St Clement

An introduction of St Clement.


At the far south east end of Jersey Island in the Channel Islands, lies Saint Clement parish. St. Clement is the smallest parish of all the twelve parishes that make up Jersey Island, but that distinction is by surface area only. St. Clement, despite its minute size, which is a mere 1,044 acres, is the most densely populated parish on Jersey Island. St. Clement runs from east to west, from Le Dicq to just short of La Rocque harbor which is situated at the end of Rue de la Lourderie. St. Clement also contains a portion of St. Helier’s suburbs.

There was a time when St. Clement was often flooded because the majority of the parish does lie below the equinoctial high tide level. Eventually, after many floodings, Le Dicq was built in an effort to try to hold back the sea and prevent the flooding of the parish. Over the years, as the sea advanced, the parish did decrease in size. In fact, at Greve d’Azette there are the remains of a submerged forest that is buried beneath the sand. This is a testament to how the parish has decreased. There were several significant floods in St. Clement’s history, in 1688, 1796 and again in 1812. These devastating floods literally swept the coastal road at Le Hocq completely away. As a result, the coastal road was rebuilt, but it was built further inland than the previous road.

St. Clement was once known as Petravilla or Pierreville. This was in pre-Norman times. In 1172 it has been historically noted that there was a chapel that existed in the parish. Additionally, there was a priory, or home where men and women under religious vows resided. This priory was located on the site of the old Priory Inn which is now houses. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the parish of St. Clement served as a hub for a significant witch movement. The rock at Rocque Berge, or Witchs’ Rock, was a main attraction related to this movement. Legend has it that the Rocque Berge was used and a variety of witchcraft activities.

At the middle of the 19th century, the western portion of the parish was taken over by St. Helier. As St. Helier took over the western part of the parish, the open green space dramatically decreased. The evidence of this remains still today. Another interesting historical tid bit is that Victor Hugo, the famous French writer, resided in Marina Terrace in St. Clement for quite some time. It was while he was living in St. Clement that he wrote Les Chatiments, a collection of poetry.

If you are a literary buff, it would be an adventure in itself to walk the route that Victor Hugo walked when the Connetable of St. Clement escorted him onto a steamer that was bound for Guernsey. This was in response to his writing insulting letters about the British Royal Family. St. Clement is also a beautiful, interesting area in itself. You can steep yourself in the rich history of a parish that is absolutely timeless.

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