|Summers Island Overseas Territory|
Motto: With God, we walk
Royal anthem: God Save the Queen
|Ethnic groups (2014)||
Summers Islandic 120 British 8Canadian 1
|Queen Elizabeth II|
• Traditional Mayor
|58 km2 (22 sq mi)|
• 2014 estimate
• 2011 census
|2.22/km2 (5.7/sq mi)|
|Currency||Pound Sterling (GBP)|
|Time zone||GMT (UTC+0)|
• Summer (DST)
|Drives on the||left|
Summers Island has a population of 129, descending from the crew of the HMS Lynton. The island has been decreasing in population since 1961, where it peaked at 312. Many of the island's inhabitants have emigrated to the UK, due to lack of employment on the island. The remaining people survive through fishing and some tourism.
The mayor is Mark Phillips, who was elected in 2010, and the traditional mayor has been Andrew Phillips since 1993.
The island was first sighted by viking explorers between 1000 and 1040 CE. It may have been called langrviðr, mentioned in an Icelandic saga from c. 1080.
It was named Summers Island in 1735 after being spotted by John Summers, aboard the HMS Lynton. From 1740 to around 1800, in Barnes-Hern the island was often referred to as "Barnes Island" or "Barnes-Hern Island", after William Barnes and John Hern.
The island is usually just referred to as "Summers" by the inhabitants.
Evidence on the North West of the island, near Barnes-Hern, suggests the island was briefly inhabited by Icelandic people, from c. 1020 to c. 1080.
The HMS Lynton had left Barnstaple, Devon, in 1734 for a Greenland exploration mission. The ship carried 21 men and 5 women. It crashed on course in Summers Island, near Phillipstown. A small settlement was set up near the crash. Lawrence Phillips, the captain of the ship, decided that some of the group would set out on rowing boards stored on HMS Lynton, in search of help. In June 1735, he sent 14 men and 1 women to try and get to Iceland. They were never heard of again.
After much of the crew left in 1735, there were eleven people on the island, the ancestors of all of the islands modern-day natives.
- Lawrence Phillips (1696-1759), Captain of HMS Lynton (1734-5), Mayor of Phillipstown (1737-1759)
- William Barnes (1694-1760), Mayor of Barnes-Hern (1737-1740)
- John Hern (1709-1781)
- Matthew Yates (1702-1740), killed by Lawrence Phillips
- Scott Hayes (1704-1751)
- Spencer Watson (1718-1780)
- John Kennedy (1680-1737)
- Mary Layman (1711-1772), wife of Lawrence Phillips (1736-1740), wife of Scott Hayes (1741-1751)
- Elizabeth Richmond (1705-1751), wife of Matthew Yates (1738-1740, wife of William Barnes (1743-1751)
- Maria Smith (1711-1741), wife of Spencer Watson (1736-1741)
- Frances Taylor (1710-1764), wife of John Hern (1735-1764)
Summers Island has a population of 129. The 2011 census recorded a population of 134 - 56 males and 78 females. The entire population (aside from 2 recent UK immigrants) has a patrilinial descent to Lawrence Phillips, Scott Hayes, Spencer Watson, John Hern, William Barnes or Matthew Yates.
The population has declined almost every year since it's peak in 1961. The majority of native Summers Islanders now live abroad. The population of the island hasn't been as low as the current number since the 1890s.
Religion The majority of the population are Church of England Christians. In the 2011 census, 64 (57%) identified as Christian, 36 (32%) identified as atheist, while the remainder (11%) were unsure/refused to answer. The island has two churches, one in Phillipstown and one in Barnes-Hern. However, only about 20 of the population regularly attend services.
Education is free and compulsory between five and 16. The island only contains one school, in the church in Barnes-Hern. 22 of the population are 16 and under.
There are two towns on the island, Barnes-Hern and Phillipstown. Due to the lack of the school in Phillipstown, all of the families with children have been forced to move to Barnes-Hern, resulting in a low population in Phillipstown. 96 people live in Barnes-Hern, and 33 live in Phillipstown. However, for historic reasons Phillipstown is considered the 'capital'.