Robert Pipon Marett

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Sir Robert Pipon Marett Bailiff of Jersey 1880-1884

Robert Pipon Marett photographed by Ouless

Biography

Robert Pipon Marett was born in Saint Peter on 20 November 1820, the son of Peter Daniel Marett and Mary-Ann Pipon, and studied at the University of Caen and the Sorbonne. He was admitted to the Jersey Bar as an advocate in 1845, but in 1846 the family moved to Blois in France as a result of his mother's ill health. Returning to Jersey he was elected Constable of Saint Helier in 1856. During his short term in municipal office, he laid out the Parade as an urban promenade.

The death of the Bailiff, Sir Thomas Le Breton, created a vacancy among the Crown Officers and on 6 March 1858 Marett was appointed Solicitor-General. He became Attorney-General in 1866, and Bailiff in 1880, when he was knighted. He was one of the founders of La Société Jersiaise and a patron of education for girls. He was the father of Robert Ranulph Marett, the renowned ethnologist and archaeologist.

He died on 10 November 1884 at his home, La Haule Manor in Saint Brelade, after a long illness.

Literature

On his return from Blois, Robert Pipon Marett was one of the founders of the newspaper La Patrie in which his poetry in Jerriais appeared from 1849 under the pseudonym Laelius.

His La Fille Malade was widely admired and Victor Hugo reproduced it in his La Normandie inconnue. It has been suggested that his Lé R'tou du Terre-Neuvi oprès san prumi viage influenced Hugo's Les Pauvres gens written in Jersey in 1854. He corresponded publicly in verse form with George Métivier, the Guernsey poet. His comparatively small poetic output belies its continuing influence. His poetry is generally social rather than political, but La Bouonne Femme et ses Cotillons satirises conservative resistance to constitutional reform.

On being appointed to high office he stopped publishing poetry, and a fire at his home, Blanc Pignon, St Brelade, in 1874 destroyed his papers – a loss to Jerriais literature.

References

  • Bulletîn d'Quart d'An Vol. I, L'Assembliée d'Jèrriais
  • Obituary, La Nouvelle Chronique de Jersey, 12 November 1884
  • Obituary, La Chronique de Jersey, 12 November 1884
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