Fiefs of Guernsey

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Fiefs and Seigneuries in Guernsey

Despite the abolition of feudal duties, the recognition of fiefs remains significant both legally and culturally in Guernsey, as exemplified by the Royal Court of Chief Pleas, and neighboring Jersey, as exemplified by the Assize d'Heritage. This is in accordance with local Norman legal traditions which mandate the participation of certain private fiefs in these courts. The Bailiwick of Guernsey has a distinct Norman heritage and legal system which sets it apart from the legal system of the United Kingdom. This Norman framework is confirmed by the presence of an independent Royal fief in the Bailiwick, namely that of Sark. Some fiefs have still their manorial court in fonction.


Main page: History of the fiefs of Guernsey

Main Phases

Looking at THE EVOLUTION of Guernsey's fiefs as a whole, a historical pattern emerges which shows that the evolution of the system appears to have taken place in three main phases.

Phase 1: Original grants of Bessin (West) and Cotentin (East) around 1020, and the ecclesiastical grants of the fief of Saint Michel. Feudatories were mostly absent.

Phase 2: Expansion of feudal lands, first emergence of feudal lords on the island. According to Guernsey lore, this phase begins with Samson d'Anneville and precedes the Conquest. The feudal structure of the island was consolidated and the most important institutions established (e.g. the royal high court).

Phase 3: Cessions of lands to the Crown result in more lands passing to local families, with a large proportion remaining with the Crown. The Royal Court is established in its present form. The feudal structure of the island is the same as today.

Links to Fiefs

These are links to articles about some of the many fiefs of Guernsey

Map of Guernsey Fiefs

The States of Guernsey keep a map of the fiefs of Guernsey

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