4th February 1199

St Martin’s parish church consecrated

St Martin’s Parish Church is built on a site that’s hosted religious services for 1000 years. The current church isn’t quite that old, but it’s close. It was consecrated on 4 February 1199.

That actually pre-dates any of the remaining parts of the current building. It would seem that what constituted the church at the time of its consecration has been lost. However, the bulk of the current building was constructed in the first half of the 12th century. The clock, porch and sundial were added between 1520 and 1869.

St Martin's Parish Church

La Gran’mère du Chimquière

Yet, even this millennium-old church is young when compared to the statue that stands at its gate. La Gran’mère du Chimquière, a carved figure of a woman, dated from the megalithis period, around 2000 years BC. Its name translates literally as grandmother of the cemetery.

It is 1.65 metres tall, with a further 40cm underground. Most likely, it was originally a standing stone and the female figure, representing Mother Earth or a goddess of fertility, was carved into it in Roman times.

Newly-married couples have traditionally places coins or flowers on the Gran’mère’s head in the hope it will being them luck and make them fertile.

In the 19th century, the statue was broken in half by a church warden who objected to a pagan object on the church land. It has since been repaired, but the location of the break can still clearly be seen running diagonally down from right to left.


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 February

Mail ship wrecked on Black Rock 1st
Oil rig stranded at Grandes Rocques
Birth of Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann 2nd
Death of Sir Charles Hayward 3rd
St Martin’s parish church consecrated 4th
Guernsey suffers its worst storm in 35 years 5th
Guernsey watchmaker helps Stone of Scone manhunt 6th
Guernsey Language Commission formed 7th
Queen Mary executed while wearing Guernsey stockings 8th
Guernsey gets its first postbox
Guernsey Society celebrates its 70th anniversary 9th
Guernsey’s last execution didn’t go according to plan 10th
The last issue of GUNS was distributed 11th
Alderney gets its first full-time radio station 12th
Guernsey’s last duel 13th
Specsavers’ Mary Perkins was born 14th
Blue Islands takes to the skies
Guernsey gets its own flag 15th
Birth of concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houedard 16th
HMS Guernsey launched in Aberdeen 17th
Guernsey’s first Methodist minister arrives 18th
Aurigny Air Services founded 19th
Guernsey Railway Company runs its first services 20th
The Channel Islands were cut off from the outside world 21st
St Sampson was ordained a bishop 22nd
Death of Thomas Fiott de Havilland 23rd
Murder inquiry ends with suicide 24th
Death of occupation resister Marie Ozanne 25th
Guernsey’s first banker dies 26th
Release of Reverend Harry Samuel 27th
Plans for St Sampson power station approved 28th
Second World War bomb detonated 29th