Popular History of Jersey Chapter 11

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17th century arrives

Impots

In this same year, 1617, the first application was made in Jersey for permission to levy a duty or impot on wines and spirits, the petition being made by the States on account of the great poverty that existed amongst the majority of the Islanders, who for that reason were neither able to provide themselves with armour or contribute towards the necessary defences of the Island, whilst there was no public purse to fall back upon. Hence it pleased the higher powers to grant leave to the Insular Authorities in perpetuum to levy an impot duty of two sous tournois on every pot of wine and spirits in Jersey, the amount raised, according to an ordinance of the Crown, 14 June 1618, to be used with the consent and advice of the Common Council, though the first proceeds were to be employed in furnishing the inhabitants " with suitable arms according to modern use", and on the fortifications of Elizabeth Castle.

Quarrel continues

Meanwhile the personal quarrel between the Governor and the Bailiff had by no means been put a stop to, and two years after the order in Council came giving the latter precedence in the Royal Court and States, which important document was dated 1619. Sir John Peyton, through his influence at Court and in revenge, obtained the suspension of Jean Herault, who, three years subsequently (1624), was reinstated and became more firmly seated in the confidence of the people, amidst much public manifestation of joy.

And perhaps a word or two here may not be amiss concerning this remarkable man, celebrated on the Island both then and now for the battles he fought in connection with the dignity and authority of his office as Bailiff, and the victories he won, which, in this respect, have more than any others spread their influence to the present day; the Bailiff being still supreme head of the Royal Court. In brief, then, he was from all accounts, and as must have appeared from what has been written concerning him inclined to be both haughty and overbearing, essentially proud of his official dignity, and fond of pomp and outside show, as exemplified by the fact that he was the first judge on the bench in Jersey to wear a robe of office. But, far above all this, his paramount sense of duty and of justice appears to have reigned supreme; as an instance of which it is related of him, and with every sign of truth, that on one occasion he dismissed his own brother from the office of clerkship under him for having charged a person a fee of four sous (2d), when only one was due, and this, without any complaint having been made by the loser thereof, to whom afterwards the three half-pence had to be refunded. Hard lines, perhaps, for the younger Herault; but strict justice nevertheless.

Ecclesiastical canons

Then, to return to matters more historical, the last item worth recording in this same reign of James I (1603-1625) connected with Jersey is that its ecclesiastical canons, in accordance with the principles of the Reformation, were drawn up in 1623, and confirmed by His Majesty, who, so far as his personal endeavours concerning the Island are recorded, seems principally to have spent his strength, and this very energetically, in bringing its religious belief into conformity with the newly-founded Church of England, in which attempt he would appear to have been successful.

During the reign of Charles I (1603-1625), who, it must be remembered, had married a sister of Louis XIII of France, though nothing warlike happened in connection with the Island, the garrisons of Jersey were reinforced and the magazines replenished at the King's own expense. An addition, too, was made to Elizabeth Castle by this same "martyr" King, who seems to have done all that lay in his power for the defence and military welfare of this his favoured spot, which afterwards afforded so efficient a shelter for his son both as Prince and King.

Philippe de Carteret

Internally, however, scenes were being enacted, incidents occurring that mark epochs in the Island's history, and names were coming to the fore which, for good or ill, will last whilst its records live. Of the latter the most prominent is, undoubtedly, Sir Philippe de Carteret's, Seigneur of St Ouen, a direct descendant of the Philippe whose military exploits were so conspicuous when Maulevrier, in the fifteenth century, took possession of Mont Orgueil Castle, a graduate of Oxford, and, in point of family and wealth, the foremost inhabitant of the Island, who, first appointed Bailiff in 1626 - Herault having died on 11 March — was made Lieut.-Governor of Jersey that same year under Sir Thomas, afterwards Lord Jermyn, who succeeded Sir John Peyton in the office.

William Prynne

Then two Jersey historians come to light, the one, Peter Heylin, in propria persona, the other, Philip Le Geyt, in prospectu; the former visiting the Island as Chaplain to the Earl of Danby in 1628, the latter being born in April 1635, his work being still held to be the most valuable and exhaustive "Commentary" Jersey possesses. Following on these came another well-known and famous litterateur, William Prynne, who arrived in Jersey 17 January 1637, but not as a visitor. Beloved by some, hated by others, it will be sufficient to add here that he had been condemned in England as a seditious libeller, his chief crime being the publication of a pamphlet entitled "Women Players, Notorious", supposed to reflect on the virtue of Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I, for which he was fined £6,000, degraded from the bar, expelled from Oxford and Lincoln's Inn, and had been successively condemned to perpetual imprisonment in Lancaster and Carnarvon Castles prior to his being sent for confinement in Mont Orgueil Castle, where he appeared with both ears cut off to the stumps by the public executioner, and both cheeks branded with the significant letters S L. His imprisonment in Jersey, however, did not prove a very long one, for he was released the year but one following (1640) by order of the House of Commons.

Dean Bandinel

This same year, too, David Bandinel, another notoriety, sprang into prominence, and in many respects unenviable fame. He had, be it mentioned, been made the first "Protestant" Dean of Jersey in the year 1620; and as a man is much upheld by some historians and pitied in the majority of guide-books, though certainly he appears to have exhibited one peculiar trait of character which, to say the least of it, is not generally looked for amongst ecclesiastical dignitaries of the present day. For many years a strong friendship had existed between himself and Sir Philip de Carteret, lasting, indeed, as it would appear, from Bandinel’s first appearance on the Island until the year in question (1640), when a bitter, and seemingly on both sides uncalled-for quarrel arose betwixt them concerning the tithes of St Saviour's parish, of which David Bandinel was Rector; Sir Philip de Carteret, against whom, it is true, judgement was eventually given, claiming, as Farmer of the Crown revenues, such tithes as had accumulated during the time the office of Dean had been vacant prior to Bandinel's appointment; a matter which the latter strenuously and successfully opposed.

