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Coordinates: 49°11′24″N 2°6′36″W / 49.19000°N 2.11000°W / 49.19000; -2.11000

Jersey (/ˈdʒɜːrzi/ JUR-zee, French: [ʒɛʁzɛ] (listen); Jèrriais: Jèrri [dʒɛri]), officially the Bailiwick of Jersey (French: Bailliage de Jersey; Jèrriais: Bailliage dé Jèrri), is an island and self-governing British Crown Dependency[10] near the coast of north-west France.[11] It is the largest of the Channel Islands and is 22 kilometres (14 mi) from the Cotentin peninsula in Normandy.[12] The Bailiwick consists of the main island of Jersey and some surrounding uninhabited islands and rocks including Les Dirouilles,[13] Les Écréhous,[13] Les Minquiers,[14] and Les Pierres de Lecq.[15]

Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey remained loyal to the English Crown, though never became part of the Kingdom of England.

Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems,[6] and the power of self-determination.[16] The island has a separate relationship with the Crown than the other Crown dependencies and the Lieutenant Governor represents the Queen there. Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom,[17][18][19] and has an international identity separate from that of the UK,[20] but the UK is constitutionally responsible for the defence of Jersey.[21]

The island has a large financial services industry, which generates 40% of its GVA.[5] British cultural influence on the island is evident in its use of English as the main language and Pound sterling as its primary currency. Additional British cultural commonalities include driving on the left, access to British television and newspapers, a school curriculum following that of England,[22] and the popularity of British sports, including cricket.[23] The island also has a strong Norman-French culture, such as its ancient Norman language Jèrriais and place names with French or Norman origins. The island has close cultural links with its neighbouring islands in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Jersey and its people have been described as a nation.[24][25]


Origin of the name[edit]

The Channel Islands are mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary as the following: Sarnia, Caesarea, Barsa, Silia and Andium, but Jersey cannot be identified specifically because none corresponds directly to the present names.[26] The name Caesarea has been used as the Latin name for Jersey (also in its French version Césarée) since William Camden's Britannia,[27] and is used in titles of associations and institutions today. The Latin name Caesarea was also applied to the colony of New Jersey as Nova Caesarea.[28][29]

Andium, Agna and Augia were used in antiquity.

Scholars variously surmise that Jersey and Jèrri derive from jarð (Old Norse for "earth") or jarl (earl), or perhaps a personal name, Geirr ("Geirr's Island").[30] The ending -ey denotes an island[31][32] (as in Guernsey or Surtsey).


An 1893 painting of the Assize d'Heritage by John St Helier Lander.

Jersey history is influenced by its strategic location between the northern coast of France and the southern coast of England; the island's recorded history extends over a thousand years.

La Cotte de St Brelade is a Palaeolithic site inhabited before rising sea levels transformed Jersey into an island. Jersey was a centre of Neolithic activity, as demonstrated by the concentration of dolmens. Evidence of Bronze Age and early Iron Age settlements can be found in many locations around the island.

Additional archaeological evidence of Roman influence has been found, in particular at Les Landes, the coastal headland site at Le Pinacle, where remains of a primitive structure are attributed to Gallo-Roman temple worship (fanum).[33]

Jersey was part of Neustria with the same Gallo-Frankish population as the continental mainland. Jersey, the whole Channel Islands and the Cotentin peninsula (probably with the Avranchin) came formally under the control of the Duke of Brittany during the Viking invasions, because the king of the Franks was unable to defend them, however they remained in the archbishopric of Rouen. Jersey was invaded by Vikings in the 9th century. In 933 it was annexed to the future Duchy of Normandy, together with the other Channel Islands, Cotentin and Avranchin, by William Longsword, count of Rouen and it became one of the Norman Islands. When William's descendant, William the Conqueror, conquered England in 1066, the Duchy of Normandy and the kingdom of England were governed under one monarch.[34] The Dukes of Normandy owned considerable estates in the island, and Norman families living on their estates established many of the historical Norman-French Jersey family names. King John lost all his territories in mainland Normandy in 1204 to King Philip II Augustus, but retained possession of Jersey and the other Channel Islands.[35]

In the Treaty of Paris (1259), the English king formally surrendered his claim to the duchy of Normandy and ducal title, and since then the islands have been internally self-governing territories of the English crown and latterly the British crown.[35]

On 7 October 1406, 1,000 French men at arms led by Pero Niño invaded Jersey, landing at St Aubin's Bay and defeated the 3,000 defenders but failed to capture the island.[36]

In the late 16th century, islanders travelled across the North Atlantic to participate in the Newfoundland fisheries.[37] In recognition for help given to him during his exile in Jersey in the 1640s, King Charles II of England gave Vice Admiral Sir George Carteret, bailiff and governor, a large grant of land in the American colonies in between the Hudson and Delaware rivers, which he promptly named New Jersey. It is now a state in the United States.[38][39]

Liberation Day celebrations in Jersey, 9 May 2012

Aware of the military importance of Jersey, the British government had ordered that the bailiwick be heavily fortified. On 6 January 1781, a French invasion force of 2,000 men set out to take over the island, but only half of the force arrived and landed. The Battle of Jersey lasted about half an hour, with the British successfully defending the island. There were about thirty casualties on each side, and the British took 600 French prisoners who were subsequently sent to Great Britain. Both of the army commanders were slain.

Trade laid the foundations of prosperity, aided by neutrality between England and France.[40] The Jersey way of life involved agriculture, milling, fishing, shipbuilding and production of woollen goods. 19th-century improvements in transport links brought tourism to the island.

