22nd February 521

St Sampson was ordained a bishop

The actual dates on which anything happened in St Sampson’s life are sketchy at best. He lived in an era where little was written down, and those that were have often been lost in the interim.

We do know one thing for certain, though. On 22 February 521, Guernsey’s patron saint was ordained a bishop by Bishop Dubricius.

Samson (note the missing “p”) had been born in Gwent, Wales, to the daughter of the king of Glamorgan and Gwent. Although technically royalty, he wasn’t one for comfort and excess. After joining the church he moved to monastery on Caldey Island, close to Tenby, off the Pembrokeshire coast. There, he could live the austere life he craved, living and eating simply and abstaining from alcohol.

From Tenby, he moved to Ireland where he either founded or revived a monastery – the details are unclear.

Sampson’s ordination as a Bishop

He was ordained a bishop at the age of 35, and then had a vision telling him to travel. He first heading for Cornwall, the Scilly Isles, and Guernsey. In Guernsey, he founded a wooden chapel close to where St Sampson‘s parish church stands now. Although not the building that Sampson himself constructed, the parish church is one of the oldest buildings in Guernsey. It was consecrated in 1111.

Guernsey adopted him as both its saint, and the name of its second town (the island of Samson in the Scilly Isles is also named after him). Yet his visit was fleeting. After stopping briefly on the island he moved on to Dol, in Brittany, France and founded another monastery. As a result, his full title is now St Samson of Dol, and after his death his remains were buried there in around 565AD.

He is Guernsey’s patron saint, and his feast day is 28 July.

St Sampson's travels


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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