Richard, Jean and Geoffroi de St Martin

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Richard, Jean and Geoffroi de St Martin, Bailiffs of Jersey between 1367 and 1374

Uncertain relationships

Although these three men bearing the same surname were successively Bailiff between 1367 and 1374, their relationship is uncertain. Jean and Geoffroi were brothers, Jean being the elder of the two, and George Balleine's Biographical Dictionary of Jersey suggests that their father was a Richard de St Martin, Seigneur of Trinity. However, documents relating to the Richard who was Bailiff suggest that he did not hold property in the island, and could not, therefore, have been Seigneur, and father of the two brothers. But it is possible that the statement that Richard held no property in Jersey was a ruse to prevent it being seized on behalf of the King.

Payne's Armorial of Jersey, on the other hand, suggests that Richard, Jean and Geoffroi were all brothers, Richard being the eldest, and that he succeeded their father Henri as Seigneur in 1341 and was the Richard who was appointed Bailiff in 1367.

Richard de St Martin

Richard appears in a record from 1363, when as Seneschal of the Prior of St Clement, he gave judgment in a dispute concerning seigneurial rights. He is mentioned as a Jurat the following year and by 2 May 1367 he had been appointed Bailiff, according to a petition presented to the Court of Chancery by Nicolas des Augrès. It alleged that "Richard de St Martin, Bailiff of Jersey, and John Coke, Lieutenant of Walter Huwet, Warden of the Isles, seized André des Augrès, his brother, in his house by night and took him to Gorey Castle, and imprisoned him there, and ill-treated him, and afterwards foully slew him, where he still lay unburied whole and without decay, and they carried off goods belonging to the aforesaid André to the value of 500 florins".

De St Martin was summoned to appear before the Privy Council, but fled to Normandy. When instructed to seize his property, the Warden said that he had none. It seems most unlikely, however, that he could have been successively Seneschal, Jurat and Bailiff without being a property owner.

John Coke did appear before the Council and told a very different story. He said that André des Augrès was a man of bad reputation, accused of felony and treason. He had been arrested by the Bailiff and examined in the presence of Jurats, when it was found that he had imprisoned men loyal to the King in times of war and peace and held them to ransom. He had been handed over to the Constable of the Castle pending trial and the 500 florins worth of goods had been put under arrest pending this trial. Five commissioners were appointed to inquire into the case on 16 November 1368, but no further records exist to show what the outcome was.

Jean de St Martin

Richard de St Martin would appear to have been succeeded as Bailiff in 1368 by Richard Le Petit, his Lieut-Bailiff, but by 1370 Jean de St Martin held the position, at the age of 31. Although Balleine says that he was the son of Richard de St Martin and Marguerite de Carteret, it is more likely that he was his younger brother. Balleine shows Jean as Bailiff from 1370-76, but the situation appears to have been far more complicated, certainly according to J A Messervy.

This was right in the middle of the Hundred Years War and Jersey was under constant threat of attack from France. In 1372 the island was invaded by a Welsh mercenary, Evan, and the following year by Constable of France Bertrand du Guesclin. According to a contemporary French account:

"On landing they ravaged and plundered the isle, setting everything afire, and took captive all who did not escape to a Castle called Gorey"

The Bailiff and Jurats did indeed take refuge in the castle and reached an understanding that they would surrender if they were not relieved by Michaelmas. An English fleet duly arrived in time to rescue the beseiged castle but de St Martin was accused of having sold the Castle and arrested and imprisoned in the castle and then the Tower of London.

Not guilty of treason

His younger brother Geoffroi took over as Bailiff in 1373, but Jean was restored to office on 1 February the following year, having been found "wholly guiltless of this treason" by the Privy Council. He was compensated for his imprisonment by being appointed Comptroller of the Crown Revenues for all the Channel Islands, receiving £40 a year for this role, in addition to his £30 a year as Bailiff.

Strangely he and the Jurats were still not held in high esteem because on the same day they received the following rebuke:

"Inasmuch as we learn on sure authority that we have sustained and are sustaining intolerable injuries through your negligence and rebellion and frivolous answers and disobedience to ourselves and our orders, we forbid you in the mostperemptory manner possible at your own peril henceforth to interfere in any matters with which you have no concern".

Matters were to get much worse for Jean de St Martin, because he became embroiled in a dispute between the King's Receiver, de Appelby, and the Warden of Jersey, Edmund Rose. Rose was suspected of claiming for more men than were actually under his command and de Appelby was instructed to stop paying him and to travel to Jersey from his base in Guernsey to check on the number of soldiers in the garrison, none of whom were by then being paid.

With a certain degree of trepidation, de Appelby went to the Castle accompanied by de St Martin and the Jurats and asked Rose whether he would call a muster of the men for whom he was claiming pay. Rose asked for time to consider, but as the party was leaving the Castle Rose's personal servant Nicholas Lowier followed them and stabbed de Appleby through the neck, much to the delight of the watching garrison.

Rose was dismissed and Hugh Calvilegh was appointed Warden of all the Channel Islands on 12 December 1376. One of his first acts was to rearrest de St Martin on the old charge of selling out to du Guesclin. Although he was again found innocent and pardoned, this time it took ten years, and he was never to return to his position as Bailiff.

Jean de St Martin had four sons, Guillaume, who succeeded him as Seigneur of Trinity, Drouet, Richard and Jannequin.

Geoffroi de St Martin

Geoffroi, who stood in for his brother temporarily in 1373, was a Jurat in March 1369, and a sub-Warden of the Isles under Walter Huwet. He had his own problems with the law. In 1377 he was accused by Thomas Trym of entering his house with Clement Hardy, Geoffroi Hugon and Philippe Le Feyvre, and creating a disturbance during which Trym's friend John Logge was killed and Trym left for dead. De St Martin and his companions alleged that Trym had killed Logge and after 22 weeks in prison he was acquitted.

Trym then petitioned for de St Martin to be tried by the Warden, and not the Bailiff and his fellow Jurats, but this was refused and de St Martin continued in his role of Jurat until at least 1391. Although he does not appear to have taken over as Bailiff during his brother's second imprisonment, he was looked upon as senior Jurat.

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