During the Second World War, some citizens were evacuated to the UK but most remained. Jersey was occupied by Germany from 1 July 1940 until 9 May 1945, when Germany surrendered.[41] During this time the Germans constructed many fortifications using Soviet slave labour. After 1944, supplies from mainland France were interrupted by the D-Day landings, and food on the island became scarce. The SS Vega was sent to the island carrying Red Cross supplies and news of the success of the Allied advance in Europe. During the Nazi occupation, a resistance cell was created by communist activist Norman Le Brocq and the Jersey Communist Party, whose communist ideology of forming a 'United Front' led to the creation of the Jersey Democratic Movement.[42] The Channel Islands were one of the last places in Europe to be liberated. 9 May is celebrated as the island's Liberation Day, where there are celebrations in Liberation Square.

Escalation in a fishing-rights dispute between the Jersey government and French fishers led to an international dispute in May 2021. Royal Navy vessels were deployed prevent a potential blockade by French ships. Previously in March, fishing vessels from Jersey blocked Saint Helier Marina in protest.[43]



The States building in St. Helier

Jersey is a British Crown dependency and is not part of the United Kingdom – it is officially part of the British Islands. As one of the Crown dependencies, Jersey is autonomous and self-governing, with its own independent legal, administrative and fiscal systems.[44] Jersey's government has described Jersey as a "self-governing, democratic country with the power of self-determination".[45]

Because Jersey is a dependency of the British Crown, Queen Elizabeth II reigns in Jersey.[46] "The Crown" is defined by the Law Officers of the Crown as the "Crown in right of Jersey".[47] The Queen's representative and adviser in the island is the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey – Sir Stephen Dalton since 13 March 2017. He is a point of contact between Jersey ministers and the UK Government and carries out some functions in relation to immigration control, deportation, naturalisation and the issue of passports.[48]

Sir John Chalmers McColl as Lieutenant Governor of Jersey

In 1973, the Royal Commission on the Constitution set out the duties of the Crown as including: ultimate responsibility for the 'good government' of the Crown dependencies; ratification of island legislation by Order-in-Council (royal assent); international representation, subject to consultation with the island authorities before concluding any agreement which would apply to them; ensuring the islands meet their international obligations; and defence.[49]

Legislature and government[edit]

Jersey's unicameral legislature is the States Assembly. It includes 49 elected members: 8 senators (elected on an island-wide basis), 12 Connétables (often called 'constables', heads of parishes) and 29 deputies (representing constituencies), all elected for four-year terms as from the October 2011 elections.[50] From the 2022 elections, the role of Senators will be abolished and the eight senators replaced with an increase number of deputies. The 37 deputies will be elected from nine super constituencies, rather than in individual parishes, as they are now. Although efforts were made the remove the Connétables, they will continue their historic role as States members.[51]

There are also five non-voting members appointed by the Crown: the Bailiff, the Lieutenant Governor of Jersey, the Dean of Jersey, the Attorney General and Solicitor General.[52] Jersey has one of the lowest voter turnouts internationally, with just 33% of the electorate voting in 2005, putting it well below the 77% European average for that year.[53] The Bailiff is President (presiding officer) of the States Assembly,[54] head of the judiciary and as civic head of the island carries out various ceremonial roles.

The Council of Ministers, consisting of a Chief Minister and nine ministers, makes up the leading body of the Government of Jersey.[55][56] Each minister may appoint up to two assistant ministers.[57] A Chief Executive is head of the civil service.[58] Some government functions are carried out in the island's parishes.


Jersey is a distinct jurisdiction for the purposes of conflict of laws, separate from the other Channel Islands, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.[59]

Jersey law has been influenced by several different legal traditions, in particular Norman customary law, English common law and modern French civil law.[60] Jersey's legal system is therefore described as 'mixed' or 'pluralistic', and sources of law are in French and English languages, although since the 1950s the main working language of the legal system is English.

The principal court is the Royal Court, with appeals to the Jersey Court of Appeal and, ultimately, to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. The Bailiff is head of the judiciary; the Bailiff and the Deputy Bailiff are appointed by the Crown. Other members of the island's judiciary are appointed by the Bailiff.


Parishes of Jersey

Jersey is divided into twelve parishes (which have civil and religious functions). They are all named after their parish church. The Connétable is the head of the parish. They are elected at island general elections and sit ex oficio in the States Assembly.

The parishes have various civil administrative functions, such as roads (managed by the Road Committee) and policing (through the Honorary Police). Each parish is governed through direct democracy at Parish Assemblies, consisting of all eligible voters resident in the parish. The Procureurs du Bien Public are the legal and financial representatives of these parishes.

The parishes of Jersey are further divided into vingtaines (or, in St. Ouen, cueillettes), divisions that are historic. Today they are used chiefly for purposes of local administration and electoral constituency.

External relations[edit]

Jersey Airport greets travellers with "Welcome to Jersey" sign in Jèrriais.

The external relations of Jersey are overseen by the External Relations Minister of the Government of Jersey.[61][62] In 2007, the Chief Minister and the UK Lord Chancellor signed an agreement[20] that established a framework for the development of the international identity of Jersey.

Although diplomatic representation is reserved to the Crown. Jersey has been developing its own international identity over recent years. It negotiates directly with foreign governments on various matters, for example Tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs) have been signed directly by the island with several countries.[63][64] The Government maintains offices (some in partnership with Guernsey) in Caen,[65] London[66] and Brussels.[67]

Jersey is a member of the British-Irish Council, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie.

