Simonet family page
Captain Harold Keith Simonet MC, Sherwood Foresters, died of wounds received in battle in the Great War
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Origin of Surname
A familiar form of the given name Simon, this surname probably started life in Italy as Simonetta and developed to Simonnet and Simonet when members of the family moved to France in the 14th century.
Although Payne's history below gives the impression that the Simonet family had been established in the island for some time when he wrote in the mid-19th century, they had probably arrived only a century or so earlier.
The first baptism was not registered until 1795, but the family tree supplied to us and cross-checked with marriage records suggests that the family arrived in the early 18th century, or a little earlier. Pierre Simonet married Magdeleine Rouget at St Helier's Church in 1731, and he was described as 'of St Helier', not as 'foreign' or 'from France', as might have been expected if he was a Huguenot refugee.
There are certainly some Simonets who do not appear in the church baptism registers, but whether the line can be traced back to 1650, as Payne suggests, is open to conjecture.
The only person with a similar surname who went through the process of abjuration was Perrinne Simmonet, at the age of 42 in 1834.
The family of Simonetta of Italy is one of those princely and magnificent houses recorded in the sumptuous work of the Marquis Litta. It appears, by this book, that from a very early period the family held a distinguished position in Calabria, as well as in other parts of its fatherland, and has given many eminent members to both Church and State.
The establishment of the name in France is due to the attachment of Guiot de Simonnet to his august mistress, Valentine, Duchess of Milan, afterwards wife of the Duke of Orleans. The Chevalier de Simonnet was premier esquire to this royal personage, and settled in France in 1389. Certain of his descendants, of the province of Champagne, whose nobility was questioned some centuries after, proved their connection witli Guiot de Simonnet, and their right to the privileges and immunities of their rank.
From the fact that more than one of the armigeri of Lorraine derived their right to the title of noble from their descent, in the female line, from this family, it may be concluded that the branch which settled in this province was of some consequence and wealth.
Another branch settled in Paris, where one of the name became a Councillor of the Parliament of that city, as appears by a splendidly illuminated manuscript, now in the British Museum. Some of these families bore arms nearly identical with those assigned to the Italian house of Simonetta ; while others, as is frequently the case in France, had arms granted them totally distinct from those of the stock from which they descended.
The branch founded in Jersey nearly two centuries ago was an offshoot of the Seigneurial line of La Grossiniere, in Britany. Peter Simonet, having embraced the tenets of the Reformed faith, fled his country to avoid the disastrous consequences of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
In this island, the family of Simonet has, like those of the major portion of its coreligionists, flourished greatly. It has given, in each generation, officers to the militia of the island, and has shown a praiseworthy loyalty to the Crown. The late John Simonet was one of the most talented financiers and speculators the island has ever produced ; indeed his talents as a banker would, had they been exercised in a more extended sphere, no doubt have realized a colossal fortune. As it was, he became possessed of much real and personal property, was Seigneur of the fiefs Du Buisson and Debenaires, a Captain in the Militia, and, on the subjects to which he had devoted his attention, was the best and most reliable authority in his native island.
- De Simmonet
Great War service
Sons of William and Ann Marguerite Le Sueur Dyer
- Harold Keith Simonet MC (1884-1918) husband of Kathleen, OV, Captain, Sherwood Foresters, died of wounds Military Cross citation, August 1918: 'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was in command of a company which was raided by the enemy under a heavy trench mortar and artillery bombardment. Owing to the fact that his admirable judgment had enabled his defences to be disposed to the best advantage, the raiding party was disorganised and repulsed with loss. Two prisoners were captured, which gave our command an important identification. His control of the whole operations was excellent, and his judgment of the situation on the flank, where a second raid was in progress, was of the greatest assistance in securing artillery support where it was most needed.'
- Kenneth William Lee Simonet (1882-1916) Major, Yorkshire Regiment, kiled in action in Mesopotamia
These wills created by members of the Simonet family are now held by Jersey Archive. By visiting the archive site and using the names, dates and reference numbers shown here, it is possible to view a copy of each will. You will have to subscribe to the Archive's online service to do this. To find out more about this collection, which covers the period from 1663 to 1980, and how to search for your family's wills there, visit our Jersey wills page
- Jacques Simonet of St Helier, bequeaths to the poor of St Helier, £20 of the order of the King 14 September 1818 - D/Y/A/18
- Pierre Simonet of St Helier, bequeaths to the poor of St Helier, £5 sterling, to Jean and François Simonet, his sons, £1,000 sterling of funds in annuities of 3% in the Bank of England makes further bequests of the same funds 4 February 1797 - D/Y/A/15
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The grave of Great War casualty Harold Keith Simonet at Lapugnoy Military Cemetery, near Bethune