7th August 1962

Human remains were found on Lihou

A Norfolk holidaymaker found a human skull while walking close to the causeway that connects Lihou to L’Eree. It immediately attracted the attention of Guernsey police, but it later seemed that the case was cold.

The remains, which included some other bones aside from the skull, were though to be either a monk who had been murdered there, or the man who had killed him.

James Marr, writing in The History of Guernsey, tells how, in 1304, Thomas le Rouvet had killed one of Lihou’s monks, Brother Jean del Espin. The former Bailiff, Ranaulf Gaultier, was sent across the causeway to bring him back to face justice, but Rouvet had fought for his freedom and been fatally stabbed in the ensuing melee.

Gaultier, who had stabbed him, sought sanctuary in St Sampson’s church, and was only allowed to walk free upon the condition that he left Guernsey entirely.

Gaultier left, as agreed, but returned several months later after receiving a pardon from the king. Unable to keep himself out of trouble, he was imprisoned in Castle Cornet, tortured and, eventually, killed.

Revenge from the grave

The story doesn’t end there, though. One of the men responsible for Gaultier’s death was, somewhat confusingly, Gaultier de La Salle, who by then was Bailiff himself – the position once assumed by the dead Ranaulf Gaultier.

Ranaulf Gaultier’s nephew later petitioned the king for justice, demanding that de La Salle be tried for his uncle’s murder. The king granted the petition and de La Salle suffered the same fate. On his way to his own execution, de La Salle is said to have paused to confess his sins at the point now known as Bailiff’s Cross.

Whether the latter is true or not can’t be verified so long after the supposed event, but it does give a good explanation for how the spot got its name.


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 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