St Martin’s Church
La Grande Rue, St Martin’s, GY4 6RR
St Martin’s Parish Church, Guernsey - also known as Saint Martin de la Bellouse - stands on an ancient holy site from which two springs emerged, one of which, La Fontaine de la Bellouse, was reputed to have healing properties.
The earliest reference to a religious building on the site was in 1048. The original building was built over, with the oldest parts of the current building dating back to 1225 with a second aisle added in the next century.
It is well known for the female menhir stone figure La Gran'mère du Chimquière which guards the entrance to the cemetery. In prehistoric times, the statue would have been idolised and in the 1700's it became the focus of witchcraft. Even in the 19th century this activity is thought to have continued and a church warden his reported to have split the stone, but locals later repaired it. Today some still place coins on her head or flowers around her neck for good luck. The church has the only font in the island which dates from before the Reformation.