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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All For One Guinea

His Majesty’s ship Calliope, a fifth rated frigate, appeared to be a well found ship. She had to be to survive the force of the storm. If only the same could be said of her crew, though it wasn’t the ordinary seamen that gave Charlotte cause for concern. They all appeared to know their business. Her conflict was with the officers, Captain Scuthern, for his superior, condescending attitude and Major Tristan Percival for his unwanted assumption that she found him in any way attractive.

Charlotte Berry is a strong female character who doesn’t need a man coming to her rescue, so this could be described as a feminist action romance. The name Charlotte Berry, comes from an old Penny Dreadful story about a female pirate named, Charlotte de Berry. There are no other similarities.

While this story is fiction, the idea for the location of Priest’s rebellion lies in the Battle of Campeche, 1843, and the Caste War in the Yucatan of 1847.

 

Working title: The Guernsey Donkey

Just minutes away from their destination, the aircraft’s engine began to splutter and cough and as the last droplets of aviation fuel were consumed, its roar finally extinguished. Now, with only the sound of the wind cascading over the aircraft’s wings, the Lysander glided eerily over occupied France. The moonlight cast a fleeting shadow of its approach on the countryside below as the scale of every feature marked their descent and the ground sped ominously towards them.

The Sky over Occupied Brittany, June 1943

A young airman from the island of Guernsey is forced to abandon his aircraft and find refuge amongst the French resistance in Brittany. Fleeing his enemy, he attempts to find his way back to Guernsey which, although occupied, still offers his best chance of freedom.

Whilst physically uninjured, he is nevertheless badly wounded and the scars of his experience weigh heavily on his mind as he struggles to find the motivation to survive the dangers that threaten to engulf him.