1932 Guide Book to the Channel Islands: Plemont to Corbière

A few more extracts from the 1932 Guide Book to the Channel Islands are given below. This was a kind of "Bradshaw" for the Channel Islands, telling visitors where to go, and what to see.
 
I remember when you could still get refreshments at L'Etacq at the Marina Restaurant, where we used to go as a treat on the odd Sunday, and I had egg and chips, being a creature of habit; this would be followed by an enormous knickerbocker glory for desert. There are just residential houses now, and the restaurant has gone, although I believe it does feature in one episode of Bergerac.

The Guide is rather rude about the coast at St Ouen - "desolate and weird"  indeed, and makes it sound like Death Valley. I think the lunar style landscope of La Rocque at low tide would be a more appropriate location for those adjectives.

The lighthouse, of course was manned. It is now automated. A fog horn sounds, but there is no longer the "firing of explosives" to warn mariners which seems rather unusual. The note about the rising tide was not heeded. There is today a plaque adjacent to the causeway which commemorates Peter Edwin Larbalestier, assistant keeper of the lighthouse, who was drowned on 28 May 1946, while trying to rescue a visitor cut off by the incoming tide.

1932 Guide Book to the Channel Islands: Plemont to Corbière
 
After ascending the gorge and reaching the high ground, we can walk across the common-like expanse (or take the road) to Grosnez Point, on which are the ruins of Grosnez Castle, 200 feet above sea-level. The only considerable portion still standing is the entrance gateway, but the design of the walls and buildings can be traced. Enclosed within wooden railings are pieces of old stone, carved at the ends.
 
There is no record of the date of this Castle, but the architecture is of the fourteenth century. From the Point the view of the coast, with black sheer cliffs on either side, is imposing, and here one gets the best views of the Paternosters, Sark, Herm, and Guernsey.
 
Eastward of the ruins a pathway leads to the head of a precipitous gorge, at the bottom of which the sea even in the calmest weather makes grand play as it frets itself into a white foam round the base of the cliff, and if the tide is low a curious natural bridge, the Pont de la Moie, will be seen by descending into the quarry to the right of the Castle.
 
We now turn southward, and in about a mile over the turf reach the Pinnacle Rock, a mass of granite rising vertically from the sea to a height of 200 feet, and connected with the mainland by a narrow ledge of rock. Shortly after, we rejoin the road leading to L'Etacq (refreshment room), a huge circular mass of grey rock rising from the beach. The adventurous can easily make the ascent.
 
To the south lies St. Ouen's Bay, the largest inlet in the Channel Islands. The village of Etacq snuggles at the base of the rock. Some visitors do not care for this side of the Island and call it desolate and weird. It is certainly the barest side.
 
The hills rise a little distance inland, and an expanse of grass-covered sand lies between them and the sea. A road skirts the beach, passing several towers and scattered cottages. The solid architecture of the latter exemplifies the necessities of the district. Only those who have experienced the full force of a south-westerly gale in St. Ouen's Bay in the depths of winter can understand what contrasting aspects this almost sub-tropical island possesses.
 
Midway along the curve of the bay is St. Ouen's Pond, a marshy pool formed by several small streams. Farther south, and about half a mile from the shore, stands La Rocco Tower, erected in 1800, near which is the only safe anchorage in the bay.
 
It was in St. Ouen's Bay that the Parliamentary forces, conveyed by Admiral Blake's fleet, successfully landed and overcame the royalist faction in 1651.
 
At the southern extremity of St. Ouen's Bay is Corbiere Point, which has near it - The Corbiere Lighthouse.
 
Access.-From St. Helier by railway via St. Aubin. Return fare, 2s.6d. first, 1s. 9d, second. Sundays and Thursday afternoons,1s 6d
 
A single glance at the sea at any state of the tide is sufficient to convince one of the necessity of a powerful light at this point of the coast. Corbière Lighthouse was built in 1874 on a rock which rises 90 feet above high water. The light, 135 feet above sea-level, is visible seventeen miles, showing white in some directions, red in others. In foggy weather an alarm bell, giving three strokes every 30 seconds, and the automatic firing of explosives, warn mariners of their danger.
 
At half-ebb tide a paved causeway between the Point and the lighthouse is exposed. At the farther end ninety-five steps lead up the rock. The public are not admitted to the lighthouse itself, but are allowed to pass round the lower gallery outside, which is an excellent point from which to view the wild and rugged scenery around.
 
