Konstantine Kumpikiewicz 1812-1883 Tuesday, Dec 25 2018 

Knowles, John Ward, 1838-1931; Konstantin Kumpiew, Sacrist of St Maurice's, York

Konstantine Kumpikiewicz by John Ward Knowles 1838-1931

Konstantine Kumpikiewicz was born in Višteliškis, Lithunia. He went to school at Ukmerge and Vilnius. He fought in the November Uprising in Lithunia, and was a second Lieutenant. In 1833 all he owned was confiscated from him. In 1832 he was in France but I have no record of him there. In 1834 he was in London and was part of the group that formed the “Polish Democratic Society” PDS in England. He was involved in the Savoy expedition which was orchestrated by Giuseppe Mazzini, the Polish exiles being recruited by his follower Paul Haro Harring. Konstantine was to end up in prison in Geneva, some time after that he was expelled to England and then came to Jersey. He is recorded as an Alien arriving in Dover in May 1834. We have him marrying in St Helier, Jersey in 1837. It is thought that he was a paid spy for the Russians from 1836 to 38, reporting to the Consul Benckhausen, although he says he did this for only a few months and he was doing this to enable him to get permission to return to Poland. In 1838 he accused editor and publisher of “The Polish Exile” Piotr Falkenhagen Zaleski 1809 – 1883 of spying, but was cleared of it. He was revealed in 1838 by Adam Dydyński, either Konstantine or his fellow spy Theophil Pietraszewski were seen on the steps of the Russian embassy in London, Konstantine was interrogated by the Komitet Ogółu Emigracji Polskiej (General Assembly of Polish Immigration).   Konstantine libelled Hipolit Pasierbski 1807-1895 accusing him of supplying Tsarist police with information on the PDS, and he failed to clear himself and was expelled from the PDS in April 1838. Due to these actions Kumpikiewicz and Pietraszewski were removed from the pension list, in 1841 they were both to bring a petition to Parliament complaining about certain names being removed from the pension list, it would appear this failed as there were numerous mentions in the newspapers up till 1845 of Pietraszewski and his wife asking for charity and claiming to be in a state of poverty.

On the 2nd November, 1837 in St Helier, Jersey, Kumpikiewicz married Sarah Prudence Arrowsmith 1809 – ? who herself had been married earlier in the year on the 29th of March to Samuel Playsted Jeston 1802 – 1856 who was later convicted of bigamy and transported to Australia for 7 years., this was reported in the papers as the “Rochdale Giovanni” case. On the 10th November only a week after marrying Kumpikiewicz arrives in Southampton from Jersey as recorded in the Aliens arrivals.

The following are accounts of Kumpikiewicz in the newspapers: “Western Times” 19th December 1848 reported a court case where he was charged with vagrancy and sending begging letters in the Torquay area, he pretended to be deaf during the hearing, but it appears that they saw through this, the magistrates had contacted the Polish relief committee to ascertain his character, they responded that Kumpikiewicz had been struck of the pension list as they believed him to be a spy, of general bad character, a drunkard and gambler, since being struck off he had gained a living by imposition. He responded by saying that it was struck off from the list for displeasing his countrymen for appealing for amnesty to Emperor Nicholas I  so as he could return to his homeland, the magistrates did not accept his version and sentenced him to prison for a month.

On the 1851 census we find him living in Taunton, unmarried as a Lithographer and Journeyman.

14th September 1860 the “Western Morning News” featured a letter from someone who had fallen for the hard luck story of Kumpikiewicz who had been living in Plymouth two years previously, and had sent the person a letter in French explaining his hard times and confiscation of his property by the Russians, and requesting funds to help him return to London, which he was given only to reportedly go as far as Torquay and heading back and onwards to Cornwall. It gives a brief description of him: marked with smallpox, of middle height, speaks French and English fluently, but prefers not to speak English, he is deaf when it is convenient for him, although he could hear perfectly well. The account states that he was well known for this scam, and had even duped a well known Polish gentleman residing in Devenport.

12th January 1866 the “Exeter and Plymouth Gazette” states that Kumpikiewicz was charged with sending a begging letter to Mrs Arden, she had asked him to return to house and when he did the following day he was arrested by the Police, and stated that he been making a living off charity gained from these begging letters for the past three years, he was sentenced to 6 weeks hard labour.

