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.
4th February 2016
‘April 1748. A prize, with wine and brandy, and a ransomer of £1000, taken by the Hanover privateer of Guernsey,’ reported in The Gentleman's Magazine, 1748. Ransoming captured prizes was a practice favoured by Guernsey privateers in the earlier years of privateering, often with an eye to selling on a valuable cargo, but frowned upon by the British authorities, who preferred prizes to be brought into port to be officially 'condemned.' When challenged upon the reason for their not having followed the authorized procedure, the Guernseymen would often answer that at the time they had been prevented by 'a contrary wind.'
14th January 2016
Two similar and unpleasant cases from the first half of the 14th century, one in the time of Edward I, the second under Edward II. Original documents in Latin. The illustration is of a French girl of the period, from Mercuri and Bonnard's Costumes Historiques des XIIe-XVe siècles, Paris: A Lévy fils, 1860, I, p. 78, in the Library Collection.
6th January 2016
In Guernsey the authorities could, if they wished, make use of the jehennet, or 'Jenny,' better known as ... the rack. It appears, however, that they preferred strappado. The illustration is from Fox's Book of Martyrs, revised John Malham: London, Thomas Kelly, 1814, in the Library Collection.
11th November 2015
Marie's father Charles Mauger settles money upon her, half of which is to be given to her husband the day after their marriage. This money is to be managed by her new husband, Thomas Le Marchant, for her benefit only, and will always remain hers and will pass to her direct heirs. The remaining money will be given to her, or to her direct heirs, after her father's death, once again to be invested on her and her family's behalf. This was one of the ways that Guernsey families retained their interests in their own estate and properties, and which enabled women to have rights to their own property after their husband's death. A fiancé could himself settle monies or property on his intended upon their engagment, in the form of gages, or pledges, hers to keep if they married, or a douaire, or dowry, which on the event of his death she could claim from his estate.
11th November 2015
Miscellaneous deeds and documents from the Library Collection.
26th October 2015
Two interesting judgments from the 1760s. Library Perchard file.
13th October 2015
According to this note, or cédule, Jean de la Mare of Le Hurel in St Saviour's borrowed several lots of money from Jean Le Mesurier de la Fontaine. This note is for a relatively small amount, 5 livres tournois. The note is dated 27 April 1757, and is part of the Le Hurel Collection donated to us by Esther Hatton.
9th October 2015
A printed account of the defendants' response to an appeal to the Privy Council, March 1715, concerning the retrait lignager of a house at the Tourgand. From Petitions and trials, in the Library. For Mr. James de Havilland, Mrs. Rachel Briard, Represented by Mr. Henry de Saumarez, her Son, Defendants. Versus. Mrs. Jacquina de Saumarez, Appellant.
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.'