What's for hunting in 1610?
In 1610 Lord George Carew replaced the late Sir Thomas Leighton as Governor of Guernsey. Upon being called almost immediately back to England he left instructions for Amias De Carteret, his Lieutenant-Governor. This is an extract from a letter he wrote to De Carteret, dated 9th August 1610, at Castle Cornet, taken from Tupper's Chronicles of Castle Cornet, 1849.
I do pray you to oversee the keeper of the isle of Erme, that no wilful or negligent waste be made of the deer, pheasants, or conies there.1 And of the deer and pheasants in your discretion, kill what you please; being confident that you will endeavour their preservation and increase as much as myself.
For the provision of your table, I do give you out of Erme (for so long as you are my lieutenant) after the rate of two hundred couples of conies per annum. I do likewise give you, for the provision of your own table, carps2 without any certain limitation, praying you to favour the pond, as that the increase may not be decayed.
I also desire you to be careful that the breed of swans, brought into the island by Sir Thomas Leighton, and cherished by him, may not be destroyed. Of these yearly you may take for your own use as many as you please, and unto John de Quetteville,3 what you may spare, I pray you to bestow upon him; your moderation in both I am sure will be such as the game will be maintained.
My predecessors, the governors, have ever accustomed to be careful that none in the country should keep greyhounds to destroy the hares, nor shoot at fowl, without their license, which laudable custom I pray you observe, wherein I do not wish you to restrain any man of quality, but the baser people,4 whose time spent in labour is proper to their calling. And, in like manner, not to permit any man to take partridges, of which game this island is almost destitute.5
An early portrait possibly of Eléazar le Marchant and his wife out hunting hares from the Guernsey Museum collection is available on the BBC Your Paintings website.
1 In her book, The Channel Islands, pp. 277-8, Edith Carey notes the presence of game on Herm and gives some of the evidence for its use in Lord Hatton's time.
2 For carp, see What's on the menu in 1681? There is a letter from Abraham Carey to Lord Hatton, dated 23rd February 1681, in which he says he has
delivered to Captain Cotton of the dragoons [the captain of the sloop that served the island] the best goods I can find in the island as well as 20 very fine live carp, to be delivered to you or as it pleases you to your brother Capt. Charles Hatton.
BM MSS Records of the Carey Family, p. 20, in the Library.
3 The governor's receiver [Tupper].
4 This attitude towards hunting remained in currency amongst the Guernsey upper classes; see the many Ordinances of the Royal Court referring to hunting.
5 Tupper's note: 'Deer, pheasants, swans, and partridges, have long since disappeared from Guernsey and Herm. Hares have been re-introduced into Guernsey within a few years, but they were soon destroyed.'