8th March 1486

Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed

Edmund Weston was Guernsey’s first governor – twice over. He assumed the title jointly with Thomas de St Martin in November 1485, a date that coincided with the start of Henry VII’s reign.

However, just a few months later he was upgraded. On 8 March the following year, he was appointed as the first solo governor of the island. By this point, Weston, who had been born in Lincolnshire, was aged around 50.

Power with responsibility

Despite the fact that this all happened in the 15th century, when personal power was far greater than it is today, being governor didn’t necessarily mean Weston had an absolute right to do what he wanted. The States of Guernsey had met for the first time five years earlier, giving the people some representation, and the pope had also had his say. Sixtus IV, who reigned from 1471 until 1484, declared the Channel Islands neutral in times of war.

This latter point was particularly important, as England and France, to both of whom Guernsey has connections, frequently fell out. England was also experiencing a quasi civil war in the shape of the War of the Roses. This battle, which lasted more than three decades, saw the houses of York and Lancaster fight over the English throne.

The War of the Roses had implications that reached far beyond the mainland, though. The disruption had encouraged France to set its sights on Jersey, and piracy was rife. It seems that the intention of the Bull – Sixtus’ proclamation – was to tackle the piracy rather than anything else. Anyone who ignored it was threatened with instant excommunication and eternal damnation.

Line of succession

Edmund’s son Richard, who was born in Jersey, was appointed to the same position in 1509, shortly after Henry VIII came to the throne. He had previously been the keeper of Castle Cornet. Thus, the governorship of Guernsey passed from father to son without the line being broken.

 

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Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st