island west acres south tons islands east coast
JERSEY, the largest and most important of the CHANNEL ISLANDS (q.v.), is situated between 49° 14' and 49° 10' N. lat., and between 2° Oil' and 2° 15i' W. long., 10 miles west of Normandy and 125 south of Southampton. The total area comprises 28,717 imperial acres, or about 45 square miles. It is of oblong form, with a length of about 11 miles from east to west, and an average breadth of about q- miles. Along the northern part of the island a belt of elevated land runs from east to west, displaying bold and picturesque cliffs towards the sea. The east, south, and west coasts consist of a continuous succession of large open bays with marshy or sandy shores terminated by rocky headlands. The principal bays are Greve an Lancon, Greve de Lecq, and Bouley Bay on the north coast ; St Catherine's Bay and Grouville Bay on the east coast ; St Clement's Bay, Samarez Bay, St Aubin's Bay, and St Brelade's Bay on the south coast ; and St Ouen's Bay on the west coast. The sea in many places has encroached greatly on the land, and sand drifts have been found very troublesome, especially on the west coast. The surface of the country is broken by winding valleys having a general direction from north to south, and as they approach the south uniting so as to form small plains. The lofty hedges which bound the small enclosures into which Jersey is divided, the trees and shrubbery which line the roads and cluster round the uplands and in almost every nook of the valleys unutilized for pasturage or tillage, give the island a rich and luxuriant appearance, and completely neutralize the bare effect of the few sandy plains and sand-covered hills. Some of the coast scenery is grand and striking, presenting many features of special interest.
According to J. A. Bird (" Geology of the Channel Islands," in the Geological Magazine, London, 1878), Jersey rests on syenite rocks, which appear in three great masses in the north-west, south-west, and south-east of the island. Between these masses there is in the west an extensive formation of shale and schist, and in the north-west a formation variously composed of porphyries, limestone schist, altered sandstone, quartzite and quartzose conglomerate. In the neighbourhood of St Helier there is an accumulation of volcanic rocks consisting of trap, porphyry, and r.nygdaloid. China stone clay is obtained in large quantities. There are some veins of lead, and ironstone is occasionally found. The climate of Jersey is somewhat warmer in summer and colder in winter than that of Guernsey. The annual mean temperature is 51°, the annual rainfall about 301 inches, and the number of days upon which rain falls about one hundred and fifty. The wettest season is from October to January, but rain seldom continues long. The island enjoys a very early spring and a lengthened autumn. Snow and frost are rare, but dense fogs frequently prevail. Fruits and flowers indigenous to warm climates grow freely in the open air. The land is rich and very productive, the soil being chiefly a deep loam, which is lighter upon syenite and granite than upon the other formations ; the sandy portions in the vicinity of the bays have become very fruitful through cultivation. The lands are held either as freeholds or on a nine years' lease. On account of the Norman law of succession the farms have become very much subdivided. It is only rarely that they exceed 50 acres, and very many are less than 3 acres. The farmhouses and cottages are remarkably neat and comfortable ; and the peasantry, who all farm their own land, are perhaps the roost contented and prosperous in the United Kingdom. A five-course shift (turnips, potatoes or parsnips, wheat, hay, hay) is that usually followed. The frequency with which root crops are grown, and the abundant supply of sea manure, leave greatly enriched the soil. The seaweed or ?wale harvest occurs at certain seasons which are prescribed by law. It is only then that it is permissible to cut the vraic from rocks ; but loose vraic is gathered in large quantities at all seasons. The implements of husbandry are generally old-fashioned. The peasantry take advantage of every bit of wall and every isolated nook of ground for growing fruit trees. Grapes are ripened under glass ; oranges are grown in sheltered situations, but the most common fruits arc apples, which are used for cider, and pears. The island is intersected by a network of roads. 'There is a railway line between St Helier and St Aubin's, and connects St Helier and Gorey.
According to the agricultural returns for 1880 the total area of arable land was 18,950 acres, - a percentage of 66.2 to the total area, - of which 2920 acres were under corn crops, 7456 under green crops, 9359 under rotation grasses, 4087 under permanent pasture, and 128 fallow. Under orchards there were 1345 acres, under market potatoes in 1880 was 4671 acres. They are grown chiefly surface. The mainstay of Jersey is cattle, which in 1880 numbered 11,022, or the large average of 58 to every 100 acres under cultivation, the average of the United Kingdom being only 20.7. The breed is that commonly known as the Alderney, and is kept pure by stringent laws against the importation of foreign animals. The number of cows was 5881, of other cattle above two years of age only 756, and of cattle below two years of age 4382. It will thus be seen that cattle are kept chiefly for dairy purposes. The milk is used almost exclusively to manufacture butter. The cattle are always housed in winter, but remain out at. night from May till October. Horses in 1880 numbered 2261. Originally there was a small black breed of horses peculiar to the island, but now they are chiefly imported from France or England. Pigs form the staple food of the inhabitants, and numbered 5844. Only a few sheep are kept, 346 in 1880.
