Social History

Michelle and the minister I: the case is presented

8th June 2016
A translation of an inquest conducted over several months in 1593 by the Colloque, or Assembly, of Bailiwick Churches. The Puritan ministers and elders had here to deal with a dreadful scandal. This piece had a genuine villain: Pierre Le Roy, known as du Bouillon, a church minister who had escaped the massacres of 1572. Formerly minister of the parish of Baron, in Calvados, he was now a refugee, in charge of the parishes of St Pierre-du-Bois and Torteval. The inquiry is full of the detail of the life of ordinary Guernsey people, who gave evidence to the assembly. Michelle Palot, a maidservant to Madame du Bouillon, the minister's wife, was the subject of continued harassment by du Bouillon. Having a baby out of wedlock was highly frowned upon, the mother usually having to do public penance and the father, once ascertained, jailed for a couple of weeks, and forced to marry the mother or at least support the child; but when Michelle was questioned by the authorities as to who had fathered her baby, she gave them a most unexpected answer. 

Christmas expenditure 1829

16th December 2015
From Anne Sophia Harvey's account book (brown leather), Domestic Expenditure, [from] 1 January 1829, part of Library's extensive Harvey Collection. Anne Sophia Grut (1802-1844) was daughter of Peter Grut and Anne Collings, and married John Harvey. This account book ends in December 1834. A second account book, Anne Sophia Harvey's Household Expenditure, 1 July 1838, ends in December 1842.

Anne Sophia Harvey's servants, 1829-1845

15th December 2015
From Anne Sophia Harvey's account books Domestic Expenditure, [from] 1 January 1829 (brown leather), and Anne Sophia Harvey's Household Expenditure, 1 July 1838, which ends in December 1842, part of Library's extensive Harvey Collection. Anne Sophia Grut (1802-1844) was daughter of Peter Grut and Anne Collings, and married John Harvey. The illustration is a detail from a 'Moss' print of 1841, Market Place, Guernsey, in the Library Collection.

The wisdom of hindsight, by Madamoiselle Biard

5th October 2015
'Réflexion sage, mais un peu Tardive de Madamoiselle Biard,' by the Reverend Elie du Fresne (b. 1692), from his collected poems, Poésie, written c. 1713-1745. Be prepared for 18th-century attitudes! On the flyleaf of the cover is written, 'These pieces of poetry were copied by her late regretted Father, John de Havilland;' the identity of the Miss de Havilland in question is not known. The illustration is from 'La vieille,' or 'The Old Woman,' a song on just this subject, from Chants et chansons populaires de la France, Paris: Garnier Frères, 1854, in the Library Collection.

Guernsey girls

27th April 2015
A rhyme describing the girls of each Guernsey parish, given to Edith Carey at the beginning of the 20th century by 'the late Isaac Le Patourel, of St Martin's;' and a ditty from Fanny Ingrouille describing the average week of a Guernsey country girl. 'Monday, Tuesday—Party!, Wednesday, Hangover. Thursday, Hard work.' From Guernsey Folk Lore, pp. 507-8. The photograph is part of the Library's Carel Toms' Collection, and is a detail from a postcard sent to Miss M Hinson in 1909. The rhyme is attributed by George Métivier, in his notes to his poem 'L'Revillon d'une vielle chifournie,' published in Rimes Guernesiaises (1831), to a contemporary poet-songster called 'Eléazar.'

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