THE ISLAND OF HERM
Auction Particulars and Contract of Sale, Tuesday 29th July 1884


corner-tl.gif   corner-tr.gif
 

hills of gradual ascent and pleasing undulation, and is the favourite retreat during the summer of the ladies of Guernsey, who resort to this romantic spot to collect curious and beautiful shells which are peculiar to it. The air is mild and salubrious, and the soil is fertile and of an average depth of three feet in that part of the island which is devoted to agriculture. The artificial grasses so much esteemed in England are indigenous to the soil, which yields an abundance of wheat, barley, oats, Lucerne, page8margin.gif turnips, and every variety of agricultural produce. There are not less than thirty-three springs of pure water, which afford abundant facilities for irrigating the land in dry seasons. The principal features of the island are its inexhaustible quarries of granite, the qualities of which have been found by experiment to be superior to any hitherto discovered. Twelve cubic feet of Herm granite are equal in weight to thirteen cubic feet of that of Aberdeen, a proof of its greater solidity; but its chief excellence consists in its wearing down rough and uniform in surface when laid down in carriage roads, and thus affording a softer footing for horses ; it can be raised from the quarries in blocks of any size or form, of which some have been raised exceeding 100 tons in weight. The road leading to the East and West India Docks, in London, was laid with this granite, under the direction of Mr. James Walker, C.E.; and in this great thoroughfare, which is traversed by the heaviest loaded waggons in the Kingdom, its excellent qualities of durability and resistance to friction have been fully demonstrated; It has also been laid down in Cheapside. This source of wealth was entirely neglected till the property of the island passed into the possession of the late Hon. John Lindsey, brother of the late Earl of Balcarres, who having died before he had carried into operation his plans for working these quarries, Jonathan Duncan, Esq., son of the late governor of Bombay, who became proprietor of the island, by marriage with the daughter of Mr. Lindsey, carried that gentleman plans into full operation on a more extended scale. Mr. Duncan, at a vast expense, constructed a harbour in which vessels of 250 tons burden might, under the protection of an excellent pier, load during most boisterous weather in perfect safety, also an iron railway from the quarries to the pier, from which 600 tons per day may be shipped with the greatest ease. He built houses for 400 workmen, an inn, a brewery, a bakehouse and several forges for making the various implements used in the quarries. There are some masses of stone at the northern extremity of the Island, which are supposed, but upon no real authority, to be Druidical remains, and there are portions of an ancient building, thought to have been a chapel belonging to a hermitage existing here in the 6th century. In forming the gardens of the mansion-house, some coffins and skeletons were discovered, which were probably the remains of some refugees, who during the religious persecutions in the reign of Charles IX. of France are imagined to have found an asylum in the island.”

 
corner-bl.gif   corner-br.gif