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Jethou, Channel Islands

Bailiwick of Guernsey

Last modified: 2020-08-15 by rob raeside
Keywords: jethou | guernsey |
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Fictional arms
[postulated shield of Jethou] image by Jaume Ollé

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Description of the shield

The Shield of Jethou from a bicoloured postage stamp. The colors should be considered as "probable" but they are unsure. In the stamp the shield is shown only in blue and white. No flag is known for the island.
Jaume Ollé, 6 February 2000

Jethou is one of the Channel Islands, Guernsey Bailiwick, just south of Herm. area 44 acres (36 hectare) and uninhabited. Nearby are two (much smaller) off-shore islands, Crevichon and Grande Fauconnière, a bird-sanctuary. The islands are property of the Crown. Previous tenants of the Manor House on Jethou have included Sir Compton MacKenzie, who lived in it for fifteen years.
Jarig Bakker, 6 February 2000

The Jethou coat of arms is made up and was never the basis for any flag.
André Coutanche, 13 December 2005

Jethou is leased from the Crown (unlike neighbouring Herm which is leased from the States of Guernsey). The tenant may or may not live there full-time, and may or may not allow visitors to land.

Jethou doesn't have its own [official] postage stamps. The postal authority is the Guernsey Post Office and the stamp which Jaume saw is presumably a Guernsey stamp. Probably it was one of a set with the coats of arms of all the islands in the Bailiwick.

It's a while since I visited, so I stand to be corrected, but I don't remember a Jethou flag. Then again, I don't know where the coat of arms came from either! The design and the motto (Watch and Warn if my Latin is up to it) suggests sea-marks in a tricky bit of water with a very large tidal range. The lion is presumably from the Guernsey (and English) coat of arms, with the leaf on the top which distinguishes the Guernsey coat of arms from the otherwise identical ones of Jersey and England.
André Coutanche, 7 February 2000

The source for this coat of arms is a postage stamp of Jethou. In 1960 there were attempts to encourage tourism to the minor islands. A coffee shop and a gift shop were set up on the island to accommodate visitors, but the lack of sandy beaches was primarily responsible for making it a flop. At that time (1960s), both Jethou and Lihou were permitted to issue their own local stamps. I think Brecqhou and Bourhou also were, though I am not sure. That privilege was rescinded in 1970.
Chris Kretowicz, 9 April 2001

It might be more accurate to say, "At that time (1960s), both Jethou and Lihou issued their own local but unofficial 'stamps' (more properly termed 'carriage labels'), as did Brecqhou. That practice was in suppressed in 1970". (Actually in 1969, when the newly-formed Guernsey Post Office took over from the British Post Office in the Bailiwick).
André Coutanche, 13 December 2005

From Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue British Commonwealth (1999):
"Several islands off the coast of Great Britain have issued local stamps (usually termed British Private Issues or Local Carriage Labels), ostensibly to cover the cost of ferrying the mail to the nearest mainland post office. No official post offices operate on most of these islands. As these are not recognized as valid for national or international mail they are not listed here [that is: in the catalogue]. The following islands are known to have issued stamps from the dates shown:
Jethou, Channel Is. (1960-69)
Jarig Bakker, 13 December 2005

[postulated flag of Jethou] image by Jean-Marc Merklin, 26 July 2020
based on this photo

The island coat of arms was created in the time when the tenant was Grp. Cpt. William Hedley Cliff [1958-1964], but it is unknown if he was the creator or if it was purchased. Since that time the arms stuck as an island coat of arms. And not just the arms. The island has had a flag, too. It is a St. George's Cross on a white field with island coat of arms on the first quarter, to the hoist. It is interesting that the flag seems to have a vertical white stripe at the fly. Here is a photo taken on the island during a tourist visit on July 17 2020 (Yes, this year): There are more photos with flags, including one un-recognizable with blue wavy bars.
Valentin Poposki, 26 July 2020