Thomas de Soulemont
Thomas de Soulemont, Dean of Jersey and French secretary to Henry VIII
In 1533 Thomas de Soulemont, eldest son of Jurat Pierre de Soulemont, of St Helier, and Marguerite Messervy, daughter of Jurat Guillaume became Rector of Grouville, and the following year he was appointed Dean. It is, however, unlikely that he ever lived in Jersey at the time, or after, these appointments were made. His three brothers, John, Nicolas and Thomas jnr all became Jurats. He is mentioned as Rector of St Martin de Grouville in a letter, dated 5 February 1533, of Pierre Vanne, Latin Secretary to King Henry VIII, and Collector and Ecclesiastical Receiver-General.
Thomas de Soulemont went to Oxford, and his education and knowledge of French undoubtedly secured for him the post of French secretary to Henry VIII in 1532. His Church appointments would have been intended to provide him with a source of income, Louis Hamptonne, Rector of St Lawrence, the vice-Dean, having to carry out his responsibilities on his behalf.
The only time de Soulement is known to have been involved in island affairs was when he wrote to the States demanding that in accordance with ancient rights, any case involving a cleric as plaintiff or defendant should be heard by the Ecclesiastical Court, not the Royal Court. It is doubtful that the States and Royal Court took any notice of his intervention.
His role in Henry's Court involved him in the highest matters of State. He was refused permission to accompany the En glish Ambassador to the Court of Charles V because Henry wanted him to be present at his meeting with Francis at Calais. In 1537 he became secretary to Thomas Cromwell and in 1540 he was appointed "Clerk of the Parliaments" with an annual income of £40. Many State papers of this period are in his hand, and others are inscribed "translated by Mr Soulemont out of French".
He also found time to pursue his interests as an historian, and is accredited with writing Select Antiquities relating to Britain and The Acts and Ghests of St Thomas of Canterbury, although neither book has survived.
De Soulemont's name seems to have presented his English colleagues with a problem because it found written variously as Solimont, Sentemount, Colemount, Sowlemount, Sulemount, Solyman, Soleman, Soloman, Soilyman, Suleman, Soulemo and Solme in State papers.
He died on 12 July 1541 and was buried in London.