We next find Kumpikiewicz on the 1881 census in York, living in a room adjoining St Wilfred’s Church where he was the sacristan (Church officer), stating he was a nobleman, and deaf from wounds. It must have been in York that the picture of him above was painted by John Ward Knowles of York, a stained glass manufacturer. Kumpikiewicz died on the 24th of April 1883 and is buried in York Cemetery, the cross was made by local sculptor George Walker Milburn 1844 – 1941

thumbnail_York Cemetery, 758, Kumpikiewiez

Grave of Constantine Kumpikiewiez

Thanks to the “York Museums Trust” for the use of the picture of Kumpikiewicz

Picture of Milburn cross and information thanks to Tony Power (Milburn researcher)

“York Family History Society”  for more information & help than I could have wished for

Polish researcher Adam Kwiecień


Flight Lieutenant Richard Jouault DFC 1920-1942 Tuesday, Sep 12 2017 

Richard Jersey s

Richard Jouault

Born in 1920 to Jean Louis Jouault 1883-1956 and Marguerite Marie Le Dain 1878-1949, Richard went to Victoria College where he became Deputy House Captain for Braithwaite, and was goalkeeper in the Hockey XI that I previously wrote about. He took a short service commission in the RAF in 1938, and I presume the following picture was from that time:

Bing 2

Richard & “Bing” who looks like David Hocquard Crill in the Hockey XI

Richard was the first Jersey man to be mentioned in dispatches and to be awarded the DFC on June 1, 1940 with two others from 22o Squadron: Ronald Nicholas Selley and Hilton Aubrey Haarhoff, Jouault was promoted to flying officer in September, 1940. he was captain of one of a flight of three aircraft protecting shipping engaged on the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkerque. On encountering a force of some 40 Junkers 87s, the flight immediately launched an attack.  Jouault handling his aircraft with the utmost skill and determination shot down two of the enemy with his front gun.

On the 15th of March 1942 Richard was killed with three others in a training accident at RAF Spitalgate (Grantham) when the Oxford AP645 Richard was in with his pupil a Dutchman WB Straver collided on takeoff with an Oxford AB641 Pilot Derek  Oliver age 30 and pupil an American DL Wyatt  age 27. They are buried in Grantham Cemetery. Thanks to the local RAF association for getting in touch with me and supplying more information including a cutting of a memorial service 2002 making the 60th year since the accident which includes a picture of the Dutch pupil Straver:

Richard BB 1

It took over two more years for Richard’s parents in Jersey to get official notification of his death through information passed on by the Red Cross and the Bailiff’s Enquiry and News Service dated 24th April 1944:

richard death letter


Quarries in the Channel Islands Wednesday, Aug 3 2016 

herm 2

Herm Granite Quarry

Some years ago I assisted the late Reverend Roy Fenn in writing the history of Ronez quarry for a Parish magazine article this turned into a booklet, and a follow on “Quarrying in the Channel Islands” It is a vast subject and has not been that well recorded apart from magazine articles and limited mentions in some  larger works. When undertaking research I came across the accounts of quarrying in Herm which is a fascinating account. The major works on Herm were started by Colonel John Lindsay he supplied 300,000 tonnes of stone for London some was said to be used in the building and maintenance of the following places: The Embankment (a claim every Channel Island seems to have, including Chausey), the steps to St Paul’s Cathedral (Guernsey?), and King William’s Steps, Cheapside. Colonel Lindsay also lobbied to be allowed and financed to employ a 1,000 convicts, and build a breakwater on the east side of the island a mile and a quarter in length, this he did not manage as he died around 1826. I think it was him that lived on the island with his wife whilst his mistress managed the quarry works. In 1830 Jonathan Duncan formed a partnership with Geoffrey Martin, and Ebenezer Fernie under the trading name “The Herm Granite Company”.

In Alderney amongst others there was the quarry at Cachaliere managed by Matthew Rowe and Thomas Mitchell (his son Godfrey Way Mitchell 1891-1982 went on to  acquire and develope the firm of George Wimpey). The quarry is also commonly known as Chicago due to the owner making his wealth in that American City. There is little information or history of this site that I am aware of, there are pictures of it as a working quarry and notes of an accident there that killed three of the workers, a common occurrence in Channel Island quarries in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Back to Jersey I have come across a number of places where quarrying has taken place, I am not aware of why or for where these areas were used, they may have been for local Napoleonic towers, local piers, or even exported especially as Jersey vessels often struggled to find ballast when leaving the island and is one of the reasons there was such a large cider industry in the island as this served as an export product.

