Library Document Collection

Jacques Le Batard

The Gazette de L'Isle de Guernesey, of which the Priaulx Library has copies to view, published an unusual announcement in July of 1795. The newspaper reproduced in its entirety the sentence passed in the Royal Court upon a Frenchman from St Germain in Normandy, called Jacques Le Batard. The results of criminal trials were not normally published in the early Gazettes. Why this one? The sketch of the pillory and cage in 1795 are from the Lukis memoirs in Edith Carey's Scrapbooks in the Library.

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.