De Carteret

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de Carteret family page
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This family, which originated on the nearby coast of Normandy, was undeniably the most important in Jersey over many centuries


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Lucy de Carteret

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de Carteret of Vinchelez de Bas
de Carteret tomb

Origin of Surname

The name originates from the town of Carteret on the west coast of Normandy's Cotentin peninsular, but how the town came to have this name is less certain. It appears to originate from the same pre-10th century Old French root as the surname 'de Chatelet', meaning 'one who lives by the fort', or from a place of the same or similar spelling.

An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import by William Arthur, published in New York in 1857, suggests that it is of Gaelic and Welsh origin and means the place or town of the castle.

Another researcher also suggests that name meant the dweller at the castle or fortified place, but adds that it was used as an occupational name for a carter, a transporter of goods, originally rendered in the Latin form carrum.

The name does not feature among the most numerous surnames in modern day Normandy.

Early records

The family was well established as one of the most important land owners in the Cotentin peninsular by 1000 AD and it moved to Jersey in the late 11th Century, and built St Ouen's Manor, from which their influence rapidly spread out across the whole island. They were to become by far its most important family for centuries and brought fame and infamy to Jersey the British Isles, Europe and eventually America.

It was Sir Renaud de Carteret (b 1065 in Carteret), the first of several Seigneurs of St Ouen to have that Christian name, who is credited with taking the parish of Saint Ouen by sword and building the manor.

His line can be traced back to his great-grandfather, Guillaume l'Oiseleur de Carteret, who was born in Carteret around 960.

The name appears in the Extente of 1274 and two de Carterets are listed in the Jersey Chantry Certificate of 1550.


Payne's Armorial of Jersey

Adequately to chronicle or minutely to describe the distinguished deeds of this race of heroes, which has contributed in almost every age to exalt the national character and compass the internal prosperity of its native island, would occupy a volume ; a brief sketch only of its members and their most conspicuous actions must, therefore, in a work like the present, suffice.

This ancient Norman and noble feudal house, which possessed the attributes of haute noblesse and chevalerie, carries back its authentic history by regal and other records to a period anterior to the Conquest, when it held a high position among the powerful vassals of Normandy, and in which duchy it possessed, from the most remote times, the Seigneuries of Carteret and Angeville, with others of less importance.

In the reign of John the fear of losing the Channel Islands, which had been so recently severed from the Duchy of Normandy, attained to such magnitude that those feudal lords who held possessions there and in Jersey were ordered, under the penalty of the escheat of their insular lauds, to abandon those in France and to pay homage to the English king ; and among those who postponed all views of interest to those of duty and honour, and remained immovably fixed in their allegiance to England, the Seigneur of Carteret and St Ouen was prominently and illustriously conspicuous. His Norman lands and lordships, far excelling his estates in Jersey, were forfeited, while the Seigneurs De Paynell, De Commendes, D'Anneville, De Fournet, D'Orglandes, and others who were bidden to repair to Jersey, disobeyed the injunction, and became vassals of France.

Before entering upon the lineage of the family, necessarily compressed into a narrow compass, it may be well to observe that, whether for the greatness and importance of the public benefits conferred on its native island by this energetic and loyal race, either in war, whilst defending it against the frequent and well-sustained attacks of the French, or in peace, in the vigorous and fearless support and administration of its laws and civil institutions, as its chief rulers, and for many generations its hereditary Baillies, it stood pre-eminently distinguished among its countrymen during several centuries for the exhibition of those great qualities which added lustre to its exalted rank; and finally, in reward of its unswerving fidelity and great services to the English crown, raised it, in its second branch in 1681, to the dignity of the peerage, and to offices of the highest public trust and honour in the mother country, whilst one of its distinguished later members was created a Knight of the Garter.

Three times has the island of Jersey been rescued by the valour and sagacity of members of this family from the dominion of the French, events of unequalled importance in its history, and which will be duly noticed in their proper order.

The name is derived from the lordship of Carteret, situated on the opposite coast of Normandy, between Cherbourg and Coutances. The priory of L'Ecq, in the parish of St Ouen, was founded by one of its early Seigneurs, and the family possessed the patronage of the Priory de I'Islet, in the parish of St Helier, and of that of St Michael, in the parish of St Brelade.

Their own parish was, and continues to be, divided into six cueillettes, or "gatherings", whilst the remaining eleven are portioned off in vingtaines, or districts of twenty houses, which difference is accounted for by the surmise that, at a remote period, the parish of St Ouen was entirely possessed by this family, who divided it in this manner to facilitate the collection of its rents and dues.

The lordship or Seigneurie of St Ouen takes precedence, as first, among the five fiefs haubert of the island, and thence is styled the Grand Fief Haubert. It is held in capite, and owes suite de cour, as it is termed in Norman feudal phraseology—that is, the declaration of homage to the sovereign, made in a formal manner tri-annually before the civil tribunal of the island, in common with several other fiefs ; knight's service; and the sum of nine livres of France as relief, whenever the cause for its payment occurs. In war time, its Seigneur owed anciently military service to the King at the castle of Mont Orgueil, with men-at-arms and horses at his own cost — "lui tiers, l’espace de deux parts de quarante jours" and being of garde noble, this Seigneurie fell into the King's charge and custody during the minority of its heir ; and at the death or sudden removal from the island of the Captain or Governor of Jersey, the Seigneurs of St Ouen, by their tenure, replaced him in that important command until a successor was named by the King.

The first of this family of whom connected record is given is Guy De Carteret or Carterai, who was Lord of the Barony of Carteret, in Normandy, circa AD 1000, and who, from his skill in the chase, was surnamed L'Oiseleur, or the Fowler. He had two sons, William and Godfrey.

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Family histories



Accuracy of information

We have been aware since they were posted that some of the information in the family trees below disagrees with information on the de Carteret family's Cercle de Carteret website. Our trees have been thoroughly researched over a long period by de Carteret descendants around the world and are believed to be as accurate as any family information stretching back over such a long period can be. We would ask anyone who believes any of the information in our descendancies to be inaccurate to leave a note with the details, on the discussion section of the page in question, so that any discrepancies can be investigated further. We have already updated some of the trees following the receipt of reliable information and are always happy to do so.

Further updates have been made during 2016, particularly in regard to the Vinchelez de Haut and Trinity branches. We continue to add and correct dates as and when time is available to research the 500-plus baptisms in the Jersey church registers.

There are more Jersey family trees in Jerripedia (over 2,400 at the end of April 2016) than anywhere else, and we take their accuracy very seriously. Hardly a week goes by when we are not adding new trees or editing existing ones. Anybody with any suggestions to make about alterations to the trees is invited to contact us by sending an email to editcontact@theislandwiki.org. Please use Jerripedia as the subject for your email.

Important marriages

It is the marriages between members of the de Carteret family and immigrants to Jersey from important families in Medieval Britain, that allows many islanders to trace their ancestry out of Jersey.

Variants

  • Carteray
  • Charteray
  • Carteres
  • Cartred
  • Katereck
  • Karteret
  • Quarteret

Family records

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Family trees



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Baptisms



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St Ouen's Church plaque commemorating Midshipman Philip de Carteret, killed at the Battle of Jutland in World War One


Great War service



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Family wills


Emigrant to Canada

Family properties

Family photographs

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Family businesses


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