If one follows the coast from Belcroute in St Aubin’s Bay there are signs all the way along the coast including Noirmont, Portelet, Le Fret, Ouasnie, Beauport, La Rosiere, and Petit Port. The following are photographs of the quarried stone:


Noirmont stone that has been drilled and split


quarry bp

Quarried stone Beauport (by Gros Tete)

Pictured above marked stone: these niches would have wooden wedges inserted into them and when they became covered by the tide the wood would expand and the stone would hopefully pop apart in a clean break.

quarry bp 2

Beauport stone with drill holes

I am not sure why some stones had splits and others were drilled, I presume it may have been the way a stone could be predictably split, this drilled stone having some seams with the holes through them. Modern day a hole would have a feather and wedges inserted in each hole and these would be worked with a heavy hammer.

quarry lf

Wedged stone at Le Fret

There is little evidence of quarrying at Le Fret, but once one gets to the beach at Ouasnie there is considerable evidence of quarry works including cobbled tracks, I presume stone from here would have been transported by boats to the building

You tube clip of splitting stone:


Island wiki Quarrying in Jersey:  http://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/A_history_of_quarrying_in_Jersey

La Rocco Tower Thursday, Jul 28 2016 


La Rocco Tower

Last week I undertook a Jersey Heritage guide training for La Rocco Tower, having done Seymour Tower in 2013. The Tower was the 23rd and last and largest of the round towers to be built in Jersey and was started in 1796 and completed in 1801, it was named Gordon’s Tower after the then Lieutenant Governor Andrew Gordon. The name Rocco is derived from Rocque-hou meaning Rocky island. This is one of the islands more iconic buildings featuring on the islands twenty pound note and on the neck of proffessional rugby player Matt Banahan.

The tower under the management of Jersey Heritage offers basic accomodation and sleeps seven including the guide, access to stay is limited to tides under 2 metres at low water, under a metre swell, and force 5 (any direction) these safety limits are in place because of the possible need for emergency services needing to get a caualty off, and the lack of landing facilities at the tower. Which is disappointing as it must offer a spectacular view when a decent swell is running. Fishing is good around the tower with Bass, Mackerel, Wrasse, and Garfish (Snipe) giving good sport, another of the saftey issues is swimming which is not allowed from the tower, which I was disappointed to find out, as there was little or no tide around the steps whilst we were there and from half tide down it seemed very safe. There is a large rockpool which served me well for a dip on both days, given their is no rain water in the tower the wash in the sea was welcome.


View from the top towards the beach

The views were a novelty having spent a large part of my life looking from the shore side, although views are limited at the base due to height of the wall, the top of the tower offers a 360 panorama, although there is no seating in place as yet. We were treated to a spectacular sunset to the west of Guernsey and one can clearly see the other islands of Sark, Herm,  and Jethou.


German shell damage above the door

Whilst on the rocks below I noticed the marks pictured above, between the door and window, I thought at first it may have been a sun dial, I posted a picture of it on the facebook page of Unseen Jersey and the general opinion this was this damage caused by German fire, the account of the Tower being used by the Germans as a target has been contested by some, so I hope this picture adds some proof to the accounts. The window coins must have been modern repairs to the tower after it was purchased through the campaigning of the late Reverend Manton and public subscription. The repair work also included pumped concrete supplied by Ronez.


Row of twenty paired unhewn granite stones, a possible megalithic structure?

There are a variety of points of interest to be seen around the tower and surrounding area: pictured above possible megalithic stones, at La Pulente clay deposits over 6,000 years old with horse hoof prints in most probably from horse drawn vraic carts (19th centur, y?), to the now obsolete vraic mark on Le Bunion de Haut (my appeal to the Privy Council to save this mark and others as part of the vraicking law failed with the Queen dismissing it). On our stay the wooden German defence posts were visible on the beach. I did not have much time to look for marine species but was pleased to come across a couple of Giant Gobies which may be the first recorded on the west coast of Jersey, and a protected species in the UK, I am pleased to say the Societe Jersiaise marine biology section are currently surveying the area, which follows on from the ongoing survey work they undertake around Seymour Tower which has resulted in one research paper being produced.

References and further reading:

Jersey Heritage – Conservation Statement: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/media/historic%20buildings/La%20Rocco%20Tower.pdf

Island wiki : http://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/La_Rocco_Tower

Island wiki – damage: http://www.theislandwiki.org/index.php/How_was_La_Rocco_Tower_damaged%3F

Jersey Heritage site booking: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/holiday/la-rocco-tower

Paris 2015 bridges Friday, Apr 22 2016 

p pont alex light

Pont Alexandre III

This is one of my favorite areas of Paris showing off its splendour and glory from the 19th century, the Pont Alexandre III was built with views in mind and to make as little as an impact on them as possible. Named after Tsar Alexandre III who had concluded the Franco-Russian Alliance in 1892, and the foundation stone was laid by his on Nicolas II.  Like other picturesque Paris bridges it looks as good from the water as it does when crossing it, the beauty of being down by the river is it is usually a bit less hectic and away from the tourists and traffic, the only down side is in the night time there are lots of rats running around, and probably not the safest place to stroll along on ones own. Below is a picture taken from on the bridge looking towards the Grand Palais, from here the road leads onto the main strip to the Champs Elysee.

