La Pierre Des Femmes Wednesday, Apr 23 2014 

Pierre Des Femmes

Pierre Des Femmes


Many will be aware of the largest rock on the south eastern side of Les Ecrehous called Pierre des Femmes which translates into Ladies rock, it is common knowledge about how the rock came about its name, but I had never come across an account of it until I stumbled upon it last year when I was googling for something else and to my surprise there is an account in French which I will roughly translate: The passage between France and and the Channel Islands was a passage for commercial vessels plying their trade between Portsmouth and the islands. The cutters would leave for the Channel Islands and often stop at Cherbourg before tackling the Alderney Race (Le Raz Blanchard), the current would carry them between the islands and sometimes past the Ecrehous before making for the main Jersey port of St Helier. In this period of time things were not good in Liverpool with epidemics and unemployment etc., at the same time Jersey was maunfacturing clothes and pottery and taking on workers. Many young and elderly women left their homes and family to seek work and provide for them. emmigrated to St Helier. One year at the end of summer the brig “Minot’s Light” as usual took on some forty women bound for Jersey They were making good way with a north east wind and were passing Les Ecrehous when the rudder became damaged, perhaps it broke under strain as it passed the shoals, or hit a submerged object, nobody did or will ever know. The Captain called for the ships carpenter to fix it, and this was not the best time for this to happen as they were now being driven towards the Ecrehous reef, the sails were let fly so as to allow the rudder to be fixed, and the flapping of them caused some alarm among the passengers. The captain went below and found the carpenter and his assisant strugglig to repair with the bar flying around in the confined space and their faces were bloodied where they had been struck by it. The captain called for the experienced boatswain to see if he could fix it. The captain went back on deck and then there was an awful shudder and he ran up onto the bridge and saw the sea foaming around them with the out of site rocks below them, he decided to haul in the sails in the hope that the boat would heel over and clear the reef, but it only pushed them more onto the rocks, panic amongst the women set in. A large wave bigger than all the others pushed them hard against the rocks and the dreaded sound of water entering the damaged hull was immediately heard. This was the end and the captain gave the order to lowere the boats in the hope they would get off before the mastes broke and fell down upon them, the boats though were stuck with on one side they were stuck onboard and the other they were being hit by the waves and the rock, they did manage to get one in a useable condition. The ships carpenter was no where to be seen and presumed lost below, two women had been crushed and killed by a falling boom, and one of the crew had been lost trying to free a boat. The sea settled slightly and the second in command ordered everyone to try and make their way onto the nearby rock, half of the women had been washed away and weighed down by their waterlogged garments. Eventually some of the younger, fitter or just lucky ones managed to mount the rock, and the boat was continually being bashed on the rocks and then their was a large crashing noise as the main mast broke and fell. In all 23 women and 9 crew had survived on the rock that was out of reach of the waves but had no vegetation upon it. The women starting drying their clothes although it was not cold but night time was not far away, the crew were concerned as they watched their vessel break up as they had no fire or water and no apparent means of gaining safety.

The young officer suggested they swim to the vegetated island visible not far away stating that the rock they were on would be covered by a couple of metres of water, and that it would not be too difficult a swim as the tide would take them that way, then the women stated most of them could not swim, and even some of the crew admitted likewise. With the “Minot’s Light” breaking up and becoming covered by the tide those that were able had no option but to strip to their underwear and attempt the swim and the others sat their desolate and sobbing awaiting their fate. They made good progress over a short distance but the women were not accustomed to swimming in such a sea and were soon lost to it, eventually only six of the men managed to reach the shingle and the island. Then men tried as best they could to dry their clothes and warm themselves, then tried to get some sleep, not long after the cries and screams of those being taken by the sea could be heard, eventually the survivors fell asleep and awoked in clear sunshine with not a sign of anyone else or the remains of “Minot’s Light”  Nothing reamined to be seen at Pierre des Femmes and no one would ever want to venture near this site of such an unfortunate tradegy.

