Lihou Island

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Lihou is a small tidal island (95 vergées; 38½ acres; 15.6 hectares) that is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey in the Channel Islands. It lies off the west coast of Guernsey and is the most westerly point in the Channel Islands.

Lihou is connected to Guernsey at low tide by an ancient stone causeway between the island and L'Eree headland. It is part of the Parish of St Pierre du Bois. Lihou's bird and marine life makes it an important conservation area.

The island was bought by the States of Guernsey in January 1995.


Like many other Channel Islands, Lihou's name contains the Norman language suffix "-hou" of Old Norse origin meaning island.

On the island are the ruins of the priory of St. Mary which is believed to have been established by Benedictine monks in the 12th century. The monks of the priory were by no means generally popular with the local people, who suspected them of devil worship.[1] This animosity may be due to the monks' insistence on rights of wreck. Until 1415 it was under the control of Mont St Michel and thereafter under Eton College until the Reformation when it was closed and fell into disrepair.

The house on Lihou was used for target practice by heavy artillery during the German Occupation of the Channel Islands during World War II. It has now been rebuilt as accommodation for school groups, and is used as an educational resource.


For many years, the Best family grazed cattle on the island. They set up a commercial operation to extract iodine from seaweed, which was widely used as an antiseptic .[2]

During the 1980s, North Ronaldsay breed of sheep were grazed on the island, selected especially for their ability to graze on seaweed.


Between 1966 and 1969, Lihou issued postage stamps [3]. These were introduced by the tenant, Lt Col Patrick Wootton, to help fund the Lihou Youth Project[4].


(This list is incomplete)

  • Eleazar Le Marchant, 1815-1821?
  • James Priaulx, 1863-1883
  • Arthur Clayfield, 1883-1905
  • Colonel Hubert de Lancey Walters, 1906-1927
  • Mr Duquemin & Mr Clarke, 1927-1954
    • (sublet to Albert Best)
  • Mr & Mrs Conniff and Mr & Mrs Hudson, 1954-1961
  • Colonel Patrick Wootton, 1961-1983
  • Mr & Mrs Robin Borwick, 1984-1995
  • States of Guernsey, 1995-present

External links


  1. De Garis, Marie, Folklore of Guernsey, Guernsey 1975
  2. De Guerin, Basil, ‘’Vraicing on Guernsey’’, RGS, 1948
  3. Lihou Stamps
  4. The Lihou Youth Project, RGS, 1972
  • Borwick, Robin, A Brief Guide to Lihou Island, Guernsey Press, 1987
  • Borwick, Robin, Lihou Island – Never at Half Moon, 1989
  • Carey, Edith, Essays on Guernsey History, Societe Guernesiaise 1936
  • Carr, Charles, The Trip to Lihou, RGS, 1984
  • Clark, Raymond, Notes on Les Vers de Lihou, RGS, 1984
  • Curtis, SC, Some historical and architectural notes on the Priory of Lihou, Trans Soc Guern, 1912
  • De Guerin, Basil, The Norman Isles, Oxford 1949
  • Derrick, GT, A Visit to Lihou Trans Soc Guern, 1895
  • Le Patourel, John, The Murder on Lihou Island in 1302, RGS, 1951
  • Le Patourel, J&J, Lihou Priory: Excavations 1952, Trans Soc Guern, 1952
  • Mellish, AL, Memories: L’Eree and Lihou, RGS, 1948
  • Plymen, GH, The geology of Lihou island, Trans Soc Guern, 1955
  • Randell, JB, Excursion to Lihou, Trans Soc Guern, 1889
  • Sebire, H, The Priory of Notre Dame, Lihou Island, Trans Soc Guern, 1996
  • Sebire, H, Lihou Priory Archaelogical Excavations, 1997 interim report, Trans Soc Guern, 1997
  • Wootton, Lt-Col PA, The Story of Lihou, 1966
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