Alderney ( / ɔː the d ər n i / ; French : Aurigny [oʁiɲi] ; Auregnais dialect : Aoeur’gny ) is the northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands . It is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey , a British Crown dependency . It is 3 miles (5 km) long and 1 1 / 2  miles (2.4 km) wide. The area is 3 square miles (8 km 2), making it the third-largest island of the Channel Islands, and the second largest in the Bailiwick. It is around 10 miles (15 km) from the west of The Hague on the Cotentin Peninsula , Normandy , France, 20 miles (30 km) from the north-east of Guernsey and 60 miles (100 km) from the south coast Great Britain. It is the closest of the Channel Islands to both France and the United Kingdom. It is separated from Hague Cape by the dangerous Alderney Race (English: Raz Blanchard ).

As of April 2013, the island had a population of 1,903; are traditionally nicknamed vaques [2] after the cows, or else rabbits [3] after the many rabbits seen in the island. Formally, they are known as Ridunians, from the Latin Riduna .

The only parish of Alderney is the parish of St. Anne, which covers the whole island.

The town, St Anne , historically known as The City (“The Town”), is often referred to as “St Anne’s” by visitors and incomers, but rarely by locals (who, in normal conversation, area centered on Victoria Street simply as “Town”). The town’s “High Street”, which has a small hand of shops, is now in its entirety and has been formed by T-junction with Victoria St at its highest point. The town area features an imposing church and an unvenly cobbled main street: Victoria Street (Grosnez Street – the English name being adopted from the Queen Victoriain 1854). There are a primary school, a secondary school, a post office, and hotels, as well as restaurants, banks and shops. Other settlements include Braye , Crabby, Longis , Mannez, The Banquette and Newtown.


Alderney shares its prehistory with the other islands in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, becoming an island in the Neolithic period as the waters of the Pink Channel . Formerly rich in dolmens, like the other Channel Islands, Alderney with its heritage of megaliths has suffered from the large-scale military constructions of the 19th century and the Germans during the World War II occupation, who left the remains at the unrecognizable as dolmens. A cist survives near Fort Tourgis , and Longis Common HAS remains of an Iron Age site. There are traces of Roman occupation [4] including a fort, built in the late 300s, at 49 ° 43’09 “N 2 ° 10’36 “W above the island’s only natural harbor. [5][6]

The etymology of the island’s name is obscure. It is known in Latin as Riduna but with the names of the Channel Islands in the Roman period is a degree of confusion. Riduna may be the original name of Tatihou , while Alderney is conjectured to be identified with Sarnia . Alderney / Alderney is variously supposed to be a Germanic or Celtic name. It may be a corruption of Adreni or Alrene , which is probably derived from an Old Norse word meaning “island near the coast”. It can be derived from three Norse elements: alda(swelling wave, roller), renna (strong current, race) and öy or -ey (island). [7] Alderney may be mentioned in the Deacon’s Historia Langobardorum (I.6) as ‘Evodia’ in which he discussed a certain dangerous whirlpool. The name ‘Evodia’ may in turn originates from the seven ‘Haemodae’ of uncertain identification in Pliny’s Natural History (IV 16 (30) or Pomponius Mela’s Chronographia (III 6.54).

Along with the other Channel Islands, Alderney was annexed by the Duchy of Normandy in 933. In 1042 William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy (later William the Conqueror , King of the English) granted Alderney to the Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel . In 1057 the bishop of Coutances took back control of the island.

After 1204, when mainland Normandy was incorporated into the kingdom of France, Alderney remained loyal to the English monarch in his dignity of Duke of Normandy .

Henry VIII of England undertook fortification works, but these ceased in 1554. Essex Castle perpetuates the name of the Earl of Essex , who purchased the governorship of Alderney in 1591. Prior to the Earl’s execution for treason in 1601, he leased the island to William Chamberlain, and Alderney remained in the hands of the Chamberlain family until 1643. From 1612, Judge was appointed to assist the Governor’s Administration of Alderney, along with the Jurats . The function of the Judge was similar to that of the Bailiffs of Guernsey and Jersey , and continued until 1949.

During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms , Alderney was held by a Parliamentary Garrison under Nicholas Ling , Lieutenant-Governor. Ling built Government House (now the Island Hall). The Carterets of Jersey Acquired from the governorship , later passing it to Sir Edmund Andros of Guernsey, Guernsey from Whom the family of Le Mesurier inherited it, THUS Establishing a hereditary line of governors That Lasted up to 1825.

