St Martin de la Bellouse

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St Martin de la Bellouse from an old postcard

St Martins de la Bellouse is the parish church of St Martins, Guernsey.

The church stands on an ancient holy site from which two springs emerged, on of which, La Fontaine de la Bellouse, was reputed to have healing properties. A reminder of these earlier times, an ancient statuemenhir known as La Gran'mere du Chimquiere, now stands at the entrance to the churchyard where it was erected in the mid-nineteenth century having been broken in two by an over zealous church warden.

The present church dates from between 1225 and 1250. It is thought that the nave, tower and chancel were all built together, while the north aisle was added later. The south porch dates from the 1520s and is flamboyant in style, inside are the stone benches on which members of the Douzaine (Parish Council) sat for their meetings until 1869. Inside the south door is the font, the only one in Guernsey dating from before the Reformation. The oak pulpit in the Breton style dates from 1657 as does the lectern, the carvings on which are worth close examination.

Prior to the introduction of an organ in 1879, music was provided by a church band, a clarinet from which is displayed in the church. The organ was rebuilt in 1982/3 and the organ screen was designed and built locally, as were the east and west windows, certainly worth more than a glance.

The Priaulx Library holds microfilm copies of the parish baptisms (1660-1989), marriages (1660-1981) and burials [1728-1972) registers.

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