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.
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