Les Minquiers

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Les Minquiers

Minquiers Rybot.jpg

The Minquiers by Rybot

Les Minquiers, known to most islanders as the 'Minkies', are a group of islands and rocks situated nine miles south of Jersey forming part of the Bailiwick of Jersey. They are administratively part of the Parish of Grouville

The islands have no permanent inhabitants, though fishermen, vraic collectors, yachtmen and even sometimes canoeists make summer landfall.

The main islands in the group are:

  • Maîtresse Île / Maîtr' Île
  • Les Maisons
  • Le Niêsant
  • Les Faucheurs
  • La Haute Grune


The etymology of the name is disputed. While some say that the name comes from the Breton language minihi meaning a sanctuary, others maintain it comes from minkier meaning a seller of fish. [1]


The 1911 Britannica said that Maîtresse Île "affords a landing and shelter for fishermen".

In 1950 Britain and France went to the International Court of Justice for a decision as to which country the Minquiers and Ecréhous belonged. The French fished in the waters, but Jersey exercised various administrative rights. The court considered the historical evidence, and in its Judgment of 17 November 1953, awarded the islands to Jersey.

In 1998 there was a light hearted "invasion" of Les Minquiers by some French on behalf of the 'King of Patagonia' in 'retaliation' for the British occupation of the Falkland Islands. The Union Jack was restored the next day.

Les Minquiers in literature

Notably, Les Minquiers are mentioned at length by Victor Hugo in his novel Ninety-Three, about the French Revolution. He mentions how treacherous they are, and says that their combined area is bigger than Jersey itself. Hugo lived in both Guernsey and Jersey at various points in his life, and so was familiar with local lore.

The British/French dispute over Les Minquiers is a plot element in Nancy Mitford's novel Don't Tell Alfred, as an occasional cause for dispute between the 'two old ladies' - France and Britain.

The Minquiers feature in the seafaring adventure novel The Wreck of the Mary Deare, by Hammond Innes, and its 1959 film adaptation.


La Rocque families on an outing to the Minquiers

Click on any image to see a full-size version

1997 aerial photographs

On low spring tides the area uncovered at the Minquiers is larger than that of Jersey

Amateur photographs from 1996

These photographs taken in 1996 when repair work was being undertaken on the islet's slipway were posted to Facebook in 2023

Official visit of Bailiff, Lieut-Governor and other Jersey dignitaries in 1895. These visits were an annual occurrence to assert the island's claim to ownership of the Minquiers

Notes and references

  1. Which might make today's anglicised pronunciation more appropriate than its detractors claim
  2. Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson recalls taking this photograph: 'I had joined the Jersey Evening Post some two years earlier as a reporter, but I was hoping at the time that I could combine my love for photography with a reporting role. Sadly, it was never to happen, but this was a unique occasion when I answered a last-minute call for a journalist to accompany the official party to view the new helipad and there was no room for a photographer to join in
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