Jersey Independence has in the past been discussed in the States Assembly. Former External Relations Minister Sir Philip Bailhache has at various times warned that the island may need to go independent.[68] It is not Jersey Government policy to seek independence, but the island is prepared if it needed to do so.[69][70][71]

Jersey is a third-party European country to the EU. Since 1 January 2021, Jersey has been part of the UK-EU Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement for the purposes of goods and fishing. Goods exported from the island into Europe are not subject to tariffs and Jersey is solely responsible for management of its territorial waters, however permits may be granted to EU fishermen who have a history of fishing in the Bailiwick's waters. The management of this permit system has caused tension between the French and Jersey authorities, with the French threatening to cut off Jersey's electricity supply in May 2021.[72] Before the end of the transition period after the UK withdrew from the EU in 2020, Jersey had a special relationship with the EU.[73] It was part of the EU customs union and there was free movement of goods between Jersey and the EU but the single market in financial services and free movement of people did not apply to Jersey.[74][75]

In May 2021, France threatened to cut off Jersey's electricity supply in a fight over post-Brexit fishing rights.[76][77]

COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

Jersey has been and continues to be affected by the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic since 10 March 2020. The strategy combatting the pandemic is to "suppress, contain and shield",[78] involving suppressing outbreaks of the virus and protecting vulnerable islanders. There are no plans to aim for elimination of the virus.[79] At first, the strategy simply involved increased health and hygiene guidance, but the rising number of cases led to Jersey going into a lockdown on 30 March 2020.[80] Restrictions were eased according to the "Safe Exit" framework[81] from May. From November, the island underwent a 'second wave' of infections, so the Government introduced a number of new restrictions such as a mask mandate and business closures.[82]

As of April 2021, Jersey is undergoing a phased exit from all COVID-19 restrictions which have been in place since March 2020. By 14 June, all restrictions, including social distancing but not travel restrictions, will be lifted. At present the island is in Stage 5 of reconnection. Schools and most businesses are open. Gatherings of up to 20 people are allowed indoors and outdoors, with no limit for controlled gatherings, such as at theatres. Physical distancing guidance remains at 1-metre minimum and a mask mandate in indoor public spaces, including schools, is in force.[83][84][85]

There are severe travel restrictions into the Bailiwick for all travellers. The island operates a border testing programme, which organises countries and regions according to a 'traffic light' system (for regions in the British Islands; all other countries are classed as 'red') and all arrivals undergo three swab tests in the first 10 days from their arrival.[86] 'Green' arrivals must isolate until the result of the first test, 'amber' arrivals until the second and 'red' arrivals until the third.


Satellite view of Jersey
Bonne Nuit bay
Map of islands of Bailiwick of Jersey
Large, detailed map of Jersey

Jersey is an island measuring 118.2 square kilometres (45.6 sq mi) (or 66,436 vergées),[5] including reclaimed land and intertidal zone. It lies in the English Channel, about 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) from the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, France, and about 87 nautical miles (161 km; 100 mi) south of Great Britain.[87] It is the largest and southernmost of the Channel Islands and part of the British Isles, with a maximum land elevation of 143 m (469 ft) above sea level.

About 24% of the island is built-up. 52% of the land area is dedicated to cultivation and around 18% is the natural environment.[88]

It lies within longitude -2° W and latitude 49° N. It has a coastline that is 70 km long and a total area of 119 square kilometres. It measures roughly 9 miles from west to east and 5 miles north to south, which gives it the affectionate name among locals of "nine-by-five".

The island is divided into twelve parishes, the largest of which is St Ouen and the smallest of which is St Clement. The island is characterised by a number of valleys which generally run north-to-south, such as Waterworks Valley, Grands Vaux, Mont les Vaux, although a few run in other directions, such as Le Mourier Valley. The highest point on the island is Les Platons at 136 m.[89]

There are several smaller island groups that are part of the Bailiwick of Jersey, such as Les Minquiers and Les Écrehous, however unlike the smaller islands of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, none of these are permanently inhabited.


The largest settlement is the town of St Helier, including the built-up area of southern St Helier and neighbouring areas such as Georgetown, which also plays host to the island's seat of government. The town is the central business district, hosting a large proportion of the island's retail and employment, such as the finance industry.

Outside of the town, many islanders live in suburban and rural settlements, especially along main roads leading out of town and even the more rural areas of the island have considerable amounts of development (St Ouen, the least densely populated parish still has 270 persons per square kilometre[90]). The south and east coasts from St Aubin to Gorey are largely urbanised. The second smaller urban area is the Les Quennevais area in St Brelade, which is home to a small precinct of shops, schools, a park and a leisure centre.

Most people across Jersey regularly travel from the rural settlements to St Helier and from the town to the rural areas for work and leisure purposes.

Housing costs in Jersey are very high. The Jersey House Price Index has at least doubled between 2002 and 2020. The mix-adjusted house price for Jersey is £567,000, higher than any UK region (UK average: £249,000) including London (average: £497,000; highest of any UK region).[91]


The climate is an oceanic climate with mild winters and mild to warm summers.[92]

The Atlantic Ocean has a moderating effect on temperature in Jersey, as water has a much greater specific heat capacity than air and tends to heat and cool slowly throughout the year. This has a warming influence on coastal areas in winter and a cooling influence in summer. The highest temperature recorded was 36.0 °C (96.8 °F) on 9 August 2003 and again on 23 July 2019,[93] and the lowest temperature recorded was −10.3 °C (13.5 °F) on 5 January 1894. By comparison, higher temperatures are found in mainland United Kingdom, which achieved 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) in Faversham, Kent on 10 August 2003. The impact of the Atlantic Ocean and coastal winds ensure that Jersey is slightly cooler than the southern and central parts of England during the summer months. Snow falls rarely in Jersey; some years will pass with no snow fall at all.

The terrain consists of a plateau sloping from long sandy bays in the south to rugged cliffs in the north. The plateau is cut by valleys running generally north–south.

The following table contains the official Jersey Airport averages for 1981–2010 for Jersey, being located 7.2 kilometres (4.5 mi) from St. Helier.


