union Street, St Peter Port

Today Guernsey pots boxes are blue, with the exception of the Union Street Box which retains its original maroon colour.

It was in October 1980 that the Guernsey Post Office changed their image by painting all their boxes deep blue. Guernsey’s number 1 box was situated in the grounds of a hotel. When the Post Office workers arrived, armed with paint and brushes, the owner of the hotel stopped them from applying blue paint to the oldest box in the land . He contacted certain States members and over the next few years numerous debates and letters concerning the colour of this one particular post box filled the pages of the Guernsey Press.

In September, 1987, the workers returned to Union Street, only this time their paint pot contained the original maroon paint. You can read more about Guernsey’s postal claim to fame in our article entitled Guernsey on the Map – The First and Oldest Post Box in the British Isles.

(10) When does the Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey vote in the States of Deliberation?

A trick question, the answer is … never

The role of the Lieutenant Governor today is largely as the Crown’s representative as Guernsey, whilst independent from teh UK government, remains a Crown dependency. This means that many of Guernsey’s Laws require the approval of the Crown.

In the past the powers of the various Governors and Lieutenant Governors were considerably greater than they are today with their ability to meddle with local affairs often causing resentment and outright rebellion.

There are several instances where the Guernsey people appealed directly to their sovereign about dictatorial and heavy handed rule by her Governors. One of the most notable being in 1607 when the States of Guernsey appealed to James I about the then Governor Sir Thomas Leighton.

Royal commissioners were appointed and did uncover abuses of power that led to some swinging changes in the Governor’s power, such as : *

“future taxation shall be made according to the ancient privileges, liberties, and customs of the island.”
“the offices of governor and bailiff are incompatible ; that the governor, having once appointed a bailiff, cannot depose him;”
“Before any act of the governor’s authority can be put into execution in the islands, his commission must be first produced before the royal court.”
“That the governor should not hold any courts martial in the island, except in time of war, or of imminent danger from pirates ; and then only after having taken the advice of the bailiff and jurats.”
* Order in council, 1628.

(11) Which film, starring Peter Sellers and Charles Aznavour, was filmed entirely in Guernsey in 1973?

The Blockhouse

On D-Day, a mixed group of forced labourers held by German forces take shelter from the bombardment inside a German bunker, but are then entombed when the entrances are blocked by shelling damage. By coincidence, the bunker is a storehouse, so the prisoners have enough food and wine to last them for years. However, they are trapped not for years but permanently, and the film analyzes how they deal with their underground prison, with their relationships, and with death.

(12) The “-ey” at the end of Guernsey’s name is an Old Norse affix meaning what?


The name “Guernsey”, as well as that of neighbouring “Jersey”, is of Old Norse origin. The second element of each word, “-ey”, is the Old Norse for “island”, while “Guern” resembles the Spanish Cuerno, French Coi(r)n, Dutch Hoorn, Frisian Hoarn, Swedish Hörn and Swiss Gorn, all meaning “corner”. Hence “Guernsey” may originally translate as “Corner Island

Scholars also variously surmise that Jersey and Jèrri derive from jarð (Old Norse for “earth”) or jarl (earl), or perhaps a personal name, Geirr (“Geirr’s Island”).

You can read more about the local Patois’ in our article entitled The Origins of Guernsey French and Other Channel Island Languages.

(13) What does Torteval mean in Guernesiais?

Twisting valley

In Guernésiais, people from Torteval were nicknamed “ânes à pid dé ch’fa”, or “donkeys with horse’s hooves”.

You can read more about the meaning of some of Guernsey’s place names in our article entitled Guernsey Place Names & Their Meanings.

(14) By which Channel Island location was Enya’s album Dark Sky Island inspired?


Dark Sky Island is the 8th album from the Irish singer, songwriter and musician Enya and was released on 20 November 2015. She said that she was inspired in 2012 after Sark was the first island to be designated a dark-sky preserve.

(15) Where did the last public execution take place on Guernsey?

St James Street

On 10th February 1854 John Tapner was hanged in St James Street in St Peter Port for the crime of murder, he was the last person to be publicly executed on Guernsey.

