24 May 2018

Guernsey and its Little Chapel

Island with a population of 63,000 people. In 1215 King John promised a special charter, the locals would not have to pay taxes to London or obey Westminster laws as long as they recognized the Queen as their sovereign in her capacity as "Duke" (not Duchess) of Normandy.  Apparently Queen Victoria loved it and came to visit no less than five times.

Today it is not part of the EU though it applies all standards to such things as food. Mints its own coins which are on par with the UK pound, but they are not accepted outside the island. If you get sick, good luck because neither NHS nor European Health Insurance Card are accepted here.

Funny to think about it now but French official language until 1920s. The switch began in the 1880s with English newspapers becoming more  and more popular. Lawyers must study French even today because of old laws in French. French language killed off in WWII when kids went to England.

It was occupied by Germany but Churchill did not attempt to retake it until the end of the war.

The property market has two separate tiers: a) a local market only for residents average 400k and b) an open market property for all but only 170 houses, very expensive 1.5mill at least. 

An honor system for selling milk cheese and veggies produced by private people, no license just pick up and leave money in a jar.

In the past privateers, pirates allowed with the letter of the mark by king if they pay 60pc of their loot to him, and pirates from here caught Spanish Dutch and French ships. Today, our guide says, the main industry is banking , a sort of modern piracy ! Then tourism ...

Interesting little music box in some shop we visited on the island.

Visit to Little Chapel, the smallest inthe world, they say. Here is the description of Little Chapel from the Visitguernsey website:

The Little Chapel was a work of art and labor of love built by Brother Déodat, who started work in March 1914. His plan was to create a miniature version of the famous grotto and basilica at Lourdes in France. The version you see today is actually the third version.

The first, measuring a tiny 9 feet long by 4.5 feet wide, was criticized, so Brother Deodat spent the following night demolishing the building. He soon set to work again and, in July 1914, the grotto was completed and officially blessed. This survived until September 1923; Brother Deodat demolished it in that month because the Bishop of Portsmouth had not been able to fit through the doorway.

He soon set about the construction of a third chapel - which we see today. The building operation proved laborious, collecting pebbles and broken china to decorate the shrine. Then suddenly the Little Chapel became famous, thanks to an illustrated article in the Daily Mirror. Presents poured in from around the world and Islanders brought colored china to Les Vauxbelets with the Lieutenant-Governor offering remarkable mother-of-pearl.

In 1939 Brother Deodat returned to France because of ill health. After his departure, the care of the Little Chapel was entrusted to Brother Cephas, who continued to decorate the building until his retirement in 1965. In 1977, a committee was established to restore the chapel and today it falls under the care of The Little Chapel Foundation.

There is no charge to enter the Chapel as it relies totally on public donations.

Tribute to the crew in kitchens and restaurants at the end of the cruise!

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