Henry Le Mesurier prospered through privateering , and moved to the harbor of Longis to Braye, building a jetty there in 1736. Warehouses and dwellings were built at Braye, and the export of cattle generated wealth for the economy. The Court House was built in 1770 and a school in 1790. A Methodist chapel was constructed in 1790, following John Wesley’s visit in 1787. A telegraph tower was constructed above The Foulere in 1811, enabling signals to be relayed visually to the mast in Sark and on to Guernsey – early warnings of attack during the Napoleonic Warswas of strategic importance. With the end of those wars privateering was ended and smuggling suppressed, leading to economic difficulties. [4]

The last of the hereditary Governors, John Le Mesurier , resigned his patent to the Crown in 1825, and since then authority has been exercised by the States of Alderney , as amended by the constitutional settlement of 1948.

Victorian era

Main article: Fortifications of Alderney

The British Government decided to carry out massive fortifications in the 19th century and to create strategic harbor to deter attacks from France. [8] These fortifications were presciently described by William Ewart Gladstone as “a monument of human folly, useless to us … but perhaps not absolutely useless to a possible enemy, with whom we may at be able to extract some profit in the way of shelter and accommodation from the ruins. ” An influx of English and Irish laborers, plus the sizeable British garrison stationed in the island, led to rapid Anglicization. The harbor was never completed – the remaining breakwater (designed by James Walkeris one of the island’s landmarks, and is longer than any breakwater in the UK.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Alderney on August 9, 1854. [9] The Albert Memorial and the Renaming of Grosnez Street to Victoria Street commemorate this visit. [4]

At the same time as the breakwater was built in the 1850s, the island was fortified by a string of 13 forts, designed to protect the harbor of refuge. The accommodation has been converted into apartments; two are now private homes; and one, Fort Clonque , at the end of the day, is in the heart of the country and belongs to the Landmark Trust and can be rented for comfortable self-catering holidays for up to 13 people. Scenes from the movie Seagulls Over Sorrento were shot at Fort Clonque in 1953.

Some of the strong are now in dereliction, the most ruined being the Hommeaux Florains, perched on outlying rocks, Houmet Herbé resembles Crusader castle with its squat round towers. Like many of the strong, it seems to beanachronistic features such as drawbridge and machicolation , which were still common in the architecture of the period.

Second World War

Main articles: German occupation of the Channel Islands and Fortifications of Alderney

In June 1940 the entire population of Alderney, about 1,500 residents, were evacuated. Most went on the official evacuation boats sent from mainland Britain. Some, however, decided to go to Guernsey, mainly via Guernsey, but they were unable to stay in the country. A few Alderney people elected to leave Alderney with the general evacuation. However, boats from Guernsey came and collected them before the German Army arrived, it was better for their personal safety. During the Second World War , the Channel Islands Were the only portion of the British Isles That Was occupied by GermanyThe Axis Powers were occupied by the Axis powers .

Alderney camps memorial plaque

The Germans arrived at a deserted island, and began to follow their orders to fortify Alderney as part of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall . In January 1942 they built four camps in Alderney: two work camps, Lager Helgoland and Lager Borkum , and two concentration camps, Lager Sylt and Lager Norderney . They were built by the Nazi Organization Todt (OT) to house the labor used for building fortifications including bunkers , gun emplacements, tunnels, air-raid shelters and other concrete and field fortifications. Lager Norderney, containing Russian and Polish POWs , and theLager Sylt camp holding Jewish slave laborers , were transferred to SS administration in March 1943 under the control of Hauptsturmführer Maximilian List. There are 397 serious in Alderney, which when added to the men who died in ships, takes the total to over 700 out of a total inmate population of 6,000 who lost their lives before the camps were closed and the remaining inmates transferred to France in 1944 On the return to their island, Alderney evacuees had little knowledge of the crimes committed on their island during the occupation, because by December 1945, the first date civilians could return home, all the slave laborers had been sent away and the majority of the German troops left behind were not senior staff. Evidence, however, was all over the island, with concrete fortifications and graveyards for the prisoners kept there during the occupation.

The Royal Navy blockaded the islands from time to time, PARTICULARLY Following The liberation of Normandy in 1944. Intense negotiations resulted in Some Red Cross humanitarian aid, aim There Was considerable hunger and privation During the five years of German occupation, PARTICULARLY in the final months when the Germans themselves were close to starvation. The Germans surrendered Alderney on 16 May 1945, eight days after the Allies Formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed Forces of Nazi Germany and the end of Adolf Hitler ‘s Third Reich, and seven days after the liberation of Guernsey and Jersey. 2,332 German prisoners of war were removed from Alderney on May 20, 1945, leaving 500 Germans to undertake clearing up operations under British military supervision. [10] The people of Alderney could not wait to get back to work. When the islanders returned home, they were shocked to see the state of the island, with many houses completely derelict: the Germans had burned anything wooden, including front doors, for fuel. Archival and object evidence of the general evacuation in 1940 and the subsequent occupation of Alderney can be found in the Alderney Society Museum .

