There has long been a healthy rivalry between Jersey and Guernsey. Some say that it dates back to the English Civil War when Jersey’s government sided with the Royalist cause whereas Guernsey’s supported Parliament.
This, however, seems highly unlikely because by no means all the people of either island supported the official line and these two neighbouring islands had been known for rivalry, perhaps even animosity before then.
It may have had more to do with clashes between fishermen in disputed waters between the islands, but perhaps it is nothing more than a natural competitiveness between two islands of similar size separated by only a few miles.
Jerseymen will say that they have no problem with their Guernsey counterparts and that any rivalry is born of the Guernseyman’s feeling of inferiority, living on the smaller of the two islands. Guernseymen inevitably counter that Jerseymen are too big for their boots and have no claim to superiority just because they live on a larger rock.
In 1646, at a time when both islands supported the the Royalist cause, the Governor of Guernsey, Sir Peter Osborne, wrote:
- ”The naturall animosity between the islanders of Guernsey and Jersey is so well knowne, that I believe it would make those that might yield more obstinate to resist to the uttermost any of Jersey that shall endeavour to reduce them: for I knowe one who hath suffered for the king’s cause, and whose hart is his, hath solemnly protested that his hart is so agaynst those of Jersey, that if they should attempt it he would returne into Guernsey to joyne and dy with his contrimen in theyre resistance.
- Crapaud, what islanders call each other