Jersey: Not quite British

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David Le Feuvre

Jersey: Not quite British is a social history of the island written by David Le Feuvre and published in 1993.

Farmer turned journalist

David was a farmer who turned to journalism and was a reporter and then sub-editor of the Jersey Evening Post. After his retirement, having intended originally to write his memories of his earlier life as a smallholder farmer, he decided because 'what was appearing on the page seemed more and more to be nothing but a disagreeable exercise in nostalgia and self-indulgence' to 'look beyond the narrow horizons of personal experience, and back into history itself for a broader view of things'.

Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson, who was a colleague of David Le Feuvre in the sub-editors room of the JEP in the 1970s, recalls:

"David was never a historian in the accepted sense, but he was one of the most knowledgeable people I had the pleasure to work with on the island's only newspaper, concerning the history of Jersey and, most importantly, of its people. His book, is sub-titled The rural history of a singular people, and is an unequalled and emotive history of an island, its culture and its people.
As the publisher's blurb on the back cover summarises, 'Centuries of independence coupled with a remoteness that discouraged outside influence meant that Jersey was able to develop its own laws, its own social orders, its own traditions, its own language. The inhabitants were neighter truly Norman, like their ancestors and closest neighbours, nor yet exactly British, even though they willingly owed allegiance to the British crown. The author outlines the fascinating events which helped to form the special character of the men and women who were Jersey's original inhabitants'."

The book tells of the great export industries of knitting and cider making, the growth in the demand worldwide for their famous Island breed of cattle, the development of the early potato trade and of the field-grown tomato. All of these brought an surprising degree of prosperity to the independent minded, hard-working Jersey smallholder and his family.

Jersey: Not quite British is still in print and available from Seaflower Books. We reproduce the following extracts from the book:

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