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

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.

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



Trinity Great War Memorial Friday, Aug 15 2014 

Trinity Memorial

Trinity Great War Memorial, I have gathered information from the Channel Islands and the Great War and Ancestry.co.uk web sites, but I was unable to find details of some of them. Inside the church is an updated Memorial with some additions

Sergeant Josué Renouf Bisson
3rd (or Town) Battalion, Royal Militia of the Island of Jersey 19/08/1917
Son of Josué Machon Bisson & Charlotte Rachel Le Boutillier Renouf, born 11 Nov 1886 in Ville-a-L’Eveque, Trinity, Jersey Died aged 31 in Rozel, Trinity. Occupation : Ecrivain

Rifleman Charles Garnet Blampied
7th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, 06/09/1916
Jersey Evening Post of Tuesday 19 September 1916
Roll of Honour. Rifleman C Garnet Blampied, who for 13 years was employed as a compositor at the office of our French contemporary Le Chronique de Jersey and who left with the Jersey contingent, has been killed in action. A brother of the deceased, who had joined the Canadian Overseas Forces was killed some time ago and another brother is at present a prisoner of war in the hands of the enemy.

Private John Blampied
23rd Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
10/10/1916 , buried Wallencourt, Youngest son of Charles & Madge Blampied of 8 Almorah Crescent, St Helier, Jersey. One of two brothers who both fell. Killed in action, aged 17 years.

Private Thomas John Blampied
26th Batallion, Canadian Infantry (New Brunswick Regiment)
18/06/1916 . Son of Charles & Mary Jane Gallichan
One of two brothers who both fell within 3 months. Deceased, aged 22 years.

CSM John James Bull
1st Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment
15/09/1916, Son of Charles and Mary Jane Bull (nee Pougher), of Cosby, Leicester. Husband of Lydia Jane Bull (nee Lempriere), of 51 Great Union Road, Jersey. Served in the South African Campaign. Killed in action aged 35 years.

Lieutenant Frederick (Fred) Max Burger Canadian Infantry (Central Ontario Regiment)
14/10/1918, Youngest son of the late George William Charles & Margaret (Maggie) Burger (nee Tobin) of 12 Lempriere Street, St Helier, Jersey. Killed in action, aged 29 years.Commemorated on family memorial in Almorah Cemetery, Trinity Parish Memorial and on memorial in Masonic Temple to Freemasons. 1901 census living at the family run Alnwick Hotel, Trinity.
Private Wilfred De La Haye (served as Delaney).
Canadian Forces 1st Mounted Rifles Saskatchewan Regiment
15/09/1916 . Youngest son of Alfred de la Haye of Haute Croix, Jersey. Killed in action, aged 29 years

Gunner Elias George Dorey
290th Siege Battery. Royal Garrison Artillery, 31/10/1917, Son of John and Elsie Dorey, of Jersey. Killed in action, aged 23 years. Commemorated on St Johns Parish Memorial, and on Sion Methodist Church Sunday School Memorial, Jersey

Private John Philip du Feu
15th Battalion, London Regiment (Prince of Wales Own Civil Service Rifles)
03/08/1917. Second son of Mr and Mrs James du Feu of Rue es Pelles, Trinity, Jersey. Formerly employed by Au Gagne Petit in Jersey and also worked in London. Killed in action, aged 33 years.
Jersey Evening Post of Monday 20 August 1917
Roll of Honour. We record with regret the death which took place in action on 31 July last of Private John Philip du Feu of the London Regiment. The deceased soldier was the son of Mr & Mrs J du Feu of Rue es Pelles, Trinity, and was at one time employed at Au Gagne Petit and of latter years had been manager of a drapery business in London. The gallant soldier was 33 and leaves a widow in London to whom, with the other members of the bereaved family in Jersey, we tender our sincere sympathy.

Cadet John Tourgis du Val
44th Wing, Royal Air Force
25/04/1918. Eldest son of Mr & Mrs John du Val of La Bagatelle, Trinity, Jersey
Jersey Evening Post of Saturday 4 May 1918
Jersey Cadet Killed in Aeroplane Accident. It is with sincere regret we learn that John du Val, a cadet in the Canadian Air Service, eldest son of Mr John du Val the respected temporary postman at Trinity, was killed on 25 April in an aeroplane accident. This young Islander went out to Canada in 1908 and for 5 years was employed by the firm of J Le Grand Paspebiac, he then proceeded to Montreal where by his ability and hard work he won the esteem of all who knew him. In 1917 he passed all the tests at the Whycliffe Training College for Cadets in Toronto and then was sent to Texas to complete his practical training as a pilot. He was expected in England shortly on his way to the Front and was looking forward to a well earned holiday with his parents in his native Isle. The late cadet was in his 25th year. To Mr & Mrs du Val, whose second son is at the Front, and the other members of the family we offer our sincere sympathy. Killed in an aircraft accident, aged 25 years.

