You will see Pilcher Monument rising up like a needle above Havre Gosselin on the west coast of Sark.
The story behind the monument:
On evening in October 1868 Agnew Giffard, engineer-in-charge of the new breakwater at Creux harbour, set off back to Guernsey in an 18ft gig. He left Havre Gosselin with his brother Walter, Russell Renouf (keeper of the breakwater lighthouse), Dr Gatehouse (medical officer, about to take up practise in Alderney), and J.G. Pilcher, a London oil merchant.
According to Rev. Cachemaille they were told it was dangerous to go and that it would soon be dark. The tide carried them a long way south, then the wind blowing from the north freshened into a tempest. Night fell and it suddenly became intensely dark.
The wreck of the gig was found seven miles from Dielette on the Normandy coast. Agnew Giffard’s body came ashore in Havre Gosselin; Walter Giffard’s body was found in a small cave at the Pointe du Nez, Eperquerie; Russell Renouf’s body was found in the Gouliot caves. Two months later Pilcher’s body came ashore at Niton, Isle of Wight, identification being made by the clothing and a breastpin in his father’s likeness. The Doctor’s body was never found.
The granite monument was erected by Pilcher’s widow. It was made from Guernsey granite by Henrys Monumental Masons, Bordage, Guernsey, with leaded letters.
Since the firm came into existence in 1886 it is presumed that the Monument was an early commission for them.
The small plaque at the side is of South African granite, with the letters cut in by pantograph (not hand chiselled). The pantograph came into use at Henrys around 1975.
Inscription on Pilcher Monument:
IN MEMORY OF
JEREMIAH GILES PILCHER, ESQ., J. P., D. L., MERCHANT OF LONDON;
AGNEW GIFFARD, ESQ., C. E., WALTER J. GIFFARD, ESQ., HIS BROTHER;
- C. S. GATEHOUSE; AND MANSELL RENOUF, BOATMAN; WHO
EMBARKED IN A SAILING GIG FROM THE BAY BELOW THIS SPOT
AT 5 P.M. ON THE 19TH OCTOBER, 1868, AND WERE ALL LOST
DURING A SQUALL OF WIND WHICH SOON AFTERWARDS AROSE
WITH HEAVY WIND AND THICK DARKNESS.
“DEEP CALLETH UNTO DEEP AT THE NOISE OF THY WATERSPOUTS.
ALL THY WAVES AND THY BILLOWS ARE GONE OVER ME.”
PSALM XLII v.7
TO THE PRAISE OF ALMIGHTY GOD
WHO TEMPERETH HIS JUDGEMENT WITH MERCY AND IN HUMBLE
SUBMISSION OF HIS HOLY WILL.
THIS STONE OF REMEMBERANCE
IS ERECTED BY THE WIDOW AND CHILDREN OF THE LATE
JEREMIAH GILES PILCHER
TO MARK THEIR TENDER LOVE FOR SO GOOD AND EXCELLENT
A HUSBAND AND FATHER AND THEIR DEEP AND BITTER SORROW
FOR HIS LOSS. ALSO TO URGE UPON OTHERS
THROUGH THE GRACE AND MERCY OF GOD
CAUTION AND WARNING:
“THY WAY IS IN THE SEA AND THY PATH IN THE GREAT WATERS
AND THY FOOTSTEPS ARE NOT KNOWN.” PSALM LXXVII v.19