List of Bailiffs of Jersey

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Bailiffs of Jersey



Bailiffs of Jersey 1258 to present day


The exact sequence of Bailiffs in the 13th Century is open to considerable doubt. It is quite possible that some of the following did not hold that office, but some other appointment such as Warden of the Isles, or a subordinate to the Warden at the relevant time.

Although Drouet de Barentin is sometimes shown as the first of Jersey's Bailiffs, there were almost certainly others before him, because there are references in contemporary documents to "Philippe d'Aubigné's Bailiff" and the two d'Aubignés, uncle and nephew, held office as Warden of the Isles between 1212 and 1234. As early as 1201 instructions were issued to Pierre de Préaux by King John, naming him as Ballivus, the first recorded use of the name in relation to the Channel Islands. de Préaux is generally recognised as having been Lord of the Isles, but clearly different titles were used in this era for the person who was apointed by the Monarch 'in charge' of the islands.

Drouet de Barentin is not recorded in the office before 1258, but, as is shown in his biography, he was probably Warden at that time, but described in contemporary Latin documents as Ballivus. There are references in lists of Jersey Bailiffs produced by several historians to Philippe L'Evesque being the first who can be reliably stated to have held the position, from 1277. Sir Philip Bailhache, who held the office at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, frequently referred to L'Evesque as being the first recorded holder of his office.

Historian J A Messervy partly clarified and partly confused the situation in two major articles he wrote for the Annual Bulletins of La Société Jersiaise. The first appeared in the 23rd bulletin, published in 1898, and 13 years later he published a supplement. The initial article shows Philippe L'Evesque as the first Bailiff, from 1277 to 1289, indicating that he died about then. However, another Philippe Levesque is shown as Bailiff in 1309, but with a question mark.

By the time Messervy wrote the 1906 supplement the Assize Roll of 1309, one of the Channel Islands' most important historical documents, had been unearthed in the Public Record Office, translated and published, and that threw new light on holders of office in the late 13th and early 14th centuries. Messervy starts his list with Drouet de Barentin in about 1258, citing a reference to his having held the office 16 years before the Extente of 1274 was produced. Strangely, that document was one of the first to be translated and published by La Société and would have been available to Messervy in 1898.

What is not clear from the 1911 supplement is whether the information he published then contained solely additional information to that published in 1898, or whether there were any corrections. The Philippe Levesque who was shown with a question mark in the first version, is now still shown as Bailiff in 1309, but with the indication, based on the 1309 Assize Roll, that he took up his appointment at some time after the previous Assize in 1299.

Messervy does not indicate, and we still do not know, whether there was only one Philippe Levesque (however the surname was spelt) or whether the Philip L'Evesque who was Bailiff from 1277 did indeed die in 1289, and was followed ten years or so later by another Philippe Levesque. The main historian of the 20th century, the Rev George Balleine, does not name any Bailiff before Richard de St Martin (1367-68), and his major work History of the Island of Jersey published in 1950 and updated for La Société by Marguerite Syvret and Joan Stevens in 1981 has only sketchy references to the office before the 17th century.

This list combines information from that produced by Messervy in his two Bulletin articles with what limited further information has come to light in the past 100 years.

13th century

14th century

The list of Bailiffs and periods when they were in office is no clearer in the 14th century than in the 13th. From 1309-1331 it appears that the office was held in rotation by perhaps as many as 10 different Jurats, who may only have been appointed for the periods when Justiciers Itinérants visited the Island.

They were:

1309-1324 Philippe L'Evesque, already Bailiff in his own right until 1309; Guillaume Longynnour; Henri de St Martin; Guillaume Le Petit; Pierre Hugon (Uguon); Lucas de Espyard; Pierre de la Haye; and Philippe de Vincheleys (1324)

1324-1331 Galfrus de Hoga (Geoffrey de la Hougue), Pierre Hugon (1329), Nicolas Hasteyn, Philippe de Vincheleys, Mathieu Le Loreour and Pierre de la Haye

  • Colin Hasteyn, not included in the list of Jurats but shown in Messervy's 1898 article as Bailiff in 1315. However, in his 1911 article Messervy suggests that this might be the same person as Nicolas Hasteyn, and notes that he is also mentioned as Bailiff in documents of 1327, 1329 and 1331.
  • Richard de St Martin, not included in the list of Jurats but shown in Messervy's 1898 article as Bailiff in 1318. However, this may be the same person as Henry de St Martin

A list of Bailiffs in a 19th Century book A brief description and historical notices of the island of Jersey which otherwise corresponds with lists produced by earlier and subsequent historians, shows Aymon and Simon Stuckhart as Bailiffs at some time in the 13th century and Pierre Vigoure (1301) and John de Jersey (1307). These names have not been encountered elsewhere.

15th century

Messervy gives conflicting information about Bernard, de la Cour and Lempriere in his two articles. In 1898 he shows Jean Bernard as Bailiff from 1436-1442, preceded by Thomas de la Cour in 1435 and Jean Lempriere (1435-1436) but in 1911 he writes that Bernard was already Bailiff in 1432, without any further reference to de la Cour and Lempriere.

16th century

This period of Jersey's history is very confused because Helier de Carteret, appointed Bailiff by Governor Sir Hugh Vaughan when the latter fell out with Thomas Lempriere, also failed to get on with Vaughan and became embroiled in a dispute which was to last some 15 years in total, and lead to de Carteret's suspension from office on two occasions, for a total of eight years.

During these periods Vaughan continued to make his own appointments to replace de Carteret, ignoring the ruling by King Henry VII in 1486 that in future only the King could appoint and dismiss Bailiffs. Whether the appointments of substitutes (which were later ruled illegal) should be considered to be Bailiffs or Juge-délégués is a moot point, but they are generally recognised as Bailiffs or acting Bailiffs. Clement Lempriere continued as a Jurat during the period when he was standing in for de Carteret, which would suggest that his position was Juge-délégué, but as indicated in the articles on Jean Lempriere and Richard Mabon, their appointments seem to have been endorsed by the King and have carried all the powers and responsibilities of Bailiff.

17th century

18th century

19th century

20th century

21st century

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