Regimental Sergeant Major James Hudson Goldsmith
Staff – Heavy Artillery Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery
Husband of Lilian Goldsmith of Fair View, Trinity, Jersey, he was born in Alderney
Died of wounds, aged 37 years
Jersey Evening Post of Tuesday 9 April 1918
Roll of Honour. Another well known soldier who was taken prisoner at Kut el Amara has unfortunately died whilst in the hands of the Turks, we refer to Regimental Sergeant Major J H Goldsmith, a former member of the RMIJ Permanent Staff, whose wife and three children reside at Fair View, Trinity. The deceased soldier was attached to the 86th Heavy Battery Royal Artillery and was captured at the close of 1916 and no news had been received from him for a considerable period. His wife has, however, now received the tragic information that he died at Islahgaa in Turkey. The late Regimental Sergeant Major, who was in his 37th year, was a well known athlete and had scores of friends and acquaintances in the Island who will hear the above news with regret and much sympathy will be felt for the widow and children.

Private Alfred (Fred) Charles Guégan
7th Battalion, King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
23/08/1918. Fourth son of Jean Francois Guégan & Marie Francoise Darcel of La Biarderie, Trinity, Jersey. One of two brothers who both fell in 1918. Killed in action, aged 18 years

Private John P Guegan
1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry
13/04/1918. Younger son of the late Mr James F Guegan and Mrs Guegan of Melville Cottage, Trinity, Jersey. Killed in action, aged 23 years.
Jersey Evening Post of Tuesday 7 May 1918
Roll of Honour. We record with regret the death which took place in action on 1 April of Private J P Guegan, younger son of Mrs Guegan of Melville Cottage, Trinity. The deceased gallant soldier was 24 and joined up early last year in the Hampshire Regiment, being later transferred to the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry, and had only been transferred from another Front a few days when he met his death. Previous to joining the colours he was employed by his brother-in-law, Mr J Michel of Longueville. Killed in action, aged 18 years.

L. Hamon no details found.

J.E.M. Hervé no details found, possibly Joseph Hervé of St John

W Hervé no details found, possibly brother of above.

Lance Corporal John Francis Kerfant
4th Battalion, Middlesex Regiment
Jersey Evening Post of Monday 21 October 1918
Roll of Honour. We regret to chronicle the fact that Lance Corporal J F Kerfant of the Middlesex Regiment died on 12 October in hospital in France of gun shot wounds in the abdomen. The deceased soldier, who was 27, was born in Trinity and was formerly employed at the Hotel de l’Europe. He joined up about 3 years ago and leaves a mother, who resides at 1 Patriotic Street, to whom we offer our sincere sympathy.

Commemorated on St Thomas’ Roman Catholic Church Memorial
Bombardier Arthur Raymond Laisney
475th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
02/12/1917. Only son of Peter Francis and Elizabeth Laisney (nee du Feu), of “L’Abri” Trinity, Jersey. Husband of Maggie May Laisney (nee Carpenter), of 9, Cambridge Gardens, Hastings.
Died of pneumonia at the General Southern Hospital in Portsmouth, aged 25 years.
Private Raymond Le Breton
1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment
1901 census living with family at “La Garenne” Trinity
Jersey Evening Post of Friday 19 April 1918
Roll of Honour. Mr & Mrs Le Breton of 2 Dorset Street this morning received telegraphic information that their eldest son, Private R Le Breton of the Dorset Regiment, had died in hospital at Rouen on Tuesday last of gas shell poisoning. This sad news followed a wire which stated he had been admitted to the above hospital on 16 April dangerously ill and that permission to visit him could not be granted. The above gallant soldier was amongst the first volunteers in 1915 and will be remembered as a highly respected employee of Mr Frederick Baker. He was 23.

Armourer Philip Renouf Le Cornu
Royal Navy. H.M.S. “Malaya” 01/06/1916
Son of Philip Picot Le Cornu & Susan M Le Cornu of Vincent Hall, Trinty, Jersey. Husband of Mary Le Cornu (nee Langlois).
Died of wounds, following the Battle of Jutland on H.M.S. Malaya, aged 37 years.
Jersey Evening Post of Wednesday 7 June 1916
Roll of Honour. We regret to state that yet another Jerseyman, Philip Renouf Le Cornu, made the supreme sacrifice on 31 May. This son of the sea was 38 and was serving on HMS Malaya, he was the eldest son of Mr & Mrs P P Le Cornu of Vincent Hall, Trinity. To the widow (nee Langlois) and the other members of the family we beg to offer our sincere sympathy in their hour of sorrow.
A total of 26 Jerseymen are believed to have lost their lives in the Naval Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 and on HMS Hampshire which sank on 6 June 1916 after striking a mine off the Orkneys.

Corporal Walter Charles Le Mercier
12th Field Company, Royal Engineers 21/03/1918
Son of the late Pierre and Elizabeth Le Mercier, of Jersey. Husband of Emily Kate Le Mercier, of Bishop”s Waltham, Hants.
Killed in action, aged 36 years

Henry Augustus Morcel
Ordinary Seaman, Royal Navy. HMS “Catspaw”
Son of Auguste and Emily Morcel, of Les Fougeres, St. John’s, Jersey.
Lost, aged 19
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record:
She foundered in a storm off Segerstad, Öland (in the Kattegat), with the total loss of her ship’s complement of 3 officers and 11 ratings, all of whom are buried in the same cemetery. The reason for the loss of H.M. Drifter “Catspaw” is not certain, but it was noted later that her steam powered engine was located some distance away from the bulk of the wreck, which led to Admiralty Inquiry speculation that the ship’s engine had probably played a major part in her loss.

