Henri Dumaresq

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Henri Dumaresq (1614-1654) was Seigneur of Samares and a Parliamentary Commissioner.


Samares was one of the four chief Manors of the island, and the Dumaresqs had been Seigneurs of it since about 1500. Henri was the eldest son of Daniel Dumaresq, Seigneur, and Elizabeth De Carteret. He was born about 1614 for, when appearing before the Court on 22 January 1635 to make ‘comparence' for the manor on the death of his father, he stated that he had recently come of age.

In December 1635 he was elected Jurat in place of his father. On 24 February 1656 in St Helier's Church he married Margaret, only daughter of Abraham Herault.

His quarrel with Sir Philippe de Carteret, Bailiff and Lieut-Governor, began with a dispute about the appointment of a lieutenant to the Militia regiment which Dumaresq commanded.

"He was justly questioned by Sir Philippe for an affront against him as Deputy-Governor in laying down his Captain's staff and command in the open field, because he could not have his will in disposing of the Lieutenant's place in his band to a person altogether unfit".

A definite anti-de Carteret party was now forming in the island, exasperated by the way Sir Philippe and his relations were monopolising all important posts. Dumaresq joined these malcontents, and helped to draw up 22 articles exhibited against ‘Philippe Carteret, Governour of the Isle of Jersey’.

William Prynne

These he and Michel Lempriere took to London; but then they made a mistake. They entrusted their petition to William Prynne, the popular Puritan lawyer, whom they knew because he had been a prisoner in Mont Orgueil. But he was grateful to Sir Philippe for kindness shown him, when he was his jailer, and he suppressed the document, and, though the two Jurats "used their utmost endeavours and solicited him every day", they could not persuade him to do anything with it.

So they had their accusations printed as A Word left by the Way touching Sir Philip Carteret of Jersey , and put packets of them on the stocks in Cheapside and other public places, "desiring any well-affected who shall find them to present them to the Houses of Parliament".

Dean David Bandinel, who had come to London to defend his right to the tithes of St Saviour, which de Carteret was trying to appropriate, now threw in his lot with them, and between them they persuaded the Earl of Stamford to bring their complaints before the House of Lords. It was referred to a Committee.

Prynne attended with de Carteret and took charge of his defence. Dumaresq and the Dean were asked by what right they spoke in the name of the island. Could they show any document giving them authority to do so? Could they produce any witnesses to support their charges? They had to admit that they were acting on their own initiative, and that their witnesses were in Jersey. The defence, thanks to what Dumaresq called "Sir Philippe's deceitful and politic carriage and Mr Prynne's lying commendations", was so successful that the Committee reported (26 March 1642) that the charges "seemed rather to oe exhibited through malice than upon just grounds and that Sir Philippe hath carried himself with great discretion, and with much loyalty and fidelity". The Lords then threatened to commit the petitioners for circulating "malicious libellous Articles which they could not prove"; but De Carteret pleaded for them, and they were dismissed.

States resolution

A month later (21 April) Dumaresq and de Carteret met again in the States, which passed, though not unanimously, a resolution repudiating the accusations brought against Sir Philippe "in a certain petition presented to Parliament". But Dumaresq and his friends then printed a French edition of their pamphlet and spread it through the island. Sir Philippe prosecuted them for libel; but Dumaresq escaped through the rule that all disputes between Jurats and Governor must be tried by the Privy Council.

In August the Civil War began and Dumaresq was one of the five Jurats to whom in February 1643 Parliament issued a commission "to apprehend the person of Sir Philip Carteret, to suppress all tumults which may be raised in aid of him, and to suspend from their charges all persons confederated with him".

Sir Philippe withdrew to Elizabeth Castle, and Dumaresq was active in pressing forward the siege of the two castles. When George Carteret landed at Mont Orgueil in November, Dumaresq, like most of the Parliamentary leaders, fled, first to Guernsey, then to England.

Tried in absence

In February 1644 his seat on the bench of Jurats was declared vacant, and in October 1645 he was tried in his absence by the Royal Commissioners and sentenced to be hanged for high treason as soon as he could be arrested, and meanwhile to be hanged in effigy in the market-square, and his goods and property confiscated.

His wife for the time was allowed to go on living in Samares; but the Manor was a suspected spot. When Jacques Bandinel, the Dean's son, escaped from Mont Orgueil, the Manor was the first place searched, but nothing was found except Dumaresq's horse, which Carteret took for his own use.

In 1646 Carteret cut down all the timber on the Samares estate. In April 1651 Madame Dumaresq was found to be secretly corresponding with her father in Guernsey, and was banished to France.

Meanwhile Dumaresq was in London. In 1646 with Michel Lempriere and Abraham Herault he wrote and published. Pseudo-Mastix, the Lyar's Whipp , an answer to the charges brought by Prynne against the Jersey Parliamentarians in The Lyar Confounded . In their pamphlet they speak of "our incredible wants, necessity, and distress in this City of London these years without any relief".

Dumaresq eventually found work as Teller at the Mint in the Tower of London at a salary of £33 6s 8d. In May 1651 Parliament granted him a pension of forty shillings a week to be paid out of the Earl of Chesterfield's estate, until Jersey should be reduced. Like other Jersey exiles he drifted away from orthodox Presbyterianism into the camp of the Anabaptists.

When Parliament reconquered the island in October 1651 Dumaresq returned home and resumed his position as Jurat. In August 1652 he was appointed one of the County Committee for Jersey and a few days later one of the four Commissioners for Compounding in the island; but he still spent most of his time in England, for he had not resigned his post as Teller at the Mint. In December 1654 he died, and was buried on the 12th, in St Clement's Church, leaving four children, Philippe (1637- ), Henri (1639- ), Marguerite, and Esther.

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