Francois Le Breton

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Francois Le Breton (1759-1842) was one of a number of members of the family to be Dean of Jersey. He was the grandson of Dean Thomas Le Breton and his own grandson, William Corbet Le Breton, father of Lillie Langtry was later dean.

Early years

Francois was the fourth son of Thomas Le Breton, Seigneur of La Hague (for 20 years Constable of St Peter) and Alice Anley. Born in 1739, he entered Winchester College in 1753. He matriculated at Oxford from Jesus College in 1754 and entered Pembroke as a Morley Scholar in 1757. He obtained his BA in 1760 and MA in 1763.

During one of Dean Francois Payn's frequent absences from the island, Le Breton, his godson, acted as Curate-in-charge of St Mary, and in 1765 he succeeded him as Rector. In 1775 he was appointed Dean, and in 1777 became Rector of St Saviour.

In the political struggles of the time he first supported Jean Dumaresq and the Magots, and from 1779 to 1786 his name is found on all the anti-Lempriere petitions sent to the Privy Council. In 1779, when Charles Lempriere as Lieut-Bailiff refused to put a motion to the States that had been proposed and seconded, the Dean "with much warmth" moved that the States appoint a Judge Delegate to take Lempriere's place, so that business might proceed.

Changed views

But later he changed his views. In 1790 the Gazette called him a "champion of Charlotism". In the same year he complained to the Court that he had been assaulted by Philippe Dumaresq, one of the Magot leaders, who had seized him by the collar as he left his vestry.

Toward the end of his life the Church was disturbed by the rise of Methodism. He was more friendly to the new movement than most of his fellow Rectors. In 1794 he presented to the States the petition of the Methodist militiamen against Sunday drill, and in 1798 protested strongly against the States action in banishing all militiamen who refused to drill on Sunday.

He married Elizabeth Penrose, and had ten children, of whom Thomas became Bailiff, and Philip succeeded his father as Rector of St Saviour. Philip’s son William Corbet Le Breton was also Rector of St Saviour when he later became Dean.

Francois died in July 1802

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