Philippe Marett

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Philippe Marett (1568 - 1637)

Attorney-General of Jersey, born about 1568, was the second son of Charles Maret and Margaret Le Cerf, and was descended on both sides from Norman families long resident in the island.

He was educated in a Spanish seminary, and was consequently described by his enemies as a papist, though he was ostensibly a strong supporter of the English church.

Being well versed both in law and the customs of Jersey, he was in 1608 appointed Solicitor-General, and in 1609 succeeded Philip de Carteret of Vinchelez as Attorney-General, in which capacity he supported the Governor, Sir John Peyton, against the claims of the presbyterian colloquy or synod to exclude episcopally ordained ministers.

In the complicated feud which raged between the Governor and the Bailiff, Jean Herault, Marett succeeded in rendering himself thoroughly obnoxious to the bailiff, whom he accused of every kind of usurpation. Herault rejoined by disputing Marett's title to the office of king's receiver and procureur in Jersey, with which Peyton had rewarded his adherent.

The long strife culminated in 1616, when Marett, losing his temper, vented his abuse on the Bailiff while he was presiding in the Royal Court, and accused Jurat Philippe de Carteret of an attempt to assassinate him. For this outrage he was, in May 1616, ordered to apologise and pay a fine of 50 crowns. In the meantime his enemies sought to replace him in office by one of their own partisans.

Marett, refusing to submit or to acknowledge the competence of the court, was ordered to England to appear before the Lords of the Privy Council. By them he was committed to the Gatehouse for contempt, and finally sent back to the island to submit to the judgment of the court. Still refusing to appear in court and submit to his sentence, he was committed, in September 1616, to Elizabeth Castle, where he complained of the weight of his manacles. He was soon released, and found further means of evading his sentence.

Charges and counter-charges were freely bandied about. Marett was doubtless a victim of much private and personal malice, but he is described, with probable truth, as proud, presumptuous, and hated of the people.

After numerous cross-appeals the case was referred to the royal commissioners in Jersey, Sir Edward Conway and Sir William Bird, and their finding being adverse to Marett, was eventually referred to the King himself, who ordered Marett back to Jersey to make public submission, or in default to be banished from the island.

Marett seems subsequently to have been reconciled with Herault, and was on 12 March 1628 elected a Jurat. In May 1632 he was appointed Lieut-Governor by Sir Thomas Jermyn, during the temporary absence of Captain Thomas Rainsford. He died in January 1637, and was buried in the parish church of St Brelade. By his wife Martha, daughter and coheiress of Nicholas Lempriere and widow of Elias Dumaresq, he had a son Philippe.

Biography

From A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey

Philippe Maret ( -1657), Attorney-General was the second son of Charles Maret of Trinity and Marguerite, daughter of Noel Le Cerf. Born in Trinity, he was educated at Merton College, Oxford, with assistance from the States, who contributed 24 crowns to send him there. He took his BA degree in 1598. In 1600 he was offered the post of Regent of the new College proposed by Laurens Baudains, but this came to nothing.

Walter Raleigh

He was then with Sir Walter Raleigh, who came to Jersey as Governor in September 1600. A state paper speaks of him as "bred as a scholar at Oxford, whence he came to Sir Walter Raleigh for a while, and then went into Spain".

Bailiff Herault wrote in 1616:

"He has been brought up in Spanish seminaries, got pernicious maxims, and refuses to give an account of his faith. He will not receive the Sacrament and abjure his religion learned among the seminaries".

His own complaint in 1617 was that be had been persecuted for a long time by the Elders and Consistory of St Helier and suspended from the Sacrament. Perhaps it was for his stay in Spain that he received help from Sir Anthony Paulet, for in 1605 the King's Receiver, as agent for Sir Anthony's heirs, sued him for £51, which Sir Anthony had given him for the prosecution of his studies; but Maret was discharged from the action.

On his return to Jersey Sir John Peyton, the Governor, made him Solicitor-General (1607-1615), King's-Receiver (1609-1615), and Attorney-General (1615-1616).

Suspension

He was of contentious disposition. In June 1605 he was fined for accusing Nicolas Effard, Rector of St Saviour, of owing money in Oxford. Words of his in Court offended all the Rectors, and led to a lawsuit, which was prolonged until both parties asked for the Governor's arbitration. The action which caused his suspension from office in 1616 shows the same spirit. At a meeting of the Court it was discovered that a paper belonging to the case to be tried had been removed by Maret. The Bailiff sent the Denunciator to fetch him, but, though he was in the Market Place outside, he refused to come. The Denunciator was sent again, and Maret said that, if they wanted him, they must subpoena him.

For this contempt Bailiff Herault proposed that Maret be punished. Philippe de Carteret , as Senior Jurat, was giving his opinion when Maret entered with his hat on, interrupted him, and said that he had an accusation to bring against de Carteret, whose men had come to his house by night to assassinate him. What had really happened was that a cousin of de Carteret's, while drinking with Maret, had challenged him to fight.

Sir Philippe stopped speaking, and asked for redress. The Jurats ordered Maret to ask pardon of God, the King, and the Court for his contempt, and fined him 50 crowns for insulting de Carteret, the money to be used for repairing the Court. As he refused to pay, he was suspended from office as Attorney-General, and ordered to appear within 40 days before the Privy Council. He pleaded that the Court had no power to suspend him, but before the Council his behaviour was so obstreperous that he was committed to the Gatehouse.

On his return to Jersey he told the Court that his case had not been tried, but the Bailiff produced a letter from the secretary of the Council, showing that he had been ordered back to acknowledge his offence. This he refused to do, so he was imprisoned in Mont Orgueil. He sent a petition to the King, asking that his case might be heard before the Commissioners, Conway and Bird, who were coming to the island. Before them he brought charges of tyranny and corruption against the Bailiff. But their verdict was that all his charges were unfounded, that many of his other statements were false, and that the whole trouble "sprung from certain haughtie fashions and insolent behaviour of his own".

Religious struggle

In the struggle between Anglicanism and Calvinism, Maret, as one of the Governor's men, was anti-Presbyterian, and represented the Episcopal side at the inquiry before the Council in 1614. When Herault died, Maret and Sir Philippe de Carteret were rivals for the vacant post. Maret had the backing of Buckingham, the King's favourite, but King Charles honoured a promise made to de Carteret by his father, and in 1626 Sir Philippe became Bailiff. Maret was elected Jurat in 1629. His election was disputed and he complained that the Lieut-Bailiff, acting for Sir Philippe De Carteret, had hindered him from taking his seat. He remained Jurat until his death in 1637.

In 1628 he married Martha Lempriere, widow of Elie Dumaresq of La Haule, and went to live at La Haule. He had one son, Philippe a Parliamentarian.

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