Charles II attends St Helier's Church

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Charles II attends
St Helier Church


Translation of account by diarist Jean Chevalier

His Highness the Prince of Wales, who had taken up his residence in Elizabeth Castle, came to town and made his first entry there on Sunday 26 April (1646), when he came to hear a sermon given by one of his Doctors in the Church of St Helier. Since his arrival in Jersey he had not left Elizabeth Castle, nor had he set foot on the Island. On leaving the castle to come to the town he was accompanied by the local gentlemen who went before him. Some 80 or 100 horsemen, alike from country and castle, accompanied him. Then there were some 250 or 300 musketeers of the country who came to guard him, with their colours unfurled and drums beating, and they met him at the entrance of the Islet and marched in order thence to the Church at the head of the Prince and his company.

The common people in countless numbers were collected there, especially women and girls; for they had come from all the 12 parishes of the island and had gone as far as the castle to await him. The sands were covered with them, so that the place looked like a great camp, and people were to be seen everywhere there around.

On arrival in the town, the whole market place was full of people, as were also the streets of the town, and they climbed on the walls of the cemetery and elsewhere. The Prince and his cavalcade passed among the people, who made walls on either side. The musketeers who marched in front of the Prince's company and suite, formed up round the cemetery, and the doors of the church were guarded lest too many people should enter the church. Otherwise the church would have been overfilled, although the sermon was in English, and would not have been understood by most of them. It would have been crowded out had order not been kept.

The Prince was accompanied by many noble lords who belonged to his suite. It was an English minister, a Doctor of Divinity, one of the Prince3's ministers, who preached. Later they came during the week to attend the service, and on the Sunday also. The Prince's Doctors preached each in his turn and the Prince, lords, knights and gentlemen attended with their followers. Before the Prince entered the chruch a place had been prepared for him. A chair was placed for the Prince and carpets were spread beneath his feet and all around him. All around the place was strewn with flowers and sweet-smelling herbs and the table before him was covered with roses and flowers.

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