History Section

La Société Jersiaise

The History Section

La Section d'l'Histouaithe


Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday January 20th 2004 at 5.15pm

Arthur Mourant Room



1.             Members present :

Frank Falle (Chairman), Marie-Louise Backhurst, Don Bell, Mary Billot (Secretary), Mervyn Billot, Bertram Brée, Francis & Anne Corbet, Roy Dobin, Caroline Easterbrook, Gerry France, Mary Gibb, Nick Jouault, George Langlois, Frank Le Blancq, Suzanne Le Feuvre, David Le Maistre, Georgia Le Maistre, David Levitt, Kenneth & Elinor McFadden, Ian Machin, Alec Podger, Bill Tower.

Apologies  :

Jean Bell, Guy Dixon, Sue Groves, Sue Hardy, Sarah Jordan, Graham Stone.


2.             Minutes of the meeting of December 16th 2003 and amendments

The minutes were accepted as a correct record.


3.             Matters arising from the minutes not covered by the agenda

4.5           The Variety Club Three Bells walk on Christmas Eve was very successful; there were 50 people and £550 was raised.

5.2           Marie-Louise Backhurst circulated the programme for Mme Catherine Laurent's visit; she is Conservatrice en chef des Archives municipales de la ville de Rennes.     [Copy in Minutes file.]

She will meet Section members for lunch on Thursday 12th February at 12.45pm in the Pomme d'Or Carvery, before her demonstration of French websites in the SJ Library at 2.30pm. Mary Billot will make a block booking for 20; 13 people so far would like to meet her – Frank Falle, Mary Billot, Marie-Louise, Francis & Anne Corbet, Don & Jean Bell, Roy Dobin, George Langlois, Georgia Le Maistre, Mervyn Billot, Bertram Brée. 

If anyone else wishes to come please let Mary know in case 20 is not enough.


4.             Election of Section Officers and Committee

                Francis Corbet took the chair for the election of Frank Falle as Chairman (proposed by David Levitt; seconded by Mervyn Billot).  He thanked Frank for all his hard work for the Section.

                Mary Billot was elected as Secretary (proposed by Georgia Le Maistre, seconded by Alec Podger).

                The committee of Jean Arthur, Gavin Booth, Geraint Jennings and Sally Knight were elected en bloc (proposed by Mervyn Billot, seconded by Frank Le Blancq).


5.             Chairman's communications

5.1           Frank asked for suggestions for use of Mr Porter's bequest. The following ideas were put forward and will be discussed again – a camera for the Section, commemoration of his interest in Jersey actors/acting, a gavel for the Chairman, a decent portrait of G.R. Balleine, books for the Library, a calligraphic Jersey history time chart for display.

5.2           The SJ AGM takes place on Thursday April 22nd at 8.00pm. Frank reminded members that Francis Corbet  will be proposed as Hon. President and asked members to attend.

5.3           He said that a few more lantern slides of Gorey Castle and the area where the railway was built have been found in England; Francis confirmed that Damer Waddington will show them at the February 17th meeting.

5.4           Frank said that the Section's annual report for 2003 must be submitted to Marie-Louise Backhurst by the end of February for the 2004 Bulletin.  Please send your contributions to Frank as soon as possible; he will write up the Morlaix trip.  He thanked her for her editorship and for producing such an interesting volume for 2003.

5.5           He said that Alasdair Crosby is researching the Middle Ages and will contact Alec Podger, who gave a lunchtime lecture in Autumn 2000 on the period 1300-1450, as typified by one family.

5.6           Deirdre Shute forwarded a letter to Frank from Dr Sallis about the restoration of the Highlands College organ of 1913.

5.7           Frank circulated 4 book lists compiled by Roger Long, who is assisting the Monins family in the sale of Ian Monins' collection of local books.  David Le Maistre said that the contents of 30 albums of Ian Monins' postcards would be for sale at Georgetown Methodist Church Hall on Saturday February 14th from 10am to 5pm.


6.             Members' contributions

6.1           George Langlois circulated colour photographs of the Dolmen de la Ville in Henley on Thames.  He also circulated a copy of the inaugural meeting of the SJ, listing the founder members and conducted in French (SJ Library, SJ box item 1).

