Josue Pipon

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Josue Pipon

Josue Pipon (1655-1728), the eldest son of Edouard Pipon of La Moye, Constable of St Brelade and Elizabeth, daughter of Daniel Gruchy, Rector of St Mary, was Lieut-Bailiff for 13 years during which the Bailiff, Lord Carteret, never visited the island


When he was accused of having begun life as a trooper, his friends replied:

"He is a gentleman of good family, and had university learning, and, being a person of capacity and merit, was taken into favour by his Grace the Duke of Hamilton, and commanded a troop of horse in the reign of King James II. It is true he rid some time in his Lordship's troop, which is a Gentleman's post, and, his Grace having particular regard for him, he was soon preferred to a commission. But the cares of his estate requiring his presence in the island, he left the Service, and was pitched upon by the Hon Edouard de Carteret, then Bailiff, to be Greffier".


He apparently returned to the island about 1691, in which year he married at St Brelade Elizabeth Dumaresq of des Augres. In 1695 he was elected Constable of St Brelade, and in 1694 was sworn in as Greffier, an office which he held for six years. In 1695 the Court decided that the posts of Greffier and Constable were incompatible so he resigned his Constableship.

In 1701 he was elected a Jurat. In 1702 his first wife died, and in the following year he married Elizabeth, widow of Philip Lempriere of Dielament, and sister of Philippe Pipon of Noirmont. The latter was Receiver-General, and in 1704 he leased to his new brother-in-law the tithes of St Mary, which were part of the Crown Revenue. A dispute arose over these tithes, and Philippe declared that he had been swindled out of £100.

He could not deprive Josue of them, for he had leased them for as long as they were under his control. So he resigned all his rights over this parish, and then persuaded the Governor, to whom they reverted, to dismiss Josue. The quarrel became furious. When the two men met in Town they drew swords, and had to be parted by bystanders. One night Philippe with his brother and his brother-in-law Thomas Pipon waylaid Josue and wounded him. The feud lasted 14 years, during which each man did his utmost to injure the other.


Meanwhile Josue had become involved in a much wider struggle. He was now the leading member of the States, and three times was sent to England as the States' Deputy, once to protest against the appointment of Custom House officers for Jersey, once to urge the British Government to bring pressure on France to remove its embargo on Jersey stockings, and once to try to establish free trade between England and Jersey. He was also leader of the Opposition to Sir Charles de Carteret, the Bailiff.

In 1711 Sir Charles complained to the Privy Council:

"Joshua Pipon, one of the Jurats, a person of ambitious and unquiet spirit and extremely desirous of power and to be head of a Party, prevailed with four other Jurats, John de Carteret, Elias Dumaresq, John Durell, and Charles Poingdestre (all being cousins german of Pipon by marriage or otherwise), to combine with him in setting up the power of the Jurats, derived from the People, against the Power of the Bailiff, derived from her Majesty, and, having by threats and other indirect means procured his brother-in-law Philip Dumaresq to be elected a Jurat, he has thereby gotten a majority of the acting Jurats into his Combination".

Tempestuous nature

In 1711 the Bailiff instructed the Lieut-Bailiff to nominate Thomas Pipon as Deputy Greffier, but the majority of the Jurats refused to swear him in, and "Joshua Pipon did in a seditious manner address himself in a loud speech to the People telling them they had the privilege of choosing their Judges, that the Bailiff was not of their putting in, and that they ought to desire a deliverance from an arbitrary and despotic power".

On another occasion, when the Bailiff fined an Advocate for interrupting the Court, "Pipon rose in a very tumultuous manner, and in defiance of the Bailiff's authority ordered the Greffier not to record the fine, and a day or two after, to encourage the Advocate in his further contempt of the Bailiff, declared that the said Advocate should be protected by the Court".

The whole matter was thrashed out in 1713 before the Privy Council, and Pipon won a notable victory. The verdict was "that the complaint be dismissed and Sir Charles De Carteret do forthwith pay unto the defendants five pounds".


In 1715 Sir Charles De Carteret died, and Lord Carteret, the new Bailiff, appointed Pipon his Lieutenant. As Lord Carteret never visited the island, for the next 13 years Pipon presided over the Court and the States. This appointment seems to have been a wise one. He was just, tactful, and conciliatory. Old enmities were laid, aside. By Lord Carteret's efforts he even became reconciled to his brother-in-law Philippe.

In 1718 the sore point of the £100 was submitted to the arbitration of the Governor and Crown Officers, who decided that Josue had been right. In 1720 Philippe wrote: "Lord Carteret of his goodness has rescued us from our enemies, so that those who were our greatest are now our friends. I speak of Mr Pipon".

The chief difficulty that Josue had to cope with was a monetary crisis. The high rate of exchange in France had drained the island of gold and silver coins, and nothing was left but liards (half farthings). This brought trade almost to a standstill. The difficulty was partially overcome by the issue in 1720 of paper notes to the value of 50,000 livres tournois.

The best act of his magistrature was the prohibition of the sale of pauper children by the parishes to be exported to France.

In 1722 with two partners he bought from Lord Carteret the Fief of Vingt Livres.


He died in 1758, and was buried at St Brelade on 21 July. By his first wife he had two children, Anne (1693- ) and Jean (1696- ), who became Greffier. By his second wife he had eleven, Jeanne and Elisabeth (1703- ), twins, who died young, Elisabeth (1704- ), Jeanne (1706- ), Josue (1707- ), Thomas (1709- ), Jacques (1711- ), Rachel (1712- ), Marie (1714- ), Catherine (1715- ), and Edouard (1717- ).

Josue followed in his father’s footsteps as Lieut-Bailiff, as did his son Thomas.

Family tree


Descendants of Nicolas Pipon (1437)

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