P pont alex palais

Pont Alexandre III with the Grand Palais

I also enjoy walking around the surrounding area of Notre dame but as yet I have not been inside the building which I know mostly through Victor Hugo’s novel which mentions Olivier Le Dain the rather barber and evil assistant (henchman) to Louis XI, who according to family legend/fable the family fled to Jersey with their wealth after the Kings death, as it was he was hanged and there appears to be no record of him having family so there is no proof of any connection, although the story appears known to most if not all the branches in Jersey.

p nd

Notre Dame and Pont au Double

Below is Pont des Arts with all the padlocks upon it glittering in the rain:

Not a bridge but a statue that I stumbled across; Marshal Ney at Avenue de la Observatoire it sits on a rather non descript street corner and I did not get a decent photo of the statue itself so I post a more interesting list of campaigns he served in, until he was executed in 1815 for his siding with Napoleon during the “Hundred Days Campaign”, the statue also gets a mention in Hemmingways “A Moveable Feast”. It is also has some acclaim amongst surrealists and was most notably photographed by Brassai in the fog.

p marshal ney

Just part of the campaigns Marshal Ney served in

Zadkine Museum Friday, Mar 18 2016 


La Poete in Jardin du Luxembourg



After leaving the Jardin du Luxembourg I could see there was a small museum for the artist Ossip Zadkine 1890-1967 nearby on rue d’Arrass it is tucked away and I at first walked past it, and even then it is small converted house (where he once lived). There are a few of his works outside int he garden, being late in the day I was not sure if it was open, I entered and was welcomed by the friendly staff, it was free entry, as a charge is only made when an exhibition is on, there is a collection box for donations which I contributed to on leaving. It only takes a short time to see.


Human Forest


Head with lead eyes

After visiting here I walked around and came upon the Musee de Cluny which was about to close, and so I shall have to return another day, there were a couple of interesting shops nearby for outdoor pursuits but the prices were very expensive. I then headed back and ended up on the Rue de Seine and there were several restaurants nearby which were too busy for my liking, and instead I walked around some of the art galleries on the street, interesting works but with ridiculous prices.


Head of a man

Looking at some of Zadkine’s work it makes me wonder why there is a lack of sculptors in Jersey given that the island has a history of stone and wood workers, there are some examples on buildings, but Jersey statues are mostly casts in bronze done outside the island, or with the modern works imported stone. The stone dressing and wood workers are dying trades in the island, it is a shame that they have not been encouraged and supported better.


Head of a woman

Paris 2015 continued Thursday, Mar 17 2016 

I arrived in Paris a few days after the November attacks so the city was rather chaotic with high security and sirens sounding pretty well non stop, the Eiffel Tower had been closed in a mark of respect and was reopened whilst I was there so I decided to have a look at the illuminations on a rainy evening.


Tim Willcox BBC world news

I also paid a brief visit to the Place de la Republique to see a media circus tented around the fringes with throng of those paying their respects around the statue, with a cyclist riding around getting himself on screens around the world, it did seem odd having watched reporters on the TV each morning and then to see them live in person and trying to hear what the latest news was, I think it was the following morning I decided not to listen to the news and went out on my travels and spent the day mostly at Jardin du Luxembourg and I received a number of text messages asking if I was okay, replying – “fine relaxing in the park with lovely sunshine” only to return back to the hotel later in the day and find out I had just passed below one of the incidents on the metro.


French Cavalary

I entered the park and spent a brief time watching a couple of chess games in progress, then a mounted ceremonial troop came in for a brief rest, they had an armed guard so I did not get too close, and they departed fairly quickly, part of the park was closed off for security reasons so I was unable to see where they went off to.

I was lucky with the weather and not many people about, the park have a variety of statues from Queens of France, authors and poets, and a couple of modern pieces all had some sort of interest be it visually or historically.

Pmary stuart

Mary Stuart Queen consort 1859-60

P3 stat

Greek Actor by Baron Charles Arthur Bourgeois (1838-1886)


Le Marchand de Masques by Zacharie Astruc

Masks of famous writers, composers, and artists: Victor HugoLeon Gambetta, Jean-Baptiste Corot, Alexandre Dumas son, Hector Berlioz, Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, Gabriel Faure, Eugene Delacroix, Honore de Balzac, Jules Barbey d’Aurevilly.

