Origin of Surname
Although the family was not considered sufficiently important (or affluent) to be recorded in Payne's Armorial of Jersey, the author notes in passing that it is one of very early settlement in Jersey, and is said to have derived its patronymic from the fact of an ancestor having held the post of bow-bearer to the Conqueror.
Arbaletée is old French for the distance of a crossbow shot and arbaletier for a crossbowman, from the Latin arcubalistarius.
The name is not widely known in France, and not at all in Normandy, although there are some families in the east of the country. It is suggested, therefore, that the earliest members of the family in Jersey would have come from England. However, the fact that close variants were recorded as early as 1309 suggests that it was unlikely, because movement to Jersey from England was far from common at the time.
The name first appears in Jersey in the Assize Roll of 1309, with mention being made of Raoul Le Arblaster owning land in St Helier. Jean Larbalestier, formerly of Trinity, was ordained at Coutances in 1496, and became Rector of St Peter, 1507-1532-1541.
In Trinity, the family`s `chef mainte`, or principal holding, was the house and land now called Les Augrès Manor. This passed by inheritance to the Dumaresqs, as a result of the marriage, circa 1530, of Richard Dumaresq with Collette, daughter and heiress of Michel Larbalestier. Collette will, in all likelihood, have been the niece of the Rector of St Peter as, on his death, Richard Dumaresq, in right of his wife, was the principal heir. The surname has been mostly associated with Trinity, where junior branches survived until recently.
Michael Larbalestier was born in St Helier in 1430.
Anthony and Jehan are listed in the Jersey Chantry Certificate of 1550.
A most notable Larbalestier was the early 19th century painter, Philippe Larbalestier.
Bluemantle herald recorded these in the 17th century for Larbalestier: "Ermine, a crossbow (or arbalist) in pale, sable"
From arms more often displayed or quartered by Jersey families: "Ermine, a crossbow drawn, charged with an arrow, all argent"
Early Recorded English Names
- 1086 Hugo and his son Robert Ballistarius, mentioned in the Domesday Book
- 1140 and his son Odo Albalestarius, Holme, Norfolk
- 1198 Geoffrey Arbalester, Cures Regis Essex
- 1198 Richard le Arbalester, Pipe Nolls, Rutland
- 1200 Ralph Alebaster, Hornechurch Priory documents, Essex
- 1278 Peter le Arblaster, Feet of Fines, Suffolk.
- Larbalestier, 1402
- Lurbalestier 1607
- Lerbalestier 1528
- Ablaster c1340
- Le Arblaster 1309
- Le Arbalester
Larbalestier researcher Sheila Simpson has recorded the following variants
among descendants of Larbalestier immigrants in North America
- Descendants of Michael Larbalestier (1430)
- Descendants of Charles Larbalestier (1750- )
- Descendants of Philippe Larbalestier
- Descendants of Jean Larbalestier
- Lewis Hamilton's Larbalestier ancestry
- Descendants of Jean Louis Larbalestier Added 2021
- Larbalestier baptisms in Jersey
- Larbalestier marriages in Jersey (groom)
- Larbalestier marriages in Jersey (bride)
- Larbalestier burials in Jersey
Great War service
- Antoine Larbalestier (wife not known) had three children John, Catherine and Michel. Catherine married Simon Sarre and had a daugther Marie who married Edouard De Carteret. Michel had a daughter Collette who in 1530 married Richard Dumaresq.
- John Larbalestier, Rector of St Trinity (appointed 10 March 1496) and St Peter (16 June 1507) was appointed Vice Dean of the island in 1531 by the Vicar General of the Diocese of Coutances (from the registers of that See).
- Simon Sarre was Constable of St John (1524-1531).
- Descendants of Antoine lived in Trinity during the 1800s in a house appropriately named Cross Bow House. Phillippe Larbalestier, the Farina of Jersey, came from the same family.
- Although the fief des Augres became alienated at a very early period from the family of Larbalestier, it is not extinct to this day.
Farina of Jersey
The Encyclopedia Britannica of 1910 defines Eau de Cologne (Cologne water) as a perfume so named from the city of Cologne, where its manufacture was first established by an Italian, Giovani Farina (1685-1766), who settled at Cologne in 1709. The perfume gained a high reputation by 1766. It was originally prepared by making an alcoholic infusion of flowers, pot herbs, drugs and spices, distilling and then adding definite quantities of several vegatable essences.
