November 1834: Wrecks and Wickedness

Detail from Cecila Montgomery's ink sketch Pier, Castle Cornet, Priaulx Library colelction

From the newspapers of November 1834. The illustration is a detail from Cecilia Montgomery's ink and gouache sketch, Pier, Castle Cornet, in the Library Collection.

The King versus Gosselin; The King versus Lefebvre and Le Cheminant (Oysters); Wreck of the Navarino off Alderney; Letter from the King of Sweden to Sir James Saumarez; Customs Officer Pulling versus Mauger; Wreck of the Buccleugh off Alderney (They used a handkerchief as a sail. O'Hara Baynes.); Loss of the Two Sisters off Rotterdam; Thomas Domaille, confectioner; Bradley & Robinson versus Almond and Rundell (Adjonction for defamation.); Isemonger's Guernsey Quadrilles; Sunday and National Schools (no funding: Rev. Laxon, Independent Chapel; Rev. Watts, Berthelot-Street School.); New Fire Engine; Controls on Hunting; Theatre Royal

The Star, Monday November 3 1834

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 1: The King versus Gosselin

Laurence Gosselin, a Frenchman, [son of Laurence of Cherbourg] was indicted at the suit of the Crown Officers for having, some time since, stolen a bed from a room, at St Saviour’s parish, [at the Douit, owned by Elias de la Rue] occupied by another Frenchman, [called Louis d’Orléans] which bed was afterwards sold to Mrs [Sarah] Le Roux, [of Cliff-Street]. The evidence was circumstantial but sufficiently conclusive to convict the prisoner of having been either the principal or an accomplice in the robbery. He was sentenced to receive one hundred lashes from the hands of the common hangman, and to be banished for six years from this bailiwick.

The first part of the sentence passed upon Gosselin, namely, the flogging, was carried into execution immediately on the Court’s rising,—and the public had, as usual, to witness the disgusting sight of a man naked from the loins upwards, walking from the Court-house, through the very centre of the town, on an market-day, to the whipping-post in the Market-place. [See the Comet of the 3rd for full details of the crime.]

See also the case of Françoise Archenaux, who attempted to poison her employers.

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The Comet, Monday November 3rd, 1834


Wm. Lefebvre was indicted at the suit of the CROWN LAWYERS for having, on the 2nd or 3rd of Sepember last, stolen a quantity of oysters belonging to Louis Cortire & Co., and which were deposited on the South Beach below the Pier-Guard. It was proved by the witnesses for the prosecution that the prisoner was seen near the wall of the burial-ground, Horn-Street, at one o’clock in the morning,—that there was a bag of oysters against the wall, and that he had claimed it as his own—that he had taken it away, and had subsequently eaten the oysters in company with James Le Cheminant and a girl of ill-fame. The corporal and a private who were that night at the guard-house, deposed that they saw a bag of oysters on the steps leading to the guard-house, the former adding that it was wet and the water was dripping from it. The Court, after hearing ADVOCATE MACCULLOCH for the defence and the CROWN LAWYERS for the prosecution, condemned the prisoner to one month’s solitary confinement in the public jail on bread and water.


James Le Cheminant, son of George, was indicted as above. He was in company with Lefebvre at the time, and the evidence being precisely of the same nature as the former case, the Court condemned him to the same punishment.

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One of the Vale pilot-boats arrived here on Friday morning last from Alderney, bringing a letter to Mr Peter Bredthafft, His Excellency’s Secretary, and one to Mr JOSEPH COLLINGS, the Russian Vice-Consul for the Channel Islands, stating that at about four o’clock on Wednesday morning a large Russian ship, of about 700 tons burthen, had ran on shore at a place called “la platte saline”, not far from the harbour of Braye. She is a fine vessel belonging to Odessa, and commanded by Captain SPIRO PELLEGRINS, bound to one of the islands in the Archipelago, in ballast, having a crew of twenty-six men, composed of Greeks, Russians, Italians, and four Englishmen. The vessel is bilged and fills with water every tide; the provisions and rigging have been saved, but the Captain does not seem disposed to do anything till he has consulted with Messrs Baring and Brothers, of London, as to what he is to do under the present circumstances: a quarter-part of the vessel belongs to him. The Supercargo, who arrived here Friday, also holds a portion of the vessel. The Navarino left London this week; is built with oak, and copper-fastened. Mr BARRY LE PATOUREL, ship-builder, sent off two men on Friday to ascertain the extent of damage sustained by the vessel.

