History Section

La Société Jersiaise

The History Section

La Section d'l'Histouaithe


Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday August 15th 2006 at 5.15pm, Members' Room

         Members present:
        Jean Arthur, Bertram Brée, Mary Billot (Secretary), Mervyn Billot, Roy Dobin, Mary Gibb, Sue Groves, Nicolas Jouault, George Langlois, Frank Le Blancq, Suzanne Le Feuvre, David Le Maistre, Georgia Le Maistre (Chairman), Bob Le Sueur, Mike Lees, Elinor McFadden, Pat Maindonald, Alec Podger, Doreen Schofield-Fost, Danny White (visitor), David Woodall.

1.        Apologies for absence
        Yvonne Aston, Marie-Louise Backhurst, Francis & Anne Corbet, Frank Falle (Chairman), Sue Hardy, Peter King, Sally Knight, David Levitt, Ian Machin.

2.        Minutes of the meeting of July 18th 2006 and amendments
6.1        ...draft papers on La Tour Carrée, Lewis Tower and Seymour Tower are expected...Mike Lees said that Kempt Tower has been dropped from the list for the present.
6.2 Bob Le Sueur said that solar panels and a wind generator are already on Seymour Tower, which cannot be seen above the parapet. Therefore the planning application was in retrospect.
The minutes were then approved as a correct record.

3.         Matters arising from the minutes not covered by the agenda
6.1        Mervyn Billot said that work is ongoing on Archirondel Tower roof, which is intended for future holiday lets.
8.4        Mary Gibb said that the Bank of England money came shortly after May 9th 1945 with pounds sterling notes and coin on a military transport. Peter Tabb has given Mary copies of letters from the Bank of England to Jersey banks. Mary Billot said that her grandfather's diary recorded that troops landed on May 12th and that German money was being recalled from May 16th for three days only, leading to queues at the banks to exchange Reichmarks for pounds sterling. Bob Le Sueur asked Mary Gibb about the Bailiff asking banks for currency notes to be stamped in Jersey with the date of the start of the GO to ensure that they could not be honoured in England if used by the occupiers to buy commodities. Mary had no information on this point.
8.7        Roy Dobin said that there was a War Department marker at Fort Henry, which was pre-WW1. The area had been used for target practice. After WW1 the Royal Jersey Golf Club bought Fort Henry; Fort William is now private property. Bob Le Sueur asked whether all War Dept property was sold to the States after WW2; David Le Maistre said that this was not so.

4.        Chairman's communications
4.1         Georgia Le Maistre reported that Section member Douglas Hooke died recently. He had been a member of both the History and Bibliography Sections, was a SJ Library volunteer, and a local author (The Channel Islands, Robert Hale, 1953, in the County Books series).
4.2        Bertram Brée reported on the Normandy trip and said that he was about to pay for the hotel accommodation in Coutances and Cherbourg. Foot passengers' passports are being checked because of extra security checks. There is no need for gifts to the guides, who are being paid. He will send out the itinerary, menus and addresses this week, and reminded members to bring sufficient euros for meals.

5.        Honorary Secretary's communications
        Mary Billot said that the circular giving notice of intent about the 2007 4-day tour in Brittany was distributed with the July minutes. She has received 21 replies so far (maximum 30).

6.        Forts and Towers Working Party report
6.1         Mike Lees has received the draft report on Seymour Tower, with those on La Tour Carrée and Lewis Tower. Mike has made some copies of his report and has received comments from Mary Gibb and Mervyn Billot. Responses must be with Roger Hills (JHT) by 25th August.
6.2        Sue Groves said that the report on Le Hocq Tower is due at the end of the year; it does not feature in this year's letting season.

