The will of Eleazar Le Marchant, 1832

Eleazar was Lieutenant-Bailiff. From the French. On microfilm in the Library. The picture is from a photograph of a watercolour of what is said to be Eléazar around 1780, sitting outside the arch known as Sous La Porte. Still much as it was then, it formed the entrance to a Le Marchant property, now the Constables' Office. He is seated upon the bench nicknamed the 'Seat of the Idlers,' people-watching, as the residents of St Peter Port liked to do, next to his uncle, the Reverend Josué Le Marchant. The original is at Saumarez Manor.

The will of Eleazar Le Marchant, 1832 

8 March 1832. In the presence of the Reverend Thomas Brock, MS, Commissary-General and subrogate of the Bishop of Winchester.

The testament and codicil written below were recognised, after Messieurs Abraham Jean Le Messurier, Jean Thomas De Saumarez, Robert MacCulloch and Jean Bienvenu Arnold declared on oath that the said will and codicil were written and signed in the Testator, Eléazar Le Marchant, Ecuyer’s own hand. And Thomas Priaulx and Jean Le Marchant Ecuyers and Mr Henri Emeric de St Dalmas have been sworn as Executors of the said will and codicil, of which the tenor is:

In the Name of God, Amen.

I the undersigned Eléazar Le Marchant, son of William, of the Grand Bosq, since I am fallen ill, have judged it meet to make this current will and Declaration of my final wishes. Firstly I commend my soul to God ... As for my body I would like to be buried under my grande Barre [Pew],1 opposite the Chancel of the Church of St Sampson, next to that of my dear wife, while awaiting the Resurrection and trusting to God’s mercy etc.

As for the earthly goods that Divine Providence has chosen to bestow upon me during my sad existence upon earth, I order and dispose of them thus:

I give and entrust to the Reverend Jean Le Marchant, son of Josué, the 600 pounds annuities in the 3% English fund entailed, which are his by right through my brother, following the sale of a legacy, known as Golden Hurst in Kent, and there they were commuted, in the name of my dear father, and transferred to my unfortunate older brother2 by Mr Osmond de Beauvoir, Executor of the will of my poor mother (affligée), and of which I had the enjoyment after the death of my said brother.

I give and bequeath to the Poor of St Sampson £50 sterling, to be distributed amongst them, by the Parish Douzaine, to each equally according to their needs. (The same to the Poor of the other parishes, except to St Peter Port, which is to receive £100 sterling.) All these sums are to be paid by the Executors to the Douzaines to be distributed fairly amongst the neediest in their parish.

Item I give and bequeath to the Minister and Churchwardens of St Sampson’s Church the Salver [Souscoupe] that my grandfather and godfather Eléazar Le Marchant gave me by virtue of my being his godson, to become part of the silver communion service which I gave to the said parish for use in the said church [....]3 Item I give and bequeath to the Minister and Consistory £50 sterling to have mahogany chairs made for them in the said Church. Item I give and bequeath to the Minister and churchwardens for the benefit of the Poor and future poor for ever £200 sterling to buy rents that are to be added to the Poor Fund set up by my great-great-uncle, the late Eléazar le Marchant son of Thomas, Ecuyer, to generate income to increase the Fund, in order to distribute clothing around Christmas time each year. Item I give and bequeath to the Minister and Procureurs of the Poor a thousand 3% consolidated in the English funds ('Bank of England'), the income from which is to be employed annually for the relief of the poor of the parish of St Sampson, especially the sick. £500 to the Vale, same conditions. £60 to Torteval, to buy a silver communion service, and 1000 at 3% consolidated for the relief of the poor and sick residents of Torteval.

Item I give and bequeath to the Minister and Douzaine of St Saviour £500 sterling to buy rents of which the income is to be distributed annually, fairly amongst the poor and needy residents of their parish, particularly the sick. Item I give and bequeath to the Bailiff and Jurats, for and in the name of the poor to Mr Jean de la Court’s Fund, £300 sterling, to buy rents to be added to the Fund on their behalf, to be distributed to them in the future, fairly, to the poor and unfortunate needy who are the only beneficiaries of the fund.

Item I give and bequeath to the Bursar and Directors of the Country Hospital, £200 sterling to buy rents to be added to the fund set up by my grandfather Eléazar le Marchant, and of William Le Marchant my father, the income from which is only to be used to buy comforts (douceurs) for the relief of the poor sick patients in the Hospital.

Item I leave to Denis Le Marchant Ecuyer 200 Bank of England Stock Annuities. Item I give and bequeath to James Carey Ecuyer 200 Bank of England Stock Annuities. Item to Jean Black [or Clark] – sterling -- £100 sterling. Item to Mr Daucourt of St Sampson £50 sterling. I give and bequeath to Jean Le Marchant Ecuyer, son of John, all the manuscripts of my worthy and knowledgeable uncle Josué Le Marchant son of Eléazar, Ecuyer, which are amongst others kept in the little desk, or bureau, in my Study in the Grand Bosq, and nowhere else and without exception.

Item I give and bequeath to the Trustees of Elizabeth College in this Island for the benefit and instruction of its pupils, my whole Library and all my medals. Item I give and bequeath to the said Trustees £200 sterling in Annuities in Bank of England Stock, the revenue from which they may dispose of as they see fit for the benefit of the pupils, as fairly as possible.

Item I give and bequeath to my nephews and nieces De Jersey and to my great-nieces daughters of the late Thomas De Jersey, £100 3% consolidated stock in the Bank of England, to be shared equally amongst my nephews and nieces and amongst my great-nieces, as well as the portion that would have come to their late father, had he been alive, comprising the sum of the rents that my wife sold, against my wishes, to compensate me, as she said, &c., &c., &c. Item I give them my wife’s old clothes. 