A series of tunnels also remain in place on Alderney, constructed by forced labor. These are in varying degrees of decay, being left to the public and the elements.

Since 1945

For two years after the end of the war, Alderney was operating as a communal farm. Craftsmen were paid by their employers, while others were paid by the local government out of the profit of the sales of farm produce. [11]Remaining profits were put to rest with the British Government for repairing and rebuilding the island. The local people are unable to control their own land; This law to the United Kingdom Home Office setting up an inquiry to the “Government of Alderney Law 1948”, which came into force on January 1, 1949. The Law Organized the Construction and Election of the States of Alderneyand the justice system; and, for the first time in Alderney, the imposition of taxes. The legislature and judiciary were separated. The position of Judge, who had headed the island’s government since the resignation of the last Governor in 1825, was abolished, and the Jurats were removed from their legislative function. [4] Because of the island’s small population, it was believed that the island could be self-sufficient in the city and the harbor , or providing services that would match those of the UK. Taxes were collected in the general Bailiwick of Guernsey in Guernsey, and administered by the States of Guernsey . Guernsey has become responsible for providing many government functions and services.

The 20th century saw much change in Alderney, from the building of the airport in the late 1930s to the death of the last speakers of the island’s Auregnais language, a dialect of the Norman language . The economy has gone from one DEPENDING Largely agriculture to earning money from the tourism and finance industries. E-commerce has become increasingly important, and the island hosts the domain name registry for both. Alderney has full regulatory authority in operation.

As a result of these upheavals and of substantial immigration, the island has been more or less completely anglicised.


Main article: Politics of Alderney

The States of Alderney is the legislature of the island; it sends two representatives to the States of Guernsey as well. The origin of the States is unknown, but it has operated from the Middle Ages.

The States of Alderney Consists of the President , Directly Elected every four years, and ten States Members , half Elected every two years for a four-year mandate. The whole island is a single constituency . [12] In June 2011, Stuart Trought was elected President of the States of Alderney until the end of 2012, with 487 votes against in total 344 for the other two candidates. At the presidential elections in October 2012 and again in November 2016 Trought was the only nominated candidate. Therefore, he was without actual elections re-appointed for further four-year periods of office, the second one due to expire on 31 December 2020. [13]

While Alderney enjoys full autonomy in law, under the provisions of a formal agreement (known as “the 1948 Agreement”) entered into between the Governments of Alderney and Guernsey, certain matters have been delegated to Guernsey. These are known as ‘the services’.

Transferred services include policing, customs and excise, airport operations, health, education, social services, childcare and adoption. (The States of Alderney retains the policy of aviation to and from the island).

Guernsey levies various taxes and duties on Alderney. From 2016 Alderney took back control of Real Estate Tax (TRP).

Immigration is the responsibility of the UK, with day-to-day operations carried out by the Guernsey Border Agency. In addition to the services provided, both the UK and Guernsey may legislate on other matters with the consent of the States of Alderney. [14]


Legal system

The Court of Alderney exercises unlimited jurisdiction in civil matters and limited jurisdiction in criminal matters. The Court sits with a Judge of Alderney and at least three of the six Jurats . Appeals are made to the Royal Court of Guernsey, which also has jurisdiction over criminal matters in Alderney, and to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council . [15]


For taxation purposes, Alderney is treated as if it was part of Guernsey .

Geography and natural history

Vegetation of Alderney ( cabbage trees )
The Étacs – gannet colony
Alderney (center) and Burhou(upper right)
Ortac in the distance, seen from the ferry. Alderney is in the background.
Breakwater by James Walker .

Alderney is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The highest point is on the central plateau of the island at 296 feet (90 meters). [9]

Its climate is temperate, moderated by the sea, and summers are usually warmer than elsewhere in the British Isles .

Alderney and its surrounding islets support a rich flora and fauna. Trees are rather scarce, as many were cut down in the 17th century to fuel the lighthouses on Alderney and the Casquets . These trees are a bit like a cabbage tree – often miscalled “palms” but of the lily family, and there are some small woods dotted about the island. Puffins on Burhou and Gannets on The Stallions (popularly called Gannet Rock) just off Alderney are a favorite of many visitors to the island.

