History Section


La Société Jersiaise

The History Section


Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday August 17th 2004 at 5.15pm

Members' Room



            Members present :

Georgia Le Maistre (Acting Chairman), Jean Arthur, Marie-Louise Backhurst, Don & Jean Bell, Mary Billot (Secretary), Mervyn Billot, Bertram Brée, Francis & Anne Corbet, Roy Dobin, Mary Gibb, Sue Groves, Nicolas Jouault, George Langlois, Frank Le Blancq, David Le Maistre, Bob Le Sueur, Bill Tower.


1.         Apologies for absence :

Frank Falle (Chairman), Guy Dixon, Sue Hardy, Tertius Hutt, Sarah Jordan, Suzanne Le Feuvre, David Levitt, Ian Machin, Alec Podger.



2.         Minutes of the meeting of July 20th 2004 and amendments

            The heading should read 'Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday July 20th 2004…'

3.5.4    '…last minutes programme changes for which apologies were made to Frank Falle'.

4.3       Orviss Lane links Hilgrove St and Queen St, not King St.

5.5       Bob Le Sueur said that as the first visit of the Royal Archaeological Institute (RAI) was in 1897 then their third one might not be until 2111.



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

4.1       Sue Groves offered to give a lunch-time lecture in the autumn of 2005 on the archives relating to maritime matters; her offer was gratefully accepted.

5.5       Bob Le Sueur said that the President of the RAI had written to thank everyone for an enjoyable visit and to remark on the quality and quantity of sites, which he felt could be better exploited. They could be then promoted by Tourism. The RAI proceedings of the tour are circulated to tour members.



4.         Chairman's communications

4.1       Georgia Le Maistre asked Bertram Brée to give an update on the weekend in Avranches. He said that everyone had paid up and he had arranged payment of some of the invoices.  He hopes to include a visit to the manor house of Hasculf de Suligny and to the site of the de Suligny castle north of Avranches. He emphasised that the de Suligny and Paisnel families were interrelated and were connected to both the castle at Hambie and Mont Orgueil Castle. Each castle could signal to the other. He suggested that Norman lords built MOC, which was modelled on Hambie. 

4.2       Mary Billot confirmed that Sue Groves would dispatch the August minutes.



5.         Members' contributions

5.1       Sue Groves said that the Archives Collections Newsletter was ready for distribution.

The family history weekend at the Jersey Archive is on September 23rd to 25th with a late night opening on the 23rd. Members of the CIFHS will be present.

5.2       Mary Gibb is examining a very interesting German Occupation scrapbook compiled by Mrs Bellamy (née de Gruchy of Noirmont Manor, aunt of Guy Dixon). It includes cuttings from the Evening Post, with advertisements giving prices of items.

5.3       Roy Dobin commented on the ITV1 series Island at war, which is not historically accurate. Bob Le Sueur said that it was twisted fiction with parallels to Guernsey rather than Jersey (the elderly Bailiff, the spies from England who became PoWs, bombing tomato lorries at the Harbour). Marie-Louise Backhurst said that a Mahy was killed at the Harbour, as happened in the first episode.

5.4       David Le Maistre asked if anyone was researching grandfather (long case) clocks.

He also commented on the Salvation Army exhibition at the Citadel in Minden St. The current Citadel was originally the Prince of Wales Rooms. The Royal Hall in Peter St was the first Citadel. David owns a Trinity Corps prize certificate, which he lent to the exhibition and would like to know if anyone has one from the St Ouen Corps (the Le Feuvre family). The other Corps were St Helier no.1 and no.2, Gorey and St Aubin.

He said that John Hailey (London) wishes to produce material on Jerseymen at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805).

5.5       Marie-Louise said that she had come across a version of Yes we have no bananas, which mentioned Jersey Royal potatoes. She assumed that it was a song about rationing in WW2 so the reference would seem to be anachronistic.

She drew attention to errors in dates in the baptism, marriage and burial registers; David Le Maistre concurred.

She said that an archaeological dig of a Jersey room in Labrador had found a pipe marked J. Collings. Collings was a Devon, Guernsey and Jersey family; Sybil Hathaway, Dame of Sark was a Miss Collings. The de Quettevilles had trade links with Labrador.

She was disconcerted to read in the JEP (16/8/2004) about boxes to jog the memories of the 'elderly', which will cover the 1950s and 1960s.

5.6       Bertram Brée said that a new archives centre was being developed south of Caen, which will include Norman genealogy, culture, Viking links with the USA and Canada and genetics. It is interested with links with Jersey. 

5.7       Francis Corbet said that the SJ is the host for the Wace Colloquium on September 10th-12th 2004; he circulated a copy of the programme. Prof. Glyn Burgess (Liverpool University) is the organizer. Dr Judith Everard will deliver the opening lecture on September 10th at 8.00pm in the Members' Room; her title is The historical background : Jersey in the 12th century. Members and the general public have the opportunity to attend all the lectures. The lecturers and delegates are staying at the Pomme d'Or Hotel.

5.8       Frank Le Blancq said that ships' captains in his family went to Labrador for fishing and trading.

            He asked about any current support for writing up research. Francis Corbet said that the Millennium scholarship was available but there was a disappointing lack of interest.  He will draw attention to it in the Autumn Newsletter.

5.9       Jean Arthur circulated a photograph of an old granite fireplace and wanted to know where it was taken.

5.10     Bob Le Sueur said that the Samarès Players were putting on Shakespeare's King John this week at Samarès Manor.

            He voiced his concern about the interpretation of the phases of history at Mont Orgueil Castle, following on from a seminar held in December 2002. The interpretation was art based and decisions had already been taken before the seminar took place. Modern technology makes other techniques available for the provision of information, cf. Jersey War Tunnels. It was decided to invite Jonathan Carter (JHT) to a future Section meeting. Francis Corbet said that the archaeology has received far more attention to date with interpretation to follow on. Some contracts for art works have already been placed.

Bob asked about Museum St; Marie-Louise said that it had the first private museum (not the SJ, building now demolished) including Egyptian mummies that were later burned.

He spoke of an embryonic body called the Council for the Preservation of Jersey Heritage, which has its inaugural public meeting on September 8th 2004, possibly at Grouville Parish Hall. Prof. Barry Cunliffe (Oxford University) will be present and a constitution will have to be passed.  The Council is worried about the further loss of buildings and will be happy to enter the political arena. It wishes to work with existing bodies that are reluctant to interfere in 'political matters'.  A press announcement will be made.

5.11   (Item 4.3) Mary Billot said that Stuart Fell has offered to talk to the Section about the listing of buildings. SSIs are listed on the E&PS website www.planning.gov.je. His offer was accepted with grateful thanks.

5.12   Georgia has examined an interesting collection of 65 Grandin manuscripts lent by the (anonymous) owner to Marie-Louise. The dates range from 1888 to the 1920s. She is looking out for documents on the iron foundry and has listed rentes, property purchases, promissory notes, and share certificates.



6.0       Date of next meeting


            Tuesday September 21st 2004 at 5.15pm, in the Members' Room if available, otherwise in the Arthur Mourant Room.