The Guernsey Quiz : 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) What is an abreuvoir, commonly found throughout Guernsey?

A drinking trough for cattle

Abreuvoirs are a particular feature around Guerney with over 140 granite ones estimated to have been built between 1870 and 1920 alone. Those that were built by the parish often display the names of the Constables and the Douzeniers of the time.

(2) In which year did the occupying forces introduce driving on the right to Guernsey’s roads?


In addition to changing the rules of the road the German Occupying authorities changed the Channel Island time zone from GMT to CET to bring the islands into line with most of continental Europe.

(3) To what animal, a pet of the tenant Sir Percival Perry, is there a monument close to the White House Hotel on Herm?

A parrot, which was strangled by drunk fishermen.

Percival Lea Dewhurst Perry, 1st Baron Perry KBE (18 March 1878 – 17 June 1956) was an English motor vehicle manufacturer who served as chairman of Ford Motor Company Limited in Britain for 20 years from its incorporation in 1928, completing almost a lifetime’s work with Henry Ford.

In 1922 he retired to live mostly on Herm where he wrote, with his wife The Island of Enchantment published in 1926

(4) What appears on the back of any Guernsey penny produced after 1985?

A crab

In April 1817 the States of Guernsey first launched the ‘Guernsey Pound’. Initially 1,500 £1 notes were issued to cover the cost of road repairs and a monument to the late Governor. Subsequent issues were made in that same and later years and Guernsy’s own currency was born.

You can read more about Guernsey’s own Currency in our article entitled Beating the Bankers at their Own Game – the Guernsey Way.

(5) If inspectors came to your home for a 'Visite du Branchage', what would they examine?

Foliage on your property. They will be looking for bracches overhanging paths and roads

The The Visite du Branchage takes place in each Parish twice a year to check that occupiers of houses and land bordering on public roads have undertaken the ‘branchage’.

The vist is conducted by Douzaineers, members of the main ‘council style body’ in each parish. As the name implies the Douzaine, is usually made up of twelve members although there are exceptions, the Vale having sixteen and St Peter Port having twenty.

(6) Which monarch was wearing white stockings from Guernsey for her execution in 1587?

Mary Queen of Scots

The knitting industry in Guernsey today is all but extinct. However there was a time when it used to be quite a sizable proportion of her GDP with the majority of her population involved in it in some way or another, both women and men.

All kinds of goods were being produced : undergarments; waistcoats; gloves; stockings and of course the famous seaman’s knitted woollen sweater ‘the Guernsey’. One of these garments was famously being worn by Mary Queen of Scots when she was executed on the orders of her cousin Queen Eliazabeth I.

You can read more about this in in our article The Knitting Industry in Guernsey.

(7) To which saint is Vale Church dedicated?

St Michael

The full official name of the church is ‘St. Michel du Valle’ and was originally linked to Mont Saint-Michel monastery in Normandy.

Somewhere around A.D. 968, monks, from the Benedictine monastery of Mont Saint-Michel, came to Guernsey to establish a community in the North of the Island. Interestingly there is also a folklore tradition that seems says the monks were driven from Mont St. Michel for their dissolute lives and chose to settle in the Vale parish. The same authority also informs us that they eventually reformed their lives and became famous for their sanctity. Whether true or not it’s an intersting tidbit of information.

The last remaining stonework from the original building is a piece of buttressed wall to the South of the church, by the roadside.

(8) When was Guernsey Football Club founded?

2011, their first season was 2011-12.

The initial idea to establish Guernsey FC was developed during the 2009-10 season when Guernsey’s Senior County Division One representative side enjoyed a successful run in the FA National League System Cup culminating in Guernsey beating the Liverpool County Premier League 5-2 in the final in May 2010.

Over the course of 2011, the club’s founding directors, Steve Dewsnip and Mark Le Tissier, received encouragement from the Football Association, the Guernsey FA, the Combined Counties League (which we were introduced to by the FA), the clubs then main sponsor Sportingbet, the States of Guernsey and the island’s local football community to take pland for the club further. The rest is history.

(9) How did French nuclear physicist Andre Gardes come to prominence in August 1990?

He attempted to invade Sark, armed with a semi-automatic weapon

Andre Gardes, an unemployed French nuclear physicist believed himself to be the rightful heir and “Seigneur” of Sark. So, in August of 1990, Gardes decided to stage an invasion to forcefully set himself up as the ruler of Sark’s 610 inhabitants.

The invasion was ‘crushed’ when Sark’s Constable, after asking to see the gun he was loading, punched Gardes on the nose. The gun used in the attempted coup now sits in the Sark Museum next to old ships and a dedicated exhibit to one of the island’s two original telephone calls.

(10) The full name of St Andrew’s Parish Church is “Ecclesia Sancti Andreae de Pendente Pomeria”. What does that mean?

