Sunday, July 19, 2015

Just a little something I wrote about our trip to Guernsey and Alderney

that might get published in a local Alderney newspaper, thanks to the "impromptu tour guide" mentioned in the piece.

My sister Louisa (who lives in Wiesbaden, Germany) and I decided to visit Alderney during a one week trip to Guernsey we had planned earlier. I live in a small town in Ohio, USA but I knew I’d be working in Germany for a few weeks (teaching German to a group of students from my “home” University, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio) and so we decided to go ahead and book the trip. We flew from Stuttgart to Guernsey.

One of the main reasons we wanted to go was that we both have vivid memories of our mother, New Zealand-born Cherry Lockett Grimm (who wrote write fantasy and science fiction novels under the pseudonym CherryWilder) regaling us with tales about our fascinating and far-flung family, which included many references to the Channel Island Le Mesuriers, who had been granted the government of Alderney by Charles II.  (Until they resigned the patent to the Crown in 1825).
I took up genealogy more seriously as a hobby a couple of years ago and have been pouring over the family pedigrees handed down to us by our mother ever since. I have an active account on and have made quite a few contacts with newly found cousins since I’ve started studying the family history.
Our Le Mesurier connection is through our great great great grandmother, Elizabeth Le Mesurier. She was born on Alderney (this was confirmed for us by the wonderful librarians at the Priaulx Library in St Peter’s Port, Guernsey, to which I had already made a pilgrimage) in 1792. Her father was Peter Le Mesurier, who was governor of Alderney from 1793 till his death in 1803. A very nice portrait of him hangs in the Alderney Society Museum, which also has a plaque at its entrance which informed us (in French) that Peter’s father Jean/John had had the building built as a school, when he was Governor.
(The Priaulx Library, St. Peters Port, Guernsey)

Plaque at the entrance of the Alderney Society Museum, mentioning that our 6th great grandfather had it built in 1799.

We took the bumblebee boat over from Guernsey and thoroughly enjoyed the laid-back and very friendly atmosphere of the island and also meeting our impromptu tour guide as we tried to track down the grave of Sapper George Onions. The weather could not have been more perfect and it was fun to simply walk around and soak up the historical yet nevertheless still lively atmosphere of the streets and houses of Saint Anne. (“town”).

Bumblebee boat to Alderney
Sapper George Onions
Wandering the peaceful and quite ancient streets of Saint Anne.

We did also make a point of visiting St. Anne’s Church, the renovation of which was paid for by Elizabeth’s nephew (the son of the last governor), Rev. John Le Mesurier, and the walls of which were adorned with gold plaques of the Le Mesurier Governors.  
St. Anne's Church, Alderney
Reverend John Le Mesurier

All in all it was a wonderful albeit short trip and we’re very glad we made it! I hope sincerely to return one day to both  Guernsey and Alderney, where the landscape is beautiful and where life in general seems to move at a slower and more contemplative pace.
Beautiful Guernsey

I am also very interested in any further information anyone can provide about the Alderney Le Mesuriers—especially our grandmother Elizabeth and her husband, Major General Ambrose Lane, who at some moved to Castel, Guernsey, where they raised their family including our great great grandmother, Charlotte Lane Mackenzie Taylor.