ST SAMPSON'S, A SHORT HISTORY

Information  below obtained from " The History of Guernsey" by James Marr  2001,  & From La Societe Guernesiaise  Report and Transactions 1968 Vol XV111

              TRIBUTE
                   TO
    D
L . DE LISLE BROCK
     1821  BAILIFF 1842
UNDER THE PRESIDENCY
               OF WHICH
             THE STATES
                 VOTED
       THE FIRST WORK
                    FOR
THE IMPROVEMENT OF
                   THIS
                 HAVEN

Daniel  de Lisle  BROCK  Photo from portrait in Guernsey Royal Court.  b. 1762  d. 1842

A monument that hundreds of people must walk passed every day and probably never give a second glance let alone read the inscription.  It stands at the top of the Crocq slip.

Daniel de Lisle BROCK, bailiff of Guernsey from 1821 - 1842, Died September 24th 1842, commemorated by the above 13ft menhir.

Dramatic evidence of a political re-awakening is provided by the career of Daniel de Lisle Brock who rapidly acquired a well-derserved reputation as the champion of the Bailiwick's 'liberty'-- its charters and privileges upon which depended  its survival as a political entity.
Further information of the man can be obtained by reading James Marr's  "The History of Guernsey". Published 2001.

The evolution of St Sampson's  Harbour has been fundamentally different from that of St Peter Port. In the first place, St Peter Port had to be transformed from a completely open beach into a vast artificial basin suitable for the handling of a growing passenger traffic together with a very large trade in general cargo and bulk materials.

St Sampson's on the other hand started with a natural spacious harbour that had merely to be adapted  to meet the necessities of bulk cargo only.

St Sampson's had been a port since time immemorial as it was the only completely sheltered haven in the Island. The map of the original creek, which is nearly half a mile in depth, shows three outstanding natural features. These consist of fairly deep curving bays on the North and South and a western basin sheltered by the spit of the Crocque and the Maisonette reef and originally connected to Grande Harvre  via the Braye du Valle. The bed was generally soft and the whole was filled on each tide. This formation added up to an Ideal harbour of refuge where mariners of all periods could find shelter and soft banks up which to run their craft.

It is purely romantic to visualise  the megalith people of thousands of years ago thankfully finding this haven during their endless trek to the North? Here was stone in abundance for their monuments together with endless sand wherewith to build their ramps up which they hauled the great capstones. 

As the centuries passed , a small settlement grew up around the inner creek, individual fisherman built crude jetties here and there and no doubt small trading vessels lay on the sands, but towards the end of  the 18th century a great change set in. England had discovered the use of stone for the construction of roads  and in 1760  some enterprising  Guernseyman began exporting the local granite in the shape of "spalls", i.e. as got out of the quarry or beach. It was cracked at the port of discharge and local cracking yards were not set up for some time. It may be remarked that even when it became normal to export the cracked product, spalls were sometimes called for to relieve the unemployment in London. Ships lay on the bed of the harbour and loaded from carts. The Braye de Valle was filled in, in 1804  when the Pont de Valle ( Vale Bridge)  was constructed to form a narrow road between the track leading to the Crocque with that leading to the Vale Castle. This pont was quite narrow and had a protective parapet on the seaward side.
In 1790 a crude breakwater was built East of Mont Crevelt.

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