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As part of the peace between England and France, Pope Sixtus IV issued in 1483 a Papal bull granting the Privilege of Neutrality, by which the Islands, their harbours and seas, as far as the eye can see, were considered neutral territory. Not that the French behaved, as they attempted to invade Jersey a year later in 1549 but were defeated by the militia.
Anyone molesting Islanders would be excommunicated. The neutrality lasted another century, until William III of England abolished the privilege due to privateering activity against Dutch ships.
Whilst most of our records concern Guernsey, we also hold a number covering the rest of the Bailiwick, including an extensive Alderney collection.In the mid-16th century, the island was influenced by Calvinist reformers from Normandy.During the Marian persecutions, three women, the Guernsey Martyrs, were burned at the stake for their Protestant beliefs.The earliest evidence of shipping was the discovery of a wreck in St Peter Port harbor of a ship, which has been named "Asterix".It is thought to be a 3rd-century Roman cargo vessel and was probably at anchor or grounded when the fire broke out.