Should the tide be rising, it is most important not to delay one's return to the mainland too long, as the causeway is covered with rising speed.
 
At Corbiere will be found the Corbière Pavilion hotel, Le t Chalet, and other refreshment places. The distance by road to St. Helier is seven miles. The railway terminus is quite near the Point. On the seaward side of the Corbière Tea Room a path leads down to the pretty cove of La Rosiere, in which are the Pirates' Caves and the Smugglers' Cave, the approach to which is rendered easy by a concrete path over rocks.

Ray Simpson and Celtic Christianity in Jersey



St Brelade's Parish has had a strong historical Celtic connection, as St Brelade is one of the two Celtic saints to have visited the Channel Island, the other being St Sampson, who left his mark in Guernsey.

As A.H. Ewen notes in "The Breton Myth", the Celtic influence in Jersey was very small, on the periphery of a Christianity which was dominated by Rome - the Channel Islands from the fourth century formed part of the Roman province of "Lugdunenisis secunda", whose administrative capital was Rouen.

The Celtic influence is found in the remoter locations of the Islands, such as  St Brelade's Church, away form the Roman mainstream. It was a faith on the margins, of the periphery, of the edge of the world. St Brelade's Church still connects to those roots with its "Celtic Evening Prayer" each Sunday at 6.30 in the Fisherman's Chapel.

Ray Simpson is the Founding Guardian of the International Community of Aidan and Hilda, and he has been exploring Celtic Christianity and its context in the modern world for many years. The Community of Aidan and Hilda is a dispersed ecumenical body whose centre is on Lindisfarne.

Ray is coming to Jersey as part of the St Brelade Festival of Spirituality. On Friday there is a special retreat session for the Island's clergy. On Sunday he is preaching in St Brelade's Church, but on Saturday, he is leading a workshop. Tickets can be booked from the arts centre, and the details are as follows:

Saturday 21 September 2013: A Way of Life - A Way of Wisdom with Ray Simpson
. 10am-12 noon: Part One - A way of life: roots, rhythm and relationships
. 1.30pm-2.30pm: Part Two - A way of wisdom: how acorns can grow into our future oak trees
Admission for the day £12 including 'Lunch-in-a-Box'.

It is Ray Simpson's second visit to Jersey.

Back in 1995, the Parish of St Brelade hosted a "Celtic Weekend", and the Rector, the Reverend Michael Halliwell, wrote this in "The Pilot":

Our Patronal Festival was celebrated this year in a manner as never before. Our visiting preacher for the week-end, the Rev Ray Simpson, entered into the spirit of the parish and its history as if lie had known us for many years. It was clear that what he had to share with us stood in a long line of encounters with God which we had experienced during the recent eventful years. It all began for us in a new way with the visit of the Fisherfolk in 1973 and with their powerful message of renewal. Then we had a visit from Eric Sellgren from Whatcombe House in 1982, John Barter and the team from Holy Trinity, Hounslow, in 1986, and the Music and Arts Week-end with Shirley Collins in 1989. All these past events seemed to have led up to the call to take a new look at the Celtic roots of the Church in this place.

There was an exciting response from the churches in our own area and a good number of people from other churches and fellowships in the Island. The Church of the sixth century did not know the divisions which disfigure the Body of Christ in our own time and the Christians of those days inevitably had a different set of priorities. However, their faithfulness to the Gospel has a message for us all and Ray Simpson took us quickly to the heard of it all with his opening address on "A new monasticism." Very quickly we found ourselves in at the deep end and drawn into a unity of spirit which was with us right through the weekend.

Subsequent sessions led us through consideration of Contemplative Prayer. Person-friendly Evangelism, the Rediscovery of Soul Friends, a new approach to Spiritual Warfare and perhaps most significantly a Celtic Model for the Local Church. The question we have now to address is: where do we go from here?

It is easy to approach this whole matter in a purely "cosmetic" manner and believe that by tacking on a few Celtic prayers and liturgical material to our normal worship we are getting the message. However, there is no reason why we should not inform our spirituality by other ways of praying within the existing structures of our Sunday and week-day worship. The old adage "Lex orandi Lex credendi" still holds good, and the way we pray still forms the way we believe. In the meantime, I have asked to be adviser for the "Order of Aidan and Hilda" in the Channel Islands, and plans are being discussed for a visit to Lindisfarne by a group of us.