Jean Falla's Eldership, 1688

This document was transcribed by Edith Carey and added to her own copy of the Pedigree of the Falla Family.

3 January 1688

Eléazar Le Marchant, guardian of the eldest son of the late Mr. Jean Falla, asserts on his behalf his eldership over the personalty and estate of his late father and grand-father. Firstly, concerning all the books, that each of the four other children should choose themselves a Bible or a Testament. Item: A silver beaker1 marked JR. Item: a wine goblet, marked JFL. Item: a silver spoon marked MH. Item: a silver fork2 with agate handle. Item: a pewter plate, a flat-bottomed porringer, a platter, a 'tumerci,3 a porringer, a large jug, quart, pint and half-pint pots, a chamber pot, a spoon, all made of pewter. Item: his father’s best clothes of both damask and linen, hat and shoes as well as his coat, boots, and spurs, and the standard his father used to carry which he himself actually owned as he had bought it with his own money, as is confirmed by the guardians, Mr. Nicolas and Mr. Jean Henry, Michel and Pierre Falla guardians of the other children of their mother, Laurence Henry. [From the French, original text below.]

The Pedigree of the Falla Family and other documents are in the Falla family files at the Library. (For another will from the same source, see that of Étienne Falla, who died in 1666). In the Pedigree Edith Carey notes that this was John Falla III of the Rocques Barrées, (1674-1738) 'Seneschal de la Cour de St Michel, Lieut. Col. Gsy militia. Married Marie Lihou, daughter of Thomas Lihou, of les Grands Moulins, Câtel (and of Marie de Garis, daughter of Nicholas, of 'Dessous L’Eglise,' eventual heiress of her brother, d. 1728).' Jean III had brothers Pierre of La Moye, b. 1677, who married Judith, daughter of John Le Patourel; James, who married Esther, daughter of Jean Henry; and Etienne, who married Perotine Henry, daughter of Thomas Henry; and a sister, Judith. Jean III was made Captain of the Vale company in 1706.

His eldership, or aînesse, is asserted in this document.

He was the son of Jean Falla II, who in 1673 married Laurence Henry in Sark. She was the daughter of Pierre Henry and Esther de Beaugy. Jean II's sister Judith Falla married Laurence's brother Jean Henry on the same day, also in Sark. Judith and Jean Henry died soon after and Laurence inherited her brother's property. After Jean's death Laurence, a wealthy heiress, married twice, and died some time between 1702, when she gave birth to her last child, and 1713, when the St Sampson's records begin. Her third husband, Nicolas de Jersey of Les Touillets, has the enjoyment of the Rocques Barrées until his death in 1731.

Jean Falla II had also a sister Susanne, b. 1645. He was a descendant of Rollin Falla, Vavasour of the Fief St Michel from 1503-1525, via Pierre Falla of La Lande, who died in 1632. Michel and Pierre Falla, the godfathers of Laurence's other children, are apparently the sons of a Michel Falla of Bordeaux, who married another Laurence Henry. They also are descended from Pierre de la Lande, and their brother James married Esther, daughter of John Henry, while their other brother Daniel (d. 1691) married Anne Henry.

Jean Falla' II's father, also Jean Falla, was born in 1610, and made Ensign of the Vale Company in 1663. He married Marie, daughter of John Cheshire, the son of William Cheshire and Judith Guille, daughter of George Guille of the Rohais. Jean Falla III then married Marthe Henry, and died in 1686.

This family is discussed in Collas, V., "Some Vale Houses and Families", Transactions of the Société Guernesiaise, XVII (1) 1960, pp. 60 ff.

A silver-plated tazza of 1565 with the arms and initials of Nicholas de Sausmarez (d. 1582)

1 Or possibly a tazza, a flat-bottomed cup with a foot, probably much more valuable than a beaker (although a tazza proper is usually described as a 'platte tasse,' or 'flat tazza'). The accompanying illustration of a magnificent tazza, now lost to us, is from an interesting article by Edith Carey, 'Silver plate for domestic purposes, used in Guernsey before the 18th century,' published in the Transactions of the Société Guernesiase, VIII (1917) pp. 55 ff., discussing these early wills. Books about Channel Islands silver and pewter in the Library include: Mayne, R.H., Old Channel Islands Silver: Its Makers and Marks: Jersey; Woolmer, S.C., Pewter of the Channel Islands: Edinburgh, John Bartholemew; Bois, C.J.C., An Introduction to Channel Islands Pewter: Jersey, Dingle and Nel; Mayne, R., Channel Islands Silver: Phillimore; Channel Islands Silver, Catalogue of a 1878 Exhibition at the Guernsey Museum; and Cohen, F., Silver in the Channel Islands: Jersey, 1996.

2 This was a rare thing. For further discussion of tableware of this period and other similar Guernsey wills see Edith Carey's article above and Cohen, F., Silver in the Channel Islands. Cohen remarks that the large number of silver wine goblets mentioned in these wills is due to the fact the Calvinist churchgoers of Guernsey were forced to attend frequent communions, to which the wealthy families of the island preferred to take their own cups, to avoid disease and demonstrate their status.

3 Edith Carey suggested this might refer to a type of candlestick. Other unusual terms include jutte, used here to describe a jug or pot; this was a term once used in St Malo as a measure for 60kg of salt! It can be found used as a term for a cider-jug in Métivier's poem La Chanson des prinseux: the author likes to see 'le fond d'la jutte.'

Original text:

M Eléazar Le Marchant tuteur du fils aîné de feu le Sieur Jean Falla & son aînesse sur le bien, meubles, & des successions de ses feu père et grand-père. 1er pour tous les livres, que chacun prenne sa Bible ou chacun son testament entre les quatre autres enfants. Item: une tasse d’argent marquée 'J. R.'. Item: Une coupe à vin, marquée 'J.F.L.'. Item un culier d’argent marquée 'M.H.' Item: une fourchette d’argent à monté d’agate. Item: un plat d’estain, une plate écuelle, une assiette, un 'tumerci' (sic.? luminaire), une escuelle, un pot ou jutte, un quarte, un pinte, une demie pinte, un pot de chambre, une cuiller, le tout d’estain. Item: Le meilleur habillement de son père tant de damasc que de linge, chapeau et soulliers avec son manteau, des botes et espérons, et l’enseigne que son père portoit laquelle lui appartenoit en propre comme ayant l’acheté de son argent, ainsi qu’il est dit par les tuteurs, les Sieurs Nicolas et Jean Henry, Michel et Pierre Falla tuteurs des autres enfants de Laurence Henry leur mère.