About a quarter of Alderney hedgehogs are of the “white” or “blonde” variety, which does not carry fleas. [16] These are not albinos, but descent of rarely blonde European hedgehogs , with a blonde pair released on the island in the 1960s. [17] The island had its own breed of cattle, called the Alderney . The pure breed became extinct in 1944, but hybrids remain elsewhere, though no longer on Alderney. In August 2005, the west coast of Alderney and associated islands, Burhou and Ortac , were designated as Ramsar wetlands of international importance . The Alderney Wildlife Trusthelps to manage the two nature reserves , at Longis and Vau du Saou.

The island is surrounded by rocks, which caused hundreds of wrecks. There are treacherous tidal streams on either side of the island: the Swinge between Alderney and Burhou, just outside the harbor, and The Raz between the island and the Normandy mainland. The Rock Corbet lies in the Swinge.

The geology of Alderney is mostly granites from the Precambrian period.



The language of the island is now English with a few minor variants, constituting Channel Island English .

For centuries the island dialect of the Norman language called Auregnais , now extinct. It was primarily a spoken language, with only a few known poems and written works using it.

Auregnais since the late 19 th century, but ceased to be an official language there in 1966. French for the most part of the English and Irish workers in the island from 1850 onwards, building fortifications and providing garrison soldiers; English fell out of school, especially in schools, but most of the population was evacuated in the Second World War.

However, there is a strong cultural legacy of both languages ​​in the island: most of the local places-names are in French or Auregnais, as are many local supernames. The pronunciation of various local names is also dialectal, eg Dupont as “dip-oh” rather than the traditional Parisian fashion, and Saye (the name of a beach on the island) as “soy”. One or two French / Auregnais words are still in common use, eg true ( seaweed fertilizer ).


Island sports include golf, fishing and water sports, supported by clubs and associations. Alderney competes in the biannual Island Games . Every September, the Alderney Air Races attract a number of aircraft to compete in the final round of European Air Racing championships, organized by the Royal Aero Club . This involves high-speed circuits round the airfield, lighthouse, Casquets and then back around.


Partly because of the tourist industry, but mainly to the Ridunians’ own drinking culture (there is a common expression elsewhere in the Channel Islands that Alderney is composed of ‘two thousand alcoholics, clinging to a rock’ [18] ), there are restaurants and public houses. Nightlife includes informal dance music events in the bunkers (‘bunker parties’) and more organized events in Alderney Week at the Quarry (Quarry parties).

It was one of the last places in the British Isles to introduce a smoking ban in pubs, shops, restaurants and other indoor public places (Guernsey, Jersey, the UK, and the Isle of Man all having outlawed this already). The States of Alderney passed the anti-smoking legislation with the President’s casting vote on 13 January 2010; the legislation came into force at 4am on 1 June 2010. [19]

The island has an aging population. Notable residents of Alderney include the authors TH White ( The Once and Future King ) and Elizabeth Beresford (The Wombles), cricket commentator John Arlott , cricketer Sir Ian Botham , Beatles producer Sir George Martin , actress Dame Julie Andrews , and Olympic swimmer Duncan Goodhew .


Alderney has its own station radio, QUAY-FM , which broadcasts on 107.1 and online. Alderney Week festival, but from 2015 it has broadcast 24 hours a day. It features local news and interviews, music, news from Sky and overnight broadcasting from BBC World Service .

Alderney Week

Alderney Week is the island’s annual summer festival, beginning the Saturday before the first Monday, and involves many visitors. [20]

Miss Alderney

Miss Alderney is chosen during the Easter Holiday weekend each year at a public event held at the Island Hall. Application to the event is online, with the winner chosen by a panel of judges made by non-residents and holidaymakers [21]

Comedy Rocks

Comedy Rocks is an annual run of live comedy gigs mid to late July and early August. BBCR4 Marcus Brigstock and Zoe Lyons and Celebrity Joel Dommett.

Alderney Annual Motor Sprint Hill Climb

Every year in mid-September Alderney hosts a motorsport weekend that is organized by the Guernsey Kart and Motor Club. The event has been held for more than 20 years. The event attracts Guernsey drivers who come to Alderney with high powered cars, motorbikes, sidecars and karts.

Race vehicles are shipped to Alderney two days before the event. On the Friday is held on the public roads of Fort Corbelets in the east of the island, which is closed for the event. The following day is a hill at Fort Tourgis in the west of the island, and one on the road is closed for the event. Spectators travel from Guernsey. Local Alderney people watch the speed of 35 miles per hour (56 kilometers per hour) apply.

