A history of the Amy family

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From The Islander, 1940, by Charles Langton

The family of Amy has been established in Grouville since the middle of the 15th century, and, in all probability, considerably earlier, because the name appears in 1338 when Jean Amy is mentioned among the defenders of Mont Orgueil against Admiral Behuchet.

In the 16th century they produced many ecclesiastics, several of whom were of particular interest, but unfortunately there is a certain amount of difficulty in differention between them, because they were contemporary, and bore similar Christian names.

Of these, Sire Raulin Amy left an interesting will, dated 1515, which has been translated into French, and printed in De la Croix's history.

Sire Jacques Amy, or his contempory namesake, appears as Regent of St Mannelier 1538, and Rector of St John 1554. The difficulty of distinguishing between the two is illustrated by his appearance as Rector of St Pierre-du-Bois Guernsey 1559, and his namesake was Dean of that island in 1547.

We know that one was elevated to the priesthood in 1519, and the other in 1525, but thereafter the succession of various appointments cannot be delegated to either, with any historical certainty.

But the Church was not an hereditary vocation, as Amy of Grouville appears consistently through the centuries as prominent parochial officers.

There were four main branches, and, in passing, it should perhaps be noted that the pedigree printed in the Armorial is erroneous, more especially during the period of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Amy of Catillon de Haut

Jean Amy of Catillon had three sons of whom the eldest is described as of Catillon de Haut.

Richard Amy and his wife Marie Grossier, therefore, appear as the actual ancestors of this branch.

His eldest son Clement, married twice, producing two families of whom the junior in turn founded Amy of Boulivot.

It is interesting to note that this Clement acquired the Chapel of Notre Dame, in 1576, from the Receveur General William Dyrdo. This chapel had originally been confiscated at the time of the Reformation, and sold by the commissioners of Queen Elizabeth to William Durham in 1563. Subsequently the property passed through John Poulet to William Dyrdo.

There is an entry in the Registry which records a lease to Jean Pinel Rector of Grouville, for life, of a house situated near the church to the west of the cemetery. It seems probable that this house eventually became the Rectory.

Clement Amy, by his first wife, a grand daughter of Richard Mallet, Seigneur de la Hague, had one son Francis, who was Constable of Grouville 1586 to 1587, and from 1608 to 1621. His progenity, however, became extinct in the middle of the 18th century. From the second marriage of Clement Amy was born a son Jean Amy, who moved to Boulivot, probably at the time of his marriage with Marie Lempriere, and founded Amy of Boulivot.

They also appear to have become extinct at the begining of the 18th century.

Amy of Catillon de Bas

Issue of the second son of Jean of Catillon. The houses of Catillon de Haut and de Bas were situated opposite each other on the main road.

It is quite possible that the Maison de Bas originally was called La Maison d'Aumont, which was inherited the family about 1500 through the marriage of Drowet Amy and Guillemette Aumont.

It is in the issue of this branch that the Armorial is chiefly at fault through confusion between the Constable, Francis Amy, son of Clement, of Catillon de Haut, with Francis Amy, son of Francis of Catillon de Bas. This branch produced several constables of Grouville and is still in existence.

Their pedigree is recorded in the Armorial under the name of Amy du Pied du Catillon.

Amy of Petit Catillon

Descendants of Nicolas Amy, who died circa 1538, and Fabienne De Gruchy. Sire Jacques Amy was a son of this Nicolas, but as previously stated, it is uncertain which particular one it was.

Helier Amy, grandson of Nicolas, had the unusual distinction of holding the offices of Centenier and Vingtenier at the same time. But unfortunately the dual office eventually led him into considerable trouble both with the Governor Antoine Poulet and the commune of Gorey.

Richard Amy, son of Helier in 1600 held property situated at la Haute, and la Basse Couture, but in the 17th century all the property was alienated on the dispersal of the branch to other parishes.

Richard Amy, born 1597, married Diane Conck, or Cook, and had two sons :—

  • Richard Amy of Gorey.
  • Francis Amy of St Martin

Amy of Gorey

Richard Amy seems to have moved to Gorey in 1668, 12 years after his marriage to Susanne Gourey in St Helier. His descendants continued in that district till 1758, when Jean Amy married Catherine Gallichan and moved to St Saviour

But in the next generation a more permanent migration to St Helier occured after the marriage of Jean Amy and Jeanne Romeril.

Amy of St Martin

Francis Amy, second son of Richard Amy and Diana Cook, inherited property from his wife Jeanne le Ray, and their son moved to Faldouet, St Martin where he founded the branch in that parish.

Amy de la Rue

Descendants of Antione Amy of Grouville through a son Jean Amy described as of La Rue de Grouville in 1531.

The road here mentioned led from the church to Pied du Catillon, and it appears more than probable that it was this road that gave the name to the Vingtaine.

Amy de la Rue alienated their heritages in the second half of the 17th century, because it is recorded, in 1688, that Helier De Carteret occupied, by right of his mother, daughter of Edward Jutize the inheritance of Jean Amy De la Rue.

The family, however, did not become extinct, but was continued by a junior line, who survived through the issue of Etienne Amy till the 18th century.

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