Contributed by Folk Museum Guernsey

A knitted 'Guernsey' jumper, originally worn by local fishermen. © Guernsey Folk Museum

Each local family had their own pattern, which was knitted on the upper part of the sleeves.The 'guernsey' was knitted on the island of the same name for fishermen and farmers. It was previously thought there was a pattern for each parish, but research has shown that each family had its own pattern on the upper part of the chest and the top of the arms. This may have been because the knitters wanted to show off their skills but there was also a more gruesome purpose. Should a drowned fisherman be washed ashore with his face decayed or eaten away, the pattern would help with the identification of the body. The 'guernsey' was knitted as part of a local medieval knitting industry which produced high quality clothing including stockings. Queen Elizabeth I wore them embroidered with silk, and Mary Queen of Scots wouldn't be seen dead in anything else - she insisted on a pair of guernsey stockings with which to go to her execution.

Comments are closed for this object

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline


View more objects from people in Guernsey.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.