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
and 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.