Jean de Veulle

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Sir Jean de Veulle - Bailiff of Jersey 1831-1848

The only Bailiff of Jersey known to have fought a duel, Jean de Veulle was born on 25 April 1799, the son of Greffier Jean de Veulle and Elisabeth Messervy, daughter of Lieut-Bailiff Nicolas Messervy.

He qualified as an Advocate and was admitted in 1819, but seldom practised. In 1827 he was elected Jurat without opposition, and two years later he married Anne Eliza Tindal, daughter of Thomas Tindal, Treasurer of Buckingham and niece of Lord Chief Justice Tindal. The family connection was to prove advantageous because when Thomas Le Breton resigned as Bailiff in 1831, Tinday secured the appointment for de Veulle, along with a knighthood. De Veulle and his wife had five sons and four daughters.

Although he was to hold the office of Bailiff for 17 years, Sir Jean was not really suited to it. He had been epileptic from his early years and did not really have the strength of character to stand up to the Advocates in his Court, nor even his own Jurats.

In 1832 he described a petition presented by Charles de la Garde, Colonel of the East Regiment of the Militia as "the works of a few restless agitators" and was challenged to a duel. He accepted the challenge, although duels were against the law, and shots were fired at Jardin d'Olivet, although neither man was injured. A few months later political leader Advocate Francois Godfray clashed with the Bailiff in the States over his report of a delegation to England and each accused the other of inviting a duel. Godfray was suspended from his role as Advocate and the Privy Council heard an appeal, reversing this decision but criticising both men.

Later that year de Veulle refused to appear as a witness in a case involving Godfray and the Lieut-Governor, Sir William Thornton and was imprisoned for contempt of court by his own Jurats.

By 1848 he was prepared to resign, but died of a fit at his father-in-law's house on 1 June and was buried at Aylesbury.

An obituary in the Chronique summed up the views of most:

"His disposition was upright, and his integrity beyond suspicion, but he had not enough energy or courage to punish or even to reprimand subordinates less scrupulous than himself".
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