The author was never sure of the tradegy that is related above but one day he related the story to friends father from Morlaix who had been a Merchant seaman and he said it is true as he had seen a plaque in Liverpool which commerated those on the “Minot’s Light” lost off the French coast.

translated from an account by Gilles Letournel

The version I have heard but from whom I do not recall was that there was an English vessel that struck a rock and was taking in a great deal of water and expected to sink, and so the captain put the women on Pierre des Femmes thinking it would not be covered by the tide, and during the night the vessel managed to make its way into the sheltered waters of the reef and remained afloat but the woman had been washed from the rock never to be seen again. Given that this was such a disaster it is surprising that I have not come across any substantial record or mention of this episode, but given the name of the rock has lasted one suspects the account must be true, as is the rock La Balance at les Dirouilles which happened in 1816 when a French transport ship “La Balance” on its way from St Malo to Canada met its fate and 40 perished and 70 survived and reached the barracks at Rozel where they were given food and shelter.


Zeno Swietoslawski 1811 – 1875 Monday, Apr 21 2014 

Zeno Swietoslawski

Zeno Swietoslawski

Zeno Boleslaw Swietoslawski was born in Warsaw and was said to have participated in the November Uprising in Poland, the first record of him in Jersey is with the 1841 census when he was living at 13 Dorset Street, St Helier. The University of Gdansk have a character profile of him which notes the following:  He was the son of an apparently fairly wealthy noble originally from Ukraine. He started his peregrinations in the early 1830s presumably after the so-called Novemeber Uprising and was for a time in London, writing letters to his father complaining about his poverty. His father would continually send him funds. He ended up in Jersey and reported to his father that Jersey produced a lot of eggs. His father deduced from this that wheat or rye must also be grown and asked about the local serfs and if there was a large Jewish community in Jersey. (There are a lot of such comments about cultural differences, e.g. son complaining he had to eat oysters in London, whereas in Warsaw they were then considered a delicacy.) He first wanted his son to buy land, but eventually he gave him money to buy a printing press. He was very religious and deeply committed to his socialist cause, so was his wife. His political pamphlets, however, were not popular among other activists. The author Teodor Tomasz Jepary met the couple some time in the 1850’s and said everything was pretty neglected and run down in their house because they were both so engaged in the cause. They helped other insurgents get passports to France, including one that also fought in the January Uprising. There was a whole network or cells of Polish insurgents, revolutionaries, socialists, anarchist and religious zealots. Zenon’s cell? commune? (gmina) was origanally called Lud Polski (Polish People) later to be called Humañ (a town in Ukraine and site of 1768 massacre of Polish nobles and Jews). Like pretty much everything else in this Polish religious noble socialist’s life, the commune or cell was thought by some who also noted Zenon was a thoroughly decent man committed to the cause (whatever that was), but hadn’t really achieved much.

He purchased a steam printing press from the French abolitionist Victor Schœlcher who stayed for a short period in Jersey with their mutual acquantaince Victor Hugo, the press published from Dorset Street under the name L’Imprimerie Universelle and published the weekly paper L’Homme which was edited by militant proscrits. In the late 1856 he co-founded the Gromada Rewolucyjna Londyn a Polish social democratic  revolutionary group.

He is buried in the south east corner of Green Street Cemetery in the family grave which is in a state of neglect.

Swietoslawski grave

Swietoslawski grave

Notes on Polish in Jersey Saturday, Apr 5 2014 

Polish Festival 2005

Polish Festival 2005


The following is a list of Polish people that lived in Jersey:

O kształceniu Serca

O kształceniu Serca

Felix (Feliks) Nowosielsk 1800-1864 died London, he fought with distinction in the November Uprising 1830-31, and was awarded Polands highest military award the Order of Military Virtue. The Russian Tsar published an order which named Nowosielski, and was sentenced to death by hanging on the gallows or exile forever from the Polish Kingdom. Whilst in Jersey Felix wrote and published in 1853 O kształceniu Serca


 List of Poscrits in Jersey:  Lud. Kordecki, Joachim Leiewel, Roch Rupnienshi, Zeno Swietolawski, K. Balinskiegu, Tchozeswki

1841 census

John Dzierbinski 35 living Chapel lane with Nico Rupniewski. 1851 age 54, refugee, living Havre des Pas

Nico (Nicodemus) Rupniewski 35 took part in the November Uprising brother of Roch (see below), October 1836 recorded as an alien arriving at Southampton from Jersey with a fellow Pole Kisiel, he died in Poland 1878.

