Nonsensical sheep-grassing, August 1636

According to Jean de la Marche, on Sunday, August 5, 1636, the Earl of Danby was 'out hunting in his Island of Herm, whither he had taken the greater part of the Gentlefolks of the Town (although by so doing they profaned the Day) and he having given his Horse the Spur, it ceased not to rear and turn round and round until it had thrown him to the Ground.'

In the days of Lord Hatton, Herm was farmed to Advocate Peter Gosselin, who kept there a large flock of sheep, which, as he wrote to Lord Hatton, contributed 'to the manufacture of stockings and to maintaine a livelyhood to above two hundred poore people that worke for me.' Now Francis Greene, Lord Hatton's agent in Guernsey, had a short time before—viz., in August 1677—written a letter in which he tried to get the island taken away from Mr. Gosselin, saying that 'Gosselin's nonsensicall sheepe-grassing trade has caused your hearde of deare and eyes [nests] of pheasants to be lessened above halfe.'1

In 1737 the 'Island of Erm, otherwise Herme or Arm, with the House thereon erected, formerly a Chapple, and all the Deer, Partridges and Rabbits' on the said island, was let to Peter Carey of Guernsey, and this lease was in 1758 renewed to his son. The two last deer in Herm were killed about the year 1773, and the story has been handed down that the stags would swim over from that island—at low water a distance of about two miles—to browse on the Vale Commons, and would then swim back, being intelligent enough always to choose the proper tides.

The diary of Jean de la Marche, Guernsey-born Puritan divine, is transcribed by Rolleston and De Guérin in the Transactions of the Société Guernesiaise, 1931 XI (2), 'Jean De La Marche, 1585-1631. The Diary.'

1 See more on hunting in Herm in 1610.The above text is taken from Edith Carey's book, The Channel Islands, pp. 277-8 ff. The letters can be found in British Museum, Add. MSS. 29555, fol. 237; Ibid, 29564, fol. 221. Gosselin rented out his house in the Truchot to Hatton after the explosion at Castle Cornet.