Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday June 21st 2005 at 5.15pm, Members’ Room


            Members present :

Frank Falle (Chairman), Jean Arthur, Marie-Louise Backhurst, Don & Jean Bell, Mary Billot (Secretary), Mervyn Billot, Bertram Brée, Francis Corbet, Roy Dobin, Mary Gibb, Douglas Hooke, George Langlois, Frank Le Blancq, Bob Le Sueur, Mike Lees, David Levitt, Ian Machin, Alec Podger, Bill Tower.


1.         Apologies for absence :

Yvonne Aston, Anne Corbet, Guy Dixon, Gerry France, Sue Groves, Sue Hardy, Tertius Hutt, Geraint Jennings, Sarah Jordan, Sally Knight, Frank Le Blancq, Suzanne Le Feuvre, David Le Maistre, Will Millow.


2.         Minutes of the meeting of May 17th 2005 and amendments

5.3        Roy Dobin said that the handout on the history of Nicolle Tower has wrongly translated the German word ‘mil’ (not meile) as ‘miles’ rather than ‘angle’.

            The minutes were then approved as a correct record.


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

            Frank Falle thanked Bob Le Sueur for taking the minutes of the May meeting as Mary Billot was unable to


5.2        Bob Le Sueur is still intrigued by the origin of the name for Drury Lane.

5.4        Frank confirmed that the surname Le Dain meant ‘the Dane’ (Jersey Place Names, vol.1). There were Danes in the Grouville area.

5.9        Alec Podger circulated diagrams, which showed the difference between a modern tongue and groove joint and the local variant with a groove only.      


4.         Chairman’s communications

4.1        Frank said that the last of the current successful cycle of Variety Club walks was around St Helier. He emphasised that all guides are SJ members and in future they will be encouraged to wear the SJ pullover. The Lieut. Governor’s gifts to Jersey on his departure are 13 semi-mature oaks from Windsor Great Park, one for Government House and each of the 12 parishes. Primary school children will be encouraged to take part in the tree planting and then planting on the resultant acorns in future years. Bertram Brée said that he was worried about the importation of these trees and thought that we should only plant native stock. Mervyn Billot thanked Frank for organising the very enjoyable series of walks.

4.2        Frank said that support for the teaching of local history at primary school level is needed, especially for visits and archaeology. Mervyn Billot and Bob Le Sueur said that they were happy to help.

4.3        The deadline for the Wednesday Autumn lunchtime lectures is July 16th 2005 (National Trust for Jersey mailing). The agreed programme is :

·         October 19th       Bob Le Sueur on Seymour Tower, Grouville, and its area

·         October 26th       Alec Podger on Jersey privateers in Napoleonic times

·         November 2nd     Ian Machin on Philippe d’Auvergne, Admiral of many accomplishments

·         November 9th      Jean Arthur on the Le Vesconte family and its links with the Canadian cod fisheries

·         November 16th    Frank Falle on local links with Capt. Masterman Hardy, Capt. of HMS Victory, 1805

4.4.1          Sheila Le Sueur (Phoenix, Arizona) asked about the Le Sueurs who left St Saviour for Salt Lake City, Utah.  Loren Le Sueur, a Mormon missionary from Arizona, addressed the Section meeting of February 20th 2001 about his ancestors, John and Caroline Le Sueur who left Jersey in 1855 for Utah. After John Le Sueur’s death in 1862 the family moved to Arizona. The minutes do not record any handouts, though the SJ Library might have further information.

4.4.2          Frank reported that Stuart Fell, Assistant Director at Planning & Building Services, has recently resigned.


5.         Members’ contributions

5.1        Mary Billot said that naval history researchers in London were very interested in the Chatham Chest medical discharge certificate of May 1780 for Philippe Billot, seaman on HMS Victory (probably born Trinity 1755) as it is a very rare survival. The original is now at the Jersey Archive.

5.2               She said that requests for the final payment for the Carnac study tour have been sent out, together with the programme. Bob Le Sueur has a book on Vannes and also brought in a map of the area showing the places to be visited. Frank Falle thanked Mary for all her work.

5.3               Mary said that this month’s minutes would be dispatched rather later than usual because she is away for a week and has other personal demands on her time.