The Central Business District of St Helier

Jersey's economy is highly developed and services-focused, with a GDP per capita of £45,320[8] in 2019. It is a mixed market economy, with free market principles and an advanced social security infrastructure.[96] It is based on financial services (40% of GVA in 2012), tourism and hospitality (hotels, restaurants, bars, transport and communications totalling 8.4% of GVA in 2012), retail and wholesale (7% of GVA in 2012), construction (6.2% of GVA in 2012) and agriculture (1.3% of GVA in 2012).[5] 53,460 people were employed in Jersey as of December 2010: 24% in financial and legal services; 16% in wholesale and retail trades; 16% in the public sector; 10% in education, health and other private sector services; 10% in construction and quarrying; 9% in hotels, restaurants and bars.[5]

Thanks to specialisation in a few high-return sectors, at purchasing power parity Jersey has high economic output per capita, substantially ahead of all of the world's large developed economies. Gross national income in 2009 was £3.7 billion (approximately £40,000 per head of population).[5] However, this is not indicative of each individual resident's purchasing power and the actual standard of living in Jersey is comparable to that in the United Kingdom outside central London.

Jersey is most notable for being one of the world's largest offshore finance centres. The United Kingdom acts as a conduit for financial services between European countries and the island.[97] The growth of this sector however has not been without its controversies as Jersey has been characterised by critics and detractors as a place in which the "leadership has essentially been captured by global finance, and whose members will threaten and intimidate anyone who dissents."[53] In June 2005 the States introduced the Competition (Jersey) Law 2005,[98] a competition law based on those of other jurisdictions, to regulate competition and stimulate economic growth.

Tourism is an important economic sector for the island. Hospitality (hotels, restaurants and bars) made up 4.2% of Jersey's GVA in 2019. It is estimated that the wider contribution of tourism in particular is 8.3% (2017). Travel to Jersey is very seasonal. Accommodation occupancy is much higher in the summer months, especially August, than in the winter months (with a low in November). The majority of visitors to the island arrive by air from the UK.

Aerial view of fields in Saint Clement, Jersey

In 2017, 52% of the Island's area was agricultural land (a decrease since 2009).[88] Major agricultural products are potatoes and dairy produce; agriculture's share of GVA increased 5% in 2009, a fifth successive year of growth.[5] Jersey cattle are a small breed of cow widely known for its rich milk and cream; the quality of its meat is also appreciated on a small scale.[99][100] The herd total in 2009 was 5,090 animals.[5] Fisheries and aquaculture make use of Jersey's marine resources to a total value of over £6 million in 2009.[5] Farmers and growers often sell surplus food and flowers in boxes on the roadside, relying on the honesty of customers to drop the correct change into the money box and take what they want. In the 21st century, diversification of agriculture and amendments in planning strategy have led to farm shops replacing many of the roadside stalls.

Jersey along with Guernsey has its own lottery called the Channel Islands Lottery that was launched in 1975.

On 18 February 2005, Jersey was granted Fairtrade Island status.[101]


Jersey is not a tax-free jurisdiction. Taxes are levied on properties (known as 'rates') and a Personal Income Tax, Corporate Income Tax and goods and services tax exist.[102]

Before 2008, Jersey had no value-added tax. Many companies, such as Amazon and, took advantage of this and a loophole in European law, known as low-value consignment relief, to establish a tax-free fulfilment industry from Jersey.[103] This loophole was closed by UK authorities in 2012, leading to the closure of most of industry.[103]

There is a 20% standard rate for Income Tax and a 5% standard rate for GST. The island has a 0% default tax rate for corporations, however higher rates apply to financial services, utility companies and large corporate retailers.[102]

Jersey is considered to be a tax haven by different organisations. The island was previously on the EU tax haven blacklist, but since March 2019, it no longer features.[104] In January 2021, the chair of the EU Tax Matters Subcommittee Paul Tang criticised the list for not including "renowned tax havens" such as Jersey.[105]

In 2020, Tax Justice ranked Jersey as the 16th on the Financial Secrecy Index, below larger countries such as the UK, however still placing at the lower end of the 'extreme danger zone' for offshore secrecy'. The island accounts of 0.46 per cent of the global offshore finance market, making a small player in the total market.[106] In 2020, the Corporate Tax Haven Index ranked Jersey 8th for 2021 with an haven score (a measure of the jurisidction's systems to be used for corporate tax abuse) of 100 out of 100, however only has 0.51% on the Global Scale Weight ranking[107].


A cycle path in Gorey

The primary mode of transport on the island is the motor vehicle. Jersey has a road network consisting of 557 km of roads and there are a total of 124,737 motor vehicles registered on the island as of 2016.[108]

There are no longer any railways on the island, however there used to be two main railway lines, the Jersey Western Railway and the Jersey Eastern Railway. The Western Railway track has been converted to a cycle track.

Public transport in Jersey consists of a bus network currently operated by LibertyBus; there are currently 84 buses which cover 25 public routes, the company also operates local school buses. There is also a taxi network and an electronic bike scheme (EVie).[109]

Jersey has a large network of lanes, some of which are classified as green lanes, which have a 15 mph speed limit and where priority is afforded to pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders.

Jersey has an airport and a number of ports, which are operated by Ports of Jersey.[110]


The Jersey £5 note
Jersey stamps commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of General William Mesny

Jersey's monetary policy is linked to the Bank of England. The official currency of Jersey is the pound sterling. Jersey issues its own postage stamps, banknotes (including a £1 note which is not issued in the UK) and coins that circulate alongside all other sterling coinage. Jersey currency is not legal tender outside Jersey; however it is acceptable tender[111] in the UK and can be surrendered at banks in exchange for UK currency. Due to French tourism, many places accept the euro.

In July 2014, the Jersey Financial Services Commission approved the establishment of the world's first regulated Bitcoin fund, at a time when the digital currency was being accepted by some local businesses.[112]


Mont Orgueil was built in the 13th century after its split from Normandy.

