Parishes of Guernsey

"Chambre de la Douzaine" – sign of the Douzaine Room of the parish of Torteval.

The Bailiwick of Guernsey includes the island of Guernsey and other islands such as Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou, and Lihou. Each parish was established, probably in the 11th century, as a religious area, each having its parish church. Administratively each parish is now administered by an elected council known as a Douzaine.[1]


The island of Guernsey is divided into ten parishes. The Bailiwick of Guernsey also includes the parish of Saint Anne, Alderney and the parish of Saint Peter, Sark, but these are not generally included in the enumeration of parishes as the names are not of administrative significance:[clarification needed][2][3]

The parishes of Guernsey
Parish Population
(vergées) (km2) (sq mi)
Castel 8,795 6,224 10.200 3.938
Forest 1,546 2,508 4.110 1.587
St Andrew 2,295 2,752 4.510 1.741
St Martin 6,593 4,479 7.340 2.834
St Peter Port 18,958 4,074 6.677 2.578
St Pierre du Bois 2,036 3,818 6.257 2.416
St Sampson 8,966 3,687 6.042 2.333
St Saviour 2,765 3,892 6.378 2.463
Torteval 1,017 1,901 3.115 1.203
Vale 9,514 5,462 8.951 3.456
St Anne, Alderneyn 1,960 7.9 3.1
St Peter, Sarkn 400 5.45 2.1

n Non-administrative parishes

Herm and Jethou form part of the parish of St Peter Port. Lihou falls within the area of St Pierre du Bois.


The population of and names of the parish are recorded in The History of the Island of Guernsey in 1814.[4]

Estimated population of the island of Guernsey by parish in 1814
Name in 1814 Modern name Population about
St Sampson's 788
St Michael in the Vale Vale 1064
St Philip of Torteval Torteval 390
St Saviour 943
St Margaret of the Forest Forest 443
St Peter of the Wood St Pierre du Bois 1200
St Martin 1265
Our Lady of Deliverance of the Castle (formerly Grand Sarazin) Castel 1500
St Andrew 700
St Peter's Port (or Town Parish) 11,000
Sailors and strangers not permanently settled 2000
Total population 21,293


Population of Guernsey by parish

Each parish is administered by a Douzaine. Douzeniers are elected for a four-year mandate, for most parishes three Douzeniers being elected by parishioners at a parish meeting in November each year (total 12). The Vale elects four each year (total 16) and St Peter Port five (total 20). The senior Douzenier is known as the Doyen (Dean). To stand for election the candidate must reside in the Parish.[5]

One or more Douzaine representatives represent their parish at the States of Election when a new Jurat is elected.[6]

Two elected Constables (French: Connétables) carry out the decisions of the Douzaine, serving for between one and three years. The longer-serving Constable is known as the Senior Constable and his or her colleague as the Junior Constable. Historically the Constables have been in existence since at least 1481 although their duties have been reduced over the centuries.[5]

Both Douzeniers and Constables can be removed by the Royal Court for failing in their duty.

Parish business

Amongst the many varied duties:

  • Obligation to ensure roadside hedges are trimmed
  • Supervise watercourses (douits)
  • Administer Parish cemeteries
  • Maintain wayside pumps and troughs
  • Collecting Parish rates
  • Issue dog licence and collect dog tax
  • Manage parish boat moorings

Parishes officials also advise the States of Guernsey on matters pertaining to the Parish, such as licensing drinking, entertainment and betting establishments.[5]


Inhabitants of each of the parishes of Guernsey also have traditional nicknames, although these have generally dropped out of use among the English-speaking population. The traditional nicknames are:[7]

Parish Guernésiais English translation
St Peter Port Cllichards spitters
St Sampson's Rôines frogs
Vale Hann'taons cockchafers
Castel Ânes-pur-sàng pure-blooded-donkeys
St Saviour's Fouormillaons ants
St Pierre du Bois Etcherbaots beetles
Forest Bourdons bumblebees
St Martin's Cravants ray fish
St Andrew's Les croinchaons the siftings
Torteval Ânes à pids d'ch'fa donkeys with horses' hooves

See also


  1. ^ "Douzaines - Guernsey". Archived from the original on 2015-10-03. Retrieved 2015-11-14.
  2. ^ "States of Guernsey: Census". Archived from the original on 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  3. ^ "Guernsey Parishes". Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  4. ^ Berry, W. (1815). The History of the Island of Guernsey. . Retrieved from
  5. ^ a b c Ogier, Darryl. The Government and Law of Guernsey. States of Guernsey. ISBN 978-0-9549775-1-1.
  6. ^ "Jurats and the States of Election". Royal Court of Guernsey. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  7. ^ Dictiounnaire Angllais-Guernésiais
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