3rd August 1797

Earl Grey was appointed Governor of Guernsey

The first Earl Grey, Charles Grey, was appointed Governor of Guernsey on 3 August 1797. He remained in that position until his death ten years later on 14 November 1807.

He had been born in October 1729, close to Newcastle upon Tyne and, after buying his way into the army, served in Scotland and Gibraltar. However, he will be best remembered by those outside of Guernsey for his participation in the American War of Independence.

American War of Independence

Grey was a fearless leader of raids around New England, including on Martha’s Vineyard. Believing that the element of surprise would play in the British force’s favour, his methods were, at times, gruesome. He instructed his men to use only their bayonets in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Thus, rather than shooting their enemies, they stabbed them to death. The latter raid is now known as the Baylor Massacre.

He was rewarded for his bloodthirsty action with a knighthood.

Earl Grey and Fort Grey

Guernsey’s Fort Grey, now the island’s shipwreck museum, was named in Earl Grey’s honour. Rather appropriately, it had been built by Sir John Doyle, a later Governor of Guernsey to defend against French invasion. Earl Grey himself had been involved in the French Revolutionary War during which, as commander of the West Indian expedition, he led the British in its operation to capture Martinique.

He was not the Earl Grey after whom the bergamot-flavoured tea was named. That was his son, the Second Earl Grey – also called Charles – who served as British Prime Minister between November 1830 and July 1834. Sadly, the First Earl Grey didn’t live long enough to see his son rise to a position of leading the country.


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Other events that occured in August

The Saumarez Memorial foundation stone was laid 1st
Guernsey won double-silver at the Commonwealth Games 2nd
Earl Grey was appointed Governor of Guernsey 3rd
A boy scout fell 250ft over a Torteval Cliff 4th
Jethou tenant was rescued from an up-turned boat 5th
A tomato ship and a tanker collided 6th
Human remains were found on Lihou 7th
The Beatles played at Candie Gardens 8th
The RAF bombed Guernsey Airport 9th
Guernesiais linguist Marie de Garis died 10th
Alderney experienced a total eclipse of the sun 11th
A minister was found dead at Icart Point 12th
Guernsey steam tramway is granted its concession 13th
Police found a bomb in Bluebell Wood 14th
Hanois Lighthouse’s foundation stone was laid 15th
Charlie Chaplin played in St Peter Port 16th
St Peter Port inundated with fish 17th
A royal visit… of sorts
The Rolling Stones played St Peter Port 18th
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was published 19th
Archaeologist Crystal Bennet was born 20th
Mapmaking geologist John MacCulloch died 21st
St Sampson pensioner was buried in a landslide 22nd
Trident VI ran aground on its return from Herm 23rd
Queen Victoria visited Guernsey 24th
The post-Occupation military government was disbanded 25th
Wesleyans celebrated 100 years on Guernsey 26th
Oliver Reed was jailed in Guernsey 27th
Guernsey’s Reform Law was enacted 28th
Winston Churchill visited Guernsey with his wife 29th
Philip de Saumarez was discharged as a Jurat 30th
Jersey swimmers set a round-Guernsey record 31st