Jethou is a small island that is part of the Channel Islands. It is privately leased, and not open to the public. It is southwest of Herm and has an area of approximately 0.18 km² (44 acres).
It is said that in AD 709 a storm washed away the strip of land which connected the island with Herm. In 1416, it became part of Henry V of England’s estate and still remains a Crown lease and now owned by the States of Guernsey.
Jethou rises fairly steeply from the sea and its highest points reaches 236 feet above sea level. The island has a beautiful Bluebell wood, Fairy Wood.
Jethou is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown dependency.
From September 1964 until December 1971 the Island was occupied by the Faed family consisting of Mr Angus Faed, his wife Susan Faed and their four children, Colin, Erik, Colette and Amanda. Mrs Susan Faed was the 22nd tenant of Jethou. Jethou is currently leased by Sir Peter Ogden.
Jethou has a well-documented history. Prior to the Norman Conquest of England the island was granted by Duke Robert of Normandy to his admiral, Restald. From him the island passed into monastic hands and thus it remained throughout much of the Middle Ages. The last monks were displaced in 1540 and Jethou then entered another period of its history – as a hunting ground for the deer, pheasants and rabbits.
In the middle of the 19th Century, when quarrying was the major industry in Herm, the desire for granite spread to Jethou. “The steps to St Paul’s Cathedral are said to be made with granite from Crevichon, the little island to the north of Jethou.”
From 1920-23, it was leased by Compton MacKenzie along with Herm, and remained part of that estate for years, although it is currently part of a different one.
From September 1964 until December 1971 the Island was occupied by the Faed family consisting of Mr Angus Faed, his wife Susan Faed and their four children, Colin, Erik, Colette and Amanda. Mrs. Susan Faed was the 22nd tenant of Jethou.
In the 50´s and the 60´s Jethou was open to the public, and stamps were issued to give publicity for the island. Angus Faed grew and exported Potatoes and daffodils.
Though Jethou lacked any sandy beaches (the only one being on Crevichon), the peaceful atmosphere of the island attracted large numbers of visitors for its size, many would return again and again.
All local stamps in the Bailiwick of Guernsey were banned on October 1st 1969 and Isle of Jethou has been closed to the public since 1971.
Jethou is flanked by two islets, to the north by Crevichon and Faucanniere to the south. There is one house on the island and two cottages as well as a large garage where vehicles such as quad bikes and tractors are stored. At the back of Jethou, Puffins can be seen swimming off the rocks.
Timeline of Tenants
In 1028 ‘Admiral’ Restald was given the Island by Duke Robert of Normandy for his service. On his retirement he bequeathed the islands to the Monastery of Mont St Michel. Doing this ensured he had a home for his retirement.
In 1158 Prince John Earl of Montaine granted the tenancy to Guillaume Chesney. He held the island until his death when it went back to Mont St Michel.
In 1270 Prince Edward granted Sir William de Chesney the right to keep a warren in the islands.
This was in Jethou and the origins of the current large population.
On Sir William’s death the Island again went back to the Monastery. This time to the representative in Guernsey, the Abbot of the Vale Priory.
When the French monasteries in the islands were suppressed under Henry V in 1414 then Jethou left the hands of Mont St Michel after 350 years.
Between this time and 1717 Jethou was not officially inhabited but may have been a home for pirates. The end of this was when Charles Nowall rented both Herm and Jethou from the Crown.
From 1779 the island was held by Henry de Jersey and when he died in 1781 his son, Henry as well, took over until 1800.
Then Philip de Quesnel took the tenacy on for 21 years.
A joint tenancy of Edward Falla, Peter Le Cocq, Nicholas Le Feurve and Peter de Lisle took over but only for a year as in 1822 Jean Allaire became a tenant.
When he gave up his tenancy in 1852 the States of Guernsey took over the Island and quarried granite for four years.
In 1856 Mr Gee took over the lease but in it were the provisions that the Queen could work any mines or quarries and the Lt Governor of Guernsey could shoot rabbits on Jethou (this second was removed in 1867 under a new lease).
Perry Lindell and Giffard took over the tenancy in 1863.
In 1867 Lt Colonel Montague Fielden became the tenant of not only Jethou but Herm as well. He was the tenant who brought forward the idea of a floating causeway between the two islands, although the States gave permission it was never built. He was also the tenant discovered using the island as a storehouse for smuggling Brandy. Following this the island stayed in the hands of caretakers between 1877 and 1890.
Sir Austin Lee became tenant until 1918.
In 1919 the British Treasury installed John Drillot as caretaker.
In 1920 Sir Compton MacKenzie became tenant of both Herm and Jethou but gave Herm up in 1923 due to the high cost of both islands. He left in 1934 selling the rest of the lease to an Harold Fortington. They left in 1938 allowing long term residents the MacDonalds to stay in the island.
In 1948 Fortington’s widow sold the lease to Lt Colonel Withycombe who opened the cafe. The cafe was raided by Guernsey Police in 1954 for serving drinks outside of hours.
Between 1955 and 1956 Mr Watkins was the tenant. He was followed by a Stockey who was around for two years.
In 1958 Group Captain Cliff DSO and his wife Margaret took up the lease.
From 1964 until 1971 the Faed family took over the tenancy.
Jethou is currently leased by Sir Peter Ogden.
Fauconnière and Crevicon
There are two smaller islands, Fauconniere to the north and Crevicon to the south of Jethou, apart from an impressive array of birds, neither is inhabited.
From September 1964 until December 1971 the Island was occupied by the Faed family consisting of Mr Angus Faed, his wife Susan Faed and their four children, Colin, Erik, Colette and Amanda. Mrs Susan Faed was the 22nd tenant of Jethou.
Stamps from Isle of Jethou
Information on Jethou stamps.