La Rocque and fish trap Friday, Mar 11 2016 


Today was fine and settled after what has been a very wet start to the year, coupled with a rise and fall of tide of 11.8 metres I decided to go for a walk down the main gutter below La Rocque Harbour and look at something I had discovered a couple of years back. The harbour was built in the early 19th century to shelter the fishing boats that fished around the south east coast and Les Minquiers where they would stay for up to a week and fish for lobsters and then return their catch and have it transported by boat and train to London. When the harbour was built it was said that 40 boats were using the area.


The photo above is taken from the lower part of the gully looking back towards the harbour


Eelgrass – Zostera marina

Once you are at the bottom of the gutter it opens up to plains of sand and rocks dotted around there is plenty of areas to explore and find some of the above pictured, eelgrass is on the IUCN red list and is in decline, it suffers from a wasting disease and pollution, there were notable losses locally due to disease in  the early 20th century. It was also once a popular filling for matresses and known as “Palliasses”.

The area is also a haven for birds and at this time of year we have over wintering Brent Geese who will shortly be leaving for the Artic to breed, and Red Breasted Mergansers, I did not see any terns but Sandwich terns can be seen all the year round, and Common terns will be arriving from warmer climes next month.

The line of stones in the middle of the sand are man made and originally when I saw them some years back I thought they may have been a track for carts, but I now think they are some sort of fish trap (Pêcherie), there is another line of stones barely visible on this picture, they are just behind the reef.


Fishtrap ?

Paris 2015 Tuesday, Mar 1 2016 

My first day in Paris and I arrived at the train station and took a little while to obtain my metro pass which had been simple on my previous trip in that I just purchased it at a desk, I now needed to get a passport type photo and fill out a short form, and I obtained a card in a solid plastic holder. Before leaving the station I signed the condolence book for the victims of the recent attacks which is to be stored in the Paris Archives. I booked into my hotel the Ibis budget La Villette, on Avenue Jean Jaures. I then set off to Pere Lachaise Cemetery which was one of the few places I had decided to go to before my arrival.

pere lachaise

I had me guide book to guide me round which showed me the most notable graves, but I soon got sidetracked to some of the more interesting places, and I came across a number of Polish exiles which I have with limited success tried to find out more about them, but there are several that I have not been able to trace, one bonus was to find a list on google ( Almanach historique; ou, Souvenir de l’émigration polonaise) of those in Paris, which also included a few listed in Jersey several of whom I had not recorded, and it also gave there rank in the army.


Klementyna Tańska

Polish childrens author Klementyna Tańska and so called “Mother of the Great Emigration” is situated in an area of the cemetery where several other Polish exiles can be found.


Theodore Morawski

Sadly I did not get to see all of the cemetery as the rain came down and I went off to visit elsewhere in Paris.

Caen continued Tuesday, Jan 5 2016 


The statue above in Place Saint-Martin is of Bertrand Du Guesclin a Breton Knight c.1320-1380, also known as the “Black Dog of Broceliande” Known to Jersey for his invasion in 1373 when he captured the island and lay siege to Mont Orgeuil, the Bretons continued hostilities in the island for 2 more years after, until a ransom was paid for du Guesclin to cease hostilities.

I visted the gallery in the grounds of the Chateau de Caen which was disappointing in that it had a large collection of paintings depicting biblical scenes which although fine paintings had little interest to me, there was also a display of modern art which was little more than  scribbles to me. I then went on to visit the museum which was rather non descript from the outside, with the amount of space and art in the area the museum setting appears to have been ignored, the museum  was a variety of models, displays, and films depicting the history of Normandy, the most interesting bit for me was the display of traditional crafts of the area especially the tin works, below is a map of the foundaries, forges, and tinsmiths in lower Normandy.


I am interested because my ancestor Frederic Jouault 1811-1871 was a tinsmith living in Peter Street, St Helier, he was the son of a tailor, so I do not know how he came to take up the trade, but he must have been a skilled craftsman as he sent an engraved pistol to be displayed at the Great Exhibition of 1851. The museum had a display of the sort of items that would be made by the smiths:

caen tin work

I walked to the north west of the town and came across the Church of Saint Nicolas but found it closed, and the cemetry has to be one of the most neglected I have seen:

caen cem

I then went onto the nearby cemetery des Quatre-Nations which was only in slightly better condition to the previous cemetery but I had an interesting walk around it.

cem two

Cimetiere des Quatre-Nations

Then onto the Cemetery of Saint-Gabriel which was more in custom to the pristine French cemetery I was accustomed to.

Nearby is the Jardin des Plantes a wooded park on the side of a hill with variety of labelled trees and shrubs:

a plant

Jardin des Plantes



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