Governance & the Crown

Little Wit, 1374

17th July 2017
The Guernsey garrison of men-at-arms and archers in 1374, a time of fear. From a transcript in the Library colleciton of an original document [Royal Court Library, Records and Documents, III 248.]. In August 1373, Bertrand de Guesclin attacked the islands, occupying part of Gorey Castle in Jersey and causing destruction in Guernsey and Sark; the islands had only recently recovered after a previous French invasion led by Owen of Wales.

Devotedly loyal islands in collision with the Government, 1845

10th May 2017
The Eclectic Review, Vol 17 (1), 1845, pp. 540-555. 1848 is the year of revolution in Europe; in Guernsey the stirrings of the people, such as they were, occurred just a few years earlier. (The headings have been added for ease of reading.) The illustration is a print from the Library Collection dated c 1835, published by M Moss, and showing the interior of the Royal Court in St Peter Port. 'May this people ever beware of apeing the follies of their neighbours, and retain their own dignified simplicity! For it they are pre-eminent. Should they ever stoop to become imitators, they can never get beyond an humble mimicry of that which is useless and effeminate in the customs of England.'

Relative disadvantages, 1709

31st August 2016
An Act of the Privy Council concerning jurats, defining a quorum. In 1709, so many of the jurats had had to stand down in a case concerning prizes awarded to the Marlborough privateer that none had been left to judge the case. They had been stood down because they were related to either the plaintiffs or the defendants. This transcription comes from a MS notebook, Lists of privateers and prizes, in the Library collection.

Tenure of real property in the island of Guernsey

22nd September 2015
From The Law Magazine and Law Review, or Quarterly Journal of Jurisprudence, May-August 1859, pp. 23 ff. Probably a comment on the reaction in Government circles to the Commissioners' Report of 1848, it also happens to provide a helpful explanation of the distribution of landed property and rentes in Guernsey. 'When the right and power is preserved among a free people of regulating their own legal and social customs, the habit of self-government thus engendered generally saves their country from the anomaly and inconvenience of the institutions and procedure being immediately at variance with the wants and character of the people.'

The accession of Charles II

10th June 2015
From the Notebook of Pierre Le Roy, edited by Rev. George Lee. In the picture is the redoubtable Sir Henry de Vic, whose influence with Charles II was instrumental in winning back the king's favour for the island after the Civil War. The portrait belongs to the Ashmolean Museum, who have kindly allowed us to reproduce it here. [WA.B.II.722 Sir Peter Lely, Sir Henry de Vic, Chancellor of the Order of the Garter, Black oiled chalk, heightened with white, on blue-grey paper, © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.]

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