Charles de Carteret

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Sir Charles de Carteret - Bailiff 1703-1715

It had been intended that Sir Charles de Carteret would succeed his father Sir Philippe de Carteret as Bailiff. His grandfather, also Sir Philippe had been Bailiff in 1661 and 1662, and his maternal grandfather Edouard de Carteret had served in the role from 1665-1682. However, Sir Charles was only 14 when his father died and another Edouard de Carteret was appointed Bailiff until Sir Charles came of age.

Absent from island

He received his letters patent in 1702 and was sworn into office in May the following year. He was to spend very little time in Jersey, remaining for nine months after his swearing in and then only returning in 1707 and 1710.

This did not prevent him getting involved in a number of bitter legal disputes arising out of his Seigneurship of St Ouen. This tenants revolted in 1701, refusing to provide vraic and labour on his land, and wood and stone and labour to repair the manor buildings. They demanded that he justify his claim, but eventually it was supported by the Royal Court and the Privy Council, establishing the basic principles of seigneural services which survived into the 18th century.

By the time he was appointed Bailiff Sir Charles was Gentleman in Ordinary to the Privy Chamber of Queen Anne. The Jurats became more and more annoyed at his constant absence and the performance of those he delegated his work to as Lieut-Bailiffs. Another Charles de Carteret, a relation, was described in a complaint to the Privy Council as "a man of no learning, who was half the year laid up with the gout, so that it hath often caused a failure of Justice, sometimes for two or three months". Things got no better when the Lieut-Bailiff died, because he was replaced by Charles Dumaresq, "who soon after was struck with a Dead Palsie and Delirium, which occasioned again, as it doth even now, a great interruption of Justice".

Disputes with Jurats

When he was in Jersey, Sir Charles fell out with several Jurats. In 1710 he asked an opinion of Jurat Philippe Le Geyt, who asked permission to retire, having already sought the Queen's approval to resign. Sir Charles would not agree and was then challenged by Le Geyt's Advocate, Jean Dumaresq. de Carteret fined him for interrupting and threatened to suspend him if he persisted. The Court broke up in confusion with the majority of Jurats siding with Le Geyt. In due course he did resign, and in a bitterly fought election was succeeded by Philippe Dumaresq, despite every effort by Sir Charles to secure the election of his opponent, James Corbet.

Then he clashed with the Jurats over his nomination of Thomas Pipon as Deputy Greffier. The Jurats refused to accept him, claiming that he had no knowledge of Court procedure and was awaiting trial on two assault charges. They swore in Edouard La Cloche but the Privy Council supported the Bailiff, stating that the Jurats must swear in whoever he appointed.

He then attempted to eliminate those Jurats who opposed him from Court proceedings by getting his supporters to seek the withdrawl of one of them on the grounds that they were connected with one of the parties, and then ruling that all that Jurat's cousins were incompetent to judge as well. The matter went to the Privy Council, and this time de Carteret lost.

He then suffered a series of illnesses and was in the process of trying to sell his Jersey property and retreat to England when he died in 1715. He was buried in the north aisle of Westminster Abbey.

His death truly marked the end of an era, because James, the only child of his marriage to Mary, daughter of Amice de Carteret, died before him. Only two of the seven sons of Sir Philippe de Carteret of Civil War fame, and Ann Dowse, Philippe and Francois had any surviving children. The last male descendant of Francois died in 1711 and now the last male descendant of Philippe was dead. This brought to an end 700 years during which the Fief of St Ouen had passed from father to son.

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