Jardin D’Olivet is a little known battlefield site dating back to the Anglo-French and Anglo-Scottish wars of the 1540s. In July and August 1549, and as a precursor to re-opening of renewed war between the new French King Henry II and the new boy King Edward VI, the French took advantage of the weakened English Crown following the death of Henry VIII, occupied the island of Sark in the Channel Islands and launched attacks on the other islands.
Henry II’s main objective was to rid the English from northern France where they held towns including Calais and Boulogne. A attack in the Channel Islands as well as assisting England’s enemies in a rebellious Scotland would divide and stretch English forces. After an attack on the English fleet in Guernsey, (when the French force was badly mauled) the French led by Captain Francis Breuil de Bretagne landed at Bouley Bay in Jersey. This force was met by the local militia at Jardin D’Olivet, where after a fierce fight, in which the latter’s leader Jurat Helier de la Rocque, the Lieutenant-Bailiff of Jersey, was severely wounded, dying a few days later, the French forces were overcome and routed.
The question as to whether the French foces actually intended to attack Jersey rather than shelter and possibly take in supplies in Jersey following their reported mauling off Guernsey, must be open to some doubt. In any event, the French retired to St Malo to repair their damaged fleet and bury their dead.
Subsequently, having repaired their ships they returned to Sark (not daring to land on Jersey again) and on the way, they captured the Lieutenant Governor, Henry Cornish’s barque as it lay at anchor off Gorey. The barque was carrying many valuable items and was a great loss to the Lieutenant Governor. The French retained Sark, the closest other Channel Island to Jersey, for the next nine years, causing a constant threat to Jersey and Guernsey.