Popular History of Jersey Chapter 16

From theislandwiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Occupation

Capitulation

The capitulation of Elizabeth Castle was carried out and faithfully observed on the prescribed date; Sir George de Carteret afterwards going to Paris to give the "King" a fuller account of what had passed, and subsequently settling with his family in France, where he remained until after the Restoration, when we find him again actively interesting himself in the affairs of the Island.

Vexation and oppression

With the fall of Elizabeth Castle the Parliamentarians became absolute possessors of Jersey, and the arbitrary authority of such new masters appears to have been quickly felt amongst its inhabitants, especially those of prominent royalistic tendencies. Falle (the "Jersey historian" who, by the way, was born at St Saviour's in 1656, and published his first edition in 1694), in fact, complains bitterly of the vexation and oppression that was endured under the military despotism which ensued, and of the acts of extortion and plunder committed by the Parliamentarian troops. The composition for estates of the inhabitants, however, seems to have been moderate, properties worth less than £100 a year were exempted, thus all the lower and middle classes — those most likely to be led by others — were not touched; whilst others who had to compound, even in extreme cases, had to do so only on such conditions that eventually left them with two-thirds of their yearly rent.

At the same time, to engender discontent and hatred of the conquerors, devastation seems to have spread throughout the sacred precincts of the Island. "Churches", we read, "were desecrated and turned into stables and guardhouses, altars thrown down, and pulpits profaned with fanatical blasphemy", whilst even "other assemblies were disturbed and treated with ridicule and contempt", the 5,000 soldiers who were put on "free quarters" on the Island for some months after the conquest being, it would appear, chiefly responsible for the general suffering that was "endured during that disastrous time".

Presbyterianism

But to understand clearly what is conveyed under the words "other assemblies" (than the Church), it is necessary to recall the fact that Jersey at one time had been "converted" to Presbyterianism, which flourished so greatly that during the days of Elizabeth it was embraced by many of the principal inhabitants, whilst in the reign of James I it was adopted as the established form of worship on the Island, with the sanction of the Crown, "by the Governors, Bailiffs, Jurats, and Clergy", and this with every prospect of continuing so; its subsequent downfall being attributed, by Le Quesne, "chiefly to the total want of principle manifested by some of the leaders"; and it is interesting to note that upon the re-establishment of the Church of England, the first Dean of Jersey appointed was David Bandinel, whose name came so prominently to the fore during that portion of the Island's history, and who had been formerly a Presbyterian Minister. It is easy to conceive, therefore, that a form of worship which had taken such hold on the Island was not to be rooted up all at once or ever. And it is just as simple to understand the anger and disappointment of the Presbyterian party when the Parliamentarian troops — themselves the sworn enemies of the Church — treated their assemblies with contumely.

Clergy unwelcome

Neither did the Church fare very happily during these times. General Haines had been appointed Governor in place of Lord Jermyn, Michel Lempriere, who returned to Jersey directly after the capitulation of Elizabeth Castle, December 1651, being the Parliamentary Bailiff, and a report of the latter, in connection with the Assembly of the States of Jersey, is not only highly interesting, as giving a better insight into the matter than could be otherwise gained, but also somewhat amusing as giving his view of the clergy of those days: "Besides the Governor, Bailiff, the twelve Jurats, and the twelve Constables," he goes on to say, "there were sometimes the twelve ministers who, by their turbulency and brouilleries, have made themselves unworthy of that Assembly; and therefore, it may be fitly desired that they might be left out with the Bishops, I never intending to call them at that assembly unless I am compelled" — from which it would appear as though he arrogated to himself the power of choice as to whether or no he would summon the clergy to the States.

General Haines, meanwhile, appears to have, as much as anything, employed his time and energy in seeking out those who were reputed to be wealthy, and arresting or confining them to prison until a ransom was forthcoming. Under him, too, an entire change took place in the administration of the affairs of the Island. New municipal officers were elected, the Militia was, by him, placed under the control of the Bailiff and two officers, Colonel Stocall and Captain Norman, who were appointed to replace the "malignants", as the Royalists were then called, Lempriere, in his report, staling that he had caused new Constables, Centeniers, Vingteniers, and Sermentes to be chosen in the different parishes.

Personal tools
Donate

Please support theislandwiki.org with a donation to our hosting costs