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William the Conqueror and the Church Tithes

The main source for this section was the Charter of William (quoted below, translated from Latin) and Balleine's History of Jersey.

(proud, ringing -tones sound, possible peal of church bells)

Narrator 1:

The first official mention of Grouville Church is in the charter of Robert, Duke of Normandy, which was confirmed in 1042 by his son, William, Duke of Normandy - better known to us as William the Conqueror.

(trumpet fanfare; then children enter and sing song)

Herald (loud voice, unseen)

William, Duke of Normandy!

(enter William, finely dressed. He holds parchment scroll which he unravels and reads)


By the grace of God, I William, Duke of the Normans, declare this:

"that half the wheat collected for Grouville Church should henceforth go to the support of the nunnery at Montivilliers in France."

(rolls up scroll, exits)

Narrator I (scathing, bitter)

So William robbed Grouville Church of a set quota every year, taken away from the Island without the Islander's consent!

(enter Geoffrey with mitre and shepherd's crook, makes passionate speech, brandishing scroll clearly)

Geoffrey of Coutances

Jerseymen, listen? You may think that Duke William has robbed you of what is yours by right. But before you judge, heed my words.

I am Geoffrey, Bishop of Coutances in Normandy - your diocese. Times are hard. After the Invasions of the pagans, our land of Normandy is in ruins - they demolished churches, destroyed many Christian communities. We need to rebuild, and once again to lay down the foundations for our faith.

We asked for help, and God heard our prayer, and William granted us charters for support.

(bows, leaves with dignity)

Narrator 2 (calmly vindicated)

In this great missionary enterprise, we see that Grouville was able to help fellow Christians in nearby Normandy.

Narrator 1

And about this time, our Church was rebuilt using Norman buttresses. Straight, firm pillars, they will rest against the walls and support the Church throughout the ages. So the Norman age saw Grouville Church built up and strengthened.

Narrator 2

The Church was also strengthened in faith and good works, and the Spirit rejoiced!