Sir Edouard de Carteret - 2

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From A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey by George Balleine

Sir Edouard de Carteret (1630-98), Viscount and Bailiff.

The youngest of the seven sons of Sir Philippe de Carteret of Civil War fame and Anne Dowse, he was born in St Ouen's Manor about 1630.

Castle siege

In the first stage of the Civil War he was with his mother in Mont Orgueil during its siege by the Parliamentarians. In 1649, when Charles II was in Jersey, he was appointed Cup-bearer to the Duke of York, the King's brother, the future James II, then a lad of 16.

In 1650 he left the island with the Duke, and for two years formed part of the exiles' little Court, first at Paris, then at Brussels, then again at Paris. When in 1652 the young Duke joined the army of Turenne, de Carteret did not accompany him, and what he did during the next eight years is not known.

At the Restoration in 1660 he rejoined the Duke in London, and resumed his duties as Cup-bearer.

On 30 May 1663 he was granted by Letters Patent all the perquages in Jersey in acknowledgement of the services that he and his father had rendered to the King and his father. These were roads leading from the churches to the sea, down which criminals who had taken sanctuary could reach a boat unmolested.

"He made conveyances of the parcels thereof", wrote Poingdestre, "to those persons who had lands bordering thereon, and by that means quite razed and extinguished them". This statement is too sweeping. He did not sell all. He offered part of his St Helier perquage for the building of a cornmarket. He presented part of his St Peter perquage, which ran near St Aubin, to the parish of St Brelade "as a sign of the great affection that he had for that parish".

After his death his widow was still selling "the perquages which the King had given him". A large batch of these were bought by Sir Edouard's sister, Anne, widow of Dean Daniel Brevint, and from 1700 to 1706 her procureurs were busy selling them. Another batch was sold in 1713 by her grandchildren, Charlotte and Sara Hussey.

Though not a member of the States, Sir Edouard was often chosen to be their Deputy before the Privy Council. In December 1665 he went to ask for more arms for the Militia; he went again in September 1666 to seek sanction for a law to check the subdivision of estates.

On 30 May 1668 he was sworn in as Viscount, an office which occasionally had its exciting moments. Once, when "a lewd woman" was rescued from the police by soldiers "in that uproar your Majesty's Sheriff himself was in danger of being slain".


He still paid frequent visits to Whitehall to perform his Cup-bearer's duties. About this time he was knighted. In August 1668 he was still "Edouard De Carteret Esquire"; but in April 1671, when an Order in Council confirmed his right to appoint a Deputy-Viscount, when absent from the island, he was "Sir Edward De Carteret, Knight".

In 1673 he apparently accompanied the Duke of York to Dover, when he went to meet his bride, Mary of Modena, for James gave him the handsome suit which he wore, when the marriage was ratified before the Bishop of Oxford, and the saddle and bridle of his horse, "and he wore that suit", says an old Jersey chronicler, quoted by Payne, "at general reviews and on ceremonial occasions".

In 1675 he was still described as Cup-bearer to his Royal Highness", and in 1679 as "servant to the Duke of York".

In 1679 a battle was raging between the States and a new Governor, Sir John Lanier. The King had issued an Order confirming the island's privileges; but the Governor had persuaded the Council to suspend this, until he had time to discover what these privileges were. De Carteret had been partly responsible for his appointment.

"Sir Edward Carteret, Usher of the Black Rod and I (the two Sir Edouards were distant cousins, having had the same great-grandfather) went to all our friends, and represented that there was nobody so interested as we, that had our estates in the island, and that we thought him a very fit man to be our Governor, being reported a good soldier and one that understood French".

Call for duel

Now he went as Deputy to the Privy Council to protest against Lanier's action. This led to angry scenes at the Council meetings.

"Sir John Lanier's secretary told me that I was a pitiful fellow and a rascal. I complained to Sir John, but he did me no justice". This nearly led to a duel. "Sir John told me in my ear: 'You and I will decide this presently', and took me by the hand, and so into the court, where he told me: We will take a coach and go to Hyde Park'."

But the King heard what was afoot, and sent for Lanier, and the Lord Chamberlain ordered de Carteret in the King's name "to give no challenge nor to receive any". But De Carteret failed to prevent the Council from revising several points in the Order in Lanier's favour.

On their return to Jersey the feud continued. Lanier vetoed the payment of de Carteret's expenses by the States, and an appeal to the Council was needed before he could secure them. In 1678 a commission had been issued "to Sir Edward Carteret to be Lieutenant of a troop of horse to be raised in Jersey". This troop, of which Sir Edouard was now Captain, led the van in their sky-blue uniforms, whenever the Militia appeared on parade. Lanier now gave another troop this place of honour. In June 1682 he wrote:

"Some companies of the West Regiment were ready to mutiny for the youngest Captain, pretending only as having the name of Carteret to take place of an elder company, thinking themselves of a better family, contrary to discipline. Being set on by some of the chief officers of that name, they put themselves into a posture of disobedience, and, had I not been there myself, disorders might have followed".

In 1683 De Carteret resigned his office of Viscount. He evidently hoped to become a Jurat, for in 1684 he obtained an Order in Council that, if elected, he should sit next to the Seigneur of St Ouen. This ambition was, however, never gratified. In 1687 the Order was expanded to include his male descendants, but he had none. In 1689, after the Revolution and the flight of James II, Jurat Jean De La Cloche, Colonel of the East Regiment, circulated a paper accusing de Carteret, no doubt because of his long connection with the late King, of being a Papist, and of having urged him not to resist the French, if they landed. De Carteret prosecuted him for libel and, as he refused to submit to the Court, he was degraded from his Juratship.

Appointment as Bailiff

De La Cloche's charges evidently gained no credence, for when the Bailiff, Sir Philippe De Carteret, died in 1693, and his eldest son, Sir Charles, a boy of fourteen, was too young to succeed him, William III appointed Sir Edouard to hold the office of Bailiff, until Sir Charles should come of age. The office had now become almost hereditary in the De Carteret family.

Though he had a house in the Town (an Order in Council speaks of him as "Sir Edward de Carteret of St Helier”), he spent more and more of his time in London. He presided twice over the States in 1694, and then not again until July 1697. In 1698 he died, and was buried on 15 October in the Town Church.

In 1673 he had married Jeanne Herault, Dame de La Godeliere. She died in 1694. The same year he married Madeleine Durell, the 20-year-old daughter of Jean Durell, his Lieut—Bailiff. In his will he speaks of her as "my beloved Madeleine, my very dear companion and spouse", and leaves her all his personal estate in Jersey, England, or elsewhere, "in recognition of the tenderness, love, and affection that she has for me and I for her".

She survived her husband for 44r years. Her death was followed by a famous trial in which Sara Messervy, her companion, was charged with destroying her employer's will. Her monument with an amazing catalogue of her virtues can be seen in the Town Church. Sir Edouard had no children.

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