In the case of Jersey, the following advertisement appeared in Jersey Illustrated 1895:
- "Mr Phillippe Larbalestier - Jeweller and Perfumer, Charing Cross - this establishment is well known as one of the best in Jersey for high class jewellery and perfumery. Amongst the more fashionable kinds of scent for which the house is noted Eau de Cologne, White Lilac and Mikado, Jersey Bouquet, Esprit de Rose, Esprit de Lavande, take pride of place, but in addition to these, Mr Larbalestier distils and sells large quantities of White Moss and other popular perfumes. We may add that the business has been in the hands of the Larbalestier family ever since the time of its foundation in 1813 so that records date over a period of nearly sixty years. Locally it has always been patronised by the elite of society, whilst its general ramifications extend to literally every quarter of the globe."
The founder of the perfumery shop was Philippe Larbalestier (1795-1861, married Marie le Bourdon in 1820). His grandson Philippe sold the business to his cousin, another Phillippe of the above advertisement, before emigrating to Australia.
Corbiere lighthouse keeper
Jersey’s La Corbiere on the south-west corner of the island, has proved a death trap for many ships. On St Catherine’s day in 1495, five Spanish caravels were driven on these rocks and the sandstorm which destroyed the fertiltiy of Les Quennevais was attributed by tradition to God’s wrath at the cruelty shown to their crews. In 1873 a lighthouse was built by the States. Imrei Bell, the engineer, chose an isolated rock 500 yards from the shore. On this he placed a concrete platform 9 feet high and a tower 35 feet high on top of that, the first lighhouse in the British Isles to be built of concrete. The rush of the tide round these rocks is extremely dangerous and powerful. At the entrance to the causeway is a memorial stone to "Peter Edwin Larbalestier, assistant keeper at the lighthouse, who on the 28th of May 1946 gave his life in attempting to rescue a visitor cut off by the incoming tide. Take heed, all ye that pass by!"
Peter Larbalestier had returned from the war in 1945 after serving as a merchant seaman (electrical engineer P&O) to work with his father in the Lighthouse. Peter lost his life by trying to save visitors who had been cut off by the tide when trying to cross the causeway between the lighthouse and the shore.
Other notable family members
- George Quesnel Larbalestier (1851-1933), solicitor and writer
- Peter Larbalestier (1900-1960), author
- John Larbalestier, Rector of Trinity (appointed 10 March 1496) and St Peter (16 June 1507) was appointed Vice Dean of the island in 1531 by the Vicar General of the Diocease of Coutances.
- Thomas Charles Larbalestier (1810-1870), artist
- George Quesnel Larbalestier (1851-1933), solicitor and writer
- Peter Larbalestier (1900-1960), author
- Lewis Hamilton's Larbalestier ancestry Added 2016
- Les Augres (Trinity): Now famous as the home of the Jersey Zoo, Les Augres is an instance of a confusion between the name of a house and a fief. This house is actually situated on the Fief of Dielament. The confusion arises when in 1634 Elie Dumaresq, already living in the house, also bought the Fief des Augres, which is also in Trinity. Les Augres had been a Larbalestier house and had passed to the Dumaresqs by the marriage of Collette, daughter of Michel Larbalestier to Richard Dumaresq circa 1530. Elie’s mother, Francoise de Carteret, was the daughter and part heiress of the Seigneurie of St Ouen.
- Crossbow House (Trinity): the house derives its name from association at some period with the Larbalestier family who were influential in the parish of Trinity. The house was owned by the Gruchy family and later by John Norman, Constable from 1887-90.
- La Fosse (Trinity): this house is the only surviving house on the island with six granite fire places. The house was owned by Philippe Larbalestier and his wife Andree Gallie in 1668. Andree’s father was Clemnt Gallie, Constable of Trinity from 1652-1660, and it is through her marriage, as an inheritance, that the house became a Larbalestier property. The house was later owned by Philippe’s son Michel and his wife M Cabot in 1686. On the property is a farm house with an inscribed date of 1734 and with Michel's initials and shield carved over the fireplace suggesting that he lived there before he was married.
- Holmbury (Trinity): This was previously one of the many Larbalestier properties in Trinity, and on an outhouse behind the present dwelling is a stone inscribed PLB 1659. Perhaps Phillippe lived here when he left Les Augres. The present house is dated 1801.
Museum of the Societe Jersaise: the arch leading into the Agricultural Room came from La Fosse and is dated 1686 with Larblestier-Cabot initials.
- Philip Joseph Larbalestier was a linen draper at 48 King Street in the 1850s and early '60s
- Larbalestier's Toy Warehouse was at 12 Queen Street in the 1890s
Family photograph album
Charles Herbert Larbalestier (1880-1962) son of John Charles and Amelia Le Cras, to Massachusetts after the Great War
The only Thomas who would fit into these dates was Thomas Henry, born in St Helier in 1868, the son of John Charles Larbalestier and Amelia Sarah, nee Le Cras. The image has much more of an 1872 feel to it than 1900
- Larbalestier Family Home Page
- Larbalestier Group on Facebook
- Larbalestier Family
- Sheila Simpson's Canadian Larbalestier site
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