5.4               Mary Gibb circulated copies of Mrs Bellamy’s map of the fortifications at Noirmont Manor and a rough plan of the defences at Belcroute Bay during the German Occupation. She was née de Gruchy and kept a diary, which consistently referred to the ‘Hun’ rather than the Germans. Mary referred to the Sanders book and some errors. Francis Corbet said that many of the errors in local names were caught by SJ proofreaders but remained uncorrected in the published text. Mary said that she still believed it necessary to research the day-to-day economics of the GO, not covered by Chapter 1 of Sanders’ book. 

5.5               Alec Podger wishes to establish the surname of a submarine commander, who was the subject of a Daily Telegraph obituary (date not known, a Saturday in the last four weeks). He had been a crewman on the yacht Westward. Marie-Louise Backhurst said that she would search its website. He also has come across a reference to Ethel Aubin, nurse to Henry Royce (of Rolls-Royce) from 1911 to his death in 1933. He said that George Macready, born Beresford St, St Helier, was principal mechanic at Rolls-Royce in its early days.       [Details with official minutes].

5.6               David Levitt said that he was now milling at Quétivel Mill (National Trust) He reported that the Vingtaine de la Ville has agreed to erect a plaque to Elias Le Gros in the Royal Square. The late Robin Cox never succeeded in finding the record of his death or burial in the 1850s; it is uncertain whether he died as the result of a fall at St Saviour’s Hospital.

5.7               David asked whether there were lists compiled from Joan Stevens’ Old Jersey houses, vol.1 and 2, noting which were extant, their road names and postcodes. He mentioned in particular L’Ancienneté, St Brelade, which was taken to bits by Athelstan Riley with some of the features being incorporated in Trinity Manor. Jean Arthur said that John McCormack was still listing buildings on the Richmond Map.

5.8               Marie-Louise Backhurst has short-term access to the online Dictionary of National Biography and has printed out the Jersey entries.

5.9               Francis Corbet said that he and Jean Arthur were both on the Heritage Advisory Council, which was going through properties on the register of SSIs and BLIs. He said that the 18th cent. house in Pitt/Dumaresq St contrasts with the adjacent 19th cent. town houses with business premises. 

5.10            George Langlois circulated his interesting maps, which he bought in Cherbourg. They are copies of originals held in the Mont-St-Michel Archives and show coastline variations over the centuries. 

5.11            Ian Machin has found a 1790s report on moles in Jersey in the Actes des Etats. The Committee for the Defence of the Island declared it important to kill moles; the parish Constables captured 24,074 in 1797. Various reasons were suggested – the importance of more food production in times of peril from the French, the danger to horses and riders caused by molehills, damage to unpaved roads.

5.12            Bill Tower said that Capt. Thomas Masterman Hardy was a landowner in Dorset. Charles Hardy was on HMS Victory, his flagship at the Battle of Jersey (1791).

5.13            Bob Le Sueur said that nourrices (fish storage in salt water) were being recorded by the Archaeology Section and asked how they were secured? Mervyn Billot said that they were locked in with padlocked timber hatches; some metal hinges still remain. Bob said that there was a nourrice below the Highlands Hotel at La Corbière in the 1890s. Tourists visited the caves below the hotel and then had a lobster tea.

5.14            Frank Le Blancq has found the reference in the Trumbull journals to sighting Hambey and Normandy from La Hougue Bie – page 24/25. David Le Maistre told him about postcards sent to the Thunderstorm Census Organization in the 1930s reporting storms in the CI (in Les Iles Normandes, publication of the CI Specialists’ Society).  Frank reported on a find near Plémont – a small metal (bronze?) seal, size of a thumbnail. It bears the name James Gibbs, a widely travelled architect who was a contemporary of Sir Christopher Wren. 16/17th cent. coins have also been found at the same site. Does anyone know if Gibbs visited Jersey or how the seal might have got there?    [Details with official minutes].

5.15            Frank Falle said that Dr Barbara Crawford (Strathmarine Centre, St Andrews, Fife) is researching the cult of St Clement and its association with drownings and inundations. In 1815 a wall and Le Dicq were built; salt panning, vraic and fishing are classic examples of the cult. Frank has given a talk on the Vikings in Jersey to the Scandinavian Dept at University College London. Jean Renault (Caen University) has recently stayed with Frank and confirmed the Nantais cow theory as highly probable. M. Renault is writing a popular history of the Vikings in Normandy.


6.0               Date of next meeting

            Tuesday July 19th 2005 at 5.15pm, in the Members’ Room if available, otherwise in the Arthur Mourant Room.