Clement Perrot

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Clement Perrot


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Clement Perrot (1786-1849) was an Independent minister and journalist, born in St Helier in 1786


Huguenots

Among the Huguenots who had found refuge in Jersey about 1740 was a Madame Harivel, whom George Balleine describes in his Biographical Dictionary of Jersey as ‘widow of a St Quanten watchmaker’, but we have failed to find any place of this name (it was possibly St Quentin). She had six children, and one of her daughters, Jeanne Susanne, visited Cork, where she married Clement Perrot, son of another Huguenot exile.

She brought her husband to Jersey, where they opened a bakery in Hill Street. Their son, Francois, married Elizabeth Hooper in 1781. He and his wife both died in 1800, leaving seven children, Francois, Philippe, Clement, Pierre, George. Esther, and Elizabeth, to be brought up by their widowed grandmother, Jeanne Susanne.

She was a keen evangelist, who conducted religious meetings in farmhouses in various parishes, and she used to take the boys with her. Under her influence Francois and Clement both became Independent ministers. Clement went to Dr Bogue's Independent Theological Academy at Gosport, where his brother, Francois, had been trained; and in 1808 preached at the opening of his brother's chapel in Hallett Place. He remained in Jersey as his brother's assistant, taking charge of the work in the country districts. He was largely responsible for the building of the Independent Chapel at St John in 1810.

After the restoration of the French Monarchy in 1815 complaints arose about persecution of the protestants in Southern France. Perrot was sent there as an independent investigator, and his report led the British Government to intervene, and to secure for the Huguenots freedom of worship.

He then became principal of the Independent Theological College at Rotherham, Yorkshire, a post which he held for nearly 20 years, training large numbers of ministers, many of whom became famous.

Return to Jersey

In 1835 he returned to Jersey, became Minister of the chapel at St John, and took private pupils to train for the ministry. Independent ministers in those days were often keen politicians, and the Perrot brothers took a leading part in local politics as supporters of Pierre Le Sueur and the Rose Party.

In January 1845 Clement became editor of a new English paper, The Jersey Herald (the second paper with this name) at a salary of £2 a week. The object of the paper was twofold. On the one hand it was to be reformist in opposition to the Constitutionnel; but on the other it was to defend the Jersey constitution against the attacks of Abraham Le Cras Jersey News.

“When men without principle gain a miserable livelihood by printing with astounding impudence every calumny which malice can invent against the States, the Court, and the Police, and when leading journals of the metropolis in ignorance of their falsehood give these a wide circulation, the urgent necessity for a newspaper devoted to the defence of the laws and institutions of our country is felt by every good citizen".

A long series of letters, signed Caesariensis, which Perrot wrote for his paper on all sorts of subjects, historical, literary, topical, and political, attracted wide attention, and these were often cut out and preserved in scrapbooks. But the paper only lived two years. In 1848 Clement suceeded his brother, Francois, as Minister at Halkett Place, but died on 23 April 1849.

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