Philippe de Carteret (1650-1693)

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From A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey by George Balleine

Philippe de Carteret (1650-1693), Baronet, Seigneur of St Ouen, Bailiff.


The only son of Sir Philippe de Carteret, Seigneur of St Ouen, and Anne Dumaresq he was born in St Ouen's Manor on Christmas Day 1650. In 1671 he was created a Baronet.

In 1676 he married at St Mary's, Savoy, Elisabeth, daughter of Sir Edouard de Carteret of Trinity, Bailiff. She was then a child of 12. The marriage contract stipulated:

"On the day of the marriage Sir Edouard shall pay to Sir Philippe £1,000 sterling as part of the marriage settlement. The said Elisabeth shall immediately after the marriage return to her parents, and remain with them till she is 15 years old. Then Sir Edouard shall pay to Sir Philippe for a marriage portion the sum of £1,500 sterling, together with the £100 bequeathed to the said Elisabeth by Mrs Anne Skelton. If the said Elisabeth survive her husband, she shall receive one third of the revenue of the manor".

In 1674 he obtained a promise from the King that he should be the next Bailiff. In 1676 he was elected Jurat. Pirouet (quoted by Payne) says of him:

"He became a man very wise and prudent and of a handsome countenance, who ever behaved honourably, courteously, and justly, and made himself loved by all. His wealth was so great and his fame so conspicuous that he kept a coach with six horses, which he used both in Jersey and England. Wherever he went, his coach followed him".

He rebuilt the manor, and obtained letters patent permitting him to build a pier at Sark. On 5 August 1682 he was sworn in as Bailiff. The accession of James II (1685) created grave anxiety. He confirmed the privileges of the island, but made no secret of his desire to lead his subjects back to the Roman Church. This, the sturdy Protestantism of Jersey would never tolerate and its fear of Popery had been stimulated by the revocation of the Edict of Nantes and the arrival of a stream of Huguenot refugees.

"The King". writes Philippe Falle, who was a member of the States at this time, "had determined to bring in Popery in this island by a Popish garrison. He sent us early a Commander of that religion with a priest to prepare the way and Elizabeth Castle began to fill with soldiers of the same principles or of no principles at all, who would have served the purpose as well".

Samuel Pepys

When the King fled to France a new fear was felt. In 1687 de Carteret had warned Samuel Pepys, Secretary of the Admiralty, that the new naval harbour at Granville was a grave danger to Jersey. Now would the King's Catholic troops hand over the island to France?

"Those men", wrote Falle, "had Elizabeth Castle wholly in their keeping, and might think they could answer their Master's intontions no way better than by delivering it up to that Power into which he himself had fled for refuge. But it pleased God to Inspire our Magistrates with such wisdom and force of persuasion that in some conferences with the Commander they prevailed with him to admit the inhabitants to mount guard in the Castle in equal proportions with the garrison".

Thus the crisis was tided over, until William and Mary were on the throne. Then the States sent an Address of Congratulation declaring that, though their language was French, their hearts and swords were truly English, and entirely their Majesties'. Jersey's old loyalty to the House of Stuart was dead. De Carteret died on 23 October 1693, and was buried in St Ouen Church. His only son, Charles succeeded him as Seigneur, and later became Bailiff.

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