Library Document Collection

The Journal of Jane Maria Barlow, 1833-38

Primary concern: Prettiness of self and other girls. Where are all the beaux? Were all the men really either tall or handsome in the 1830s? Obviously not: 'De Beauvoir De Lisle renewed his attentions which I am sorry for, I shall be obliged to draw a line.' A very annoyed Savery Brock bursts a blood vessel. Guernsey has very bad pavements. The photograph from the Library Collection shows a very benevolent-looking Jane in her old age, many years after this diary was written.

The death of Mary Saumarez, October 1812

A letter from the Library's Mann-Dobrée collection, edited by Julia de L. Mann: Anne Dobrée to Henry Routh, October 8, 1812. Nineteen-year-old Mary Dobrée Saumarez was the eldest daughter of Admiral James Saumarez and his wife, Martha Le Marchant; Anne was her cousin. Henry 'Harry' Le Mesurier, son of Havilland, had just lost his arm at the Battle of Salamanca.

Lines, on the lamented death of Captain Dobree, R N

'Who lost his life in a humane attempt to save the lives of shipwrecked seamen on the coast of this island.' From L'Independance, March 14th, 1818; followed by excerpts from the sermon given at the Castel church on 15th March 1818 by Nicolas' young contemporary, the Reverend William Guille. The watercolour of the church is dated 1804 and is signed JM (for Dr John MacCulloch).

An Eternal Stranger: Harman Blennerhasset

'Like mournful echo from the silent tomb, That pines away upon the midnight air, Whilst the pale moon breaks out with fitful gloom, Fond memory turns, with sad but welcome care, To scenes of desolation and despair, Once bright with all that beauty could bestow, That peace could shed, or youthful fancy know.' From The Deserted Isle, by Margaret Blennerhassett. Harman Blennerhassett was a clever but eccentric Irish republican who 'married' his niece, became involved in an abortive but notorious plot to make Texas independent, and ended up buried in Guernsey. The photograph above is from the Library Collection and shows the Cimitière des Soeurs, or Sisters' Cemetery, in 1870. The modern photographs in the article are of the Strangers' Cemetery as it is today.

Major Byng

Major William Byng is the best-known Guernsey dueller; there is a stone in Cambridge Park commemorating his death in 1795. Guernseymen were forbidden to duel in Guernsey and would usually travel to Jersey to fight it out, so the majority of duels that have taken place here in the island of which we know any details occurred between locals and a member of the garrison; in this case a quarrel arose between two serving soldiers.

Lost things: Les Maisons aux Comtes, 1915

'One of the quaintest possible specimens of an old Guernsey dwelling'; so says the author of a report in The Star, October 20, 1915, under the byline: 'Another ancient landmark disappearing.' The photograph is by Edith Carey. She says tradition had it that the house was built in the 12th century and was connected with the Fief au Comte; the house on the left was demolished in 1921.