Something historical today. Here is an extract from "Jersey in the 17th century" (1931), by A.C. Saunders. There is a lot of social history in Saunders, which throws up some quirky details that are often overlooked in the history of Jersey.
It is fascinating to see the local Parish politics, with the Constables, Jurats and Bailiff standing up for the rights of their parishioners against the Governor and Lieutenant-Governor, but at the same time, asking England for protection against pirates!
Sir Philip de Carteret, meanwhile, continued to rise until he had offices of Lieut.-Governor, Bailiff, and Receiver-General. However, helping cronies - relatives and retainers, did not endear him to the Islanders.
William Prynne (1600-1669) seems to have made himself popular with Sir Philip, but I'm not sure I'd enjoy his company. Here are a few quotations from him:
"A woman with cut hair is a filthy spectacle, and much like a monster ... it being natural and comely to women to nourish their hai r, which even God and nature have given them for a covering, a token of subjection, and a natural badge to distinguish them from men."
''It hath evermore been the notorious badge of prostituted Strumpets and the lewdest Harlots, to ramble abroad to Plays, to Playhouses; whither no honest, chaste or sober Girls or Women, but only branded Whores and infamous Adulteresses, did usually resort in ancient times.''
"Dancing for the most part is attended with many amorous smiles. Wanton compliments, unchaste kisses, scurrilous songs and sonnets, effeminate music, lust-provoking attire, ridiculous love pranks, all of which savor only of sensuality, of raging abandoned of all good Christians. Dancing serves no laudable or pious end at all"
It is perhaps not surprising that his most famous work is Histrio-mastix (1633), over a thousand words arguing for the closure of the theatres. In it, Prynne attacked actresses, saying that that having actresses on stage would both lead them and their audience to whoredom
Sir Philip De Carteret (Continued).
by A.C. Saunders
On 22nd February, 1628, the Bailiff and Jurats were allowed to levy a tax of one so] on every pot of wine sold by retail so as to meet the expenses for the defence of the Island and to raise a fund by petty customs for the erection of a pier.
In May, 1628, notice was given to the fleet that news had been received that fifty to sixty sail of pataches and eight galleons were ready to come out of the ports of Biscay for a raid on the Channel Islands and captains were directed to stop any merchant vessels, and, if suitable, add them to the fleet.
On the 6th May, 1629, Sir John Peyton called attention to the friction between the troops and the Islanders, and stated that the latter refuse to billet the soldiers and use them badly.
The Government were very anxious at this time about the protection of the Channel Islands, and early in 1629, they appointed Lord Danby, Governor of Guernsey, to take charge of the military defences. Sir John Peyton was now a very old man, and although his son acted as his lieutenant, possibly he was not considered to have sufficient military qualifications for the post, so after his inspection of the troops in Jersey we find him, Lord Danby, writing from Castle Cornet " that he had been to Jersey and reviewed the trained bands numbering twelve hundred men and found them ill-armed and worse in order."
In 1630 we find Capt. Nathaniel Durell warning Lord Danby, that naval preparations were being made at Bordeaux and other ports for a raid and that French merchants were boasting that the French would soon capture the Channel Islands.
Evidently Sir Philip was empowered to go to London to try and obtain a supply of munitions and necessaries for the defence of the Island, for on the 2nd May, 1630, he writes to the Lords of the Admiralty asking that the " Convention " or two of the Whelps might be sent to Portsmouth to convoy him to Jersey as he understands that Dunkirkers and two French pinnaces are cruising about the Island and " he dare not put to sea in these dangerous times without a very good convoy, for it is to be feared that the enemy has intelligence of his voyage and will endeavour to carry him and the munitions into Dunkirk, as lately they have done where your petitioner was a long time imprisoned."
On 14th May, 1630, the Privy Council directed the Pied Cow ' with ordnance and proper equipments to be employed for guard and defence of the Channel Islands, and Sir Philip writes on the 3rd June that Captain Richard Plumleigh had taken him and his family on board at Cowes and landed them safely in Jersey.
Captain Francis Rainford had been appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey, and on 23rd June, 1630, he wrote to the Privy Council that the coast of Jersey was infested by small armed vessels of Biscay, and as they shelter themselves in shoal water he requests that some light vessels may be sent which can follow and capture them. He is not getting much assistance from the trained bands in the protection of the -Islands, as they refuse to comply with the regulations for watching the coast. He appears to have had considerable difficulty with the parish of St. Lawrence, so sending for the Constable he asked him why the regulations had not been complied with, but the Constable said that his parishioners were not bound to do any duty at the Tower, neither would they now begin.