Tapner, who was English, had been living in St Martins when 74-year-old Elizabeth Saujon was murdered in her home in St Peter Port on 18 October 1853. Saujon had been knocked unconscious and left to die in her burning house.

Tapner was arrested and tried for the murder of Saujon. At the trial, it was revealed that Tapner’s mistress — who was his wife’s sister — lived with Saujon. There were also reports of some of Saujon’s belongings being discovered near Tapner’s house in St Martins. While Tapner admitted to being in St Peter Port the evening of the murder, he denied any involvement in the fire or Saujon’s death. It was never clear what Tapner’s motive would have been for killing Saujon and burning down her house.

Tapner was convicted of murder by the Jurats and sentenced to death by hanging. Victor Hugo (who would later move to Guernsey) and 600 residents petitioned the Home Secretary of the United Kingdom, Lord Palmerston, to commute Tapner’s sentence. However Palmerston refused, and Tapner was hanged on 10th February 1854 in St Peter Port. His execution was unfortunately botched and instead of a clean death Tapner died of strangulation.

No one was executed by Guernsey after Tapner’s execution. Guernsey abolished the death penalty in 2003.

(16) Frank Falla was appointed to edit the Guernsey Evening Press during the occupation. On the side he also worked on which clandestine publication?

GUNS (Guernsey Underground News Sheet)

The Channel Islands in World War Two were the only parts of Britain to be occupied by Germans forces.

Islanders became increasingly angry with the German occupation as the war went on. The Germans had seized control of the island’s media outlets, so some islanders resisted this by printing illegal news sheets. The most well-known was the Guernsey Underground News Sheet (GUNS).

GUNS published BBC news, illegally received, on a single news sheet. As editor in chief Falla was able, through strategic placement of stories handed to him by the German authorities, to make it possible for islanders to easily distinguish between German news and stories emanating from Guernsey journalists.

Falla was eventually betrayed by an Irish collaborator and, along with his peers who helped to produce GUNS, was deported to Germany. Falla survived, though other members of the organisation never returned home from Germany.

(17) Which renowned series of fantasy novels was largely written on Sark by Mervyn Peake?


Gormenghast is a fantasy series of novels centering around the inhabitants of Castle Gormenghast, a sprawling, decaying, gothic-like structure.

The then surviving feudal system of government on Sark undoubtedly had an influence on his work. In one of the chapters of Gormenghast, where Titus and his mother attempt to trace Steerpike’s whereabouts, the placenames she reels off are all places on Sark.

(18) When were tomato plants first introduced to Guernsey? 1665, 1765, 1865 or 1965?


By the 1870s the tomato was being grown commercially on the island and soon replaced the more traditional vine in many Guernsey glasshouses.

You can read more about Guernsey’s famous Tomato industry in our article entitled The Guernsey Tom.

(19) When did Guernsey adopt its current flag?


The current flag was adopted in 1985 as part of the celebration of the 40th anniversary of liberation from German occupation.

The golden cross has its origins in the 11th century when William the Conqueror, the then Duke of Normandy (of which the Channel Islands were a part of) was given the cross in a banner from Pope Alexander II, prior to embarking on his conquest of England in 1066. The red cross of St George cross represents the historic ties between Guernsey and the English crown.

You can read more about the Guernsey Flag in our article entitled Flags of the Channel Islands.

(20) When the last monks left the priory on Lihou, where did they go?

Mont St Michel

The Benedictine Priory on Lihou Island was founded in the 12th century as a dative priory, which means that it was a place where dues were collected for the mother house, in this case Mont Saint Michel in Normandy. Robert de Torigni, Abbot of Mont Saint Michel, came to Guernsey in AD 1156, and his visit may have been for the dedication of the church.

You can read more about Lihou Priory’s colourful history in our articles entitled Scandal & Heresy in the Priory of Notre Dame de Lihou ? and Death & Retribution in the Priory of Notre Dame de Lihou.

The questions above have been reproduced with kind permission from Lukas Aleksandr’s book “Guernsey Quiz Book : 1000 questions for the whole family”. If you want to buy the full 1,000 questions the check it out here >>>.

Author: Robert

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