Jersey’s forgotten quarries

Recently I was exploring down at Fiquet (near Beauport) with my father when we came across unmistakable evidence that huge rocks near the high water mark had once been quarried. Slots in the rock had clearly been chiselled, with a view to splitting the rock. These “coast quarries” have been remarked on before, for example at the Ecrehous and Minquiers, as well as a couple of spots around Jersey’s coast, but not as far as I know down at Fiquet. It was quite an industry: once you’ve got your eyes in, you realise a lot of the rocks have been attacked.

Note the horizontal and vertical slots cut in the large rock
The vertical slot is particularly clear on this shot; actually a sequence of 5 slots that were no doubt in the process of being joined up. One long horizontal slot runs across the middle of the rock

There is no official record of this quarrying. It seems likely that it was undertaken as a way of getting cheap building stone (the rock on the foreshore was free, whereas rock from land quarries obviously had to be purchased.) The most likely dating based on the chiselling technique is that the work was being undertaken in the early part of the 19th century.

Two very obvious slots here, one long, one short

Once lumps of rock had been knocked off they would have been loaded onto barges that could be floated up the gully.

This afternoon I went back, this time in the pouring rain, and found some more good examples.

This final picture (below) is interesting because it shows the rock cracked by the chiselling – the chiselling slot is visible on the top surface of the rock.

There’s a paper for the Bulletin of the Societe Jersiase in the offing…

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