The consequences of the animosity engendered by the conflict of opinions, however, did not end with the decision being given in the Dean's favour; their ultimate issue was disastrous to both parties, and on one side, at any rate, finding a fatal climax. The first scene in this tragedy was enacted, not very long after the quarrel had reached its height, by David Bandinel, junior, the Rector of St Mary's, and Pierre d'Assigny, Rector of St Helier, and a French refugee, according to Le Quesne, combining together for the purpose of bringing about Sir Philip de Carteret's destruction; the better to effect which object they took advantage of the political divisions in England and attached themselves to the Parliamentarians then striving to compass the downfall of Charles I. And having been joined by three jurats of the Royal Court: Michael Lempriere, Abraham Herault, and Thomas Dumaresq, these together constituted themselves the leaders of the opposition in Jersey, and thus set rolling on the Island that nucleus of civil and military discord which ultimately ended in the death and punishment of more than one of them. Meanwhile, everything that fanatical zeal could suggest was done to bring Sir Philip's name into disgrace and inflame the people against him, and certain it is that they found an iron ready heated for them to strike on in the fact of de Carteret's unique and, as it would seem, by no means tenable position on the Island.

Offices combined

For though described as being courteous, humble, and a true gentleman in all his bearings, Sir Philip held offices incompatible with the notions of the people, who, not without cause, disagreed with his combining in his own person the position, authority, and emoluments of Lieut-Governor, Bailiff, and Farmer of the King's revenues. And thus it came to pass that a deadly animosity arose amongst numbers of the inhabitants against de Carteret, fanned by the leaders of the Parliamentarian cause to such an extent that many people who had no idea of disloyalty to the Crown joined their ranks simply out of hostility to Sir Philip.

In 1642 Dean Bandinel with Michael Lempriere repaired to London with a plea containing some 22 articles of accusation against the Governor, which, though read before a committee of the House of Lords, had no practical effect since no witnesses were produced, notwithstanding the fact that Sir Philip, who appeared personally to answer to the charges, expressed his willingness and desire to meet his opponents at any time or place, provided only that no mean advantage was taken of his position at the time, and that a loyal and trustworthy representative of the Crown should be appointed guardian of the Island during his thus enforced absence from it.

Pamphlet circulated

On his return to the Island, de Carteret found that the rancour of his personal enemies had in no way abated, but, the rather, had been increased by the printing and circulation of the accusations against him in a work entitled Pseudo Mastrix, the Lyar's Whip, by the three jurats, Lempriere, Dumaresq, and Herault and it is generally believed that at this period the Governor owed the safety of his life to the influence of Prynne, who, though naturally at enmity with the King, was a strong personal friend of Sir Philip.

A crisis in affairs was indeed brought about early in the following year (16 February 1643), at which time — Lord Jermyn's residence on the Island having been dispensed with — Sir Philip de Carteret was authorised by Royal commission to take charge of the castles, forts, and other defences of Jersey and to "keep the Island for the King". Upon the receipt of this he immediately, the same day, called an assembly of the States of Jersey, and whilst showing his commission, at the same time required that all loyal subjects should assist him in the work: the States by the commission being ordered to register an act of adherence to the King to be signed by the people, who were also required to take an oath of obedience to the Governor personally.

Islanders' objection

This the Islanders strenuously opposed, for though obediently inclined to the Crown, they were resolute against the idea of Sir Philip being thus constituted an absolute lord over them. And the final result of it all was that during the next month, March, de Carteret presented another Royal Commission of Array at a further meeting of the States; Michael Lempriere at one and the same moment producing a warrant obtained from the "Committee for the Safety of the Kingdom", through a petition signed by himself and Jurats Francis de Carteret (Seigneur of La Hague), Henry Dumaresq, Benjamin Bisson, and Abraham Herault, for the Governor's arrest. For a short space things wavered in the balance, when a detachment of militia having declared for the Parliamentarians, Sir Philip was forced to retire and seek refuge in Elizabeth Castle, where he died, it is supposed, broken-hearted, on 23 August following.

Three days after this Leonard Lydcott, a young major in the army, of about 28 years of age — who, accompanied by a few officers, though without any troops, had been sent over from England to execute the warrant for Sir Philip's arrest — arrived on the Island; and, in consequence of a petition forwarded by Michael Lempriere for a resident Lieut-Governor, was appointed to that office under the Earl of Warwick) who had been made "Parliamentary" Governor by the "Committee of Safety", 2 June previously.

In the following month Lady de Carteret, widow of Sir Philip, was besieged in Mont Orgueil Castle, which fortress, it being their usual place of residence, she went to defend at her husband's request, on his retirement to Elizabeth Castle in the preceding March. During the month of October Major Lydcott several times made futile attacks on the latter stronghold, which was held for the King by a Mr Hungerford; and a spirit of retaliation having evidently been aroused amongst the Royalists assembled there for refuge — the main portion of the Island being in possession of the Parliamentarians at the time — a short bombardment of St Helier was made from its batteries.

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