Captain Rainford, upon this stubborn and mutinous reply, committed him to the Castle as an example to deter others. Evidently the result was not successful, for upon his confinement, most of his parishioners and all the Constables, and some Jurats, went to visit him as a martyr and one who had unjustly suffered for the maintenance of their privileges and liberty.
Captain Francis Rainford, the Lieut.-Governor, fully recognized the dangerous condition of the Island, liable as it was to attacks from Spaniards, Frenchman, and pirates, but the people objected to support his efforts, and even the States, although they fully realised the danger of attack, considered that the defence of St. Aubin's Fort should be undertaken, not by the people, but by the Governor, as in former times, when a Cannoneer was employed to defend the Tower. Evidently the action of the Lieut.-Governor had caused considerable unrest in the Island, and the people were ready with any excuse in order to avoid complying with his requests, and were roused to a mutinous state when he endeavoured to enforce his orders by threat or punishment.
Even Sir Philip de Carteret was ready to support the action of the people, and the friction between the two principal men in the Island did not tend towards that mutual support necessary in times of danger. Philip Pallot of Trinity was accused by certain merchants of Guernsey, that he had piloted certain French pataches which had captured several Guernsey and English merchant vessels. He was arrested by the Governor of Guernsey and sent to Jersey, but the evidence against him was not conclusive and he was set free. The Lieut.-Governor, however, was not satisfied, and he directed the officers of Trinity parish to arrest Pallot, which they did, but instead of bringing him before the Lieut. - Governor, the officers took Pallot before the Bailiff, who allowed him bail.
The Lieut.-Governor was very angry and issued a warrant to commit him to prison, but when the matter was submitted to the Council the Lord President decided that the case was a civil one and therefore came under the jurisdiction of the Bailiff.
On the 15th May, 1630, we have a curious instance of old Jersey customs. Hugh Le Marquess had made a contract to wed Catherine Masson, but evidently something went wrong, for Catherine no longer found favour in his sight, and he arranged to pay the sum of one hundred and forty pounds for expenses, etc., and as a proof that he owed the money, he promised to pay the sum " with his girdle," it being the custom in the Island " on a man making cession of his estate to come into the Market and tie his girdle to a post." Evidently Le Marquess thought that he had got out of the marriage so well that he wondered whether he could not get over the " girdle " difficulty by refusing to pay, and so Catherine's father went to the Privy Council for assistance.
Mr. Rudd had been sent to Jersey to assist and advise as to the fortification of Elizabeth Castle, and he had to remain in the Island for a considerable time as the seas were infested by Biscayan pirates. The fortifications progressed very slowly, and Sir Philip complains that the " slothfulness of the workmen and the backwardness of the labourers doth impose upon me intolerable pains and trouble." He also asks that he may be provided with the necessary funds to carry on the work.
On the 16th December, 1631, the Privy Council notified to the Jurats of Jersey that Sir Thomas Jermyn, Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, had been appointed Governor of the Island but that he could not take up residence there as he was detained by his duties in England. Captain Francis Rainsford, now Sir Francis, continued as Lieutenant-Governor, and the question of the defences of the Island still occupied his attention. The people were becoming very nervous about the dangers from the sea, and early in 1633 the people sent a petition to the Privy Council complaining that six or seven pataches of various nations, without commission, and living by piracy, infested the seas near Jersey and they ask their Lordships that sufficient vessels be sent for the protection of the Island.
In the same petition they request that the French Ambassador may be asked to request his Government to forbid these pirates to use the ports in Normandy and Brittany, and especially a little island named Chosye between St. Malo and the Islands.
We find that Sir Philip is becoming very unpopular among a certain section of the natives, and he requests the Council that action may be taken against a certain Fiott and his wife in order, that they may be restrained from their vexatious proceedings against him. He quotes as an example that in the year 1585 Andrew Harris of Guernsey was sent to the Marshalsea for using indecent words against
the Justices of Jersey.
Conditions in England were becoming very strained. James I. died in 1625 and Charles I. had ascended the throne. James had been King of England for over twenty years and during that period his Court had gradually fallen lower and lower in the estimation of public-spirited and thoughtful men. He had been partly the victim of circumstances. His father had been assassinated, and his mother beheaded, and the possession of his person had been the subject of bitter feuds between the rival parties in Scotland. Brought up in the narrowest form of Calvinism without love, and strictly secluded from the outside world, it is possible that his starved childhood may have induced him to hate the Presbyterian form of religion and to seek other friends when he became his own master.
