Even as long ago as the 1st century BC, this bay may have provided a safe anchorage for boats when Jersey lay on the wine route between St.Malo and Hengistbury Head in Dorset.
The huge hill behind the harbour was the site of Le Catel de Rozel, a fifty acre site sometimes considered as the capital of the island during that period. The size of the enclosed area, the fresh water spring within it, and the artefacts found all over the site suggest long term habitation. The site was guarded to the west by a an earth rampart which even now is 20 feet high, to the north by cliffs and the sea, and to the south by a deep valley.
Moving into the 19th century, Sir George Don, Governor of Jersey between 1806 and 1814, was concerned about the French threat to the Channel Islands, and during his tenure he constructed a number of gun batteries, barracks and fortifications around the coast of the island. Here at Rozel, he constructed a barracks which still border the beach, although today the stout defensive walls only guard a luxury house.
The pier was built in 1829. Like the harbours at Bonne Nuit and Bouley Bay, it was built to accommodate the overflow of oyster boats that were not able to find safe anchorage in the harbour at Gorey. Today it provides shelter for pleasure craft and commercial fishermen.
© Arthur Lamy