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Rene Le Porc de la Porte de Vezins, 1590

A well-known tale of intrigue in Renaissance Brittany, in one of its earliest and near-contemporary versions, from The Monthly Illustrated Journal (Guernsey Magazine), February, 1873. The Editor describes this as 'a free translation of an interesting account of a disputed identification case, which occurred in the latter part of the 16th century, and in which Guernsey figures; it is taken from a work entitled La Vie de François, Seigneur de la Nouë, kindly lent to us by Mr Thomas Lenfestey, des Fontaines, for the purpose.' The illustration below is a detail from Sydney's Arcadia, published by Ponsonby in 1589, in the Library collection; the portrait above is of François de la Nouë, dit Bras-de-fer, from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

A Herm tragedy: the drowning of the teenaged Walter St John, August 1597

An inquest into the death of the eldest son of Sir John St John, of Lydiard Tregoze, in Wiltshire, and his young tutor, who died trying to rescue his charge. They were swept away by the current, probably off Belvoir Bay, 18 August, 1597. Walter St John was under the protection of the Governor, Sir Thomas Leighton, and living at Castle Cornet. It is extremely unusual for evidence in a case like this to survive; this was retained because Walter's family connections meant an account of the inquest had to be sent to Chancery. The French text is given in the Second Report of the Commissioners into Criminal Law in the Channel Islands of 1848.

Chefs Plaids, Jugements, Ordonnances &c, 16-19th centuries

Bound MSS, staff E. Metal fastening engraved: 'LF 1773.' Contact the Library for further details. The material falls into several sections: the first, detailed below, is in two hands and lists in rough date order Acts of the Royal Court in which the judgment passed down is of some legal interest; the last Act noted is from 1719. Then follows an interesting set of documents covering the Civil War period and the reign of James II, some of which are Lord Hatton correspondence and may be unpublished. Finally a later hand has transcribed Acts relating to the Militia; the last of these dates from 1769. The back of the volume was reversed and charters and other early Acts and Ordonnances have been transcribed.

Shell-collecting, 1833

From the Strangers' Guide to Guernsey and Jersey, Guernsey: Barbet, 1833, pp. 39 ff. 'But it will answer no good purpose for the shell collector in Herm, to employ the language of science, in his research for shells; he must employ popular terms, inasmuch as the good people of Herm are utterly ignorant of the phraseology of the conchologist, and are in the habit of calling things by such names as strike their senses. They have their silver, pink, purple, yellow, rose, and blue shells. There are fine subjects on what the inhabitants call the 'best shell banks,' but which the native collectors pass over, because they do not consider them as shells. For instance, at times here, are very rich corals and corallines, cast up by the action of the sea, only to be discovered by those who are judges of the nature of their research.'

Cachemaille's Descriptive sketch of the island of Sark: The School for Girls

The generosity of the Seigneur of Sark, Peter Le Pelley, from one of the two books about the island written by his great friend, the Reverend J L V Cachemaille, for many years the vicar of Sark. In 1860, the diary of the former 17th-century Sark minister, Elie Brėvint, was found in a loft in Sark. Cachemaille was inspired by this to investigate the archives of the Seigneurie and to write a series of articles based upon what he found, which were translated by Louisa Harvey and published in the Guernsey Magazine. From this was published the Descriptive Sketch, published by Frederick Clarke, and then republished in 1928. See Ewen & De Carteret, The Fief of Sark, The Guernsey Press, 1969. The illustrations are from the Library Collection, the drawing showing the Seigneurie in Sark in Le Pelley's time.

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