History Section


La Société Jersiaise

The History Section


Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday September 21st 2004 at 5.15pm
Arthur Mourant Room

Members present :
Frank Falle (Chairman), Jean Arthur, Marie-Louise Backhurst, Don Bell, Mary Billot (Secretary), Mervyn Billot, Gavin Booth, Bertram Brée, Caroline Easterbrook, Mary Gibb, Sue Groves, Andy Harris, Douglas Hooke, Nicolas Jouault, George Langlois, Frank Le Blancq, Georgia Le Maistre, David Levitt, Bob Le Sueur, Alec Podger.

1. Apologies for absence :
Jean Bell, Francis & Anne Corbet, Guy Dixon, Gerry France, Sue Hardy, Tertius Hutt, Sarah Jordan, Suzanne Le Feuvre, David Le Maistre, Ian Machin, Richard & Gwyneth Syvret.

2. Minutes of the meeting of August 17th 2004 and amendments

  1. 4 David Le Maistre phoned to say that the Salvation Army Citadel was originally at the Prince of Wales Rooms and that the Army had a presence in St Aubin.

3. Matters arising from the minutes not covered by the agenda
  1. 1 Frank Falle congratulated Bertram Brée on organising a very successful trip to Avranches on September 18/19th. It included a tour of the exhibition of Mont Saint-Michel archives in the Mairie and highlighted a cartulary that gave half of Guernsey to the Abbey. Then local historian David Nicolas-Méry took us on a guided walk of the town, in particular to the Grand Doyenné (the manor of the de Subligny family), which has massive cellars similar to those at Mont Orgueil Castle. Next day, Christine Livory came from Coutances to guide us in English around Mont Saint-Michel. After a fine lunch, we went to Dol Cathedral where there is the sarcophagus of St Sampson and statues of both St Sampson and St Magloire. We then saw the outside of the Manoir de Jacques Cartier at Rothéneuf near St Malo. Frank will give a slide show of the visit at the Christmas meeting in December.
  2. The tour of Brittany in 2005 will be based at Vannes and we are researching two-star hotels. Bertram is thinking about the 2006 visit to Normandy, possibly based at Coutances with a visit to Cherbourg.
  3. 5 Both Georgia Le Maistre and Marie-Louise Backhurst shed light on Yes we have no bananas, with its reference to Jersey tomatoes/potatoes. It is now agreed that they are (New) Jersey tomatoes from a 1923 US show Make it snappy.
Marie-Louise said that the clerk caused the apparent errors in the BMD registers; he admitted to recording entries in the wrong year (1768/69) and confessed in a marginal note in the original registers.
She commented on the archives and genealogy centre being built at Vimoutiers (Orne). Gérard Roger, the new Director, and Michel Greusard, his deputy, will talk in French to the Amitiés Franco-Britanniques on the Vikings and the Normans on Friday October 15
th, 8pm, Members' Room (cost £4.00 to non-members).
She said that Museum St was formerly called Belmont St.
Bob Le Sueur asked her about the term Jersey Room in Labrador; she said that this meant a cod-processing shed.
  1. 7 Bob Le Sueur said that the papers at the Wace Colloquium were of a very high standard and he hoped that publication was possible. Frank said that this was being discussed.
  2. Nick Jouault drew attention to the paperback version of Wace's Roman de Rou, which costs £12.99 to 31/10/2004. Georgia said that there would be oral readings from Wace in French and English in the Royal Square on October 8th and 9th, 9am onwards.

