Early French attacks
Jersey has been invaded several times by the French since the Channel Islands split from the Duchy of Normandy in 1204. The event which is known to most people, probably because of the name it was given, is the The Battle of Jersey but on this occasion the invasion lasted a mere 24 hours, whereas earlier in history Jersey was occupied in whole or part by French invaders for up to several years.
Most of the attacks either involved privateers and mercenaries, marauding in the English Channel with the tacit approval of the French government, or revenge attacks during periods of conflict between England and France. Few were intended specifically to recapture the islands as French territory. On several occasions the Channel Islands were left largely undefended by the English and homes were burned and looted while the garrison retreated to Mont Orgueil Castle.
After one such raid in the 13th century the islanders petitioned King Edward I, stating that 1500 inhabitants had been killed, their houses and corn burned and their churches sacket. The King ordered compensation to be given to the islanders.
Most historians record that after the split between King John and France in 1204, Jersey's principal landowners sided with England and the island became a Crown Dependency. However, the official history commissioned to commemorate the 800th anniversary of that event Jersey 1204 - the forging of an island community suggests that England and France fought tooth and nail over the Channel Islands for another 13 years and that the big celebration should be delayed until 2017. Full story→.
Death of de Barentin
A little documented raid on Jersey in about 1319 led to the death of the Warden, Drew de Barentin while defending Mont Orgueil castle. The French were then beaten off by forces led by Renaud de Carteret, who then joined up with a British fleet to relieve Guernsey, which had next been attacked.
David, the son of Scottish King Robert the Bruce, led an attack against Jersey in 1336 while in exile in France. Full story→
In 1373, During the Hundred Years War, Bertrand du Guesclin, a Breton Knight and Constable of France, invaded Jersey with a large force and laid seige to Mont Orgueil Castle until reinforcements arrived and he was forced to abandon his attempt to conquer the island. Full story→
The Channel Islands were constantly at threat of invasion as England and France fought the Hundred Years War. Full story→
In 1406, as war broke out between Britain and France, Jersey was again attacked. Full story→
In 1461 Jersey and the other Channel Islands were given to the French by the wife of the reigning Monarch and occupied for over seven years. Full story→
In 1549 Breuil attacked Sark on behalf of King Henry II of France. The French held the island for nine years then went on to attack Guernsey and Jersey. Full story→