St Lawrence Manifeste of 1646

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In 1646 Sir George de Carteret ordered all male heads of families to sign the Manifeste des Etats de l'Ile de Jersey, a declaration of loyalty to King Charles I. By no means all islanders supported the Royalist cause against Parliament, so the Manifeste required them to 'remain true to our Duke and the constitution'. The Manifeste was read in all parish churches on 18 March 1646 and then the male heads of families were required to sign their names, or make a mark if they could not write. Only the St Lawrence document survives because those from the other parishes were hidden or destroyed when Parliamentary forces invaded the island the following year. Apart from providing a record of family names of the time, some now extinct but many still in existence, the Manifeste also provides an insight into the level of literacy in the 17th century - nearly 40% of St Lawrence men could not sign their name. Fifty years later islanders were again required to confirm their support for the Monarchy by signing the Oath of Association Roll, which survives intact for all parishes in the Public Record Office
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