Censuses have been undertaken in Jersey since 1821. In the 2011 census, the total resident population was estimated to be 97,857, of whom 34% live in Saint Helier, the island's only town.[113] Approximately half the island's population was born in Jersey; 31% of the population were born elsewhere in the British Isles, 7% in continental Portugal or Madeira, 8% in other European countries and 4% elsewhere.[114]

The people of Jersey are often called Islanders or, in individual terms, Jerseyman or Jerseywoman. Some Jersey-born people identify as British.

Immigration and nationality[edit]

Jersey employs a number of population controls on people moving to and from the island. Jersey is part of the Common Travel Area (CTA),[115] a border control-free zone which encompasses the Crown Dependencies, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. This means a passport is not required to travel from Jersey from any of these territories (or vice versa) though the Government recommends all travellers bring photo ID since it may need to be checked by customs or police officers and is generally required by commercial transport providers into the island.[116] Due to the CTA, Jersey-born British citizens in the rest of the CTA and British and Irish citizens in Jersey have the right to access social benefits, access healthcare, access social housing support and to vote in general elections.[117] For non-CTA travel, Jersey maintains its own immigration[118] and border controls (although most travel into the Bailiwick is from the rest of the CTA), however United Kingdom immigration legislation may be extended to Jersey (subject to exceptions and adaptations) following consultation with Jersey and with Jersey's consent.[119]

The definition of "United Kingdom" in the British Nationality Act 1981 is interpreted as including the UK and the Islands together.[120] This means that for immigration and nationality purposes, the United Kingdom generally treats Jersey as though it were part of the UK. As such, there is no such thing as a 'Jersey passport'. British passports issued in Jersey are full British passports with the same design of and their holders enjoy the same rights as other British citizens. However, they will only be issued to British Jersey residents or Jersey-born British citizens and say "BRITISH PASSPORT BAILIWICK OF JERSEY".[121][122]

Jersey is constitutionally entitled to restrict immigration[123] by non-Jersey residents, but control of immigration at the point of entry cannot be introduced for British, certain Commonwealth and EEA nationals without change to existing international law.[124]

To control population, Jersey operates a system of registration which restricts the right to live and work in the island according to certain requirements. In order to move to Jersey or work in Jersey, everyone (including Jersey-born people) must be registered and have a registration card. There are a number of statuses:

History of immigration[edit]

Historical large-scale immigration was facilitated by the introduction of steamships (from 1823). By 1840, up to 5,000 English people, mostly half-pay officers and their families, had settled in Jersey.[27] In the aftermath of 1848, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, Italian and French political refugees came to Jersey. Following Louis Napoléon's coup of 1851, more French proscrits arrived. By the end of the 19th century, well-to-do British families, attracted by the lack of income tax, were settling in Jersey in increasing numbers, establishing St Helier as a predominantly English-speaking town.

Seasonal work in agriculture had depended mostly on Bretons and mainland Normans from the 19th century. The growth of tourism attracted staff from the United Kingdom. Following liberation in 1945, agricultural workers were mostly recruited from the United Kingdom – the demands of reconstruction in mainland Normandy and Brittany employed domestic labour.

Until the 1960s, the population had been relatively stable for decades at around 60,000 (excluding the Occupation years). Economic growth spurred immigration and a rise in population, which is, by 2013, about 100,000. From the 1960s Portuguese workers arrived, mostly working initially in seasonal industries in agriculture and tourism.

Immigration has helped give aspects of Jersey a distinct urban character, particularly in and around the parish of St Helier, which contributes much to ongoing debates between development and sustainability throughout the island.[126]



St Thomas' Catholic Church in St Helier

Religion in Jersey has a complex history, drawn largely from different Christian denominations. In 2015, Jersey's first ever national survey of religion found that two fifths of Jersey people have no religion, with only small handfuls of Jersey people belonging to the non-Christian religions. In total, 54% said they had some form of religion, and 7% were not sure. Of those that specified a denomination of Christianity, equal proportions were 'Catholic' or 'Roman Catholic' (43%) as were 'Anglican' or 'Church of England' (44%). The remaining eighth (13%) gave another Christian denomination.[127]

The established church is the Church of England, from 2015 under the See of Canterbury (previously under the Winchester diocese). In the countryside, Methodism found its traditional stronghold. A substantial minority of Roman Catholics can also be found in Jersey. There are two Catholic private combined primary and secondary schools: De La Salle College in Saint Saviour is an all-boys school, and Beaulieu Convent School in Saint Saviour is an all-girls school; and FCJ primary school in St. Saviour. A Catholic order of Sisters has a presence in school life.


Jèrriais road sign ("The black road") in Saint Ouen.

Until the 19th century, indigenous Jèrriais – a variety of Norman – was the language of the island though French was used for official business. During the 20th century, British cultural influence saw an intense language shift take place and Jersey today is predominantly English-speaking.[23] Jèrriais nonetheless survives; around 2,600 islanders (three percent) are reckoned to be habitual speakers, and some 10,000 (12 percent) in all claim some knowledge of the language, particularly amongst the elderly in rural parishes. There have been efforts to revive Jèrriais in schools, and the highest number of declared Jèrriais speakers is in the capital.

Actress Lillie Langtry, nicknamed the Jersey Lily.

The dialects of Jèrriais differ in phonology and, to a lesser extent, lexis between parishes, with the most marked differences to be heard between those of the west and east. Many place names are in Jèrriais, and French and English place names are also to be found. Anglicisation of the place names increased apace with the migration of English people to the island.

Some Neolithic carvings are the earliest works of artistic character to be found in Jersey. Only fragmentary wall-paintings remain from the rich mediaeval artistic heritage, after the wholesale iconoclasm of the Calvinist Reformation of the 16th century.

