La Gran'mère du Chimquière, the Grandmother of the Cemetery, is a Neolithic statue that can be found at the gate of the St Martin parish church. She is perhaps Guernsey’s most famous ancient monument
The statue is 1.65 metres tall, with a further 40cm underground and shaped into a female figure. The figure is thought to have been carved at two separate times. Firstly - as a styalised female figure at around 2500 BC and then again during the Gallo-Roman period around 100 BC – 100 AD when facial features, hair and a buttoned cape were added. The original position of the stone is unknown although records suggest it could be found within the cemetary. It is, however, known that in the 19th century, the statue was broken in half.
In 1860 the churchwarden ordered La Gran’mère to be destroyed because he considered the attention that the statue received from parishoners was ‘tantamount to idolatry’. The statue was broken in two but the parishioners protested so much that she was cemented back together and placed in her current position. The location of the break can still clearly be seen running diagonally down from right to left.
Reputed to be to be a source of fertility and good luck, newly-married couples are often found placing coins or flowers on the Gran’mère’s head, she also features in many wedding photographs!