St Tugual’s Chapel

The nondenominational St Tugual’s Chapel dates back to the 11th century, but it is thought to have been of religious significance as early as the 6th century. It is not known whether it was named by Saint Tugual’s followers or whether he visited the island himself. The chapel is listed on the Register of Ancient Monuments and Protected Buildings for the States of Guernsey.

The current chapel was built by Norman monks who lived on the island at the time, and it there is evidence that it was used as a monastery during the medieval period. A particular feature to look out for is its stained glass windows featuring Jesus talking to the fisherman down on Herm harbour, and another one of Noah’s Ark and Guernsey cows.

Parts of the chapel were re-opened by Peter and Jenny Wood, Herm’s most influential tenants, when they took over the lease of the island in 1949. Jenny Wood is known to some as the author who wrote Herm, Our Island Home, and many people come to visit her and her husband’s memorial in the grounds of the chapel.

In 2010 and 2011, the chapel was closed for restoration work, and during this time two skeletons were found, one of an adult and one of a child. The remains were estimated to be between 400 and 500 years old. Eventually, after further excavation, 40 skeletons were found within a 15m sq area, and around half of these were of children, with the earliest bones dating back to the 10th century.