The island is particularly famous for the Battle of Flowers, a carnival held annually since 1902.[128] Other festivals include La Fête dé Noué[129] (Christmas festival), La Faîs'sie d'Cidre (cidermaking festival),[130] the Battle of Britain air display, Jersey Live Music Festival, Branchage Film Festival, food festivals, and parish events.

The island's patron saint is Saint Helier.[131]



A Channel Television crew interview the Bailiff of Jersey

BBC Radio Jersey provides a radio service, and BBC Channel Islands News with headquarters in Jersey provides a joint television news service with Guernsey. ITV Channel Television is a regional ITV franchise shared with the Bailiwick of Guernsey but with its headquarters in Jersey.

Channel 103 is a commercial radio station. Bailiwick Radio broadcasts two music services, Classics and Hits, online at, Apple & Android apps and on TuneIn. Radio Youth FM is an internet radio station run by young people.

Bailiwick Express is one of Jersey's digital online news sources.[citation needed]

Daily newspaper[edit]

Jersey has only one newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post, which is printed six days a week, and has been in publication since 1890.


The Band of the Island of Jersey play at many events[132]

The traditional folk music of Jersey was common in country areas until the mid-20th century. It cannot be separated from the musical traditions of continental Europe, and the majority of songs and tunes that have been documented have close parallels or variants, particularly in France. Most of the surviving traditional songs are in French, with a minority in Jèrriais.

In contemporary music, Guru Josh was most notable for his internationally successful debut hit Infinity and its re-releases, reaching number one in numerous European countries. Furthermore, Nerina Pallot has enjoyed international success. Music festivals in Jersey include Jersey Live, Weekender, Rock in the Park, Avanchi presents Jazz in July, the music section of the Jersey Eisteddfod and the Liberation Jersey Music Festival.[133]


In 1909, T. J. West established the first cinema in the Royal Hall in St. Helier, which became known as West's Cinema in 1923 (demolished 1977). The first talking picture, The Perfect Alibi, was shown on 30 December 1929 at the Picture House in St. Helier. The Jersey Film Society was founded on 11 December 1947 at the Café Bleu, West's Cinema. The large Art Deco Forum Cinema was opened in 1935 – during the German occupation this was used for German propaganda films.

The Odeon Cinema was opened 2 June 1952 and, was later rebranded in the early 21st century as the Forum cinema. Its owners, however, struggled to meet tough competition from the Cineworld Cinemas group, which opened a 10 screen multiplex on the waterfront centre in St. Helier on reclaimed land in December 2002 and the Odeon closed its doors in late 2008. The Odeon is now a listed building.[134][135]

Since 1997, Kevin Lewis (formerly of the Cine Centre and the New Forum) has arranged the Jersey Film Festival, a charity event showing the latest and also classic films outdoors in 35 mm on a big screen. The festival is regularly held in Howard Davis Park, St Saviour.

First held in 2008, the Branchage Jersey International Film Festival[136] attracts filmmakers from all over the world. The 2001 movie The Others was set on the island in 1945 shortly after liberation.

Food and drink[edit]

Jersey wonders, or mèrvelles, are a favourite snack consisting of fried dough, found especially at country fêtes. According to tradition, the success of cooking depends on the state of the tide.

Seafood has traditionally been important to the cuisine of Jersey: mussels (called moules in the island), oysters, lobster and crabs – especially spider crabs – ormers and conger.

Jersey milk being very rich, cream and butter have played a large part in insular cooking. (See Channel Island milk) However, there is no indigenous tradition of cheese making, contrary to the custom of mainland Normandy, but some cheese is produced commercially. Jersey fudge, mostly imported and made with milk from overseas Jersey cattle herds, is a popular food product with tourists.

Jersey Royal potatoes are the local variety of new potato, and the island is famous for its early crop of Chats (small potatoes) from the south-facing côtils (steeply sloping fields). They were originally grown using vraic as a natural fertiliser giving them their own individual taste, only a small portion of those grown in the island still use this method. They are eaten in a variety of ways, often simply boiled and served with butter or when not as fresh fried in butter.

Apples historically were an important crop. Bourdélots are apple dumplings, but the most typical speciality is black butter (lé nièr beurre), a dark spicy spread prepared from apples, cider and spices. Cider used to be an important export. After decline and near-disappearance in the late 20th century, apple production is being increased and promoted. Besides cider, apple brandy is produced. Other production of alcohol drinks includes wine,[137] and in 2013 the first commercial vodkas made from Jersey Royal potatoes were marketed.[138]

Among other traditional dishes are cabbage loaf, Jersey wonders (les mèrvelles), fliottes, bean crock (les pais au fou), nettle (ortchie) soup, vraic buns.


A statue of Jersey golfer, Harry Vardon, stands at the entrance to the Royal Jersey Golf Club

In its own right Jersey participates in the Commonwealth Games and in the biennial Island Games, which it first hosted in 1997 and more recently in 2015.[139]

In sporting events in which Jersey does not have international representation, when the British Home Nations are competing separately, islanders that do have high athletic skill may choose to compete for any of the Home Nations – there are, however, restrictions on subsequent transfers to represent another Home Nation.

Jersey is an associate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). The Jersey cricket team plays in the Inter-insular match among others. The Jersey cricket team competed in the World Division 4, held in Tanzania in October 2008, after recently finishing as runners-up and therefore being promoted from the World Division 5 held in Jersey. They also competed in the European Division 2, held in Guernsey during August 2008. The youth cricket teams have been promoted to play in the European Division 1 alongside Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Guernsey. In two tournaments at this level Jersey have finished 6th.

For Horse racing, Les Landes Racecourse can be found at Les Landes in St. Ouen next to the ruins of Grosnez Castle.