Amb Smolinski 30 living Chapel Lane, only noted as from foreign parts but presuming his name and associated with those above make him possibly Polish.


Francis Badet 48, living in St Peter, servant to Abraham Asplet

Anthony Bernstroff 53, Polish Officer (1871 – Government Annutant)
Living in the same house in Trinity were Joseph Malerewski 54, and Joseph Malerewski 42 also Polish Officers. 1871 Old St John’s Road Joseph Malczeweski age 71.

Ignotio Butkousis 51, Trinity Road, St Helier, visitor

John Dzuabanski 54, refugee, living Havre des Pas
Rebecca Elias R 64, living with her nephew Saul Samuels, Parade Place
Juda Harris 65, general dealer, living Hosiptal/Workhouse
Rachael Harris 64 Hawker, living Cheapside with sons Israel (born England), Henry and Solomon
Charles Janierviez 51 born Poland, Major in Polish Army and Elizabeth Janierviez 38 born England. Living “Belle Vue”, St Saviour
Florian Mikulowski 46, annuitant, living Philip Street

George Mikulowski 43, Refugee, Major in Polish Army wife Emilie Fauchet ? born Paris, sons Emile 9 born France, Edward 6 born Jersey. Living at 19 Belmont Road. 1861 German Professor, living still at 19 Belmont Road, described himself “an honest exile who is obliged to work due to the weight of immense misfortune” and one of the first photographers in Jersey, eventually ran Hotel de L’Europe, Mulcaster Street (1)

John Michelowski 49 also 1861 & 1871 census Visitor Immigrant, in house of John De Gruchy 44 New Street.

Heres Neaton 52 and his wife Esther both hawking Jewellery, living 2 Philip Street

John Newman 36. living Conway Street

Auguste Ruashicrofiege 65 exile, visitor – “Priscilla Cottage” Poonah Road

Roch Rupinieski 47 Refugee, living as a lodger with Mrs Jane Warren near or at “Belle Vue” (neighbour Charles Janierviez), took part in the November Uprising and awarded the Military Cross of Virtue. 1861 & 1871 census has him living at Mount Pleasant, Liverpool with widow Jane Warren of Jersey, died in Liverpool 1876.

J Ryoski 24 Pastry Cook, 3 Snow Hill

Saul Samuels 31, with English wife Hannah 26, and children Joel, Tobias, and Selina, living Parade Place, dealer in Jewellery and Hardware.

Grave of Albert Schmitt Almorah Cemetery

Grave of Albert Schmitt Almorah Cemetery

Albert Schmitt 52 (also on 1871 age 62?) Will in Jersey Archive left money to Polish Institute in Paris. Refugee 69 Stopford Road – Clement Le Sueur, also Hospital bienfaiteur for the sum of £20

1861 census

Anthony Bernsdorff 61, former army officer, Victoria Village

Julian Besnaski 57, refugee, inmate General Hospital/Workhouse

Louis R De Monte Drury 32, M.D. not practicing, Beaumont, St Lawrence, 1871 Ludvig R Drury, born Russia, British subject, Ship Chandler, living in Kingston upon Hull

Israel Harris 75, Merchant, widower, boarding at 1 Colomberie Cottage

Charles Jancewiez 66, Army Major, living with his English wife Elizabeth 50, at 13 Clarence Road

Joseph Malezewski 61, Officer in the Polish Army, Victoria Village, 1881 Joseph Malezewski 81 Polish refugee, 3 Old Street, St Helier, 1891 census Joseph Mabzeulki age 91, pensioner

