27th July 1640

Braye du Valle was gifted by the crown

The Braye du Valle, which separated the main part of Guernsey from the Clos du Valle, had been crown property until 1640. On 27 July that year, King Charles I awarded it to Sir Henry de Vic to thank him for his long service.

This was just the first of several changes of hands. Henry de Vic didn’t actually take ownership for another quarter century. Its transfer was held up by the disruption of the English Civil War. Less than fifty years later, it had passed to Henry de Sausmarez. He sold it to a syndicate in 1730, which sold it on once more in 1805 – this time to the British Government.

Uniting the island(s)

That last sale had perhaps the most significant impact on Guernsey as a whole. Without this final transfer of ownership, the Braye du Valle might never have been drained and the land between St Sampson and Grande Havre reclaimed under the direction of John Doyle.

Doyle’s primary motivation in draining the land was that uniting the two parts of Guernsey would make the island easier to defend. In his view, it would have been too easy for French forces, intent on invasion, to land on the northern part and launch attacks from there.

Sold, sold and sold again

The reclaimed land added considerably to Guernsey’s overall area. It was split into seven parts, six of which were sold, with the final part being retained as a military training ground. The sale raised sufficient money to fund the building of several new roads across the island.

Aside from the inlet that forms the harbour at St Sampson, the only physical remnant of the original Braye du Valle is Vale Pond.


FREE Guernsey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Guernsey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want. We'll also keep you up to date with our latest book releases and early-bird discounts.


Other events that occured in July

Guernseyman Edward Tupper killed by cannibals 1st
Alderney is occupied by German forces 2nd
Seigneur of Sark, Michael Beaumont, dies aged 88 3rd
Guernsey hosted the Island Games 2003 closing ceremony 4th
New coins are minted for Guernsey 5th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry Museum opens 6th
Victor Hugo statue is unveiled in Candie Gardens 7th
First Commando raid of the Second World War 8th
Birth of Sark-based writer Mervyn Peake 9th
Guernsey nurses go on hunger strike 10th
ITV broadcasts first episode of Island at War 11th
A Guernsey man posted himself to Sark 12th
Murderer Peter Robin sentenced to death 13th
Victor Hugo plants his United States of Europe oak 14th
Point Law runs aground off Alderney 15th
Racing yacht Westward is blown up off Guernsey
BBC made its first ever Channel Islands broadcast 16th
The Star received some “grave” news 17th
The Guernsey Martyrs were burned at the stake 18th
Prince Charles and Camilla visit Guernsey 19th
President Garcia is re-floated in Saints Bay 20th
Typhoid suspect holidaymaker flies home 21st
Guernsey Controlling Committee’s Sir John Leale died 22nd
Alderney to Guernsey radio connection established 23rd
Val des Terres was first opened for traffic 24th
The BBC broadcasts from Sark for the first time 25th
Guernsey court escapee was caught again 26th
Braye du Valle was gifted by the crown 27th
Murderer sentenced to death in three hours 28th
Guernsey bought Herm from the mainland 29th
Albert Lamy appointed Guernsey Police Chief Officer 30th
Guernsey to Jersey plane crashed into the sea 31st