Pierre Etienne

Item I give and bequeath to my nephew Jean De Jersey Ecuyer the £100 I lent him, to help settle his affairs. Item I leave to the children of James Le Marchant son of John, Ecuyer of Jersey, 500 annuities, in the 4% English funds, and between the sons, the gold snuff-box that was left to me in his will by my worthy friend Pierre Estienne (see above, aka Stephens, married to Catherine Le Marchant) Ecuyer, to keep for ever.

Item I give and bequeath to each of the servants in my employ at the time of my death a complete mourning suit, as well as £50 sterling each to be paid to them by my Executors, and the enjoyment of 5 quarters of wheat rent each for life, to be paid to the annually by the Grenétier of my Fief, Le Comte [acquired 1772]. Item I give and bequeath £500 sterling to erect in my name only, a monument to my beloved parents William Le Marchant Ecuyer and Madame Marthe De Havilland in the Town Church. I undertake this particularly since they always showed me real parental love until their dying day. [Legacies to the Executors].

As for my movable property, whatever remains after my death, once my debts have been cleared, my funeral expenses paid and my legacies paid out, I give and bequeath them to my two sisters, Demoiselles Marie and Rachel Le Marchant. I forgive all my enemies all the wrongs they may have done me during many years which made me unhappy; I have always been faithful to my Prince and my Country, and given each man what belonged to him, fought the good fight, finished my allotted time, and kept the faith. And as for the rest, I hope that the Crown of Justice will be kept for me and that the Lord, the only just Judge, will give it to me on the Final Day.

Done at my home, the Grand Bosq, 7 March 1831.

The 26th July 1831. I wish and intend, by this my codicil, that if Mr Thomas Le Marchant and family are deprived by trickery, against my wishes, and wish to enjoy the lease I gave them by my own desire and suggestion alone of my house and land at the Amballes, that my Executors give them by way of compensation £500 in my 4% Annuity Bank of England Funds. Emeric de St Dalmas to be Executor.] I give my horse Pegasus (Pégaze) with its saddle and bridle to James Priaulx son of Thomas, Ecuyer.

Grand Bosq, 26th July, 1831.

Affirmed by Thomas Brock, 8th March 1832.


1 'Miss Rachel Le Marchant and Miss Marie Le Marchant were buried in a vault under the cross aisle leading to the tower. [....] There are two other members of this family buried in the same vault, viz., Miss Elizabeth Le Marchant, [their sister], and Eleazar Le Marchant, Esq., a former Bailiff of the island, and a benefactor of the Church [d. 1716]. The vault was disclosed during a late restoration, and the remains of the last two ladies [Rachel (buried 1832) and Marie (1840)] were seen by the writer. [The vault was filled by order of the Medical Officer of Health and covered with a concrete floor.]

During the restoration another large vault was found on the south side just within the entrance of the old Chancel. This extends under several pews; nothing of interest was noted in it, and it was thought by some to be a vault belonging to the Falla family. The writer considers it more likely to be a vault containing earlier members of the Le Marchant family, inasmuch as the large family pew of that family anciently stood over the site. This vault was also closed down." From W.H. Auger's St Sampson's Church &c., p. 15.

2 William Le Marchant, born 1745.

3 'The rest of the Church plate is all London made, of the year 1832, and would at that date have been considered handsome. It consists of the following pieces: One chased salver with three feet, 13¾ inches in diameter. Two large chalices, 10¼ inches high. A flagon nearly 18 inches high, holding about two quarts, and surmounted by a cross. All these pieces bear the arms of the La Marchant family, withthe following inscription, 'Don d'Eléazar Le Marchant, Ecr., fils William, Seigneur du Compte et dépendances, à la Paroisse de Torteval, 1832. Rev. Edward Mourant, Recteur. Jean du Mont, William Le Ray, Curateurs.'

The generous donor would have done better had he omitted to mark the sacred vessels with his ancestral cognizance of three owls, and his and heathenish motto in barbarous Latin, Me Minerva lucet! The blessed memorial of Him, who is the Light of the World, should not be celebrated with vessels bearing the name of a heathen goddess.'

'After these, we have to record, a munificent presentation from a wealthy parishioner, Mr Le Marchant, who as we have already shown was also a benefactor of Torteval Church. His gifts, which are all of silver, are as follows: A large covered flagon, with the Le Marchant arms, and the London date mark for 1816. The inscription runs Don d'Eléazar Le Marchant, fs. de William, Ecuier, des Grand's Maisons, du Grand Bosq, Seigneur du Fief le Comte, Jure-Justicier et Lieut.-Bailiff de la Cour Royale de cette Isle de Guernesey, et de Madame Judith Le Marchant, née De La Mare, fille de Jean, Ecuier, son Epouse, sous condition exprès d'être conservé à perpetuité et uniquement à jamais pour l'usage de la celebration de la Sainte Cène dans l'Eglise de la Paroisse de St Sampson. 1816. Two patens, of same date and similarly inscribed. One oval dish, 13 inches in diameter, and two little cups, 5½ inches high, with same date and inscription.

Lastly, one fine salver, with three feet, 13½ inches in diameter, and weighing 37½ ounces. The marks are G.H. with a harp(?) and crown. It was doubtless a private gift to Mr Le Marchant, for it bears firstly the inscription A E. Le Mt., fs. Wm du Don d'Eleazar Le Mt., Esq., son Gd. Père, 1757. After which is an inscription similar to those of the above pieces, but omitting et de Madame etc. son Epouse, and with the date 1832 instead of 1816.

We should have liked to have seen the greater part of this Le Marchant plate exchanged for more serviceable vessels without the heathenish armorial bearings, but unfortunately the express condition of the gift makes this impossible.'