  3. Chairman's communications
  4. 1 Frank thanked Georgia for chairing the September meeting and Sue Groves for helping with the dispatch of the minutes. He welcomed Andy Harris and congratulated him on his history degree from Portsmouth University. His thesis was on fortifications in Jersey 1750-1850; a copy is in the SJ Library.
  5. 2 He will ask Stuart Fell (E&PS) to come to the October or November meeting and then will ask Jon Carter (JHT) to come to a convenient meeting (not December). He would like the SJ to have more clout to comment under SJ guidelines. Georgia said that perhaps the new Council for the Protection of Jersey's Heritage might venture where the SJ does not care to go. There had been comment about the neglect of the dolmens at its inaugural meeting on September 8th. Frank said that E&PS looks after certain ones under contract and asked who can look after them better? Concern had also been voiced about isolated standing stones.
  6. Bob Le Sueur said that the new body was formed on September 8th and Jurat Nick Herbert will chair the council. It meets today to approve the constitution, after which it can then do some promotion.
  7. 3 Georgia drew attention to the article in the JEP on September 16th about the Seymour Hotels property, La Fantaisie, St Saviour, which has now been listed as an SSI. Gavin Booth said that the Seymours' manager used to live in the property. Bob said that the dormers were not original. Marie-Louise said that the full lists of SSIs on the EP&S staff website have been referenced but they are not available to the public.
  8. Georgia asked about progress in checking the houses on the Godfray map so see if they still existed. Jean Arthur said that John McCormack (Guernsey) is checking them for a future publication.
  9. 4 Frank said that he has done the Section's contribution for the Autumn Newsletter, which is expected to be sent out early in October. He will promote the lunch-time lectures on Radio Jersey and they will be listed on an A5 insert to the Newsletter.
  10. Members' contributions
  11. 1 Frank Le Blancq said that a snippet about Lady Otway entertaining the officers of the Highland Light Infantry 100 years ago on September 20th 1904 was in the JEP on September 20th.
  12. 2 Andy Harris is in the RNR and is interested in naval history and fortifications. He asked about Jerseymen at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) as a topic for the 2005 Autumn lunch-time lectures which will have a maritime theme.
  13. 3 Nick Jouault said that Valentine Joyce, a Jerseyman, lead the Spithead Mutiny in 1797. He has found evidence of large stone quarrying on the north of the Ecréhous. He said that Sheila Hamilton-Dyer is researching conger eel bones found in the wreckage of the Mary Rose.
  14. He has also found the wooden remnants of the camera obscura in the bend of La Rue du Câtel at Rozel. Mervyn Billot saw it as a child in the 1930s. Bob Le Sueur said that the one at Grève de Lecq also functioned in the 1930s and appeared on many postcards.
  15. Nick said that Jean Arthur has transcribed a 1585 document about Diélament.
  16. He complained about the forthcoming closure of the Jersey Archive on a Saturday, which is the only day that the working man can do any research, especially as the SJ Library is also closed on a Saturday.
Sue Groves apologised for the restricted opening hours but that she could not run the Archive with Saturday opening. She hoped to open on a Saturday or a late night occasionally. She said that visitor numbers have gone through the roof since the press announcement about the Tuesday-Thursday opening as people think that the Archive is closing completely. It was decided to open Tuesday-Thursday because those are the days when the CIFHS volunteers are present on a rota basis. She said that Friday and Saturday were quiet.
It was suggested that members write letters to Sue, Mike Vibert (President, Education Sport and Culture Committee) or Jon Carter (JHT).
Marie-Louise asked whether charging fees had been considered. Sue said this had been rejected because of administrative costs. As general taxation paid for the Archive therefore it should be available without further fees.
  1. 4 Georgia has been to Lion Park and remarked on the 1204/2004 charm-bracelet being sold there. One of the charms was a hot-air balloon, commemorating M. Granger's feats in 1790.
  2. 5 David Levitt circulated his pamphlet on the new St Peter sundial. [Copy with official minutes]. He said that he had not known about the Gorey Pier sundial. He felt that the Royal Square sundial should have a plaque.
  3. Frank Falle said that the Nicolle Tower had a compass rose.
  4. 6 Alec Podger said that the JEP of September 18th featured a railway poster by R.M. Lander (died 1974) and wondered whether he was a relative of John Helier Lander. He commented on the leopards/lions confusion. In the 1950s Major Rybot pointed out that a monochrome spot denoted the heraldic metal gold. This is a heraldic convention developed before colour printing; therefore they were lions, not leopards.
  5. 7 Marie-Louise commented on the Roseville St area, which was once called La Boyarde. A boyarde is an old term for a hoy, which people used to load or catch boats. A hoy can also denote a barge. Large ships used Havre des Pas in the 17th century only.
She has recently visited Quimper and bought a book on French cows, which will interest Frank. The Chemins de fer de Ouest are promoting Jersey as a holiday destination.
  1. 8 Bertram Brée said that Avranches had 15 buildings with surviving undercrofts.
  2. 9 Sue Groves said that the family history weekend was Thursday-Saturday September 23-25, with CIFHS volunteers present on all three days. The Thursday closure will be at 7.30pm. The annual closure for stocktaking will be 6-10 December 2004.
  3. 10 Bob Le Sueur said that he had been sent a Gaspé newspaper for June/July 2004, which listed insurance submissions for lost ships recording a large tonnage lost (100-200 tons). They were all on the passage Liverpool-Halifax-Gaspé with Jersey crews. He has given it to Alec Podger and it will also interest Ray Le Pivert (CIFHS). He asked whether anything new had been discovered by the CIFHS Gaspé group.
  4. 11 Douglas Hooke commented on the diversity of States' department emblems. Major Rybot had designed a uniform letterhead in 1962 but departments declined to conform.
  5. 12 Jean Arthur said that the new roof thatching at Ville au Veslet, St Lawrence, would be shown on ITV1 at 6.15pm tomorrow (Wednesday).
  6. 13 Frank has found another Le Bourg in St Clement. He has spoken to Doug Ford about nomenclature at Mont Orgueil; he agreed to St George's Chapel in the Middle Ward (Lt Manson's survey, 1755) and St George's Hall (the 'Tudor' Hall).

  1. 0 Date of next meeting
  2. Tuesday October 19th 2004 at 5.15pm, in the Members' Room if available, otherwise in the Arthur Mourant Room.

JERSEY 1204-2004

In the Members' Room, 7 Pier Road
from 1.15 to 1.45 pm, then questions

ALL ARE WELCOME – please bring your sandwiches as tea and coffee will be served

Wednesday October 20th
Marie-Louise Backhurst
Identity and allegiance : so you think that you are Jersey? An historical review

Wednesday October 27
Alec Podger
The maritime situation in the early 1200s

Wednesday November 3
David Levitt
Eustace the Monk and hostage taking

Wednesday November 10
Gavin Booth
The development of the castles and fortifications caused by the parting from France

  1. Wednesday November 17
Frank Falle
Did Thomas Paisnel build Mont Orgueil Castle?