Le Capelain family page
This family, or families, arrived in Jersey from the late 17th century onwards, and some were Huguenot refugees
John Osborne Le Cappelain (1853-1925), who emigrated to Canada, with his wife Isobel, nee McKellar, and children Thomas and Malcolm
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Origin of Surname
The probable derivation of this name is the old French for chaplain, a priest saying mass in a chapel or a clerk attached to a chapel.
The name appears as Le Chapelain in the Assize Roll of 1309.
It is common today in Normandy as Chaplain and Lecaplain. A record in Caen dating back to 1083 refers to Odo Capellanus, and Petro Capellano is found in an 1175 record from Coutances. Jehan Chapellain appears in a Lisieux record from 1461.
The Jersey family is something of a mystery. Although documents show the name recorded as Le Chapelein as early as 1309, there are no entries in the church registers until the marriage of Estienne Le Chappelain to Marie Laisne in St Lawrence in 1702. They are at the top of the family tree below.
This suggests that Estienne and Marie, who does not appear to have been born in Jersey, although there was a family of that name in the 17th century, may have come to Jersey from France, possibly as Huguenot refugees. Although Estienne does not appear in the list of abjurations by refugees, there were ten Le Capelains from the Coutances area who abjured, seven in the 1680s and three more in 1711-12.
Although it has been suggested that the renowned Jersey artist John Le Capelain was descended from the St Peter family, we now believe this not to be so, and think it more likely that his 2x great-grandfather Jean moved to Jersey separately from France - see family tree below.
Spellings found in early Jersey records
- Capelein, 1331
- Le Chapelein, 1309
- Le Chapelleyn 1309
Spellings found in St Peter baptism register, all of which should probably have been Le Cappelain
- Le Cappelain
- Le Capelain
- Le Capelin
- Le Capelen
- Le Caplain
- Le Cappellain
- Le Capellein
- Le Capellain
Spellings found in France
We have completely revised the Le Cappelain and Le Capelain family trees on 3 January 2016, removing branches which cannot be proved to fit into the first three existing trees, and creating new trees. We believe that some of these trees are linked, but that there are almost certainly key baptism records missing from the St Peter registers from 1758 to 1777, which make it impossible to confirm those links.
- Descendants of Etienne Le Cappelain
- Descendants of Jean Le Cappelain, a branch of the above tree from a different source
- Descendants of Gedeon Le Cappelain Added 2016
It is possible that the Etiennes at the head of the following three trees are the same person, having married Marie Colomb first and Elizabeth Bisson two years after his first wife died, then Susanne Le Feuvre three years after that. There are no baptism records for any Etienne born at a time which would fit with any of the three marriages. The 1841 census shows Amice, a son of Etienne and Marie Colomb farming in St Peter, next door to Pierre, son of Etienne and Susanne Le Feuvre.
- Descendants of Etienne Le Cappelain and Marie Colomb Added 2016
- Descendants of Etienne Le Cappelain and Elizabeth Bisson NEW
- Descendants of Etienne Le Cappelain and Susanne Rachel Le Feuvre Added 2016
- John Le Capelain, artist. The ancestry of Jean Le Capelain (1812-1848), one of Jersey's most revered artists, has been something of a mystery. His parents are shown in George Balleine's Biographical Dictionary of Jersey as Samuel Le Cappelain and Elizabeth Anne Pinkney, with his birth shown as 5 October 1812 in St Helier. However, there is no record either of his parents' marriage or his baptism in Jersey, and it is now known that both took place in London. See biography.
Le Capelain family members who served in the Great War
- Arthur Henry Le Cappelain (1880-1915) (St B) son of William James and Melvina Jane, Private, Gordon Highlanders
- George Henry Le Cappelain (1881- ) (St B) son of George Philip and Janet, Sapper RE
- John William Le Cappelain (1899- ) (St B) Private, Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment, RAF
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