De Carteret family history

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De Carteret family history from The Islander (late 1930s), by Charles Langton

In addition to providing a long list of Bailiffs, Governors and Jurats, the de Carterets have, at one time or another, been Seigneurs of practically every fief.

Their activities have been so interwoven with the life of the island since the 12th century that to adequately write their history it would be necessary to incorporate the whole of the military, civil and constitutional history of Jersey.

But who is the senior male representative of this very distinguished family? This is a question of great genealogical interest, but very difficult to prove conclusively.

As a preliminary start it is necessary to go back to the beginning of the 16th century and examine the descendants from Philip de Carteret and Margaret Harliston.

According to the Armorial they had 22 sons, but whether that is accurate or not does not mater, as it only appears necessary to consider the senior three:

  • Philip de Carteret, eldest son, died young without issue
  • Descendants of Edward de Carteret of St Ouen and Mary Sarre
  • Richard de Carteret of St Ouen

Edward de Carteret of St Ouen

Edward de Carteret succeeded to the Fief Haubert of St Ouen, which had been in the possession of the family since 1125 or earlier.

The fief continued in unbroken succession until the beginningof the 18th century when Sir Charles de Carteret, Bailiff, died without male issue. The Manor thereafter passed through Le Maistre to the family of Mallet of Grouville, who assumed the additional surname of de Carteret in the latter part of the 19th century.

Sir Charles’ death in 1715 followed that of his cousin Philip de Carteret, Seigneur of Rosel in 1711, and so this line became extinct.

It is therefore necessary to revert back to the younger children of Philip de Carteret, Seigneur of St Ouen and Sark, and Rachel Poulett his iwfe, who were representatives of the third generation from Mary Sarre.

The Armorial states that there were three sons of this marriage, but of these nothing is known of the two, named Amice and Gedeon, other than bare mention of them in that pedigree.

Elias de Carteret, the remaining one, produced in his turn four sons by his wife Elizabeth Dumaresq. From these

  • The descendants of Sir George de Carteret, Governor and Bailiff, continued until they became extinct at the death of the 2nd Earl of Granville in 1775
  • Philip de Carteret, Bailiff, was father of the Rev Elias de Carteret, Rector of Coates, Gloucester and Poole, Keynes, Wiltshire. Of hisissue nothing is at present known, except that he had a son Elias, born in 1675 and another one named Philip in 1686.

There may quite possibly have been additional children and equally possibly there may be descendants of this line still surviving somewhere in England.

  • Reginald de Carteret
  • Thomas de Carteret

The position of these last two is parallel, with the previous occasion already mentioned, of just two names recorded in the Armorial pedigree without any supporting data or confirmation.

So the seniority in the first place would seem to rest in the descendants of the Rector of Coates. Although this contingency exisits, it is, nevertheless, curious that nothing further has been recorded about them in the family archive.

The obvious alternate suggestion under these circumstances is that they did not survive and that search must be continued collaterally.

In such a case it would be necessary to revert back to the second generation from Mary Sarre and consider the two junior sons of Helier de Carteret.

  • William de Carteret. He is another rather mysterious individual appearing in the official pedigree, but is not quite so nebulous as the four previous ones quoted, because he is definitely mentioned as being a tenant of land on the Queen’s Fief in 1574.
  • Amice de Carteret, Seigneur of Rosel, Bailiff and Lieut-Governor of Guernsey, who, by his marriage with Catherine Lempriere, became, ‘’jure uxoris’’ Seigneur of Trinity at the beginning of the 17th century.

From their issue two new lines were founded:

  • De Carterets of Rozel, who became extinct in the male line on the death of Philip de Carteret in 1711
  • De Carterets of Trinity. This line continued till 1664 when the manor devolved on an heiress Mary de Carteret, who married her cousin Charles de Carteret, of the branch of Vinchelez de Haut.

This appears to complete the survey of the descendants of the second son of the original Philip de Carteret and Margaret Harliston.

Of the six possible lines from which present-day seniority could be claimed, four appear only as names in the Armorial without any supporting evidence to prove their original existence; one appears just as a tenant of land, and so really is not very much less nebulous, and the sixth might conceivably have founded a branch of de Carteret in England, but is more likely to have quietly passed into extinction.

If conclusive proof were obtained that all these six lines had definitely failed, it would be necessary to start again from the very beginning and consider the descendants of the third son of the original Philip de Carteret and Margaret Harliston.

Richard de Carteret of Vinchelez de Haut

He is said to have been born about 1475 and was founder of de Carteret of Vinchelez de Haut, Vinchelez de Bas, La Hague and La Hougue.Of his three sons:

  • The descendants of Nicolas de Carteret Seigneur of Vinchelez de Haut were still living in the 19th century. Although the fief was sold about 1826, there was a son, John Richard Harliston de Carteret born 1823 who may have carried on this line.
  • The descendants of Amice de Carteret, Seigneur of Vinchelez de Bas, became extinct at the death, in 1859, of Charles Montgomery de Carteret
  • The descendants of Francis de Carteret, Seigneur of La Hague, and Judith Le Febure was carried on through Charles de Carteret who eventually became, ‘’jure uxoris’’ Seigneur of Trinity.

He, however, had four elder brothers of whom Philip de Carteret, Governor of New Jersey, is the only one known to have died ‘’sine prole’’.

There were other branches of de Carteret even more remotely connected with the main branch:

  • De Carteret of Grouville appear to have become extinct in 1776 on the death of George de Carteret, Constable of Grouville
  • De Carteret of St Ouen: a branch that spread over several parishes of the Island and was founded by Pierre de Carteret, Constable of St Ouen 1535-37. Some of the survivors, then resident in the parish of St Brelade, appear to have been still in existence in the middle of the 18th century, but the remainder seem to have passed away similarly to the other descendants of their more senior cousins. 
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