A Tale of Two Forests

We all come from somewhere and our lot could have trudged here in ancient times before we were islands, likely as not to hunt for food. They might have landed by boat a few thousand years ago from Iberia or they could’ve come across with the Celts from France in the last couple of centuries. We don’t know much about the early times; nothing was written in the parish until present times. Beyond me old man and what he told me of his folks, it’s a blank, but we all comes from somewhere and for us that somewhere was our island; Lihou.

Most westerly of the British Channel Islands sits the tiny
island of Lihou. Technically it is only an island for half
of the time because when the tide recedes a granite
causeway is revealed and Lihou becomes a peninsula of its
larger, neighbouring island – Guernsey.

Maurice V Lihou.jpgThe name ‘Lihou’ is thought to come from long ago when the local language was influenced by the Celts from France,
the Vikings or ‘Norsemen’ from Scandinavia and the Romans. The first part, ‘Li’ is likely to come from the French word for ‘the’ and ‘hou’ from the Norse word for mound or
island. So Lihou means ‘the island’.

In nearby France, close to the town of Granville, is the medieval monastery of Mont Saint Michel and it was the monks from Mont Saint Michel who built and consecrated a
priory on Lihou Island in the year 1114. At that time, Granville, had a different name; it was called ‘Roque de Lihou’. Legend has it that large le-mont-saint-michel-17622-13_w500forests surrounded both Roque de Lihou in France and the south-west coast of Guernsey until a great storm and tidal wave in the year 709AD swept away the trees and submerged the land in both areas making Lihou an island for the first time.

This book is a record, with some conjecture, of one branch of the Lihou family from Nicholas (born in 1445) to the present day, embellished by local and national history. Hopefully each chapter will serve as a time capsule for future generations moved by an appetite to understand their ancestors.

The draft forward and first chapter can be found on the ‘Manuscript Link’. Comments or feedback will be very welcome.

NB As the enclosed is a short extract, a full and proper acknowledgement of the considerable contribution made by those who researched the genealogy of the family is not included. Without their efforts, the entire book and this short extract, would not have been a possibility.  The published version will, of course, include such an acknowledgement.

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