Charles Blampied

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Charles Blampied (1769-1849) a stone-cutter by trade, was one of the pioneers of the Methodist Church in Jersey, who fought a long battle to exempt Methodists from Sunday Militia drill sessions.

Family

The son of Thomas Blampied and Magdelaine Morrison, he was born and baptised in Trinity in 1769.

In 1787, when only 18, he married Marie Le Mesurier. The Methodist movement was just beginning in Jersey and his wife persuaded him to attend one of meetings at St Mary, and he became a zealous convert. In 1793 she died, and the following year he married Jeanne Le Quesne of St John.

His conscience had for some time been troubled about the Sunday Militia drills. He absented himself, and took the consequences, which at first were only a fine and an extra drill on a weekday.

But a few days after his second wedding he was arrested, and lodged in the Town jail. Here his father-in-law visited him, and said that he would not allow his daughter to live with a jail-bird, and that she would leave him unless he made his peace with the authorities.

No uniform

So he promised to parade on the following Sunday, and was released. But he found that his wife was proud of the stand he was making. On the Sunday he appeared on parade, but without uniform, and told the officers that his conscience forbad him to drill on the Lord's Day.

He was rearrested, and on 3 June 1794, sentenced to eight days imprisonment. On 7 May 1795 he again received the same sentence. On 8 June he was condemned to eight days solitary confinement, and on 18 June 1796 to a month solitary confinement.

Meanwhile other Methodists were stirred by his example. On 21 June 1794 28 militiamen petitioned the States for permission to do their drill on weekdays. Dean Le Breton presented their petition, but it was rejected.

Methodism suppressed

They then refused to pay their fines, so their goods were sold. The military authorities then resolved to suppress Methodism. Several of the protesters were sent to prison. The English Methodist ministers were expelled from the island. The Methodist Meeting House in St Helier was closed. And in October 1798, in spite of protests from Dean Le Breton, the States passed an Act banishing from the island all militiamen who absented themselves from drill.

As most of the men were farmers owning their own land this was very severe. They appealed to the Privy Council; English Methodists and sympathizers such as William Wilberforce used their influence; and on 28 January 1799 the Council advised the King to refuse to sanction the Act.

Henceforth Methodists were allowed to do their drill on weekdays. For more than 50 years Blampied remained a devoted Lay Preacher. He died in his house at La Ville à l'Eveque on 23 August 1849.

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