Herm, Channel Islands

Description

Herm, one of the Channel Islands, 4 miles NE by E of St Peter, in Guernsey, and 4 WNW of Sark. Its length from N to S is about 1 1/2 mile, and its breadth is upwards of half a mile. Its coast, particularly on the S, is high, rising into cliffs; its beach, beneath the cliffs, has a breadth from half to three-quarters of a mile, and consists mainly of a mass of shells, some of which are of the rarer kinds, and as many as 200 varieties have been found. Its encircling waters are swept by very strong currents, and can be safely crossed only in calm weather and by experienced boatmen. Most of its surface till a recent period was covered with furze and wild mint, but much of what then was waste is now under crops of corn and potatoes. The quarrying of granite for exportation was for some time vigorously carried on, and was well aided by the construction of houses, an inn, a brewery, several forges, a small pier, and an iron tramway, but has been abandoned. Copper-mining also was begun about 1840, but likewise was abandoned. Corals and corallines are plentiful, and nearly forty different species of sponges are found. The island has some Druidical remains, seems to have got its name from a hermit who lived on it, was occupied in 1440 by a community of Cordelier friars, and had at one time a parish church, now a small ruin, but is now extra-parochial. Population, 38.

Transcribed from The Comprehensive Gazetteer of England and Wales, 1894-5
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