Christmas 1607: what fun!

From the Acts of the Guernsey Colloquy, a document of exceptional local importance in the Library Collection. The Gathering of Ministers and Elders gives its judgment.

Ordinary Colloquy which was convoked at St Pierre Port, December 25 1607, but, which was, owing to the indisposition of His Honour the Lieutenant, postponed until the following Wednesday. The Lieutenant was nonetheless still unable to attend, being prevented by illness. The following are the names of those who did attend:

For the Castle, Minister—Monsieur Thomas Brawdley; No Elder
For the Town, Minister—Excused owing to illness; Elder, Jehannet Bodain
For St Sampson, No Minister; Elders—Thomas du Pre; Rolin Hue
For the Vale, No minister; Elders—Rolin Falla; Gilles Le Patourel
For the Castel, Minister—Monsieur Pierre Painsec; Elder, Jean de Jerzey
For St Andrew, ditto; No Elder
For St Saviour, Minister—Monsieur Jean Perchard; Elder, Monsieur Leonard Blondel
For St Pierre, ditto; No Elder
For Torteval, ditto; Elder, James Gallienne
For the Forest, Minister—Monsieur Dominique Sicard; Elder, Pierre Falaize
For St Martin, ditto; No Elder

In addition, the presence of Mr Thomas Milet, Senior, was required; item M. Simon Hearne.
Monsieur Sicard moderator, in place of the Scribe.

1. The Company was informed by Monsieur Sicard that Perot Colleton had finally given in to the warnings and remonstrances of his Consistory, but that his wife [Avice de Moulpied] remained totally obdurate. The Colloquy was of the opinion that the woman should be given one more warning and should she remain unwilling to submit to her duty, she should be completely excommunicated and cut off from the Church, following the procedure which had already begun the previous two Sundays [see the Ecclesiastical Discipline for details of the process of excommunication].

2. The Elders and Constables of St Sampson and the Vale are exhorted to request the Jurats to make their best efforts to resolve the matter of Jean Robert and Pierre Osmond, to enable them to appear at the next Colloquy and thus to be discharged.

3. As St Saviour’s Consistory is unable to persuade Collas Mahault to give satisfactory answer to the long-standing charge he is facing, they should perforce speak to the said Mahault again, so that the orders of the previous Colloquy may be enforced.

4. Collas de Garis des Rouvais, in that he has shown himself to be irreconcilable and Rebellious towards his whole Consistory [i.e. local parish authorities], and even towards this present assembly, before which he has refused to appear in person, will be suspended and publicly debarred from the Supper, and be given notice that he must attend the next Colloquy to explain himself.

5. Discussions should be held with Monsieur the Lieutenant-Governor about the means to provide the college (grande école) with a teacher, since Mr Simon Hearne has notified us that he is going to resign, in order to serve as pastor to the Church in Sark, now that Monsieur our Governor has given him permission.

6. Mr Thomas Milet, Junior, has given four or five public sermons in the Churches of St Sampson and the Vale, and is now approved and greatly desired by the said Churches, as the four aforementioned Elders have testified. The Company, having without hesitation approved both his personal life and his doctrine, and having also heard the letter of reference provided for him by Monsieur Lucas Trelcat, pastor and professor at Leyde, have ordered unanimously that Sieur Milet should be fully established as pastor in the said Churches of St Sampson and the Vale, providing this meets with the full approval of Monsieur the Governor. And Mr Sicard has been deputised to lay hands upon him next Sunday, as per the Ecclesiastical Discipline of the island.

7. Pierre Osmond remains suspended from the Supper, until his matter has been more fully investigated, and until he has given the Church full satisfaction. And Jean Robert, together with the woman he went off and married secretly in England, must publicly admit their wrongdoing on Sunday. In addition Michelle Chivret, who is suspected of having committed adultery with Pierre de la Tour (who has been dead these three months) will remain suspended from the Supper, until sufficient proof and evidence of her chastity shall be provided.

Jersey had its own Minute Book, which covered activities of the Colloquy from 1577-1614. Only one copy was thought to exist, in Cambridge University Library. However, in the late 1970s it was discovered that the Rector of St Peter's in Jersey also possessed a copy, made in 1907-8 by the Reverend Francis de Gruchy. A discussion of this Minute Book, its contents and history, is given in Bisson, S. W., 'The Minute Book of the Jersey Colloquy, 1577-1614', in Annual Bulletin of the Société Jersiaise, 1979, pp. 310 ff. A copy of the Minute Book has recently been discovered in the Priaulx Library.