Island Life   

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History of Herm

Neolithic Man

Whilst clearly Neolithic man occupied Herm, records of Herm are a little sketchy. It is thought that it became separated from what is now known as Jethou in AD709 during huge storms. Some historians believe that Stone Age man from France buried their aristocracy in Herm.


The Romans referred to Herm as Erimus, (open and fruitless) . A 6th century chapel originally on the site of the present church, was built by St Tugual.

Two hundred years ago, granite quarrying was big business and 400 people lived there at that time and regrettably during this period, much of the evidence of early man was destroyed. The stone was used amongst other projects to build St Peter Port harbour.

Modern times and the German Occupation

During more recent times, the Germans occupied the island during World War II  and many a famous person has stayed at the 15th century Manor House including Prince Blucher von Wahlstatt, the great-grandson of the man who helped Wellington defeat Napoleon. The best selling author Sir Compton Mankenzie stayed in 1920, and Sir Percival Perry, a past Chairman of the Ford Motor Company lived thee for 16 years between 1923 and 1939.

Post War Redevelopment

The British Post Office opened a sub-post office in the 1920s and it was in 1949 that Herm issued its first postage stamp under the tenancy of Mr Jeffries. Major Wood continued with the tradition until the Guernsey Post Office came into being in 1949 and banned local labels on its mail.

The island was purchased by the States of Guernsey in 1946 for £15,000 and leased out to the late Major Peter Wood. He and wife Jenny were captivated by the tranquility of the island although at that time it was an overgrown wilderness. They set about restoring and indeed building the infrastructure of Herm after considerable damage during the Occupation and general neglect. Thanks to their tremendous efforts, the island was subsequently opened to tourism.  The third generation of the family are now growing up in Herm.



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