Site of the Battle of the Sands, 7 October 1406.

In 1406, Pierre de Pontbriand, a Breton nobleman,  and Pero Nino, a Castilian corsair attacked Jersey. Having assembled a force of some 1100 men from Brittany, Normandy and Castile, the invaders landed on the islet in St Aubin’s Bay (where the Abbey of St Helier used to stand, and now the site of Elizabeth Castle) According to his chronicler* (who clearly wanted to give his master the glory), Pero Nino led the invaders against the islanders in a fierce battle on the sands between the islet and St Helier, and got the upper hand such that the Jerseymen retreated. With the invaders equally exhausted, they retired back to the Islet and the following day advanced into the Island setting fire to the countryside. Knowing that an English fleet was not far away, the invaders opted for the option to enforce the payment of a ransom by the Island rather than attack the castles and refuges. The Bretons, together with the Castilians and Normans, left for St Malo with the hostages to secure the payment.

*  Pero Nino’s chronicler, who was also his standard bearer and therefore a witness to the battle, has left us with a very rare first hand description of what it was really like to fight hand to hand in the 15th century!