One of the island's earliest records
A small and very faded document has been found amongst the archives of Saint Ouen's Manor. It is an Act of the Court of the Fief du Prieur de Saint Clement. The date is not quite clear, it is thought to be 1378 but 1388 or 1384 are possibilities. The earliest known Jersey document of a feudal nature is that of 1363 published in the Cartulaire.
Text of the document
The transcription is now almost clear and complete but the meaning of the content remains somewhat mysterious and, as a result, the translation which follows is a tentative rather than a definitive interpretation.
- "Esplaes aup(ri)our desaint clement tenus leiour de lundi p(ro)ch(ai)n enpres lafest saint barnabe apostre seco(m)p(ar)urent pear) deuant no(u)s Jehan desaint martin senescal dudit lieu Cest assau( oir) damnycholas le lerour & p(ier)res morin En lap(re)sence de p(ier)res le pipet & Guillot ber(t)ran coagitour & menour dune apelee las age (?) apelez a ce lesque(1)z damnycholas & p(ier)res Recognurent(?) pear) deuant no(u)s avoir o(u)y laco(m)pte finablement Entre ledit pipet & coagitour a cause(?) de tout Ie temps que Ie dit pipet sest melly des b(ie)ns de la d(it)e sage(?) tant t(er)res com(m)e chateile(?) ainsie q(ue) ledit pipet deme(u)re quite En v( e )rs ledit coagitour p( ou)r tout letemps passey pear) troys ans que il co(n)fessa de-¬-tret") co---(?) cour po(u)r quoy no(u)s auant dit Senescal les co(n)dempnasmes tenir les choses dessus dit(e)s sanz James aler En cont(re) apres Ie Recort des ditz auditours Entesmoings de quelez choses aces p(re)sentes lettres avons mins n(ot)re p(rop)re seel F(ai)t & donne lan de grace mil ccclxxviij (? ccclxxxviij) ledit Jour deuant dit."
- "At the court of the priory of Saint Clement held on the Monday next following the feast of Saint Bernaby the Apostle there appeared before us Jehan de Saint Martin, Judge, in the aforesaid place; that is to say dam'nycholas le lereur and pierres morin in the presence of Pierres le pipet, guardian of a female person called La Sage, and of Guillot bertran, his assistant - who was called before the court. The said nycholas and pierres acknowledged before us having heard the final account between the said pipet, guardian, and the assistant for all the time that the said pipet had been in charge of the lands and chattels belonging to the said La Sage and thus the said pipet is acquitted of any liability toward the assistant for all the three years past as he admitted (? before the court), therefore, we, the aforesaid Judge, order them to observe those things stated above and never to act contrary to them or against the record of those present in witness of them. To these present letters we have attached our own seal, given in the year of grace 1378 on the day aforesaid".
As the illustration above shows, this seal is unlike anything seen before. The text of the document proves that it was the senechal's seal, presumably the seal of his office, as it is not like that of the de Saint Martin family. English and Norman authorities have failed to recognise it and we would be grateful for information from members.