The Star, November 3rd, 1834

A large Russian ship called the Navarino, of the burthen of 700 tons, bound from London to the Eastern archipelago, struck, on Wednesday, at four o’clock in the morning, on some rocks in the bay of Platte Saline, at Alderney. The crew composed of twenty-six men, Greeks, Russians, Italians, and four Englishmen, not only saved themselves, but nearly all the sails, yards, and spars of the vessel, together with their provisions. The vessel nearly gets dry at low water, and as she is not suppose to be greatly damaged, several shipwrights left this [island] for Alderney a few days since with a view to endeavour to repair her just sufficiently to make the passage to this island. [The weather was so bad that the ship eventually broke up.]

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The Star, Friday November 7th, 1834

Her Majesty’s steam-packet Ivanhoe, W. COMBEN, commander, which was due yesterday morning with the mail, arrived only this morning between 10 and 11 o’clock, bringing us London papers down to last Wednesday evening. Owing to the tempestuous state of the weather she did not leave Weymouth before 4 o’clock yesterday afternoon.

Our distinguished countryman, Admiral Lord DE SAUMAREZ, has recently received a communication from Count DE WETTERSTEFF, Swedish minister of State, informing him that his Majesty the King of Sweden had long ago resolved on presenting a full length portrait of his to the gallant admiral, as a testimony of his esteem for the signal services rendered by him to Sweden in the years 1810-1812, when his Lordship, the Sir JAMES SAUMAREZ, commanded the Baltic fleet, although circumstances had unfortunately prevented his forwarding it to its destination; but that His Majesty’s steamer Lightning, having lately gone to Stockholm, with M. DE DISBROWE, it had been shipped on board and was on its way to England, from whence it will be brought over to this island. The inscription on the portrait is stated to be as follows: - “Charles XIV. JOHN, to JAMES LORD SAUMAREZ, in the name of the people of Sweden.”

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The Comet, November 10th, 1834

The business transacted at the Royal Court on Saturday was not of much public importance. A man named Nicholas Mauger, of la Contrée Calais, parish of St Martin, was sued by JAMES PULLING, Esq., Principal Officer of his Majesty’s Customs in this island, and the CROWN OFFICERS adjoined, to show cause why he should not pay £100 fine for having had twenty-six chests of contraband tea seized in his premises on the 1st July last. The old man appeared at the bar of the Court with perfect non-chalance and pretended that he was ignorant that the tea was deposited in his barn. But the witnesses proved that the door of the place in which the contraband goods were found was fastened in such a peculiar manner, that no person, except they understood the secret, could have opened it; but Mrs Mauger knew all about the matter, and by pulling three strings she at once opened the door of the barn. The defendant had not employed an Advocate to defend his cause, and when taxed with his knowledge of the business, he said—'I know nothing about it.' The Court, however, found him guilty, and condemned him to pay the fine of £100.

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The Comet, Friday 14th November, 1834

On Thursday, the 6th November, [1834], at eight o'clock at night, the ketch Buccleugh, 136 tons burden, Joseph Gales master, from Denia, with a cargo of dry fruit, bound to London, struck on some rocks to the westward of Guernsey, and foundered. Just before the fatal accident occurred, they were going to try soundings. As soon as the vessel struck, the boat was launched overboard, and the captain and crew, consisting of six men, got into her for the preservation of their lives. The danger was so imminent, on account of the tempestuous state of the weather, that they were unable to save anything whatever, nor had the captain time to secure the ship's papers. They had but two oars in the boat, and with those scanty means they endeavoured to reach Guernsey, but could not, the men being quite exhausted. They then bore away before the wind with a pocket handkerchief serving as a sail, and, after being twenty-four hours in the fragile embarkation, they succeeded in reaching the eastern part of the island of Aldemey, a little to the north of Rat Island, about seven o'clock on Friday evening, having broken their oars, so that their safety may be considered almost miraculous.

