Monday, January 25, 2010

The Village of Gorey

My partner ran across an interesting geographical fact yesterday...On the Isle of Jersey is the village of Gorey.

Because of its location as part of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Jersey has been claimed by both France and England over the past few hundred years, but now is "a separate possession of the Crown" and looks to England for its defenses. The unsettled nature of this island is the perfect setting for the picturesque village of Gorey (or Gouray when claimed by the French).

The village rests in a bay and was a major fortification for the British who erected the castle of Mont Orhueil in 1204. Every year in August, the village of Gorey holds it annual Fete de la Mer - a seafood festival.

I do not know Edward Gorey's ancestry, but it is possible that he inherited his surname from this village. It is intriguing to think that Mr. Gorey is named after a castled village that resides on an Isle that is not completely independent but is not really French or English. As fans of Mr. Gorey know, he was born is Chicago, Illinois, is often thought to be English, and he majored in French in college. Even the castle resembles the castle in the illustration for the back cover of The Secret of the Underground Room by John Bellairs.

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