Friday, 12 February 2016

Guide Book: St. Helier's and its Various Institutions – Part 1

The 1834 Guide Book now reaches St Helier, and how extraordinary it is compared to today!

As usual forget the consecration date of St Helier’s church, which is based on a known forgery. But look at the different churches there are. Of course, not only had the Methodist church split into various sects, they also had distinct and quite separate English speaking and French speaking congregations.

Notice the two Roman Catholic Churches in Hue Street and Castle Street, again one for English speaking congregations and one for French. And no St Thomas Church! That tall landmark building only opened its doors in 1885, well after the guide book was written.

In fact, there seems to be a flux of French people, whether locals, or people coming over to set up stalls to sell goods. It’s a world very different from our own.

On church practices, there are pews to rent, and if a stranger is buried out of town, a fee charged for each Parish they go through to get to their cemetery!

A good many institutions – the Prison, Hospital etc – seem to have depended on whoever was in charge making money out of prisoners or patients rather than receiving any remuneration from the States.

So read on, and enjoy a stroll through a lost world….

Guide Book: St. Helier's and its Various Institutions – Part 1

St. Helier: So named from the patron saint of Jersey, who is said to have been murdered by the Normans in one of their piratical excursions, is the principal town in the Island. It differs little from the majority of many sea-ports in England, unless in the predominance of foreign names to be observed on many sign-boards, and the groups of Frenchwomen, distinguished by their fantastic head-dress, who perambulate the streets to dispose of their merchandise.

The market, which for orderly arrangement and plenteous supply, is scarcely excelled in any quarter of His Majesty's dominions, is well worthy of a visit. A great many Norman women may be seen here, who come from Granville to dispose of their fowls, fish, eggs, fruit, and vegetables. Most of them, when seated at their stalls, are industriously employed at their needles, when not occupied serving their customers. They are generally hard-featured, and their grotesque head-dress, parti-coloured kerchiefs, and short, clumsily-plaited petticoats, give them an air not very congenial to an Englishman's taste. They are, however, clean, civil, and honourable in their traffic.

The town of St. Helier's, which is the principal of the Island, is finely situated in the Eastern corner of St. Aubin's bay. It lies open to the warm southern breezes, but is sheltered by the hills on the other points. The houses are solid buildings of brick and stone, and in the English style. Thirty or forty years since, many of them, even in the principal streets, were covered with thatch.

St. Helier's Church is the best in the Island; it was consecrated in 1341, and is of the Norman architecture; it is the only one which merits examination. There is a good organ in it, and several handsome monuments of marble. Worship in the morning and evening in the French language, and in the afternoon in the English.

St. Paul's Chapel, in New-Street, is a substantial edifice; it has a portico in the Doric style, the columns of which are of Jersey granite. It was opened for divine service in 1818, and will contain one thousand persons. The officiating minister is the Rev. Archdeacon Mant. The Episcopal service is performed in English at eleven in the morning, and half past two in the afternoon. Application for pews are to be made to Mr Baker, New-Street.

St. James' Chapel, St. James's-Street. This elegant church, in the gothic style, was opened on Sunday the first of November, 1829. The present officiating minister is the Rev. J. Currie. The Episcopal service is performed in English, at eleven in the morning, and half-past three in the afternoon. There are two hundred free sittings, but applications for pews are to be made of Mr. T. O. Lyte, Hill-Street.

Calvinist Chapel, Upper Halket-Place—officiating minister Rev. F. Perrot. Service in French at half past ten in the morning and half past six in the evening.

Zion Independent Chapel, Zion-Place—officiating minister, Rev. T. Strutt. Service in English at eleven in the morning and half-past six in the evening.

Albion Chapel, New-Street. English service for the Independents at eleven in the morning and half-past six in the evening—officiating minister Rev. T. Traveller. English service for the Baptists at three o'clock in the afternoon. Officiating minister Rev. T. Jarvis.

Salem Baptist Chapel, Ann-Street—officiating minister, Rev. J. Carre. Service in French, at half-past ten in the morning and half-past six in the evening.

Wesleyan Chapel, Peter-Street—Episcopal Service in English at eleven in the morning, and six in the evening.

Methodist Chapel, Don-Street. Service in French at half past ten in the morning, and half past six in the evening.

Primitive Methodists, Hemies—officiating Minister, Rev. Mr. Cousins. Service in English at eleven in the morning, and six in the evening.

English Roman Catholic Chapel, Hue-Street.—officiating Minister, Rev. Mr. Ryan. Service at eight and eleven in the morning, and three in the afternoon.

French Roman Catholic Chapel, Castle-Street—officiating Minister, Rev. M Gaudin. Service at eight and ten in the morning, and three in the afternoon.

Baptisms.—At the Town Church, children born in St. Helier's parish, are baptized on Sunday morning at nine o'clock, and on Wednesday and Friday before or after Service.

