Hilary Marquand

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Hilary Marquand (1825 – 1872) was a Guernsey-born Master Mariner and shipowner. He wrote a memoir (his "Retrospect") which provides much insight into education, and the maritime trade of the island in the mid nineteenth century.

Early Life

Hilary (or Helier) Marquand was born on 29 October 1825 to David Marquand, and Marguerite, nee Thoume at La Brigade, in St Andrews parish. David Marquand was a farmer, and Hilary was the fourth son. Two of his brothers also went to sea, one (John) died on a voyage from Havana aged just 14, but Nicholas Thoume Marquand also went on to become a Master Mariner. Hilary Marquand was educated in Guernsey; his school days forming a significant part of his memoir.


After leaving school Marquand was initially sent to work in a lawyer's office. However he had set his heart on the sea. His parents were initially reluctant having already lost one son to the waves. However with the help of his father's brother (also called Hilary) he eventually persuaded them to let him make his first voyage. He joined the Nancy, a vessel part-owned by his uncle. The Nancy sailed to Havana, and he suffered terribly from sea sickness for the first few days. Despite a serious leak on the return across the Atlantic Nancy reached Trieste and discharged her cargo. From Trieste she headed to London, but it soon became apparent that the Master, Captain Le Cheminant was suffering from a mental illness, and the first mate Henry Cohu (who later married Hilary's sister) was obliged to take command.

After more voyages in Nancy, and a bout of yellow fever in Havana, Marquand moved on to serve in a number of vessels including Adelaide, and Duke of Gloucester. He was then a Mate under John David in the Swift. After David moved on to command Dispatch Marquand became the Master, and later a part owner of the Swift. In 1851 he married Louisa Blondel in the C√Ętel Church. She was the daughter of Abraham Blondel and Rachel Le Cheminant. It is at this point that the "Retrospect" ends.

After the Swift Marquand moved on to the Secret in which he made an 88 day passage to Australia, the schooner Jessie, and finally to Channel Queen a fully rigged ship, and one of the finest vessels ever built in Guernsey. She was built by Marquand and de la Mare for the Far Eastern trade. Hilary Marquand owned shares in these vessels, the latter two being managed by his fourth cousin John Marquand of John Marquand and Co.

He retired from the sea in 1867, and went into business with his friend John Martin in Cardiff.


Hilary Marquand died of smallpox in Cardiff on the 25 October 1872. The firm of Martin & Marquand continued after his death, and became a successful shipping concern


Marquand's descendant continued to live in Cardiff, and his grandson Hilary Adair Marquand became MP for Cardiff East in 1945, and later held a number of British Goverment posts. Hilary Adair Marquand's son David also became an MP, and his other son Richard was a successful film director with Return of the Jedi and Jagged Edge to his credit.


  • Hilary Marquand, Memoirs of a Victorian Master Mariner, Eric B. Marquand ed, Merton Priory Press, Cardiff 1996.(ISBN 1 898937 22 2)
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