GUERNSEY HISTORY 

25th May 1563
Elizabeth College is founded in St Peter Port

Elizabeth College was founded on the orders of Queen Elizabeth I. Yet even with such grand patronage, the St Peter Port college that bears her name had an uncertain beginning.

The first head teacher lasted less than five years. Belgian-born Hadrian à Saravia, more commonly-known as Adrian Saravia, was appointed to establish and lead the school. However, he became so frustrated by the job that he left in 1568. He’d been there less than five years, and later assisted in the translation of the original King James Bible.

Slow growth

The pupils were so few in number at its founding – and for more than the next 200 years – that there were times when they were outnumbered by the teachers. It took until the 1820s for its to really find its way. It was then that a committee put together by the Lieutenant-Governor wrote a new curriculum, hired new teachers and enrolled more pupils. In order to push through their changes, they had to get rid of the headmaster, Daniel Durand. Fortunately, they bribed him with the promise of a pension, and he went.

Since then, it has never looked back. Over the years it has grown from the single building it initially occupied to the point where it now consumes a full 69 acres.

Elizabeth College during the war

The school premises were used by the occupying forces as a headquarters building during the Second World War. Its roll of 150 students had been evacuated en masse to Derbyshire before the forces arrived.

The Germans built a large, strong bunker in its grounds, which they used as an ammunition store. This is now the foundation of the school’s tennis court. When the island was liberated in 1945, the official announcement was made from the school steps, further cementing its position as a historical focal point for the island.

Category: Guernsey History | Other events tagged

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

What else happened in Guernsey in May?

Guernsey history newsletter

Check out The Sarnian’s email newsletter for Guernsey history, features, puzzles and pictures. It’s also the first place where you’ll find out about the Sarnian series of books, including sneak previews and discounts.

We will never sell your data to third parties, and there’s an unsubscribe link in every email, so you can leave whenever you like.

* indicates required

The Sarnian

The Sarnian Book 1: Dead in the Water

A body on a beach, an impossible alibi and an unstoppable race against time!

Check out the first book in The Sarnian series, set on the Channel Island of Guernsey.

Click here to get your copy today…

October in Guernsey through the years…

The first lighthouses are built on the Casquets

30th October 1724

Sir Charles Hayward buys Jethou for £40,000

23rd October 1971

Hitler orders Channel Islands' fortification

20th October 1941

Channel Television sees off rival broadcasters

16th October 1992

Commercial radio station Island FM launches

15th October 1992

Sarnian secrets

Sign up to The Sarnian's occasional newsletter for updates on your favourite characters and locations, to go behind the scenes on the writing process, and for early-bird discounts on every new book. We promise not to share your details with anyone else, and you can easily unsubscribe whenever you choose.
* indicates required

Search the archiveWarning