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CHANNEL ISLANDS

is Portland Bill, a little over 50 m. north of the northernmost outher of the islands. The total land area of the islands is about 75 sq. m. (48,083 acres), and the population in 1901 was 95,618. The principal individual islands are four:—Jersey (area 45 sq. m., pop. 52,576), Guernsey (area 24.5 sq. m., pop. 40,446), Alderney (area 3.06 sq. m., pop. 2062), and Sark (area nearly 2 sq. m., pop. 504). Each of these islands is treated in a separate article. The chief town and port of Jersey is St Helier, and of Guernsey St Peter Port; a small town on Alderney is called St Anne. Regular communication by steamer with Guernsey and Jersey is provided on alternate days from Southampton and Weymouth, by steamers of the London & South-Western and Great Western railway companies of England. Railway communications within the islands are confined to Jersey. Regular steamship communications are kept up from certain French ports, and locally between the larger islands. In summer the islands, especially Jersey, Guernsey and Sark, are visited by numerous tourists, both from England and from France.

The islands fall physically into four divisions. The northernmost, lying due west of Cape La Hague, and separated therefrom by the narrow Race of Alderney, includes that island, Burhou and Ortach, and numerous other islets west of it, and west again the notorious Casquets, an angry group of jagged rocks, on the largest of which is a powerful lighthouse. Doubtful tradition places here the wreck of the “White Ship,” in which William, son of Henry I., perished in 1120; in 1744 the “Victory,” a British man-of-war, struck on one of the rocks, and among calamities of modern times the wreck of the “Stella,” a passenger vessel, in 1899, may be recalled. The second division of islands is also the most westerly; it includes Guernsey with a few islets to the west, and to the east, Sark, Herm, Jethou (inhabited islands) and others. The strait between Guernsey and Herm is called Little Russel, and that between Herm and Sark Great Russel. Sark is famous for its splendid cliffs and caves, while Herm possesses the remarkable phenomenon of a shell-beach, or shore, half-a-mile in length, formed wholly of small shells, which accumulate in a tidal eddy formed at the north of the island. To the south-east of these, across the channel called La Déroute, lies Jersey, forming, with a few attendant islets, of which the Ecréhou to the north-east are the chief, the third division. The fourth and southernmost division falls into two main subdivisions. The Minquiers, the more western, are a collection of abrupt rocks, the largest of which, Maîtresse Ile, affords a landing and shelter for fishermen. Then eastern subdivision, the Îles Chausey, lies about 9 m. west by north of Granville (to which commune they belong) on the French coast, and belongs to France. These rocks are close set, low and curiously regular in form. On Grande Ile, the only permanently inhabited island (pop. 100), some farming is carried on, and several of the islets are temporarily inhabited by fishermen. There is also a little granite-quarrying, and seaweed-burning employs many.

None of the islands is mountainous, and the fine scenery for which they are famous is almost wholly coastal. In this respect each main island has certain distinctive characteristics. Bold cliffs are found on the south of Alderney; in Guernsey they alternate with lovely bays; Sark is specially noted for its magnificent sea-caves, while the coast scenery of Jersey is on the whole more gentle than the rest.

