George Paulet - Bailiff of Jersey 1583-1614 (with interruptions)
When Bailiff Jean Dumaresq was so stricken by gout in 1583 that he was unable to sit in the Royal Court and asked to resign, the Governor, Sir Amias Paulet, call on his brother George to step in. George had already acted as Lieut-Governor in his brother's absence from the island. Perhaps Amias Paulet believed that the appointment would be temporary, as it indeed turned out to be, because George was the first non-Jerseyman to hold the office for any time for 200 years or more.
Amias and George had come to Jersey as teenagers when their father, Sir Hugh Paulet was apointed Governor in 1550. In 1561, at the age of 27, he was given the Manor of St Germain by his father, and lived there for a time, before moving successively to St Saviour, St Lawrence and St Helier.
The Paulets were often in dispute with the prominent de Carteret family and in 1580 George went some way towards reconciling their differences by marrying his daughter Rachel to Sir Philippe de Carteret, son of Sark colonist Helier de Carteret and eventualy Seigneur of St Ouen and Sark. There is considerable dispute among geneaologist as to who Rachel's mother was.
George Balleine's Biographical Dictionary of Jersey shows that George Paulet was married four times. He says that his first wife was his cousin Elizabeth Paulet, and that in 1564 he married Ysebel, daughter of Edmund Perrin, Seigneur of Rosel, and widow of former Bailiff Hostes Nicolle. He shows Ysebel as mother of Rachel, giving a birth date of 1564, but Hostes did not die until June 1564. Other sources show that Rachel was born in 1561, which would mean that her mother was probably Elizabeth Paulet.
Balleine records Ysebel as dying in 1574 and notes that Cicille Pollett, 'wife of the Lieut-Governor', was buried at the Town Church in 1601. Balleine says that her children were Abraham, who became Attorney-General in 1603 and died in 1605, and Dorothy, who married Hugh Perrin, Seigneur of Rosel. He further records the marriage of George Paulet in the Town Church on 8 November 1604 to Lucrece Dabucy, by whom he had two children, Elizabeth, who died as a baby and Philippe, who lived to be seven.
The Cercle de Carteret website disagrees with Balleine's sequence and which wife had which children, naming his four wives in sequence as Elizabeth Paulet, mother of Rachel; Ysebel Perrin, mother of Abraham and Dorothy; Lucrece Daubcy, mother of Elizabeth and Philip; Cecile - no children
Edmund Perrin, Seigneur of Rosel, was born in Jersey but descended from the prominent Perrin family of Guernsey. The baptismal names Elizabeth and Ysabel were often interchangeable at this time, but Edmund Perrin appears to have had two daughters, one Ysabel and one Elizabeth. Some sources show Elizabeth as marrying Hostes Nicolle and George Paulet, and Ysabel marrying a Jean Dumaresq. Others show a marriage between Elizabeth Perrin and Guernsey Jurat Jean Effard.
Eminent medieval genealogist Leo van der Pas shows Rachel's mother as Ysobel Perrin and George Paulet later marrying to Alice Pacy (Plesey), just to complicate matters.
In June 1562 George Paulet was one of five Royal Commissioners appointed to survey the fortifications in Jersey, redress problems with its administration of justice and reform its grammar schools.
He was an elder of the Town Church when it was established as the island's first Reformed Church. He became involved as Attorney for the Church Consistory in a dispute with Hugh Perrin, Seigneur of Rosel, over the Huguenot innovations in Jersey and was sent to answer Perrin before the Bishop of Winchester. Hugh Perrin was the elder son of Edmund Perrin and, therefore, probably Paulet's brother-in-law.
This was a time when the Privy Council became more and more reluctant to sit in judgment in London over disputes in the Channel Islands and preferred to appoint Royal Commissioners to preside over hearings on the spot. George Paulet was frequently appointed both in Jersey and Guernsey.
In 1583 he took over from Jean Dumaresq as Bailiff. His oath of office differed somewhat from that of earlier and later holders of the office, reflecting the religous turmoil of the period by including the clause:
- "You will defend the rights of the true Christian Church, and secure to the utmost of your power the destruction, annihilation and abolition of the false Church of the Pope, and that all who despise the pure Word of God shall be condignly punished".
Dumaresq resumed his role in 1586, but only a few months later had to stand down again, and George Paulet took over once more. He became involved in a dispute with three of his Jurats, saying something which Helier Dumaresq adjudged to be "a nasty insult" when the Jurats were divided in a case involving cod. Dumaresq apologised and was fined after his remark was reported to the Privy Council, but he then joined forces with Jean de Carteret and Philippe Journeaulx to attack Paulet's policy of transferring cases to the Cour Extraordinaire which produced higher fees.
This incurred the wrath of Sir Anthony's father and George's brother, Governor Sir Amias Paulet who wrote to George:
- "I wish that my son and you had taken another course. I do not find it felony or treason that the inhabitants should make a complaint to Her Majesty and procure the signs of such as are grieved. I think my son was ill-advised and worse counselled, when he committed these men to prison, for he exceeded the bounds of his commission, which forbiddeth to imprison, but only in martial matters. These things belong to you and the Justices, and not to the Lieutenant, whose place is to see your orders executed, and not to make himself a party".
Despite what was undoubtedly an illegal arrest and imprisonment of the Jurats, they found little support for their argument. The remaining Jurats, Advocates and States Members unanimously supported the Bailiff's view that the Cour Extraordinaire should remain. Despite two spells in Marshalsea prison for contempt of court and "factious proceedings", de Carteret continued to attack the Paulets, but eventually Royal Commissioners Robert Napper and Tertullian Pyne, sent to investigate the charges against them, declared:
- "We find that George Paulet hath very well behaved himself, and hath in respect of his long continuance there good experience of their laws, and hath used both diligence and integrity in the said office".
George Paulet's services remained in demand and he handed back the office of Bailiff to Jean Dumaresq in 1591 to take over as Lieut-Governor in Guernsey. Five years later he returned to Jersey when Dumaresq again stood down, this time permanently. Paulet sought to conciliate with his former opponents and appointed both Helier Dumaresq and Jean De Carteret as Lieut-Bailiffs.
This did not prevent a further dispute between de Carteret and Paulet, when the former demanded another judge to hear a case in which he was involved. By then Sir Walter Raleigh was governor and he sent de Carteret to the Castle and then attempted to bring about a reconciliation between the two. De Carteret was eventually persuaded to apologise but Paulet only accepted this apology after being urged to do so in the strongest terms by Sir Walter and the States.
On 22 April 1614 Paulet sought permission to retire at the age of 80 and after 56 years service as Lieut-Governor and Bailiff the King granted him a pension of £20 a year. He was not allowed to retire completely, however, and was again sworn in as Lieut-Governor in 1617 and 1619, on the latter occasion being sent by Governor Sir John Peyton to report to the Privy Council about a dispute over the extradition of prisoners to France.
George Paulet died in 1621 and was buried at St Saviour's Church. Remarkably, considering the long service he gave to the Crown and the island, he was never knighted.