1st August 1876

The Saumarez Memorial foundation stone was laid

The foundation stone of a memorial to Admiral James de Saumarez was laid in Delancey Park on 1 August 1876. He had died 40 years before, but such was the respect for him on Guernsey, even four decades later, that funds for the monument were raised entirely through public subscription.

It was completed a little over a year later – on 11 October 1877 – but not officially unveiled until 1 August 1878. That date marked the Battle of the Nile, at which de Saumarez had been second in command to Admiral Nelson.

The column had been an impressive 99-foot tall obelisk of Guernsey granite. Designed by local architect AC Andros, it was built by Mr J Le Page.

The memorial’s destruction

All that now remains of the memorial is its base, after the column itself was destroyed by the Occupying forces on 7 December 1943. It had been obscuring a firing line and view of the sea. According to an archived page from the States of Guernsey website, some of the granite that was recovered was later used to enlarge the Rosiere Steps on Herm.

The four plaques that once adorned it are now at Castle Cornet. They were moved there when the States of Guernsey decided not to replace the column.

Plans to rebuild the memorial on its original base were dropped in October 2015. The Admiral de Saumarez Trust wanted to erect a replica in Delancy Park, St Sampson, along with a cafe, but had insufficient funds to proceed. The project was expected to cost around £750,000.

The plans were significantly more ambitious than the originals had been. As reported by the BBC,

Architect Andrew Dyke said “the proposed design will be a spirit of the original” adding, “it will be lit up with lights representing the constellations and stars with which the Admiral would have been very familiar for navigation purposes. ”The monument will be clearly visible from many parts of the Island and from the Northern and Eastern approaches.”

The original plan was to have finished the new memorial by Liberation Day 2010.

In 1980, Admiral de Saumarez appeared on Guernsey’s £20 banknote.

 

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