The number of ships that entered Bic ports of Jersey in 1879 was 2001, of 281,663 tons burden, - British vessels numbering 1859, of 275,990 tons, and foreign vessels 142, of 5673 tons. In the same year 2018 vessels, of 279,485 tons burden, eleared, - British vessels numbering 1876, of 273,319 tons, and foreign vessels 142, of 6166 tons. The number of vessels belonging to the island was 234, with a burden of 17,027 tons, in addition to which there is a large number of fishing boats. There is regular strain communication with England via Southampton, Weymouth, and Plymouth, and with France via Granville and St Malo. The principal exports are granite, fruit and vegetables (especially potatoes), oysters, butter, and cattle; and the principal imports coal, wine, rum and other spirituous liquors, sugar, tea, wheat, and eggs. Kelp and iodine are manufactured from seaweed. Fish are not so plentiful as around the shores of Guernsey, but mackerel, turbot, cod, mullet, and especially the conger eel, arc abundant at the Minquiers, There is a larae oyster bed between Jersey and France, but partly on account of over-dredging the supply is not now so abundant as formerly. There is a great variety of other shell-fish. The islanders build their own ships.
Jersey is under a distinct and in several respects different form of administrative government from Guernsey and the smaller islands included in the bailiwick of Guernsey. The administration is under the superintendence of a lieutenant-governo• appointed by the crown. The main business of legislature in Jersey is carried on by the " states," which consist of the bailiff or judge of the royal court elected by the crown, twelve jurats of the royal court elected for life by the ratepayers, the rectors of the twelve parishes, twelve constables elected every three years, and fourteen deputies elected every three years. The lieutenant-governor has a deliberative voice, and, though lie has no vote, has the power of veto. The states have the power of passing ordonnances which unless they obtain the sanction of the sovereign of England are in force for only three years. English Acts of Parliament after registration become laws in Jersey. Taxation is very light in the island. The only legal tribunal is the royal court, composed of the bailiffs and twelve jurats. The lieutenant-governor has the superintendence of the militia, in which every male between seventeen and sixty-five years of age, who is medically fit, is liable for service. Jersey is divided into twelve parishes, and ecclesiastically it constitutes a deanery in the diocese of Winchester in England.
The only town of importance is St Helier, situated on St Anbin's Bay. It has rather a mean and uninteresting appearance, but beautiful views are obtained from various points. Although the streets are generally narrow and irregular, they are clean and well paved, and the Royal Square is spacious and airy. The town possesses an outer and an inner harbour. Fort Regent, a fortress completed in 1815 at a cost of £1,000,000, is situated on a lofty ridge of granite to the east of the harbour ; and on the rocks to the west stands Elizabeth Castle, a disused stronghold erected in the time of Elizabeth on the site of an abbey founded in the 12th century. Closely adjoining it there is an ancient ruin called the hermitage. The other principal buildings are the parish church in the Early Pointed style, dating from 1341, and lately completely renovated, the court-houac, the Albert Hall for concerts and assemblies, Victoria College, the hospital, and the jail. The popnlatiou of the town and parish in 1881 was 26,893.
The population ofJersey in 1806 was 22,855. From 1821, when it numbered 28,600, it increased rapidly till 1851, when it had reached 57,020. In 1861 it had declined to 55,613 ; and, although owing to the number of French who sought refuge in the island it increased in 1871 to 56,627, in 1881 it was only 52,372, of whom 23,415 were males and 28,957 females.
An historical account of Jersey will be found under CHANNEL. ISLANDS. The principal objects of antiquarian interest are the cromlech near Mont Orgueil ; the castle of Mont Orgueil, of 'very old date; St Brelade's Church, the oldest church in the island, and dating from the 12th century; the remains of an old chapel on whose site Prince's Tower was erected at the close of the last century ; and Bel Royal, a cottage near St Helier, where Charles II. is said to have concealed himself.
See, in addition to the works mentioned tinder CITANNEL ISLANDS, T. Lyte, Sketch of the History and Presort Slate of the Island of Jersey, 1808 ; llistory of the Island of Jersey, 1840; Charles le Quesce, A Constitutional Ilistory of Jersey, 1S56; Fratnols-Vietor Men, La Normandie Inconnue, 1857; ilepott of the Commission appointed to Enquire into the Civil, Municipal, and Ecelesiastical Laws of Jersey, 1861; Le Ilericher, Jersey monumental et historique, 1862 ; Le Cerf, L'Archipet des Isles Normandes, 1863 ; Lefever, "Channel Islands," in the Fortnightly for October 1879; " L'ile de Jersey," In the Exiforateur for 1876; Pegot-Ogler, Ifistoire des Iles de la Manche, 1881.