September 1649: the Prince of Wales descends on Jersey

From Edith Carey's Channel Islands, 1904. Her book may be dated but it remains a great read, full of information, and with lovely watercolour illustrations.

At the time of the execution of Charles I, Jersey was almost the only stronghold in the kingdom that still continued loyal to the Stuarts, and there on February 17, 1649, Charles II was proclaimed King with much rejoicing.

In September 1649 Charles, with the Duke of York and three hundred followers, returned to Jersey, and took up his abode in his old quarters in at Elizabeth Castle. This visit seems to have been spent in nothing but a round of semi-state entertainments and local festivities. The Sunday following his arrival Charles attended service at the old parish church of St Helier in great state, clad entirely in purple, and with a purple scarf across his breast, while the church was decorated with green boughs and flowers, and the aisle strewed with rushes.

During this second visit to the island, Charles's popularity was greater than ever. He frequently visited the local gentry at their houses, and joined in their shooting parties, the game in those days consisting of hares, rabbits, and red-legged partridges—a species which, though now extinct in the Islands, was at that time plentiful there. One of his first acts was to stand sponsor to Sir George Carteret's infant daughter, whom he named Caroline, after himself. He also touched eleven persons for the 'King's Evil,' and hung, as Chevalier tells us, 'un angelot avec un ruban blanc' around their necks. [A coin on a white ribbon.]1

Shortly before his departure, which took place in February, 1650, Charles held court at Elizabeth Castle. On this occasion the local authorities and principal gentry kissed His Majesty's hand, and the holders of 'francs fiefs nobles' did homage. According to Pirouet, another old Jersey diarist, Charles 'summoned all the noble young ladies of Jersey, and several gentlemen with them, and from them the King chose a bride for the Seigneur of St Ouen; her name was Ann Dumaresq of the Maison des Augrès.'2 These ceremonies flattered the self-esteem of the Islanders, who apparently did not realise that they were paying for them out of their own pockets, as the greater part of Charles' revenues during this second visit were again drawn from the coffers of Sir George Carteret and the Jersey people.

1 This is taken from Chevalier's account of the Civil War in Jersey (can be consulted in the Library (41 or Guernsey Magazine)). See Saunders, A. C., Jean Chevalier and his times, Jersey, 1937.

2 '[Charles] y convia toutes les nobles demoiselles de Jersey, avec plusieurs gentilshommes, et le Roy y fit le choix d'une femme pour le Seigneur de St Ouen, nommée Ann Dumaresq de la Maison des Augrès.'