Vale Church History

The Ancient Priory
& Parish Church of
S. Michel du Valle

WELCOME to this Ancient Priory Church. Like many Christian places of worship, this church has been built on a hill site associated with paganism, as indicated by the rocks of a partly demolished Neolithic tomb-shrine, and the remains of a dolmen outside the west doors. The exact date of the foundation of a church on this site is unknown, though it is not unreasonable to suppose that one was built here following the missionary endeavours of the Celtic Saint Sampson and his followers, who attempted to evangelize Guernsey in the middle of the sixth century. An early chapel dedicated to his cousin, S. Magloire, was built in the parish, but all traces have disappeared. Within the present church there is evidence of much older materials being used in the building. For example, in the sedilia in the sanctuary, some Roman brickwork has been used, but this could have come from anywhere around, not necessarily a previous building on the same site.
Certainly, around 968AD. monks from Mont S. Michel founded a Priory and were
granted land to maintain an income. The site, like that of Mont S. Michel, formed an
island at high tide, until Napoleonic times - the only inland water remaining being that of Vale Pond, which can be seen outside the west doors to the south. The influence of
the Priory is clearly discernible .in the Chancel,  built between 1140-1160 where the
south wall contains the arches of the monks' stalls. Little remains of the Priory itself,
though there is a piece of buttressed wall by the main road on the south side of the
church, and indications of a stairway leading to a doorway into the Chancel on the south side.

Vale Church History Continued

Phone: 01481 246114
Fax: 01481 243323
Email: [email protected]