7.         Members' contributions
7.1 Bertram Brée said that he was late because he had been on Dolphin Watch with parents and children.
He has a copy of Jersey Defence Committee minutes, a 19th cent. ms in French.
7.2 Jean Arthur said that Antonia Fraser's biography of Charles II (p.42) recorded that on April 16th 1648 Charles set sail again...destination Jersey not France and she refers to the people of Jersey as 'Jersiaises' (feminine plural). Were there no males on the Island?
7.3 Mike Lees is researching gunners in Jersey, including George Charleton, born Woolwich, who served at the Battle of Jersey. He has come across a note about the ancestors of Charleton in the History Section minutes of July 16th 1996 (secretary Lorie-Ann Foley). Mary Billot said that his descendants are in the 1861 census (St Helier district 36).
7.4 Alec Podger said that the JEP featured whether St Helier should become a city. He reminded members that St Aubin had never been the 'capital' of Jersey; there was a common misconception that it had been the major port before the development of St Helier.
7.5 David Le Maistre gave advance notice of an evening meeting of the Postcard Study Group on Tuesday October 10th in the Members' Room, featuring postcards on shipping. He said that there was a soldier over 7ft in height, buried in the Strangers' Cemetery in Guernsey.
7.6 David Woodall said that in Adjutant Harrison's account of the Battle of Jersey there is reference to Pompey being the servant of Capt. Christie of the 95th Regt. His claim to be Capt. Peirson's servant was spurious, in an attempt to get aid from the Peirson family. He was also a drunk, as was Capt. Christie. After 1781 Pompey went to Portsmouth, where he was press-ganged into the Royal Navy.
Mike Lees said that a Royal Artillery regular, Sergt. Miller or Middleton, served in the Battle of Jersey. On the point whether the Battle was the last to be fought on British soil, he said that there was a skirmish at Fishguard in 1792, when Welsh fisher wives in red flannel petticoats frightened off the French, who mistook them for Redcoats.
David said that this would be his last meeting before going to the University of Newcastle upon Tyne to study for an MA in Museum Studies. Georgia wished him well in his studies.
7.7 Frank Le Blancq wants to establish whether a Le Maistre (died 1860) served at the Battle of Trafalgar. The Maritime Museum's current exhibition lists serving Jerseymen; Doug Ford researched the names.
7.8 Mary Gibb reported on the research at Le Saie Harbour on August 12th. The circle was definitely not prehistoric, and consists of large Rozel conglomerate stones placed in the sand. House haulage would be needed to place the stones. It is 30 ft across, with no brick or concrete, and there is a scatter of smaller stones from the structure. It is only accessible on a big tide. There are also narrow cart tracks (4ft 3in wide) leading to the structure. Bob Le Sueur conjectured that it could be mediaeval, serving as a gathering spot for vraic. Nick Jouault rejected the idea that it could be used for storing oysters. Mary Gibb suggested a fish trap. Le Saie is a 'havre', that is a shelter or haven rather than a harbour.
Bob Le Sueur said that there were stones at La Coupe, which could be the remains of a dolmen. The SJ bulletin of 1929 has an article by Père Burdo, who suggested that a dolmen had been built on a dyke; subsequent soil erosion washed away the base. Submerged dolmens are common.
7.9 Nick Jouault circulated an article on Jersey from the Penny magazine, monthly supplement, 31 July-31 August 1837. He said that the visit to Seafield House, St Lawrence, courtesy of Mr Richard Miles, would take place in 2007.
7.10 Marie-Louise Backhurst asked Mary Billot to circulate History today, August 2006, which has an article ' Belsen and the BBC' by Suzanne Bardgett, which features Harold Le Druillenec.
7.11 Georgia Le Maistre said that she had been researching Dr Lilian Grandin in the SOAS Methodist Missionary Archive. She has received a letter from the Archivist indicating that the Christian graves in Zhaotong, Yunnan Province, China, have been repaired and that information is being gathered.

8.        Date of next meeting
        Tuesday 19th September 2006 at 5.15 p.m. in the Members' Room if available, otherwise in the Arthur Mourant Room.