Francis de Lisle Bois

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Deputy Bailiff of Jersey 1962-1968


Francis l'Isle Bois was born in St Saviour, Jersey in 1908, the son of Francis John Bois and Beatrice Marie Le Blancq. He was their fourth child and only son. He was travelling back to Jersey with his elder sister Elaine in 1924 on the ss Lorina when he found his father dead on the vessel.

He was to marry Elizabeth Maud Pearce and have five children

Legal career

The early death of his father made him further determined to follow him in a legal career after studying at Oxford University. He was an outstanding mathematician at Victoria College and won a scholarship to Exeter College, Oxford, where he read law.

He returned to Jersey and joined his uncle George Bois in the family law practice, Bois and Bois, in Hill Street, being called to the Jersey bar in 1931.

Alongside his private legal work he was employed by the States as assistant law draftsman and was Greffier of the States during a period of constitutional change after the Second World War.

Deputy Bailiff

A crisis in the succession to the island's highest offices in 1962, following the retirement of Lord Coutanche and the early death of Cecil Stanley Harrison led to his agreeing to a request by Bailiff Sir Robert Le Masurier to become Deputy Bailiff, a post he held with distinction for six years. On his retirement in 1968 he was commissioned to write a Constitutional History of Jersey, a work which remains an authoritative text on local law.


L'Isle Bois, as he was universally known, was a keen amateur photographer, and also a cinematographer. His films of family and public occasions now form an important part of the Jersey Film Archive and many of his still photographs are in the collection of La Société Jersiaise. He was a pioneer in aspects of film photography and one of the first users of Kodachrome.

He was also an author, producing Walks for motorists, which became the definitve guide for Sunday afternoon walks for hundreds of its readers, and also an authoritative History of St Saviour's Church, which he served as almoner and churchwarden from 1942-1957. He was an executive committee member of La Société Jersiaise, and contributor to its annual bulletin, and a vice-president of the National Trust for Jersey.

In 1956 he was made an OBE, ironically the same honour which had been rejected by his father.

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