Patriarche family history

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This is a translation of the article by the Rev J A Messervy which was first published in the 1916 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise

The Patriarche family is among those who, coming from France, England or elsewhere, at a more or less late day, soon acquired the rights of citizenship in Jersey and became allied with many of the leading families of the island, filled the most honorable charges in their adopted country.

First arrival

The first member of the family of whom we have found any trace in Jersey is David Patriarche, or Patriache, who took up his residence on our island about 1610, a date when mention is made of him for the first time in the Rolls of the Royal Court.

A deed of 1636 reveals that he was a 'merchant and citizen of the middle class of the City of Rouen'. About 1615 he married a Jerseywoman, Susanne Le Vavasseur dit Durel, who survived him. She purchased, in 1638, land known as the Blondel homestaed, situated at St Helier and being part of the Prieur feudal estate.

From an inheritance deed of 1673 we learn that this property adjoined that of Jean Durel, feudal lord of Payne and Collette des Augres. This refers to the property located on what was formerly known as Rue Durell, now, very likely part of New Street, towards King Street.

Municipal affairs

The Patriarche family soon played an important part in the municipal affairs of its adopted parish, and three of its members became Constables of St Helier.In addition it gave the island four Jurats; they were Philippe Patriarche, David Patriarche senior and junior and Guillaume Patriarche. Brief biographical details on each of these follow:

Philippe Patriarche was Constable of St Helier for five years (1712-1717). In 1725, with Cyrus Brohier, he undertook on behalf of the States, the building of St Helier Harbour pier.

Four Jurats

Sworn in as Jurat on 5 August 1728 he took office at a very trying moment, while rival factions were waging unrelenting warfare. The economic troubles over the currency had broken out in 1730 and the role which Philippe Patriarche played in this struggle, on behalf of the people, brought about his dismissal as Jurat, along with four others.

However, the Jersey people expressed their support for the dismissed Jurats by shortly afterwards electing their eldest sons.

At the election of 1735 David Patriarche, son of Philippe, was among those elected. However, owing to the opposition of Attorney-General Jean Le Hardy and others, the Court refused to administer the oath of office. They appealed to the Privy Council which, by order signed 21 July 1737, ordered the Royal Court of Jersey to swear them in as Jurats.

The third Jurat of the name was David Patriarche, son of his predecessor. By a strange coincidence, he, too, was elected after political troubles - the riots of 1770 over a tax on sales. Elected on 29 December 1770, he and two colleagues, all three sworn in on 5 January 1771, the candidates of the people's party, were the targest for the scorn of the Lieut-Bailiff and other Jurats (see Daniel Messervy's journal).

The fourth member of this family to be elected Jurat was William Patriarche. After serving as Constable of St Helier for three years, he was sworn in as Jurat on 19 January 1789. However, in 1794 he petitioned His Majesty to relieve him of his duties owing to ill health, which request was granted by Order in Council of 41 January 1795 and ratified in Jersey on 7 March.

Nevertheless he continued to discharge his duties as Colonel of St Helier's Battalion and he fulfilled his military duties with great zeal and ability, proof of which is the tribute paid to him by the Rev R Haynes in his book A Brief Description of the Island of Jersey about 1830.

In May 1781 William Patriarche, then Captain of the Militia, was one of the witnesses at the Court Martial in London of Lieut-Governor Moise Corbet.

In 1783 he was captain of the Light Company of the South Regiment under Jean Thomas Durell as Colonel.

Shipowner and merchant

William Patriarche was a shipowner and merchant and in 1780 he equipped a Corsaire called 'The Fox' which he loaned to the States for the island's defence. The Fox was lost with all its equipment and Mr Patriarche claimed from the States the purchase price of the ship, which including equipment cost a total of 2605 Livres. It was only in 1783 after several fruitless efforts, that he succeeded in having this sum reimbursed.

It can be seen in the accompanying family tree that this family gave several officers to the English Royal Navy, especially at the time of the wars with Napoleon.

Family properties

There follows several notes relating to different properties which the Patriarches owned in St Helier and other properties.

  • 1718 Houses of Richard Patriarche and Jean Le Gallais, situated on Mont de la VIlle, on the Fief de la Fosse. The house of Mr Patriarche seems to have passed in 1768 to Elizabeth Patriarche, wife of Nicolas Messervy, and maternal grandmother of Sir Jean de Veulle, Bailiff
  • In 1779 Franocis Journeaux was owner of certain houses on beahfl of Jeanne Thérèse Pradié, his wife, daughter and sole heir of Jacques Pradié, having the right from Edouard Patriarche, son of Philippe, to the said properties situated in St Helier on Fief de la Fosse. Jean Seaton, who gave his name to Seaton Place and La Seatonnerie, built a house very close by in 1779. In a list of houses on the Market Place in 1779 were included those of Pierre Patriarche and Guillaume Patriarche.
  • In 1804 Guillaume Patriarche (former Jurat) owned a house and land in Vingtaine de la Vallée, St Lawrence, on the Fief du Roi.
  • In 1908 Edouard Dupre and his wife Marie Patriarche had the rights of Jean Dolbel, son of Daniel, to the lands of Menage d'Allain, or Gros Puits, which Dolbel had acquired from Elizabeth Bertam, through the administrator of Robert Carteret Le Geyt and his wife Anne Dumaresq, heiress of Jean DUmaresq of St Saviour.
  • In 1816 James Bolton had possession of a house on the Fief du Prieur in St Helier, of Philippe Thoreau, son of Jean, by right from David Patriarche. He was also owner of a house having belonged to the former and which, in 1816, belonged to the heirs of Jean Mourant.

Family arms

The Arms of the Patriarches were described in the Armorial with those of Jean La Cloche, who descended from this family.

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