Clarke Constables of St Helier

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Frederick Clarke's West Park shipyard in the 1860s

Two Clarke families have been particularly prominent in Jersey over the past century and a half, but although the forename Frederick has featured strongly in both, the families are not connected.

Ship builder

Frederick Charles Clarke was the founder of Jersey's largest 19th century shipyard, which stretched along the shoreline in St Aubin's Bay from Kensington Place past West Park.

He was the son of Jean (or possibly John) Clarke, who probably came from England to Jersey, and married Susanne Bertram, the daughter of one of the parish's most important families, at Grouville Church in 1800.

Frederick Charles married Ann Margaret Gardener, daughter of John, in St Helier in 1842, and they had seven children. It is likely that he was the same Frederick Charles who first married Esther Susanne Valpy. She died in December 1841, at the age of 22, only days after the death of their first child, Adolphus Charles, who was ten months old. However, the records create a mystery which we have so far been unable to solve. The St Helier marriage register shows clearly that Frederick Charles and Esther Susanne were married in 1833, the burial record shows her age at her death as 22, which would have made her 14 at the time of their marriage.

Fred Clarke, the second of his name to be Constable of St Helier, as a young man

Webber Clarke

There is also something of a mystery about the Fred Webber Clarkes who, father and son, were Constable of St Helier in the second half of the 20th century.

The first was Fred Webber Clarke, who served for two years from 1956 until his death in 1958. His son, Fred Philip Webber Clarke, was Constable for nine years from 1983 to 1992.

The Webber in their names was not a forename but part of their surname, because Fred snr's father, Fred Richard Webber Clarke, was born in Jersey in 1883, the son of Fred Webber, of Devon, and Melvina Ann Mutton. It is not clear when or why the family adopted the Clarke surname.

C Le Masurier

The wine merchants business of C Le Masurier was founded in 1835, and by the time it was incorporated in 1911 it was in the ownership of the Clarke family. Successive Freds built it up into one of the islands largest businesses, but after the death of Fred PW Clarke the wine and spirits side of the business was sold off and the family concentrated on property development.

Today the company is active in Jersey and throughout the UK, and the family's wealth is said to exceed £500 million.

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