Susan Nathan 62, Shop Assistant, living Pier Road with nephew John Corbel 24, born Cape of Good Hope

Joseph Nowakouski 50, Officer Polish Army, 1881 70, Joseph Nowakouski exile, ex military, Victoria Village, Trinity

Isaac Samuels 68, widower and visitor at Oxford Cottage, Oxford Road

Moses Samuels 29, Pharmacist, wife Rachael 29 English, living 9 Broad Street

Albert Schmitt 57, living Green Street, in exile since 1831

Theophile Tzdebski 50, Military Officer, living Don Road

John Sobolewski 60, Polish Refugee Maupertuis, St Clement, 1881 John Sobolewski 80, retired Army Officer, boarder Maupertuis Road, St Clement

Martin Szymanowsky 59, Captain in the 10th regiment of the Polish Cavalary, 39 Parade, 1871 Marchin Szymanowsky 69 Refugee, Captain in the Polish Cavalry. 39 Parade Place

Jacob Wolf 60, widower, traveller, living 26 Hue Street

1871 Census

Anthony Bernsterft 70, living Trinity, Government annuitant

George Bolheron born 1798, living “Rose Cottage” St Saviour

Alexandre Breanski living St Martin, annuitant

Jean Michalowski born living Cheapside, St Helier, born 1791, annuitant

Alexander Holinski 54 born Warsaw. Annutant. Merinda 38 daugher?, born Suffolk, son Anthony 10, born Paris. Boarding House David Place

Charles Malawski

Charles Malawski

Charles Malawski, Inn Keeper age 60, with Rosalie Malawski (Nee Parish) age 36 born France and Jules S Malawski age 8 born Jersey.

Joseph Malczeweski age 71. (same person on 1851?)

Marchin Szymanowsky 69 Refugee, Captain in the Polish Cavalry. 39 Parade Place

1881 census

George De Bulharyn

George De Bulharyn

George De Bulharyn 82 Polish refugee, boarding at “Milton House” George Town, St Saviour
Jules Marylski 66, Gentleman, born Mazovic, Poland, wife Florence 35 (born Florence, Italy) (when she died she was buried at Almorah Cemetery, the body was exumed and buried at Mont Matre, Paris)

Joseph Nowakouski 70, exile, ex military, Victoria Village, Trinity

Adam Pistu 78, annuitant, lodger 36 Aquila Road

George Zerboni (Artist) 48, and wife Mary 45. 1891 living 1 Queen’s Road, 1901 living in a chalet

1891 census

Vanda C Mowerynski 37 and daughter Sophie 17 both born Poland, 3 more daughters, and a son born England living “Horizon View” St Aubin’s Road, St Helier. Appears in the 1911 census as Vanda Casimir 49 married, living at “Font Hill” St Saviour, daughter Haydee 24 born Poland, 3 daughters and a son all born Greenwich.

1911 census

Marks Rosebaum age 58, tailor, 30 Don Road, St Helier

Zeno Swietoslawski was born in Warsaw and was active through printing during his time in Jersey, there is an article of his works in the Bulletin of the Societe Jersiaise. I will do another post on him and his work.

On the 1851 census
Dorset Street
Zeno B 39
Julia G born Devon 29 his wife?
Raphael T 6 – Jersey
Adolphus J 4 – Jersey
Francis A 2 – Jersey
Julien E 9m – Jersey

1861 Zeno is in the Hospital/Workhouse

1871 Julia and Zeno (59) are still here with grandchildren

1881 in Liverpool we have Vessel:”Ullock”
Master AlexanderSwietoslaski  44, and married

Jersey Archives have the following:

1944 Zofia Jeziorna, 18 Gloucester Street, Polish National

Registration Card of Wanda Janik

Jersey Evening Post 1980

Polish artist Felix Topolski left the Island after a four day stay in which he completed 38 paintings, best known for his work for the Royal Family, he stayed with Mrs Sally Le Gallais.

Pictures of banners used during the 2005 Festival –

(1) Notes on George Mikulowski early Jersey photographer:


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