The crew were found by the serjeant-major belonging to the garrison, in a very exhausted state,—some were bruised and cut by the rocks on which they landed, others were without shoes or scarcely any clothing to cover their bodies, not having had time to provide themselves therewith when the vessel struck. The only provision they had in the boat consisted of a few raisins and a bottle of rum. The serjeant-major who found them in the state already described, took the whole of them (with the exception of the mate, who was too weak to walk to town,) to Major Baynes, the commanding officer at Aldemey, about 9 o'clock at night, who very humanely rendered them every assistance in his power, and did his utmost to alleviate their sufferings. Captain Gales was the sole owner of the Buccleugh, and be does not know whether his brother had insured her. The crew are to be sent over to this island. [O’Hara Baynes. The office of Town Major of Alderney had been instituted in 1810.]

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Nautical magazine and journal of the Royal Naval Reserve, Volume 3, 1833

The crew, except the master and mate, of the brig Two Sisters, arrived at Guernsey on the 14th inst. [1834] The Two Sisters left for Rotterdam with a cargo of coffee, with which she had just arrived from Rio Janeiro. She had nearly reached her port, and had taken a pilot on board, when, about mid day, she struck on a sandbank on the Hinder, where the sea made a complete breach over her, and she settled so rapidly that the crew were compelled to take to their boat, without being able to save even their clothes. They were all saved except the pilot, who was washed overboard and drowned, just as they were leaving the vessel. In less than twenty minutes after they had left the vessel, she broke up, and went to pieces. We understand that both vessel and cargo were insured.

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The Comet Monday Nov 24, 1834

Royal Court – Saturday, Nov. 22, 1834


This was an action entered by the plaintiffs against the defendants for defamation of character. Mrs Almond having from 1st August to the 16th September last, grossly calumniated plaintiff’s wife. We forbear to state the accusation as it is too scandalous and disgraceful. This case has been pending since the 22nd September last, owing to the delays of the defendants, but in justice to Almond, it is proper to state that he is not so at fault as his wife.

The evidence adduced on behalf of the plaintiffs, and the character given to Mrs Bradley was so clear and positive, that the Court, after hearing counsel on both sides, sentenced Almond to pay a fine of £30 tournois to the plaintiffs, £3 tournois to his Majesty and to pay all costs, and moreover that Mrs Almond should beg pardon to Mrs Bradley and acknowledge her an honest and virtuous woman. The parties being at the bar, the Bailiff pronounced the sentence of the Court to them, when – Mrs Almond said, furiously, 'I can’t ask pardon to such a woman.' Almond.—'Then you must go to jail.' The Bailiff.—'Almond, tell your wife to beg Mrs Bradley’s pardon, and to acknowledge her a virtuous and honest woman, otherwise she must go to prison, for contempt of Court.'

Here Almond told his wife (who is deaf) what the Bailiff said.Mrs Almond (enraged), 'Well, I’ll submit to go to jail before I’ll ask pardon, I shall not do it.'

Mrs Almond’s mother and others tried to prevail on her to obey, but without success. After which, the Court, after taking advice from the Crown Officers, sent Mrs Almond to prison till Saturday next, when she is to re-appear to comply with the sentence, in default of which, the Court will give their verdict for contempt and disobedience.

