Philippe de Soulemont

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Philippe de Soulemont came from one of the most important Jersey families of the 15th and 16th centuries. His father Thomas serving as Constable of St Helier and his grandfather, also Thomas, having been a Jurat from 1562 to 1565. Jurat de Soulemont’s father and grandfather, Pierre and Jean de Soulemont, were also Jurats, from 1500 to 1524 and 1450 to 1479 respectively.

Jurat Thomas de Soulemont’s elder brother, also Thomas was French secretary to Henry VIII. He was also appointed Rector of Grouville and Dean of Jersey, but this was solely to provide him withan income and he played no part in Island affairs.

Tavern fight

Philippe would eventually be appointed an Advocate of the Royal Court but as a young man he fled the island after being involved in a fight in a tavern in which another man died.

Although convicted of manslaughter rather than murder, his flight from the island meant that he was banished for life, unless Charles I could be persuaded to pardon him.

Shortly after his appointment as Bailiff on 18 January 1627, Sir Philippe de Carteret entered into correspondence with Secretary of State Lord Conway about the case.

Letter to Secretary of State

On 3 August 1627 Sir Philippe addressed "The Right Honourable his very good Lord Viscount Conway, Baron of Ragley, His Majesty's principall Secretarye of State". The letter, which was written in response to an earlier request for details of the case, is dated August 3 1627.

”Upon a quarell betwixt five or six in a taverne, many drye blowes being given on both sydes, one of them named Corbell dyed two days after, wheruppon Ph: Soulemont and two more, being readye to imbarque themselves for Plemouth to serve his Majesty in this warres and fearing to be arrested, made an escape. The jury have found it manslaughter and Ph: Soulemont, his going away, supposed a flight he by the law remayns banished the Isle unlesse his Majesty be pleased to extend his gratious pardon toward him".

There is no record of whether the pardon was granted, but presumably it must have been because, after service in the King's Navy, Philippe Soulemont was appointed an Advocate in 1631 and held that office for nearly 20 years.

He married Sara Godfray, daughter of Jean and Elizabeth Messervy, and granddaughter of St Clement Constable Bernabey. They had eight children.

In April 1650 he set out for New Jersey in a Royalist ship but was captured by a Parliamentarian frigate and returned to Jersey. By the time of the Restoration in 1660 had moved to St Clement where he served as Procureur du Bien Public until his death in 1662.

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