Philippe Le Couteur

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The son of Receiver-General Jacques Le Couteur and Esther Botterel, daughter of Clement, Philippe Le Couteur was 15 when his father died leaving six sons and a daughter, all under age.

On 27 February 1648 he was appointed to the Rectorship of St Mary, which had been vacant for two years since the death of Jacques Bandinel, and became a popular Rector, much in demand for funerals and baptisms, not only for residents of his parish.

He left Jersey soon after the Parliamentary invasion in 1651 and was in exile for nine years in France, taking charge of a church in Caen and serving as Domestic Chaplain to the Marechale de Turenne, whose husband was Marshal of France.

When he was invited back to Jersey after the Restoration Le Couteur chose to move to the Parish Church of St Martin and in 1661 he was appointed Dean. The following year he married Genevieve de Langle, daughter of the Huguenot Pastor at Rouen.

Dean Le Couteur revived the Ecclesiastical Court, which was to lead to considerable difficulties for his brother Clement who succeeded him as Dean on his death in 1671.

In the second half of the 17th century there was not only an ongoing conflict between the Ecclesiastical Court and the civil Royal Court, but much dissension within the Church itself over the restoration of Anglicanism, with Rectors supporting the Presbyterian cause frequently summoned before the Ecclesiastical Court to answer for their actions. The Court also dealt weekly with a long list of moral offences, including girls with illegitimate babies and couples whose first child was born too soon after their marriage.

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