In this episode of 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast, we’ll be talking about the Bailiwick of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands lying just off the coast of Northern France. Jersey is a Crown Dependency so is not actually a part of the UK, just like the Isle of Man, which we covered in Season 1. Today, Jersey has a population of just under 100,000, and a total land area of around 120 km2 or 45 sq mi, making it a similar size to the US island of Nantucket, or slightly smaller than our old friend Liechtenstein.
While most residents speak English and identify as British, the proximity of Jersey and the other Channel islands to France has heavily influenced their culture and their history, and French is an official second language. Jersey also has its own local language, based on French, called Jèrriais. The island was documented by the Romans, known to them as Caesarea, and was part of the Duchy of Normany until the early 13th Century, when it was reorganized and became a territory in its own right. By the end of the 15th century, Jersey was granted its own governor. An individual, now called the Lieutenant Governor, is today the personal representative of the Queen on the island. Jersey was the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Nazis during WW2, and was one of the last places in Europe to be liberated.
Jersey has one of the highest numbers of cars per person in the world, and because of the historical popularity of Jersey wool, knitted sweaters came to be called jerseys, after the island, with the term first recorded in 1837. And yes, this island is the namesake of the US state of New Jersey. It’s been calculated that Jersey would fit 189 times into New Jersey – 95 times if the tide is out.
Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Dublin, Ireland, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Galway, Ireland. Our theme music and other stings come from Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella. Thanks to Luke Davis, a member of the Société Jersiaise, for speaking to us for this episode – you will hear clips from his interview throughout.
Some further reading material is provided below:
- Huge amounts of information about all things Jersey are available on Jerripidea, the Island Wiki
- The Societé Jersiaise have published A Brief History of Jersey by Peter Hunt
- On geology and early history see: Jersey Geology Trail, La Cotte de Saint Brelade (which has a short documentary the cave), photos of archaeological sites and a wiki article about iron age hoards.
- Cæsarea: or, An account of Jersey by E. Durell; Jersey’s Population: a history by Mark Boleat
- BBC Article on St Helier, some information on other saints associated with Jersey, and more information on the Fisherman’s Chapel
- Daniel Defoe’s writings on the island; BBC Article on Sir George Carteret; Jean Chevalier’s Diary of the invasion by Commonwealth forces
- Information on the Royal Mace
- Information on the Jersey Cow, and the Jersey Royal Potato
- Two sources on the German occupation of Jersey: 1, 2
- Details on the Beast of Jersey; and the Haute de la Garenne scandal
- More on island cuisine
- Worth a watch is an ethnographic documentary on Jerriais “Music as a tool to safeguard endangered languages” by Manuela Camillo MA of Goldsmith University, London: Man Bieau P’tit Jèrriais – YouTube, which features the band Badlabecques prominently
- Beautiful Jersey (performed by Band Of The Island Of Jersey accompanying Sadie Rennard) is something of an unofficial anthem
- To learn a little bit of Jerriais, watch this video from L’Office du Jèrriais: https://youtu.be/FwXTcSM7NMw
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2 thoughts on “Jersey (S5.08)”
Hey, very much enjoyed the Jersey episode (as per usual).
A quick comment on the flag: lions passant guardant (as featured in both the Jersey and English flags) are usually referred to as leopards. Lord knows why, but there it is.
Thanks a million for the brilliant and entertaining work you do!
That makes a lot more sense! We are still clearly heraldry novices!