The Jersey Football Association supervises football in Jersey. The Jersey Football Combination has nine teams in its top division. Jersey national football team plays in the annual Muratti competition among others.

Rugby union in Jersey comes under the auspices of the Jersey Rugby Association (JRA), which is a member of the Rugby Football Union of England. Jersey Reds compete in the English rugby union system;[140] after four promotions in five seasons, the last three of which were consecutive, they competed in the second-level RFU Championship in 2012–13.[141]

Jersey has two public indoor swimming pools. Swimming in the sea, windsurfing and other marine sports are practised. Jersey Swimming Club have organised an annual swim from Elizabeth Castle to Saint Helier Harbour for over 50 years. A round-island swim is a major challenge that a select number of swimmers have achieved. The Royal Channel Island Yacht Club is based in Jersey.

There is one facility for extreme sports and some facilities for youth sports. Jersey has one un-roofed skateboarding park. Coastal cliffs provide opportunities for rock climbing.

Two professional golfers from Jersey have won the Open Championship seven times between them; Harry Vardon won six times and Ted Ray won once. Vardon and Ray also won the U.S. Open once each. Harry Vardon's brother, Tom Vardon, had wins on various European tours.

An independent body that promotes sports in Jersey and support clubs, 'Jersey Sport' was launched in 2017[142]


Victor Hugo in exile, 1850s.

Wace, a Norman poet of the 12th century, is Jersey's earliest known author. Printing arrived in Jersey only in the 1780s, but the island supported a multitude of regular publications in French (and Jèrriais) and English throughout the 19th century, in which poetry, most usually topical and satirical, flourished (see Jèrriais literature). The first Jèrriais book to be published was Rimes et Poésies Jersiaises de divers auteurs réunies et mises en ordre, edited by Abraham Mourant in 1865. Writers born in Jersey include Elinor Glyn, John Lemprière, Philippe Le Sueur Mourant, Robert Pipon Marett and Augustus Asplet Le Gros. Frederick Tennyson and Gerald Durrell were among authors who made Jersey their home. Contemporary authors based in Jersey include Jack Higgins.



The Government of Jersey provides education through state schools (including a fee-paying option at secondary level) and also supports private schools. The Jersey curriculum follows that of England.[22] It follows the National Curriculum although there are a few differences to adapt for the island,[143] for example all Year 4 students study a six-week Jersey Studies course.[144]

Further and higher education[edit]

Jersey has a college of further education and university centre, Highlands College. As well as offering part-time and evening courses, Highlands is also a sixth form provider, working alongside Hautlieu School which offers the only non-fee-paying sixth form, and works collaboratively with a range of organisations including the Open University, University of Plymouth and London South Bank University. In particular students can study at Highlands for the two-year foundation degree in financial services and for a BSc in social sciences, both validated by the University of Plymouth.

The Institute of Law is Jersey's law school, providing a course for students seeking to qualify as Jersey advocates and solicitors. It also provides teaching for students enrolled on the University of London LLB degree programme, via the International Programmes. The Institute of Law also runs a 'double degree' course: students can obtain the LLB from the University of London and a Licence en droit M1 from Toulouse 1 Capitol University; the two combine 4 years of studies in both English and French. The Open University supports students in Jersey, but they pay higher fees than UK students. Private sector higher education providers include the Jersey International Business School.


Three areas of land are protected for their ecological or geological interest as Sites of Special Interest (SSI). Jersey has four designated Ramsar sites: Les Pierres de Lecq, Les Minquiers, Les Écréhous and Les Dirouilles and the south east coast of Jersey (a large area of intertidal zone).[146]

Jersey is the home of the Jersey Zoo (formerly known as the Durrell Wildlife Park[147]) founded by the naturalist, zookeeper and author Gerald Durrell.


Four species of small mammal are considered native:[148] the wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), the Jersey bank vole (Myodes glareolus caesarius), the Lesser white-toothed shrew (Crocidura suaveolens) and the French shrew (Sorex coronatus). Three wild mammals are well-established introductions: the rabbit (introduced in the mediaeval period), the red squirrel and the hedgehog (both introduced in the 19th century). The stoat (Mustela erminea) became extinct in Jersey between 1976 and 2000. The Green lizard (Lacerta bilineata) is a protected species of reptile; Jersey is its only native habitat in the British Isles.[149]

The red-billed chough Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax became extinct in Jersey around 1900, when changes in farming and grazing practices led to a decline in the coastal slope habitat required by this species. Birds on the Edge, a project between the Government of Jersey, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Jersey National Trust, is working to restore Jersey's coastal habitats and reinstate the red-billed chough (and other bird species) to the island[150]

Jersey is the only place in the British Isles where the agile frog Rana dalmatina is found.[151] The remaining population of agile frogs on Jersey is very small and is restricted to the south west of the island. The species is the subject of an ongoing programme to save it from extinction in Jersey via a collaboration between the Government of Jersey, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and Jersey Amphibian and Reptile Group (JARG), with support and sponsorship from several other organisations. The programme includes captive breeding and release, public awareness and habitat restoration activities.[152]

Trees generally considered native are the alder (Alnus glutinosa), silver birch (Betula pendula), sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), hazel (Corylus avellana), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna), beech (Fagus sylvatica), ash (Fraxinus excelsior), aspen (Populus tremula), wild cherry (Prunus avium), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), holm oak (Quercus ilex), oak (Quercus robur), sallow (Salix cinerea), elder (Sambucus nigra), elm (Ulmus spp.) and medlar (Mespilus germanica). Among notable introduced species, the cabbage palm (Cordyline australis) has been planted in coastal areas and may be seen in many gardens.[153]

Notable marine species[154] include the ormer, conger, bass, undulate ray, grey mullet, ballan wrasse and garfish. Marine mammals include the bottlenosed dolphin[155] and grey seal.[156]