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JUST PUBLISHED—An admired set of QUADRILLES, entitled the first set of the Guernsey Quadrilles, composed by Mrs ANTHONY ISEMONGER, and played by Weippert’s Band. To be had of Mr Davies; Mr Greenslade, and all Music and Booksellers and the Authoress. [The Library has a facsimile copy of The Second Part of the Celebrated Guernsey Quadrilles, with a Waltz, and The Sarnian March, by Mrs Anthony Isemonger, London, Price 4s., published by the Toucan Press. The Second Set of Quadrilles are: No. 1, Government House: No. 2, Saumarez: No. 3, Havilland Hall: No. 4, Castle Carey: No. 5, St George: No. 6, The Sea Nymph: No. 7, The Sarnian March. See also The Star of November 7th, 1833, where she is announcing the publication of a volume called Realities. Madame Isemonger was French-Canadian, and occupied herself teaching French. Her daughter was a piano teacher. [Hugo, G W J L, Guernsey as it used to be, 1933, p. 64.]

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TO CONFECTIONERS. Wanted, a JOURNEYMAN in the above business; constant employ can be depended upon, with good wages. All particulars can be known by applying to Thomas DOMAILLE, Confectioner, Le Boutillier’s Arcade, Guernsey. N.B. All letters must be post-paid. None need apply without a good recommendation.

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The Public are respectfully informed that the Rev. WILLIAM LAXON, has resumed, and intends to continue his ministerial duties in the English Independent Chapel, Clifton-Street, and that those persons who desire to take pews, or sittings, in the said Chapel, may be accommodated on applying at Mr William Angel’s, Burnt-Lane, on every day of the week from one till two o’clock.

The Comet, Monday November 17 1834

Yesterday two appropriate Sermons were preached at St James’ Church, by the Rev. I. W. Watts, on behalf of the Berthelot-Street INFANT SCHOOL; a collection was made at the close of each service, and both together amounted to £27, which is to be applied in liquidating the debt due by that institution. There are other public establishments in this island, like the Infant School, that require to be brought very prominently before the community in order to awaken persons from that seeming apathy hitherto manifested in this place as regards our local institutions. It is gratifying to find that proper care and attention are bestowed respecting the destitute condition of our fellow-creatures abroad, and that proper help is afforded; but there is too much reason to fear that most of our local institutions are partially forgotten in the excitement produced in favour of that which is of foreign growth; or there could not be that lamentable deficiency of active zeal, which is so often deplored by those who are at the head of those institutions. How are the national and Sunday Schools supported in this town? There are those who can answer this question much better than ourselves, but from all we have been able to gather on this subject those invaluable institutions are languishing for want of adequate support! Ought this to be the case in Guernsey?

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SIR, Allow me to beg of you to insert in your respectable Paper, an Extract of the 3rd and 4th Article of our Island Game Laws, in the hope, that it may casue the Country Constables, to prevent children and the lowest class of idle labourers, from daily running over my grounds, and constantly breaking down my fences.

I am, Sir, Your most obedient humble servant,


ARTICLE 3RD—All minors, under 16 years of age are forbidden to go sporting with any description of Gun, on pain of a fine at the discretion of the Court, which shall not exceed £20.

ARTICLE 4TH—Every stranger not paying rates, officers in Garrison bearing his Majesty’s Commission excepted, is forbidden to go sporting, or to go about the country with a Gun, unless he be accompanied by an inhabitant paying rates, who shall be responsible for the damage that may be cause by the said stranger, and also for the payment of all fines he may incur, on pain of a fine, at the discretion of the Court, not exceeding £20 sterling.

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The new fire Engine purchased by the Town Douzaine, is shipped on board the London Trader, Sarnia, and may be expected in a few days. It is of equal power with the one purchased by the same body some time since, so that in the event of a conflagration occurring in this place, we shall have two powerful fire engines at command to extinguish the flames.

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THEATRE ROYAL, GUERNSEY By Permission of the Royal Court

On WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 1834, will be acted, A popular Play with (by particular desire) the Nautical Drama of BLACK-EYED SUSAN. Mr Harvey respectfully begs to announce that on FRIDAY, 21st, will be performed, Sheridan’s Comedy of the 'Rivals,' with Foote’s Farce of the 'Mayor of Garret,' when the whole of the characters will be represented by GENTLEMEN AMATEURS, who have kindly consented to come forward on this occasion.

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