Le Maistre

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Le Maistre family page
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Portrait of Alice Le Maistre in the Museum collection

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Origin of Surname

Derived from the French word maitre, which was spelt maistre in early times, this surname has the general meaning of 'master'. However, this covers a variety of possible origins, including master of a workshop, doctor, schoolmaster, sorcerer, judicial officer and possibly 'master of a farm'.

Early records

This family name appears in Jersey from the early 14th century. We have been unable to substantiate the apparent insistence by Payne (see below) that there were two entirely distinct Le Maistre families, one present in Jersey from at least the 14th century and the other arriving in the late 16th century.

The first Jersey baptisms on record are in St Saviour in the mid-16th century.

The 'separate' family to which Payne refers, who seem to be concerned with tracing their ancestry back to French aristocracy and distancing themselves from older Jersey Le Maistre families, lived originally in St Ouen, for which there are no Le Maistre records before 1635.

Variants

  • Le Maistre, 1528
  • Le Maitre
  • Le Maestre 1331
  • Le Maistre dit Gatain

Payne's Armorial of Jersey

The family of this name is of very ancient settlement in the island, and although, in the opinion of the best-informed of its existing members, it has no connection with an aboriginal house of Le Maistre, one of whose representatives, Colin Le Maistre, appears as a land owner of the parish of St Peter, in the Extente of 1331, its founder is supposed to have migrated from France so early as the latter part of the 16th century. For deeds, dated 1526, relating to the property of one Peter Le Maistre, are still extant.

To the famous family of Montl'herri is given the credit of producing the father of the Jersey stock — a family whose founder was Gautier Le Maistre, prevost of Paris in 1245, and to which belonged the celebrated Gilles le Maistre, president of the parliament, and de Saci, the French translator of the Bible. Des Bois speaks of the sons of Jacques le Maistre, brother of this Gilles, as among the earliest French Reformers, and of their consequent persecution by their powerful relative. One of the brothers migrated to Provence, and there founded the family, which, upon its elevation to a Marquisate, assumed the name of "De" Maistre.

The Mercure de France of August 1773 says of this house that it is of "ancienne Noblesse de Robe," and one that has ever retained its fidelity to the Crown, even in the midst of the greatest revolutions. The same publication records the list of its worthies, during the reigns of 22 Monarchs, and among the men we find those of high rank, in law, statecraft, and the army, while the women shine in the only career then open for them, religion.

Félibien speaks of several other members of this family, who, taking an active part in the civil and religious struggles which convulsed their native country, were compelled to emigrate, and so were entirely lost sight of From some of these, we may reasonably suppose the English families of Maister and Master derive their origin. The opinion that the insular branch derives its descent from the same source is much strengthened by the fact that other sections of the same family, found in several of the then separate provinces of France, bear arms almost identical with those borne by Le Maistre of Jersey.

On the occasion of Her Majesty's visit to Jersey in 1846, Miss Mary Le Maistre, daughter of the then Seigneur of St Ouen, had the honour of being appointed, as his representative, by a Committee of the States of Jersey, to receive the Queen on her landing.

The career of the house in the island has been a prosperous one; members of it have, at various periods, been Seigneurs of St Ouen, La Hougue Boete, and Quetivel.

Family records

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Family trees


Adolphus and Harriet Le Maistre


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Church records



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Family histories



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Great War service



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Family wills


Family businesses

Family properties

Family photographs

Family gravestones

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