Witch trials

A belief in witchcraft was widespread in Jersey during the 16th and 17th centuries - as it was in the rest of Europe.  Many an ignorant old woman was put to death on the strength of this belief, in reality just because she was a scold.   Researchers have calculated some 300,000 persons, mostly women,  were executed in Europe during this time.  In 1692, Philippe Langlois and many other Jersey-born inhabitants  ( the Cabot’s,  Le Marquand’s,   Balliene’s, etc. ) would have witnessed the infamous witch trials of Salem,  Mass.

Rev. G.R. Balleine, one-time Librarian of the Société Jersiaise, researched the ancient minute books of the Cour du Cattel recording many of the poor unfortunates brought to trial for witchcraft;  the bulk of his list is reproduced here.   He noted many family relationships “one point obvious even from this incomplete list is that witchcraft  ran in families“.  Another observation was that the Authorities of Guernsey were apparently not so merciful with their punishments… burning alive, while in Jersey the condemned were generally strangled first.

1562...          Anne of St. Brelade's.    Executed.
1562...          Michelle La Blanche Vestue of St. Ouen's. Executed on the gibbet of
                         Hures at St. Ouen's.
1563.             Thomasse Becquet. Acquitted.
1583...          Marion Corbel. Died in Castle before trial.
1558...          Jeanne Le Vesconte. Executed at St. Ouen's.
1585. Dec.    Michelle Bellee of St. Lawrence. Executed.
1585. Dec.    Pasquette Le Vesconte. (Had been previously tried and banished ; but had
                     returned and resumed her " tours et mallefices diabolicques.") Executed.
1585. Dec.    Jean Morant of St. Clement's, son of Philippe. Executed.
1585. Dec.    Katherine Orenges. Executed.
1591. Oct.     Symon Vauldin, of St. Brelade's. Executed.
1591. Oct.     Beneste Jamet. Executed.
1591. Oct.     Katherine Bertram. Executed.
1591. Dec.    Michiel Alixandre of St. Peter's. Executed.
1591. Dec.    Collas Alixandre of St. Peter's (son of Michiel Alixandre). Acquitted.
1593. May.    Marie Poret of St. Lawrence. Committed to Castle. Fate unknown.
1597. July.    Pernelle Fallu. Jury disagreed. Released with warning.
1597. Oct.     Perronnelle Chevalier, widow of Mathieu Fallu. (Had been several times
                     before arrested and warned). Executed. (Probably the same as above).
1597. Dec.     Françoise Le Maistre. Jury disagreed. Released with a warning.
1599. Jan.     Marie, widow of Michiel Alixandre of St. Peter (above). Executed.
1599. Dec.     Marie, wife of Richard Anley. Committed to Castle. Fate unknown.
1599. Dec.     Marie Le Four of Grouville. Unanimously aquitted
1600. May     Collette Amy. Executed.
1600. May.    Jeanne Hotton. Executed.
1600. May     Philippe Picot. Executed
1602. June.   Marguerite Le Rues of St. Ouen's. Executed at St. Ouen's.
1602. Oct.      Marie Rogerez of St. Ouen's, wife of Jacques Le Breton. Executed at St. Ouen's.
1605. Dec.     Pasquette Guillaume of St. Lawrence, wife of Jean Le Quesne.
                         (Had been several times before arrested and warned). Executed.
1606. June.   Elizabeth Grandin. Jury disagreed. Released with warning. See June 1648­
1606. June.   Marie Grandin. Jury disagreed. Released with warning.
1606. June.   Marguerite Le Quesne. Jury disagreed. Released with warning.
1608. Oct.      Michielle Bellenger of St. Martin's. Executed.
1608. Oct.     Andree Tourgis. Arrested for Witchcraft.  In the course of her trial she confessed
                        that she had killed her daughter Mabel's illegitimate baby.        Executed.
1608. Oct.      Jeanne Tourgis (daughter of Andrée Tourgis, above). Acquitted.
