St. Saviour Parish Church's Reverend Peter Dyson may have come to Jersey knowing no one, but he has certainly made his mark since being here.
The Reverend discovered over 100 soldiers from both the Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars buried under his parish church, leading in 2018 to the formation of the island's 'Waterloo Committee'.
Since then, a book has been published, a memorial plaque installed and flowers laid to mark the previously forgotten soldiers' burial place.
In this piece, the Reverend looks to his parish and its history to sum up the five things he loves about Jersey...
And I hope everyone appreciates their parish! In a world where you can so easily just become a number, it is so important to have a more personal dimension.
The friendliness I find at Parish and church level has been a real encouragement and support to me, especially coming into Jersey and knowing no-one at first!
Our Parishes are rooted in history – sometimes, I know, leading to quirkiness and things old fashioned - but reminding me that we all need roots if possible, both in our communities and in our relationships.
Pictured: Community roots are a vital part of Parish life.
Hard to do justice to in words, because it is so beautiful! Perhaps the best way is to refer to the quality of the light. Jersey is the sunniest place in the whole British Isles and that reflects off the sea, as well as in the people often.
This makes light so pure – as anyone who has had the pleasure either of seeing the sun rise at Gorey or setting so beautifully at St. Ouen will understand and know. It is a delight to behold and expands the heart.
Pictured: Jersey's pure, natural light reflects off of the sea and even the people as well.
Jersey may be only 9 miles by 5 but it is more diverse than many places 20 times as big. Compare the open expanse of the west coast, with, just round the corner, the majesty of Plemont; or just round the other corner, the privacy and beauty of Beauport.
Compare the picture book harbour of Rozel with the wildness of so much of the north coast. And that’s just the coast line! Look at the wooded valleys of St. Catherine and compare with the open grass lands and sand dunes on the west. The difference is endless – there is always something new, beautiful and breathtaking to see.
Pictured: Jersey has a massive diversity of scenery, ranging from expansive coasts to isolated woodland.
There are red squirrels with nuts in their mouths hopping round the garden as I write this; hedgehogs snuffling around unseen in the undergrowth, I have no doubt. They are now under threat – we must protect this heritage. Durrell, and all it stands for is a symbol of this.
And the tides bring forth each day an array of marine life (actually the tides themselves could be a 6th thing I love!).
The island can add 23% at low tide, the second largest tidal reach in the world. Open sea at the east becomes a jungle of rock as far as the eye can see; the shingle beaches at high tide. Anneport, an example amongst many, becomes completely different at low tide with so much to discover and oyster catchers, herons and egrets to accompany you.
Pictured: Jersey's wildlife heritage is something the island must ensure is protected.
Whatever one’s own view of faith, we have these stunning old churches well kept with the help of the parishes for all to enjoy. I love sitting in St. Saviour, just thinking of all it has seen over 800 years. The faith, the joys and the sadnesses – as well as the saints and those not so saintly! And the churchyard full of thousands of stories – and in St Saviour and I am sure other Parishes – what stories – and such a history.
As well as a place of such tranquility, there is so much history - not just Waterloo I might say - that a book could be written, and I am indeed half way through one!
And, of course, those in the churchyard are very well behaved parishioners, never causing a rector any trouble.
Pictured: St. Saviour Parish Churchyard's history tells thousands of stories.
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