In 1649, from what was then the marketplace in St. Helier, Laurens Hamptonne proclaimed loyalty to Charles II, following the execution of his father, Charles I. The first such proclomation of allegiance in the British Isles.
In 1663 in recognition of his loyalty to the English Crown George Carteret, Jersey`s Royalist Governor,was granted a large tract of land in North America henceforth known as New Jersey.
On 6th January 1781, 600 French invaders and British troops comprising Scottish Highlanders and Jersey Militia fought here in the Battle of Jersey. It was a short and fierce battle with the British forces under Major Pierson emerging victorious, the last land battle to be fought on British soil. Bullet holes can still be seen on the walls of the Pierson Pub in the square.
At the base of the plinth of the statue of George II is a bronze marker, from which distances in Jersey are measured.
By the 16th century, cannon and gunpowder had become the dominant weapon of war and the English King`s main castle in Jersey, Mont Orgueil, was vulnerable.
A new castle, which was out of range of these new weapons had to be bulit and the site chosen was on a small islet in St Aubin's Bay. Sir Walter Raleigh, who was governor of Jersey between 1600 and 1603, named it Elizabeth Castle, after his Queen, Elizabeth I.
At first the fact that the castle was enclosed by the rising tide for seven out of every twelve hours was seen as an advantage. However, this was also its Achilles Heel because soldiers garrisoned there were unable to defend St. Helier when the causeway was covered by the sea.
In 1781 French troops capitalised on this weakness by landing at La Rocque on the south east coast and capturing the town of St. Helier with almost no resistance. After defeating the French forces at The Battle of Jersey it was decided that a new fortification would be built above St. Helier on Mont de la Ville , now known as Fort Regent.
Elizabeth Castle was sold to the Jersey government in 1923 and apart from the period of German occupation during the Second World War its only use has been as a historical monument and more recently as a venue for civic marriages.
The capital town of Jersey is named after a Belgian monk and what is known about him is a blend of fact, legend and myth. Born with the name Helibert, at the age of seven he developed paralysis of the legs. His parents sent him to a local Christian missionary named Cunibert, who cured his ailment and named him Helier, meaning 'pity', because God had taken pity on the boy and cured him. His pagan parents however, weren't best pleased that Cunibert was instructing the boy in the new Christianity faith and so Helier's father had the missionary killed! The young Helier was understandably rather upset at this turn of events and ran away eventually turning to another early Christian missionary, St.Marcouf, for advice. Marcouf baptised him and then sent him to Jersey where he set up home on a high rock in the bay on the south coast of the island with his more experienced companion, Romard.
The remains of his primitive dwelling remain at Hermitage Rock on what is now Elizabeth Castle. Over the following 15 years Helier gained the respect of the pagan islanders as they believed that his powers of prayer were keeping the marauding Norman pirates from invading the island.
In AD.555 however, they returned, Romard spotted them in the bay and ran the length of the causeway to alert the locals. The Normans found Helier praying alone on the beach and chopped his head off. The crossed axes on the official crest of the Parish of St.Helier are a legacy of his bloody end.