Marriages.—If by Banns, the fees are from five to ten shillings; by Licence, from ten shillings to five pounds, payable to the Dean. They are celebrated either at the Church or Residence of the parties, and the charges vary according to circumstances, and the hour and place of solemnization. Strangers are required to enter into a Bond, and Foreigners marrying subjects of His Majesty, must first obtain permission of the Lieut. Governor.

Burials.—There are three Burial grounds in the parish of St. Helier, under the jurisdiction of the Dean, but none belonging to Dissenters. Charges for interment are as follows: — Breaking the ground for a Stranger, one Pound—Dean's fee; rated inhabitants exempted. Officiating Clergyman, five shillings. Clerk, two shillings and sixpence. Sexton, two shillings and sixpence, at the Strangers' Ground, and at the New Ground, three shillings and four pence. Permission to erect a head stone, five shillings. Tomb stone from three to five pounds—Dean's fee.

The Minister, Clerk and Sexton usually go to the house to accompany the corpse, and when scarves, hat bands and gloves are given, they accept them, If Strangers of the Town are buried in the country, and the fees are paid in every parish through which the corpse passes.

Public Library.—This Library is situated in Library Place, at the top of Broad-Street, and was founded by a native of the Island, the Rev. Philip Falle, M. A. It has about five thousand volumes in it, which include those more recently presented by Dr. Dumaresq and a few other individuals. Many useful and valuable books are to be found amongst the number, particularly on theological subjects.

The States have lately determined on expending one hundred per annum, to enrich the collection by the addition of modern works, and by supplying works in those branches of Literature and Science in which it is most deficient. This sum, if judiciously applied, will, in course of a few years, render this Establishment of essential benefit to the Island.

The subscription is only five shillings per annum; no books are suffered to be removed from the Room, which is open three days in the week. The founder was chaplain to William the Third and has compiled the best history of the Isle which gave him birth. A house is provided for the Librarian; over the Library door on a stone tablet, is a Latin inscription translated as:

“In the year 1736, to the Glory' of Almighty God, and as a help to the study of Religion and useful Literature, Philip Falle, a native of this Island, almost eighty years of age, a canon of Durham, and formerly one of the Chaplains to His most Sacred Majesty, King William the Third, built this Library at his own expense, and enriched it with a liberal donation of books in the various arts and sciences.”

Royal Saloon Library.—This Establishment is spacious, and delightfully situated in the Royal Square. It has about ten thousand volumes of books, in the English and French Languages; it is the principal circulating Library in the Island, and is patronized by all the leading families of distinction.

Royal Saloon Reading Room, are the same premises as the above, and is the only public Reading Room in the Island. Its situation is unique; it is much frequented by the principal gentlemen of the town and country and by the visitors to the Island.

The following Papers and Publications may there be seen, viz. :— The Times, Morning Herald, Morning Chronicle, Morning Post, The Courier, Standard, The Globe, Lloyd's List, Prince's Price Current, The Observer, John Bull, Bell's Life in London, Examiner, Spectator, Naval and Military Gazette, The Hampshire Telegraph, The Plymouth Herald, Hampshire Advertiser.

French Papers, The Courier Francais, Le National, Le Moniteur du Commerce, et Le Journal des Debats. Monthly Publications.—Blackwood's Magazine, United Service Journal,

Monthly Magazine, New Monthly, Frazer's, Tait's Edinburgh, Metropolitan, Asiatic Journal, Court Magazine, Ladies, Zoological, Mirror, Olio, &c., Army List.

Quarterly.—Edinburgh Review, Quarterly Review, Westminster Review, and Navy List.

Royal Square.—This Square is beautifully paved, and is, without exception, the finest Promenade in Town. It contains the Statue of George The Second in a Roman Military Costume.

This was formerly the Market place, and here Major Pierson lost his life in his spirited defence of the Island in 1781.

Royal Court.—On one side of the Royal Square stands the Court House; it is a solid but plain structure, the only seat of Judicature in the Island, originally built in the year 1647, but much altered since that time.

The Royal Court hold their sittings here on the ground floor, to which they are summoned by the bell at the top of the building, in the Belfry, with the crown over it, belonging to the structure. On one side of the spacious room in which they assemble, is a full-length portrait of George the Third, by a native, of the name of Jean; and on the other side, a painting of General Conway, by Gainsborough, who, about half a century since, was Governor of the Island. The States of Jersey meet in a room above this; and the other apartments are used for different purposes, connected with the Government of the Island.

Public Baths.—These are situated in Bath-Street, near the general Post-office; they are kept by Mr. John Churchill. Hot and cold, salt and fresh water, as also shower baths, from seven in the morning till ten o'clock at night. The charges are extremely moderate, namely:—hot salt bath, two shillings; cold do., one shilling; fresh hot baths, one and sixpence, and shower baths, one shilling and sixpence.