Historically the island has given its name to a variety of overly-large cabbage, the Jersey cabbage, also known as Jersey kale or cow cabbage.[157]

Japanese Knotweed Fallopia japonica is an invasive species that threatens Jersey's biodiversity.[158] It is easily recognisable and has hollow stems with small white flowers that are produced in late summer.[159] Other non-native species on the island include the Colorado beetle, burnet rose and oak processionary moth.[158]

Public services[edit]


Health services on the island are overseen by the Department for Health and Social Care. Jersey does not have a nationalised health service and the service is not part of the National Health Service. Many healthcare treatments are not free at the point of use, however treatment in the Emergency Department is free. For residents, prescriptions and some hospital treatments are free, however GP services cost money.[160]

Emergency services[edit]

Emergency services[161] are provided by the States of Jersey Police with the support of the Honorary Police as necessary, States of Jersey Ambulance Service,[162] Jersey Fire and Rescue Service[163] and the Jersey Coastguard.[164] The Jersey Fire and Rescue Service and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution operate an inshore rescue and lifeboat service; Channel Islands Air Search provides rapid response airborne search of the surrounding waters.[165]

The States of Jersey Fire Service was formed in 1938 when the States took over the Saint Helier Fire Brigade, which had been formed in 1901. The first lifeboat was equipped, funded by the States, in 1830. The RNLI established a lifeboat station in 1884.[166] Border security and customs controls are undertaken by the States of Jersey Customs and Immigration Service. Jersey has adopted the 112 emergency number alongside its existing 999 emergency number.

Supply services[edit]

Water supplies in Jersey are managed by Jersey Water. Jersey Water supply water from two water treatment works, around 7.2 billion litres in 2018. Water in Jersey is almost exclusively from rainfall-dependent surface water. The water is collected and stored in six reservoirs and there is also a desalination plant that produces up to 10.8 million litres per day (around half of the Island's average daily usage). In 2017, 101 water pollution incidents were reported, an increase of 5% on 2016. Another estimated 515,700 m3 of water is abstracted for domestic purposes from private sources (around 9% of the population).[167]

Electricity in Jersey is provided by a sole supplier, Jersey Electricity, of which the States of Jersey is the majority shareholder.[168] Jersey imports 95 per cent of its power from France.[169] 35% of the imported power derives from hydro-electric sources and 65% from nuclear sources. Jersey Electricity claims the carbon intensity of its electricity supply is 35g CO2 e / kWh compared to 352g CO2 e / kWh in the UK.[170]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Bibliography of Jersey
  • Geology of Jersey
  • Jersey Post
  • Jersey Telecom
  • Haut de la Garenne
  • Living Legend (attraction)
  • Outline of Jersey
  • Royal Militia of the Island of Jersey
  • Transport in Jersey
  • Victoria College, Jersey

Footnotes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Saint Helier is the de facto capital of Jersey, being the seat of the island's government, however Government House, the official royal residence of the island, is located in Saint Saviour
  2. ^ The largest settlement on Jersey is in fact made up of parts of various parishes and is often referred to as "town" by islanders.
  3. ^ Jersey does not have a de jure official language, but these are the permitted languages in the island's parliament, the States Assembly "P.4/2018 – Jèrriais: Optional use in the States Chamber" (PDF). States of Jersey Greffe. 15 January 2018. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
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Further reading[edit]

  • Balleine's History of Jersey, Marguerite Syvret and Joan Stevens (1998) ISBN 1-86077-065-7
  • Jersey Through the Centuries, Leslie Sinel, Jersey 1984, ISBN 0-86120-003-9
  • A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey, G.R. Balleine


  • The Archaeology of the Channel Islands. Vol. 2: The Bailiwick of Jersey by Jacquetta Hawkes (1939)
  • The Prehistoric Foundations of Europe to the Mycenean Age, 1940, C. F. C. Hawkes
  • Jersey in Prehistory, Mark Patton, 1987
  • The Archaeology and Early History of the Channel Islands, Heather Sebire, 2005.
  • Dolmens of Jersey: A Guide, James Hibbs (1988).
  • A Guide to The Dolmens of Jersey, Peter Hunt, Société Jersiaise, 1998.
  • Statements in Stone: Monuments and Society in Neolithic Brittany, Mark Patton, 1993
  • Hougue Bie, Mark Patton, Warwick Rodwell, Olga Finch, 1999
  • The Channel Islands, An Archaeological Guide, David Johnston, 1981
  • The Archaeology of the Channel Islands, Peter Johnston, 1986


  • One Hundred Years of the Royal Jersey Agricultural and Horticultural Society 1833–1933. Compiled from the Society's Records, by H.G. Shepard, Secretary. Eric J. Boston. Jersey Cattle, 1954


  • The Channel Islands under Tudor Government, A.J. Eagleston
  • Reformation and Society in Guernsey, D.M. Ogier
  • International Politics and the Establishment of Presbyterianism in the Channel Islands: The Coutances Connection, C.S.L. Davies
  • Religion, History and G.R. Balleine: The Reformation in Jersey, by J. St John Nicolle, The Pilot Magazine
  • The Reformation in Jersey: The Process of Change over Two centuries, J. St John Nicolle
  • The Chroniques de Jersey in the light of contemporary documents, BSJ, AJ Eagleston
  • The Portrait of Richard Mabon, BSJ, Joan Stevens

External links[edit]

  • Official Government of Jersey website
  • Visit Jersey Government owned tourism website
  • Jerripedia[permanent dead link] Online history and family history encyclopedia
  • Elections in Jersey
  • Jersey. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
  • Locate Jersey
  • Jersey, from the BBC News
  • Jersey Evening Post
  • Prehistoric Jersey
  • Archived 3 June 2019 at the Wayback Machine – local retailers