1608. Oct.      Marie Tourgis (daughter of Andrée Tourgis, above). Acquitted, but put under careof the wife of Richard Hulvet as domestic servant, who was to report to the Court, if she misbehaved. (See Oct 1618 )­
1608. Oct.      Margueritte Nyvet of St. Martin's. Jury disagreed. Released with severe warning.
1609. June.   Thomyne Le Dain. Executed.
1609. June.   Georgette Alixandre, wife of Jean Billot. Jury disagreed (19 found her guilty,
                        6 not guilty) Released, but ordered to leave the island within six weeks.
1611. Oct.      Collette Horman of St. Clement's. Executed.
1611. Oct.      Ysic (at her second trial called Isycles) Hardyne of St. Clement's. Executed.
1611. Oct.      Germaine Royl of St. Clement's. Executed.
1611. Oct.      Georgette Alixandre, having returned from banish­ment and resumed
                        her evil practices, again banished.
1611. Dec.     Perrine Alixandre, wife of Estienne Bertault, refused to accept trial by Enquete.
                        She spent twelve months in the Castle on bread and water, and, as she still
                        persisted in her refusal, the Court released her with a warning (Dec. 1612).
1612. Dec.     Susanne Corbel. Committed to Castle. Fate unknown.
1613. Feb.    Jeanne Tourgis (see Oct 1608). Found guilty on her own confession of associating with witches.   Because of her youth not sentenced to death, but banished. (The Jeanne Tourgis who was burnt to death in Guernsey in 1622 may have been the same girl;  equally she may not, for Tourgis was a common Guernsey name).
1618. Oct.     Marie Tourgis of Grouville.Executed. (See Oct 1608.
1625. Jan.    Collas Lamy, son of Laurens. Discharged with a warning.
1625. Oct.     Marie Filleul, daughter of Thomas Filleul of St. Clement's, aged about 60. Executed at Samares.
1625. Oct.     Edouard Leonard, surnamed Locquet. Executed.
1625.Oct.      Raff Orange of St. Saviour's, aged about 70. Executed.
1625. Oct.    Jeanne Orange,daughter of Raff Orange, above. Fate unknown.
1626. Jan.    Michelle Cosnefrey of St.Martin's, a native of Normandy, aged about 80. Banished.
1626. Oct.    Jeanne Umfrey, widow of Laurens Lamy of St. Saviour's and mother of Collas Lamey, (above). A native of Normandy aged about 50. Banished.
1631. Oct.     Jeanne Grandin of St. Martin's. Executed.
1631. Oct.     Marie Grin. Refused to plead. Sent to the Castle. Fate unknown.
1648. June.   ElizabethGrandin. Rearrested. See June 1606. Discharged with warning.
1648. June.   Marie Grandin,junior, daughter of Elizabeth Grandin, above. Discharged with warning.
1648. June    MarieGrandin of Trinity (a different person from June 1606 and June 1648 above). Executed.
1648. June.   Marie Esnouf of St. John's, daughter of Noé Esnouf and wife of John Le Cerf.Executed.
1648. June.   Clement Le Cerf of St. John's, son of Marie Esnouf, above. Jury disagreed. Banished.
1648. June.   Thomasse Le Ruez, of St. Ouen's. Arrest ordered. Fate unknown.
1649. May.    Guillemete du Vaistain of St. Ouen's ; native of Normandy ; mother of Thomasse Le Ruez, above. Flogged and banished.
1650. May.    Jeanne Machon of St. Martin's. Refused Enquête ; so banished.
1656. Nov.    Jean Le Riche, son of Edouard, of St. Martin's. Died in Castle before Trial.
1660. Jan.     Marie Jean of St. Ouen's, wife of Jean Le Dam.Executed.
1661. Oct.     Sara Lucette of St. Lawrence, wife of Pierre Trachie. Banished.
1736.Oct.      Marie Godfray, wife of Etienne Machon, of St. Saviour's. Summoned before Ecclesiastical Court. Promised to abstain from witchcraft in future, and to disclose the names of any who came to consult her; notice to this effect to be given in all neighbouring churches.