Geology.—Geologically, the Channel Islands are closely related to the neighbouring mainland of Normandy. With a few exceptions, to be noted later, all the rocks are of pre-Cambrian, perhaps in part of Archean age. They consist of massive granites, gneisses, diorites, porphyrites, schists and phyllites, all of which are traversed by dykes and veins. In Jersey we find in the north-west corner a granitic tract extending from Grosnez to St Mary and St John, beyond which it passes into a small granulitic patch. South of the granites is a schistose area, by St Ouen and St Lawrence, and reaching to St Aubin’s Bay. Granitic masses again appear round St Brelade’s Bay. The eastern half of the island is largely occupied by porphyrites and similar rocks (hornstone porphyry) with rhyolites and denitrified obsidians; some of the latter contain large spherulites with a diameter of as much as 24 in.; these are well exposed in Bouley Bay; a complex igneous and intrusive series of rocks lies around St Helier. In the north-east corner of the island a conglomerate, possibly of Cambrian age, occurs between Bouley Bay and St Catherine’s Bay. Tracts of blown-sand cover the ground for some distance north of St Clement’s Bay and again east of St Ouen’s Bay. In the sea off the latter bay a submerged forest occurs. The northern half of Guernsey is mainly dioritic, the southern half, below St Peter, is occupied by gneisses. Several patches of granite and granulite fringe the western coast, the largest of these is a hornblende granite round Rocquaine Bay. Hornblende gneiss from St Sampson and quartz diorite from Capelles, Corvée and elsewhere are transported to England for road metal. Sark is composed almost wholly of hornblende-schists and gneisses with hornblendic granite at the north end of the island, in Little Sark and in the middle of Bréchou. Dykes of diabase and diorite are abundant. Alderney consists mainly of hornblende granite and granulite, which are covered on the east by two areas of sandstone which may be of Cambrian age. An enstatite-augite-diorite is sent from Alderney for road-making. Besides the submerged forest on the coast of Jersey already mentioned, there are similar occurrences near St Peter Port and St Sampson’s harbour, and in Vazon Bay in Guernsey. Raised beaches are to be seen at several points in the islands.

Climate.—The climate is mild and very pleasant. In Jersey the mean temperature for twenty years is found to be—in January (the coldest month) 42.1° F., in August (the hottest) 63°, mean annual 51.7°. In Guernsey the figures are, for January 42.5°, for August 59.7°, mean annual 49.5°. The mean annual rainfall for twenty-five years in Jersey is 34.21 in., and in Guernsey 38.64 in. The average amount of sunshine in Jersey is considerably greater than in the most favoured spots on the south coast of England; and in Guernsey it is only a little less than in Jersey. Snow and frost are rare, and the seasons of spring and autumn are protracted. Thick sea-fogs are not uncommon, especially in May and June.

Flora and Fauna.—The flora of the islands is remarkably rich, considering their extent, nearly 2000 different species of plants having been counted throughout the group. Of timber properly speaking there is little, but the evergreen oak, the elm and the beech are abundant. Wheat is the principal grain in cultivation; but far more ground is taken up with turnips and potatoes, mangold, parsnip and carrot. The tomato ripens as in France, and the Chinese yam has been successfully grown. There is a curious cabbage, chiefly cultivated in Jersey, which shoots up into a long woody stalk from 10 to 15 ft. in height, fit for walking-sticks or palisades. Grapes and peaches come to perfection in greenhouses without artificial heat; and not only apples and pears but oranges and figs can be reared in the open air. The arbutus ripens its fruit, and the camellia clothes itself with blossom, as in more southern climates; the fuchsia reaches a height of 15 or 20 ft., and the magnolia attains the dimensions of a tree. Of the flowers, both indigenous and exotic, that abound throughout the islands, it is sufficient to mention the Guernsey lily with its rich red petals, which is supposed to have been brought from Japan.

The number of the species of the mammalia is little over twenty, and several of these have been introduced by man. There is a special breed of horned cattle, and each island has its own variety, which is carefully kept from all intermixture. The animals are small and delicate, and marked by a peculiar yellow colour round the eyes and within the ears. The red deer was once indigenous, and the black rat is still common in Alderney, Sark and Herm. The list of birds includes nearly 200 species, nearly 100 of which are permanent inhabitants of the islands. There are few localities in the northern seas which are visited by a greater variety of fish, and the coasts abound in crustacea, shell-fish and zoophytes.

Government.—For the purposes of government the Channel Islands (excluding the French Chauseys) are divided into two divisions:—(1) Jersey, and (2) the bailiwick of Guernsey, which includes Alderney, Sark, Herm and Jethou with the island of Guernsey. The constitutions of each division are peculiar and broadly similar, but differing in certain important details; they may therefore be considered together for the sake of comparison. Until 1854 governors were appointed by the crown; now a separate military lieutenant-governor is appointed for each division on the recommendation of the war office after consultation with the home office. The other crown officials are the