St Andrew of the Sloping Apple Orchard

St Andrew’s Parish Church this is one of the island’s smallest churches and dates back to the 12th century. However it more than doubled in size in the 15th century. It sits near a spring La Fontaine de St Clair, originally thought to have curative powers. Although St Andrew’s does not have any coastline, large boulders from the sea have been used in its construction. The Apple orchard has unfortunately long since disappeared from its own site however the Rocquettess cider company has an orchard in a field opposite the church.

(11) How did John Tapner come to prominence in February 1854?

He was the last person executed on Guernsey

Tapner, who was English, was 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.

(12) Which of the following is St Sampson, Guernsey’s patron saint, not said to have banished from the island: serpents, frogs, moles, toads?


Guernsey folklore has it that serpents, moles and toads were driven from Guernsey by by St. Sampson and sent to Jersey which is why they have moles and toads and Guernsey doesn’t. It is also a possible source of the derrogotive term the Guernseyman uses to describe his Channel Island cousins as crapauds

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

(13) What name was given to the 3rd century Roman shipwreck found in the mouth of St Peter Port harbour in 1982?


It was on Christmas Day 1982 that local Diver Richard Keen spotted the remains of a large wreck sticking out from the mud directly between the pierheads of St Peter Port harbour. The wreck had been exposed by the prop-wash of various new ferries being used on the Guernsey shipping routes. It was identified as Roman and ‘The Guernsey Maritime Trust’ was formed and tasked with rescuing the ship.

By coincidence, a Roman waterfront site at La Plaiderie was excavated by Bob Burns of Guernsey Museum during the same period. Until this double find, there was very little to indicate that the Romans even came to Guernsey.

Between 1984 and 1986, archaeologists led by Dr Margaret Rule teamed up with local divers to excavate the ship and it was during this time that a schoolboy watching the diving asked whether this was ‘Asterix’s ship’ and so the name stuck and the ship became known locally as ‘Asterix’.

You can read more in our article entitled Asterix – Guernsey’s Own Roman Wreck.

(14) Who wrote 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' ?

Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society has put Guernsey truely on the map, at least for certain middle-aged American women, who have taken the book to their hearts. American vistors often come to the island simply to view the loacations where the book is set.

If you’re curious about the book (& the recipe) then you can try it out in our article entitled The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – The Recipe.

(15) From which European country were tomato plants first brought to Guernsey?


Just when the tomato first arrived in Guernsey is unknown. The tomato was brought to Europe in the 1500s but was only grown as a decorative plant as the fruit was believed to be poisonous.

Around 1864 an English newspaper published a story claiming research had shown the tomato was not only edible, but had health benefits. Only a year later, in 1865 a few growers were already exporting tomatoes.

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

You can find out more about the once famous Guernsey Tomatoe Indutsry in our article entitled The Guernsey Tom.

(16) What does the Old Norse “-hou” at the end of Lihou and Brecqhou mean?

A small hill or mound

That said, its etymology and meaning are often disputed, with some specialists thinking that it comes from Saxon or Anglo-Saxon hōh “heel”, sometimes hō, then “heel-shaped promontory”, “rocky steep slope”, “steep shore”.

However as it can be found everywhere in Normandy, especially in the western part of it, its norse origins are more favoured locally.

(17) Which island in the Bailiwick of Guernsey provided the granite for the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral in London?


As well as knowing exactly where it came from we even know that it was dressed in an outbuilding next to Carteret Hall at Cobo.

The streets of London are literally paved in Guernsey granite. One of the largest quarry owners in Guernsey in the nineteenth century was John Mowlem, who won the contract to repave Blackfriars Bridge, the Strand and the Thames Embankment.

(18) Which famous actor recounted tales of the wartime raids on the Channel Islands on which he took part, in his autobiography, The Moon’s a Balloon?

David Niven

Operation Ambassador was an operation carried out by British Commandos on 14–15 July 1940. It was only the second raid by the newly formed British Commandos and was focused upon German-occupied Guernsey.

Much of the details of the raid were worked out by David Niven, who was then serving as a staff officer in the Combined Operations Headquarters.

(19) What was used as a table on HMS Bulldog for the signing of the terms of Germany’s surrender of the Channel Islands in 1945?

A rum barrel

In addition to being the ship on which the Channel Islands Occuying Forces surrendered on May 9th she was also made famous as the first to capture a German Naval Enigma coding machine and various codebooks. This was of immense help to the Government Code and Cypher School in breaking German naval codes and helped the allies to victory in the Battle of the Atlantic.

(20) How long did Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s 1846 visit to Guernsey last?

Only Two hours

The 1846 royal visit was the first time a reigning monarch had ever visited the island.

A small granite stone was laid to mark where the queen had first stepped ashore in St Peter Port harbour and the following year, despite the brevity of the visit, the Guernsey people determined to errected St Peter Port’s Victoria Tower.

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 get your hands on the full 1,000 questions then it’s available from Amazon

Author: Robert

Share This Post On

Pin It on Pinterest

%d bloggers like this: