History Section


La Société Jersiaise

The History Section






Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday June 15th 2004 at 5.15pm

Members' Room



            Members present :

Frank Falle (Chairman), Don & Jean Bell, Mary Billot (Secretary), Mervyn Billot, Bertram Brée, Caroline Easterbrook, Gerry France, Mary Gibb, Sue Groves, Douglas Hooke, Nicolas Jouault, Sally Knight, George Langlois, Suzanne Le Feuvre, Georgia Le Maistre, Bob Le Sueur, David Levitt, Ian Machin, Alec Podger.


1.         Apologies for absence :

Jean Arthur, Marie-Louise Backhurst, Francis & Anne Corbet, Sue Hardy, Sarah Jordan, David Le Maistre, Ken & Elinor McFadden, Bill Tower.



2.         Minutes of the meeting of May 18th 2004 and amendments

4.3       … Trinity Parish Hall … not the Church.

5.3       David Le Maistre reported … There are still 20,000 postcards to sell.

5.6       David Levitt … was involved in the installation of the new [sundial] at St Peter's Church.

The minutes were then accepted as a correct record. 



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

5.1       Bob Le Sueur said that the article 'Les îles anglo-allemandes' in La Presse de La Manche , June 2004,  was purely factual and not anti-Jersey. He considered the heading to be misleading.

5.2       He asked Section members for help with the Royal Archaeological Institute study tour; he hoped that David Levitt could be a guide at Mont Orgueil Castle.

5.4       Alec Podger said that many seamen in general were lost in the Great Storm of 1703, not just those of the Royal Navy. Bob Le Sueur said that the sea had flooded the freshwater pond at St Ouen. Nick Jouault said that the sea did occasionally invade the pond. Bertram Brée referred to the Samarès salt marshes.

5.9       Bob Le Sueur said that he had not known that the Built Heritage Subcommittee of the P&E Committee had been disbanded and wants to know why this happened.

Frank Falle said that the SJ Executive discussed this at its last meeting and now wants to look to the future; the President hoped that the SJ could include the built heritage in its remit and re-establish the link with Planning. Frank will investigate the establishment of a group drawn from the Archaeology, History and Environment Sections and will report back on members' views. Planning needs to get a view from a lead person of the group. He will report back in July and hopes that two History Section members would volunteer to join this group.

David Levitt asked whether Planning could inform such a group of any imminent issues. Frank agreed and emphasised that things needed to be done quickly.

Georgia Le Maistre said that lists of planning applications used to be sent to the Section chairman; Frank said that he had never seen such lists. She also drew attention to Marie-Louise Backhurst's letter to the JEP about the Vine St/King St planning application.

Mervyn Billot asked whether anyone monitored the planning application lists published in the JEP – the answer was 'No'.

Alec Podger said that the Section once owned a camera that was used to photograph buildings and streets

Suzanne Le Feuvre said that Chick Anthony sits on the National Trust for Jersey Development Applications Committee.



4.         Chairman's communications

4.1       Frank Falle reported that Georgia Le Maistre was now a co-opted member of Executive until the 2005 AGM.  Georgia said that she had accepted because she stood for election at the 2004 AGM. The Section congratulated Georgia on her co-option.

4.2       The Section supported the idea of image capture for historical research; we need to keep our eyes open for items that Gareth Syvret can scan into the Photographic Archive database. Nick Jouault offered the use of his camera; Frank said that the whereabouts of the Section camera should be investigated.

David Levitt asked about copyright problems. Georgia Le Maistre that that owners sometimes object to having their houses photographed; permission is needed if the images are published.  Sue Groves said that images taken for research purposes are allowed but confirmed that images used for publication need permission.

4.3       Frank circulated details about a website found by the SJ Library <www.prehistoricjersey.net>.

4.4       Variety Club Down your Way walks - the Trinity walk on July 4th is overbooked. The St Clement  walk has been rescheduled to October 10th and Frank will bring leaflets to the July meeting.

4.5       The Section display case in the Museum will feature St Helier from September for three months; Geraint Jennings will take sole charge of the display as he has a great deal of information.

4.6       Mary Billot will be able to produce the minutes for the August meeting but will not have time to photocopy them and stuff the envelopes before she goes away. Sue Groves offered to help for which she was thanked.      

5.         Members' contributions

5.1       Frank gave Nick Jouault a photocopy of an 1848 print of women gathering vraic and vraicing boats. Nick said that it was unusual for women to collect vraic. Vraicing boats went as far as Chausey and often got overloaded which caused drownings.

5.2       David Levitt reported on the Royal Square sundial by Elias Le Gros that has been restored recently. He had written to Property Services in 2003 to draw their attention to the flaking paint. He was passed on to Home Affairs who are responsible for the Picket House. He said that the heavily embellished capital letters preceding the caution to check the almanacs has now been identified as reading 'NOTE'.  The two Picket House plaques contradict each other; these are the responsibility of the Vingtaine de La Ville. He will report further at the July meeting.                            [Details with the official Minutes file.]

            Bob Le Sueur asked whether David knew of the Radier Manor sundial.  David has recorded it and thinks that it came from Osterley Park (now owned by the National Trust) in 1947. However he has not received confirmation of this from the Manor. Sally Knight said that the Simon Drieu Auction House sold two sundials in May.

5.3       Alec Podger reported on a seaman called John Baker that he had to identify amongst the ten John Bakers on the FMM database. This John Baker died in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1843 and the 'Grog' brought back his body to Jersey eight months later; presumably suitably pickled.

5.4       Bob Le Sueur appealed for speakers for the Royal Archaeological Institute study tour, in particular for the visits to Fort Leicester at Bouley Bay (perhaps John Williams or Sue Hardy?) and St Saviour's Church.

5.5       Ian Machin said that the Curator of the National War Museum of Scotland has contacted him about General Don; he was located by means of the History Section website pages. The Museum is putting on a Don exhibition, which includes a hunting gun presented to the General by the Duc de Berry when the latter visited Jersey in 1814. The Duc de Berry was a Bourbon, son of Charles X, uncle of Louis XVIII and nephew of Louis XVI. He came here on at the end of March 1814 and departed on April 11th ; the States and the local gentry entertained him. He was assassinated in 1820.

5.6       Bertram Brée has had a fax from the Mont St Michel Restaurant and confirmed the visit to Cancale, which has Viking links.  Jacques Cartier's manor house is also there and there is speculation whether Jerseymen led him up the St Lawrence River. There are Viking settlements in Newfoundland.

5.7       Mary Billot said that Marie-Louise Backhurst sent her an e-mail attachment from Jonathan Clarke of London, who is writing up William Henry Le Feuvre for the forthcoming Biography of British Civil Engineers.  Nick Jouault said that he had also been contacted and would like a copy of the draft biography (38 pages so far).

5.8       Georgia Le Maistre said that the e-mail enquiry from the USA about Edwin Dingle continues; she is waiting for copies of his birth, marriage and death certificates.

            Mary Billot will reply to the e-mail from Italy about Lady Otway asking whether she had a child there. Georgia has now received the copy of her will requiring UK probate; it is identical to the Jersey will and makes no reference to any offspring. She died at the Charing Cross Hotel in London on August 11th 1910; her estate had a gross value of £13,094 8s 7d.

5.9       Frank Falle completed his talk about the Vikings on the Loire and the Nantaise cattle which they might have brought with them to Jersey. The Vikings were concentrated in St Lawrence.


6.0       Date of next meeting


            Tuesday July 20th 2004 at 5.15pm, in the Members' Room if available, otherwise in the Arthur Mourant  Room.