Alderney Performing Arts Festival

The annual Alderney Performing Arts Festival began in 2013, and features music, dance and theater. [22]

Alderney Literary Festival

The Alderney Literary Festival began in March 2015, with talks and events relating to historical fiction and non-fiction. It is organized by the Alderney Literary Trust. [23]

Alderney Stones

In April 2011, Andy Goldsworthy’s sculptor completed a project called “Alderney Stones,” which began in 2008, in which 11 wide-dried earth-spheres were placed at different sites on the island. The intention is that each stone will be eroded, at different speeds depending on the location, and in some cases revealing objects buried inside. [24] Goldsworthy has stated that he has selected Alderney as “It seems to have a strong sense of direction and a wide variety of locations.” [25]


The sole school building is St. Ann’s School in Newton . It serves ages 4-16. [26]


Alderney is served by Alderney Airport . There are several flights from Southampton and Guernsey , with links to many parts of the United Kingdom and Europe. Aurigny serves the island with Dornier Do 228s .

Boats sail regularly between the island and France, and to the other Channel Islands. A high-speed passenger ferry is operated in Diélette in the commune of Flamanville, Manche in France, and St Peter Port , Guernsey. Weekly freight services, also carrying passengers, Poole link and St Peter Port. A 12-passenger boat operates services to Cherbourg , Sark and St Peter Port. [27] Alderney is 72.5 miles (116.7 Kilometers) from St Malo and 70.3 miles (113.1 Kilometers) from Poole .

There are boat trips, water taxi services and water and fuel access to visiting yacht crews. The busiest time is during the peak months of June, July and August as nearly 30,000 yacht crew members visit this harbor every year.

Because of the island’s size, the taxis, cars and bicycles are used. The Alderney Railway is the only remaining railway in the Channel Islands is providing good public timetabled service with scheduled trains to the lighthouse During the summer and special occasions Such As Easter and Christmas. There is an occasional bus service around the island.

Alderney Allows people to ride motorbikes and mopeds without helmets and drive cars without seatbelts , aim it is compulsory for under 18s to wear helmets. The international vehicle registration code is GBA .

Healthcare and emergency services


The St John Alderney Ambulance Service operates the ambulance service on the island, and is staffed by volunteers. It has served Alderney since 1952 and is registered as a private company. [28] Patients are transferred to the Mignot Memorial Hospital in St Anne’s, and any major complications are then transferred to Guernsey or Southampton by the Alderney on a 24-hour emergency basis. In the event of bad weather preventing an air evacuation the transfer is achieved with the help of RNLI lifeboat service. There is no paramedic service available on the island [29]

Fire Service

The Alderney Voluntary Fire Brigade has a crew of 10 volunteer firefighters, and a fleet of One Iveco Daily Light Tender Water (Carry’s 10.5M ladder), Two Iveco Water Carriers both carry up to 4,500 liters of water each. One Ford Rapid Ranger Rapid Response Units and Two Trailer Units. A new station was officially opened by Lt.-General Sir John Foley , the Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey , on October 20, 2004. Located near Braye Harbor , it gives an average response time of just 9 minutes and includes room kit, mess and a training room. The Alderney Airport Fire and Rescue Service is sometimes called to help with larger conflagrations.


Because of Alderney’s low crime rate, [30] day-to-day policing of Alderney is provided by a team of five locally based officers from the Guernsey Police , consisting of a sergeant in charge, two constables, and two special constables. [31] They are assisted by visiting Regularly constables from Guernsey [32] The Police Station is in QEII Street.


The Alderney lifeboat station was established in 1869, was closed in 1884, and was re-established in 1985 by the RNLI . It serves Alderney with an all-weather Trent class lifeboat [33]

Search and rescue

Search and rescue services are provided by Channel Islands Air Search, which uses a Britten-Norman Islander to search large areas of water using infrared cameras and a number of other technologies. [34] Formed in 1980, it is staffed entirely by volunteers and is based in Guernsey. The French coastguard and the Royal Navy are often involved, co-ordinated by the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Center in Jobourg , France.

Numismatic and Philately history

  • Alderney pound and coinage
  • List of postage stamps of Alderney
  • Postal orders of Alderney

In popular culture

  • In the song “Alderney” on her 2013 album The Sea Cabinet , Gwyneth Herbert tells the story of the sudden evacuation of Alderney’s inhabitants during the Second World War and the irrevocable changes during the Nazi occupation of the island. [35] [36]
  • Alderney is the name of one of the neighborhoods in the game Grand Theft Auto IV , largely representing New Jersey.

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