Jehan Hue

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Jehan Hue, who died in 1508, was Rector of St Saviour and founder of St Mannelier's Grammar School.

Although he is often credited with founding the school, it appears that this may not have happened until nearly 20 years after he gave the land on which the school would be built. But the idea was certainly his, having recognised the lack of educational opportunity in the island in the 15th century.

Family

The Hues were a St Mary family, mentioned as holding land in that parish in the Extente of 1331. Early in the 15th century Jean Hue of St Mary married a wife from St Saviour, who brought him a field in that parish. This field in time descended to his second son, Jehan who, after training in the Diocesan Clergy School at Coutances, was ordained in St Lawrence Church in 1460, and in 1461 was put in charge of St Saviour.

His actual title seems to have been rather indefinite. The Vicar-General of the Diocese describes him as 'Rector and Cure or rather Perpetual Curate' (Rector et Curtains seu Vicarius Perpetuus).

He was evidently a man of business-like habits. In his first year he compiled a register, which remains the most detailed picture we possess of Church life of the period. It gives full particulars of the Rector's income, which lands paid tithes and which owed one or two cabots of corn a year; full details of all benefactions left to the poor, and of the Church's income.

Five houses in the parish were responsible for supplying wax for the church candles, eight for supplying corn to make the pain beni, eleven for supplying wine for the Mass. It gives the income and rules of the four fraternities, the Clerks of St Saviour, the Clerks of St Katherine, the Clerks of St Nicholas' Feast in Winter and those of his Feast in Summer.

Benefactions

Every member absent from the Fraternity Mass was fined two pots of good wine. Every sister had to provide a capon for the community supper. It gives the names of everyone buried in the church and what benefactions they had left for the privilege. Later on he added the benefactions made in his own time.

Richard le Viellard gave the church an image of St Sebastian. Madame Philippe de Carteret left two cabots of wheat rente to maintain the candle before the Crucifix. The mother of Alinor Poingdestre left one cabot of rente to maintain the candle before our Lady of Pity.

Hue made benefactions of his own. In 1480 he gave one cabotel of rente to provide pain beni for the Feast of the Transfiguration. In 1495 he gave nine cabots of rente to provide an Obit every 27 November for the souls of this parents. For this he left detailed instructions. On the previous day, the Cure, a Chaplain, and the Cousteur were to recite the Commendation. On the day itself three masses were to be sung, a Mass of the Virgin, a Mass of the Holy Spirit, and a Mass for the Dead by five Priests and a choir of young children.

By his will be left to his own church a pair of black damask vestments and a silver chalice worth forty crowns of gold. To each of the other churches in the island he left a silver groat, to the chapels in his own parish and to the Chapels of St Maur, Ste Marie de Grouville, Notre Dame des Pas, St Brelade, and Ste Marie de Rozel two sterlings, and to St. Katherine's Chapel a silver groat. He left his books to a fellow priest, Nicolas Dolbel, and he directed his executors to divide the rest of his property among the poor. But the benefaction by which he is best remembered is his foundation of St Mannelier's Grammar School. Near the field he had inherited from his mother stood an old chapel dedicated to St Magloire, locally known as St Mannelier.

All the documents connected with this gift have been preserved. First, a letter (7 September 1477) from Sir Richard Harliston, the Governor, to the Dean, Bailiff, and Jurats, stating that Hue had called his attention to the fact that the island schools were of little value for lack of good masters and suitable premises, and that he had offered to build a house in a field near the chapel of St Manely, which had a fine situation, good water, was approached by good roads, and was central for the six eastern parishes, in which a Master could live rent free and have the field as his endowment. If the island would accept this offer, and petition the King to free it from the Law of Mortmain, the Governor would support their request.

Next came a fetter from Guille Hamptonne, the Lieut-Bailiff, saying that the Royal Court had accepted the gift. By this time Hue had expanded it, offering to build an additional room for the Master to live in, and to set aside a sum to free the property from all seigneurial dues.

The school was to be entirely free, even for boarders, and the Master, if a priest, must say a weekly mass in the chapel for the King, the Governor, Hue's parents, and all future benefactors.

In February 1478, at a Synod at St John, the Dean gave his written approval to the scheme, adding that the Master and scholars must sing mass in the chapel on all festivals, and that the Master must help the Cure of St Saviour on Sundays.

Two years later came a formal ratification of the gift from the Vicar-General of Coutances, and in June 1481 the Bishop of Coutances sent a pastoral exhorting all the faithful in the island to see that the buildings were kept in good repair, and granting 20 days remission of penance to all who would help in this work.

We get one or two other glimpses of Hue at work. In 1481 he was appointed by the parishioners one of the trustees of the Hotel Dieu, an almshouse for the poor which stood to the north of the church.

The parish priest in those days was also the parish lawyer. A contract of 1481 describes him as 'Cure of St Saviour and Procureur and Attorney-General of the said parish'. In 1502 we find him drawing up a marriage contract between Philippe Le Fayvre and Tomasse Pirouet.

But, whenever we see him, he is always engaged in his parish work. He lived in exciting times. In the year of his appointment the French conquered the island, and ruled it for seven years. When they were expelled, Harliston the Governor supported the Yorkists, and was besieged in Mont Orgueil.

Baker, the next Governor, was in constant conflict with the people. But no trace of these troubles appears in any of the good Cure's writings. His sole interest seems to have been the care of his church and parish. He died probably in 1508, for in February 1509 his successor was appointed to St Saviour 'vacant through the death of Sire Hue'.

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