Sir Edouard de Carteret - 1

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From A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey by George Balleine

Sir Edouard de Carteret (1620-1683)was Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod and Bailiff of Jersey.

He was the younger son of Lieut-Bailiff Josue De Carteret and Jeanne Herault daughter of Edouard, Rector of St Clement. He was born in Trinity Manor on 17 February 1620.

Civil War

During the Civil War in June 1649 he went with Sir George Carteret to Paris to arrange for the King's visit to Jersey. He was one of the defenders of Elizabeth Castle when it surrendered in 1651. He then shared the King's exile.

The Patent appointing him Bailiff states:

”He has constantly served and followed our person in foreign landss".

This meant nine years aimless drifting from Paris to Colognee, Bruges, Brussels, Brittany, the Spanish frontier, back again to Brussels. In August 1654 he is mentioned as one of the members of the King's Household who were to receive board wages out of the 72,000 guilders allowed by the King of France. At the Restoration in 1660 he obtained a position at Court. In 1665 he is described as “Knight, one of our Gentlemen Ushers in Ordinary and Daily Waiter".

On 25 November 1665 he was sworn in as Bailiff, the first of six non-resident De Carteret Bailiffs, whose English engagements left little time for their Jersey duties. Under them the office of Lieut-Bailiff assumed a new importance, for Lieut-Bailiffss now performed all the Bailiff's functions.

Sir Edouard's Lieutenants were Jean Pipon, Jean Poingdestre then Philippe Le Geyt. For eleven years (1668-79) Sir Edouard did not once preside over the States. In 1675 he is mentioned as Keeper of the Little Park, Windsor. In 1676 he became Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, a title derived from his ebony staff surmounted by a gold lion. His duty now was to attend the King, when he went to the House of Lords, to maintain order in the House, and arrest recalcitrant peers, and to summon the Commons to hear the King's speech and his assent to their bills. Moreover, as Usher to the Order of the Garter, he had to keep the door at all meetings of the Chapter.

In 1679 a constitutional crisis brought him back to Jersey. When appointed Bailiff in 1665, one of his first acts had been to call the King's attention to the danger of a French invasion. In response Sir Thomas Morgan had been sent as Governor, a fine soldier, but a testy old martinet with no respect whatever for civil officials. He told the Attorney-General that he "had been like to lay him by the heels", and during a sitting of the Court he threatened the Constable of St Martin with his cane, shouting: "By God, Sirrah, I shall rub your nose".

Petition to King

After much friction the States at last petitioned the King against him and in July 1679 secured an Order in Council granting all that they asked for, and stating that "no Governor shall disturb the inhabitants in the peaceable possession of their privileges".

But Morgan had died in April. The new Governor,Sir John Lanier, who owed his appointment largely to de Carteret's influence at Court, protested that this Order would "much impayre the authoritie of the Governor", and secured its suspension till the States should produce a list of their privileges for his consideration. De Carteret realized that this required his personal attention. He spent the next nine months in Jersey. A new deputation was sent to the Council, but it could not prevent a revision of the Order, much in Lanier's favour.

Sir Edouard was still Bailiff in March 1682, when he protested successfully before the Council against the stopping of work on St Aubin pier, but later in the year he resigned in favour of his son-in-law, Sir Philippe De Carteret of St Ouen, the husband of his daughter Elizabeth. On 18 February 1683 he died while on a visit to St Ouen's Manor.

The St Lawrence Church Register declares:

"He was buried with the pomp and splendour that his dignity deserved".

Tradition says that all arrangements had been made to bury him in St. Ouen's Church, but, as the procession was about to start, a terrific thunderstorm frightened the six horses that drew the hearse, and they could not be reined in, till they stopped of their own accord at the gate of Trinity Church. The mourners who had followed this mad stampede took this as a sign that he wished to be buried in his native parish.

The coffin was taken to the Manor, while a new grave was dug beside his family pew, and the funeral was finished by torch-light. We have found no contemporary evidence for the bolting horses, but it is a fact that he was buried in Trinity Church, where the finest mural monument in the island proclaims in Latin that "no juster man ever lived on earth or one more loving to a friend".

He married Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Johnson, Alderman of London, and had three children, Elizabeth, born 30 December 1663, and baptized in St Martin-in-the-fields, who married Sir Philippe De Carteret, Charles, and Edward, born 1665, who died when seven years old, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

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