6.2           Visit to Avranches, September 18-19th 2004

Bertram Brée reported on the change of date, which is now after the weekend of the Wace conference.

He has booked 18 rooms for a group of not more than thirty; section members have first priority. The hotel has a great variety of menus in its restaurants. The cost is about £100 including the boat, coach, guides and hotel; lunches and dinners will be extra (pay as you go).  Mary Billot will email Bertram her forms for the Morlaix trip so that he can adapt them for the February mailing to Section members.

Sept. 18th (Saturday) to St Malo then on to Le Mont Saint Michel Hotel (Restaurant Les 13 Assiettes) in Avranches where we stay for one night; visit to Avranches Museum and Archives.   See <www.hotel-le-mont-saint-michel.com>

                Sept. 19th (Sunday) – visit to Mont St Michel (our guide will be M. St James, a friend of Bob Le Sueur) then back to Avranches Church.  Return to Jersey.

6.3           Nick Jouault has a good quality digital camera and offered his expertise to help people with talks.  He has found new information for Geraint Jennings' Black history in Jersey website.  [Copy in Minutes file.]

6.4           Georgia Le Maistre said that Living history February 2004 has a 1204-2004 feature; Sue Hardy took the journalist around.  She is giving a talk based on new information on the Grandin quintuplets at the CIFHS meeting on February 23rd at 8pm.  She asked whether anyone knew the current value of a French franc of 1840. She noted that a Boielle was one of the SJ founder members.

6.5           Ian Machin has been researching the French émigrés of the 1790s, particularly the Chouans of Brittany  who fought the Republicans.  There were grumbles that as many as 5,000 refugees in a population of about 20,000 were straining the island's resources and leading to shortages of corn and flour. There were also culture clashes with the arrogant Breton aristocracy and antagonism against Catholicism fuelled by the rise of Methodism. His references came from The Times and the Gazette de l'ile de Jersey.

6.6           Mary Gibb wishes to track down Mr Jim Larkin of HSBC who found files on GO banking whilst emptying the Hill Street branch.  It was suggested that she check the HSBC website as he might be their archivist ;  also she could ask the Jersey Archive to check its reference books.

6.7           Bertram Brée has been checking websites for references to the Dukes of Normandy and to the foundering of the White Ship off Alderney in 1120.   http://membres.lycos.fr/heratlas/index.htm

6.8           Alec Podger reported on the newly launched University of Keele website of RAF WWII aerial photographs; the collection of 5.5 million photos is the property of the PRO and includes western Europe and the CI.

6.9           David Levitt circulated photographs of a sundial spotted by David Le Maistre embedded in an external  wall at the Royal Hotel, St Martin. He would like more information. The construction looks early but the style of Arabic numerals does not support this. Mary Gibb suggested that he contact John McCormack (Guernsey) who is documenting Richmond Map buildings in both islands. David also wants to survey the St Ouen's Manor sundial; Peter Bisson will be able to help.

6.10         David Le Maistre said that the car park of the former Priory Inn, St Clement, is being dug over by the University of London Archaeological Unit for Planning Services; Mary Gibb knew about this.

6.11         Marie-Louise Backhurst will attend a lecture on castles by Mark Morris (TV series) in London.  She said that Beth Lloyd (JHT) suggested that perhaps La Hougue Bie should be twinned with La Lucerne Abbey on Normandy.  She had news of a new advisory body on historic buildings; Mary Gibb said that she, Neil Molyneux, Jean Arthur and Collette Stevens are to meet Stuart Fell.  She said that the Imagine Jersey report by P&R costs £14.99 from the States Bookshop; it refers copiously to the SJ's role.  Finally, she would like some ideas on how to mark the 100th anniversary of the Entente cordiale between the UK and France.

6.12         Francis Corbet has found some funding for a possible publication on the monuments in the Town Church. He is meeting the Dean for a suggested spiritual history of St Helier, from the dolmens to date.

6.13         Mary Billot reminded the Section that the History Section is on the SJ display case rota of exhibitors for 2004 – a job for our Committee perhaps.  Any ideas are very welcome.


7.             Date of next meeting


                Tuesday February 17th 2004 5.15pm, in the Members' Room if available, otherwise in the Arthur Mourant Room.

                Damer Waddington will make a brief presentation of recently discovered historic lantern slides of Gorey Castle and the immediate area.