Unfortunately the friends he made were worthless, and were men who simply sought to accumulate riches and power by the constant flattery of a somewhat unbalanced King. James was not without considerable ability and often made very wise sayings, but he lacked in judgment, and the flatterers by whom he was surrounded made him imagine that his person was sacred and the word of the King was law. The strictness of his religious training had turned his mind to the more ceremonial service of the Roman Catholic faith, and, although still a Protestant, he favoured the tendency towards greater ceremony in worship. The conduct of the Court and the Church had aroused the bitter feelings and contempt of the more thoughtful men of the land, who viewed with disgust the dishonourable actions of those who surrounded the monarch. Charles I. was a better man than his father and would have made a good King, had it not been for the influence of such men as Buckingham, Stratford and Laud.
The former had from poor circumstances become the richest and most powerful subject in the land, and he obtained such a hold over the King that, when the Parliament took courage and threatened to impeach the favourite, Charles told Buckingham that they would rise or fall together. Stratford was one of the most able and ambitious men of the day, and from opposing the Royal party, he became the power which endeavoured to obtain absolute sovereignty over the people. Laud, in his endeavour to make the Church more powerful, added to the discontent of the people, suffering as they were from many injustices which had arisen from the misuse of the Royal Warrant.
To add to the discontent, Charles and his friends tried to govern the country without the aid of Parliament, and carry out their wishes by means of forced loans and other unconstitutional. methods, with the result that when the King was compelled to call Parliament in 1628, the Commons presented their celebrated Petition of Right as vindication of their ancient liberty.
Then came Buckingham's assassination, but unfortunately the King had by now become obsessed with the " divine right " of Kings, and tried by fines and penalties to carry on the business of the land, whilst Laud, in his capacity of Archbishop of Canterbury, endeavoured to make the Established Church as near the Church of Rome as possible. Thus was created great discontent in the land, and, as each infringement of the rights and privileges of the people was made, the passions of the people were aroused against the Sovereign who, apart from the obsession that the King could do no wrong, was a man of few vices, a good father, a generous friend and a courteous and brave King. But alas this unfortunate obsession, encouraged as it was by the favourites around him, brought out the worst feature of his Scotch upbringing, and in trying to obtain what he wanted he often said one thing when he was determined in his own mind to do something else. He therefore lost the trust of the people and in 1640 you find the foreshadowing of the Civil War.
It was during these troublous times that William Prynne arrived in Jersey and was on the 17th of January, 1637, imprisoned in Mont Orgueil Castle, where he remained until the year 1641, when he was released by Act of Parliament. Prynne had suffered much from the independent spirit which permeated his writings against the tyranny of the age. With the loss of both ears, each cheek branded with the letters " S.L." (Seditious Libeller) and fined ten thousand pounds, his personality was such that when he came to Jersey he and Sir Philip de Carteret became great friends. Later on when the Lt.-Governor was in difficulties, Prynne was able to help him through his influence with the House of Commons.
It was a wonderful friendship for two men who were so utterly different. Prynne, an enthusiast, was always exposing some injustice or criticising the actions of those who disagreed with him. He objected to " health drinking," which he described in his pamphlets as " Healthes Sicknesse," but it was for his pamphlet against Laud that he was sent first to Lancaster, Carnarvon, and thence to Jersey as a prisoner for life.
Long afterwards he opposed Charles' execution and became so disgusted with the action of the Parliamentarians that he became a Royalist and eventually Charles II put him in charge of the records of the Tower in order to keep him busy and silent. We have spoken about the rule of King Charles and his idea that all powers in the land were his to do what he liked with, and, when we return to the study of Jersey history, we find that the methods of the King had not been lost on the chief personage of the Island, for by the year 1637 Sir Philip de Carteret had united in his person the offices of Lieut.-Governor, Bailiff, and Receiver-General. He appeared to make use of his powers to fill most of the chief appointments of the Island with his own relatives and retainers, and further he endeavoured to retain the reversion of these posts for members of his own family. No wonder he aroused considerable anger and opposition in the Island, and a party was formed against his rule who considered themselves unjustly treated.
His unpopularity had even become known across the water, for in June, 1629, Viscount Dorchester warned Sir Philip de Carteret about the unpopularity he was acquiring in his native Island. " I thank you for your last barrel, but your bribes will not cover your knaveries. I tell you that you have a trick to threaten those who come over as if you had all the power in your hands and you and your allies use the Kings' subjects as if they were your own. There are some who will prick a hole in your breeches." It was evident that accusations may have been made against him at headquarters -and .Lord Dorchester warns him that he may expect a journey to London but that he and the secretary " will do you the best service he can, and so will my Lord President Conway your noble friend as to the account you must give of the King's money, my Lord Treasurer has been informed that you have dispersed nothing of such great sums as it doth appear by many acts of your Court."
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