History of Guerdain family in Jersey

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A history of the Guerdain family
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This was the first family history written by the Rev J A Messervy to be published in the Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise. It appeared in the 1897 bulletin and has been translated from the original French by Mike Bisson. The article was a sign of things to come with the writer disputing content in Payne's Armorial of Jersey

Guerdain family page


The few lines that the Armorial of Jersey devotes to this family contain several errors: for example the Guerdains were not established in Jersey in the 17th century; already at the end of the 15th century they are found in Trinity. It is also incorrect to say that, during the Civil War, they sided with the King. On the contrary, they were partisans devoted to Parliament and one of them became a member of that assembly. If the Royalists chose the house of Denis Guerdain at Trinity to mint coins, it was because the owners had been fugitives and their goods confiscated for the king.

We have little to add to the remarks about the Le Guerdain family published in the 18th Bulletin:

Michiel le Guerdain was a neighbour of Denys Blancpied. He lived in the next house, which now belongs to Francois Charles Le Sueur, through his wife, and which is still called La Guerdainerie. He married Marie Stoccal on 15 April 1600 (St Saviour Parish registry) and was Sénéchal du Roi and Constable of Trinity (1629-31). His grandfather Michel Guerdain had been Rector of Trinity from 1559 to 1566. We find the following in Hoskins's Charles II in the Channel Islands (vol i, p416): "In 1646 a house was hired in Trinity Parish from one Michael le Guerdain, which was speedily fitted up with furnaces for fusing the precious metals, and with presses and dies for striking and stamping coin". The last representative of this family in the parish of Trinity, Denis Guerdain, was Constable from 1740 to 1742. The name died out in the island towards the end of the last century in the person of his niece, Elizabeth, daughter of Aaron Guerdain, and wife of Philippe de Carteret of Mont à l'Abbé.

When Cromwell, through a coup d'etat without precedent in the history of Jersey, named 12 Jurats, Aaron and Denis Guerdain were among those elected, but neither wanted to take the oath. The first spent little time in Jersey; the second was a doctor and was strongly pressured to allow himself to be sworn as Magistrate, but in vain.

Note finally that in the 16th and 17th centuries there was often confusion between the names Guerdain and Le Goupil. Several members of the latter family were called Le Goupil dit Guerdain, or more simply Guerdain.

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