Hospital.—This building, situated in Gloucester-Street, has been erected, at different periods, on the site of the old one, which became a temporary Barrack in 1783, and by some accident caught fire. The North wing has been added, through the medium of a grant from the late Charles Robin, Esq., a merchant of St. Aubin's.

This edifice includes in it, accommodation for upwards of a hundred and fifty persons. The apartments are large and airy, and the sleeping rooms are fitted up with iron bedsteads. The Establishment is supported by a fund raised by legacies, by a rate levied on all the parishes, and by contributions. The Superintendent has 'no salary, further than the profits which he can make by farming the inmates at four pence half-penny per diem a head, living rent free, having the use of a large garden, &c. There is a Chaplain appointed by the States, whose situation is worth about seventy pounds per annum.

Prison—Nicholas Babot, Gaoler.—The Prison is a handsome building, in an airy spot, at the West end of the Town. The cells for the male criminals are on the ground floor, and vaulted, each nine feet square, fourteen in height, has a grated window and an aperture in the door. A space under an arcade is allowed them for exercise; they have a common room with fire during the winter.

Half the upper story, with separate staircase, is for the female criminals, who have a private yard for exercise. The Debtors occupy the remaining half of the top floor; their rooms are from eleven to twelve feet square and well lighted, and an open yard in front of the building is for their exercise.

There is a Chapel in the centre of the upper floor, a constant supply of good water and every convenience. The criminals are never fettered during incarceration or trial, and may be visited by an order from the Sheriff. The Debtors on entering are allowed by their creditors nine pence three farthings a day, three pence of which is payable to the Governor, the remaining sixpence three farthings is for their support, and may be demanded every morning: on default of payment they are entitled to their discharge.

Debtors can have their liberty from sun-rise to sun-set, on giving bail to the Deputy, Viscount. Persons are allowed to visit them from sun-rise to sun-set. Prisoners are allowed an empty room, and can demand straw to lie on. The lower gate is opened every morning about seven o'clock, when the debtors are allowed to walk in the yard. Spirits and other accommodations are supplied by the Governor.

The Deputy Viscount is master of the Prison, and all complaints or abuses should be addressed to him. The Governor has no salary—his gainings are from what he can save out of the daily sum allowed him for feeding the prisoners.

The Market—Mr. Charles Huet, Constable.—The present Market-place is arranged in a particularly neat and convenient manner. Against three sides of the enclosure piazzas are erected, under which seats are allotted to those who sell eggs, butter, vegetables, &c.; sufficient room is left for the purchasers to be also under shelter.

The central buildings, which are on a similar plan, form two double rows of small shops occupied by the butchers, who are forbidden to expose their meat for sale elsewhere. The fourth side, in which are the principal entrances, fronts a wide and handsome street, called after the late Lieutenant Governor, Halkett-place, and is separated from it by a lofty iron railing; a small space is walled off, and appointed for the sale of fish.

In the immediate neighbourhood stands the Cattle Market, which is also well adapted to the purpose. Wednesdays and Saturdays are the two Market days, but the latter is the principal one; and the supply of meat, poultry, fruit, and every description of vegetable produce, is generally excellent and abundant. The butter is much esteemed; the beef, veal and pork are very good; and the mutton much better than it was a few years ago, a superior breed of sheep having been introduced into the Island. During the winter wild fowl and game brought in great plenty from France, and sold at a mod rate

Fish Market.—Most of the fish known in England are occasionally seen in the market; but the haddock, the smelt, and the muscle are rarely, if ever to be seen: nor is cod frequently to be had. The rocks around Jersey swarm with congers, some of which are six feet in length. There are also four species of the squalus genus, including the squatina, or angel fish. These fish, except the angel fish, abound in the market, and are in great demand by the lower class of inhabitants.

The mackerel season influences the price of meat. That fish is at times so low as sixpence per dozen. Soles and whitings are occasionally cheap in proportion. It is not uncommon for the fishermen to find, in their net pilchards, skates, mullets, turbots, John-a-dorris, and various kinds of flat fish:—John-a-dorris are sometimes sold at nine pence per pair, and fine turbot at ten pence per pound. The prawns, shrimps, escalopes, crabs and lobsters, to be had in the market, in their respective seasons, are of a most delicate and nutritious quality.

Large crabs are to be had for from sixpence to ten pence each, and a lobster of great size at the price that will not exceed two pence per pound. Oysters will fetch but two pence per dozen, and still be the finest in the world! The fish in most esteem is red mullet. Sea-carp is most abundant, and whiting-pollock by far the cheapest in proportion to its quality; say, sixpence for a fish of from six to nine pounds weight. At times, the fish market is abundantly supplied; so much so, that it often keeps down the price of meat, and it is of infinite benefit to the lower orders.

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