Lance Corporal Clarence Durell Nicolle
1st RM Battalion, Royal Naval Division
Commemorated on Halkett Place Primary School Memorial,
St Mark’s Church Memorial,
Old Boys of St Marks Company Boys Brigade Memorial
and memorial in Masonic Temple to Freemasons. Bombardier John Alfred Olivry
23rd Battery, 108th Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery

Bombardier John Alfred Olivry
23rd Battery, 108th Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery
Brother of Rifleman Sidney John Olivry
7th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
09/09/1916. Commemorated on Sion Methodist Church Sunday School Memorial
St John’s Parish Memorial

Private Philip Henry Pallot
1st Battalion, Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry
07/12/1915, He was born in St Helier circa 1891, and living and working in Cornwall before the war.
Soldat 2nd Class Jean Marie Joseph Reux
74th Territorial Regiment French Infantry
02/06/1916. Born at St Carreuc,1876. Husband to Marie, worked as a farm labourer and resided at Les Hougues Cottage, Trinity, Jersey.

Gunner Peter James Therin
387th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
5/11/1917. Son of Peter & Jane Therin of Sunny Cottage, Augres, Trinity, Jersey. Died, aged 19 years.

Private Edwin John De La Haye
19th GHQ Reserve MT Company, Royal Army Service Corps
18/12/1919. Son of John and Margaret De la Haye. Husband of Bertha E. De La Haye, of 15, Birley St., Holden St., Lavender Hill, London. Served in the South African Campaign. Died, aged 32 years. 1891 age 3, born in Grouville and living at “La Raulinerie”, Trinity

Henry Rondel Le Sueur 1872-1921 Monday, Aug 4 2014 

Dr Henry Rondel Le Sueur 1872-1921
Born January 1st 1872 the son of Francis Charles Le Sueur and Esther Elizabeth Rondel of “Fairfield” Rue du Hurel, Trinity.

"Fairfield" Trinity

“Fairfield” Trinity

The following obituary was published in the journal “Nature”
“He attended a private school until 1887, and then for two years was in the laboratory of a Jersey analyst, Mr F.W. Toms. Thence in 1889 he proceeded to University College, London, taking the B.Sc. degree of the University of London (Honours in Chemistry) in 1893 and the D.Sc. degree in 1901.
Dr Le Sueur’s teaching experience was entirely connected to the institution, namely the Medical School of St Thomas Hospital, where he was appointed demonstrator in 1894 and lecturer in 1904, a post he was still holding at the time of his death on July 9th, he was also one of the Secretaries of the Chemical Society.
There was but one break in his connection with the hospital namely that the caused by the war. In July 1915, he was commissioned Major in the Royal Engineers, and ordered to Gallipoli, to advise on chemical warfare problems, and the complaint he contracted there was probably in no small degree responsible for his final illness. On his return to England he was one of those originally appointed to Gas Warfare Experimental Station at Porton, where he remained till the end of 1917, when he was ordered to the United States to assist in the preparation of the American Gas Warfare Experimental Station.
Dr Le Sueur’s original papers are to be found principally in the Journal of the Chemistry Society. He was a most capable experimenter, who found it necessary to satisfy himself on the minute detail. This probable accounts for the fact that the number of his communications (24) was not large, but they are characterised by a thoroughness, which can only be rightly appreciated by those who know his methods of work. It was however as a teacher that he particularly shone out as a bright star, His capacity for imparting knowledge to others was most pronounced and quiet exceptional, and among his students in his laboratory he was at his best.
Dr Le Sueur’s most marked characteristic as a man was his unfailing loyalty, whether to the science of his adoption, to his colleagues and students, or to his friends. Certainly the Island of Jersey never possessed a more loyal or truer son. His efforts to mask his natural shyness and reserve of manner did not always meet with the success which would allow strangers to recognise the true qualities of the man himself, but those who knew him intimately realise that by his untimely death the science of chemistry has lost a devoted servant, and they have lost a true and loving friend.”

Card sent from Cairo to Elizabeth his sister

Card sent from Cairo to Elizabeth his sister

Prior to the war Le Sueur assisted Dr A.W. Crossley C.M.G, C.B.E, F.R.S. 1869-1927 who was a lecturer in Chemistry at St Thomas’s Hospital, and during this time became a close colleague, and it was Crossley who was the creator of the research station at Porton when the war began. Crossley had an able and close assistant in Miss Nora Renouf 1881-1959, during the war she became a survey officer at the Fuel Research Board. Nora was the born in St Helier, the daughter of John Renouf and Delahay Woods, Le Sueur’s grandmother was a Renouf, but I am unaware of any family connection between the two.

Le Sueur was a founder member of the Jersey Society in London, and became its chairman shortly before his death. He is buried in the family grave at Trinity Church.


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

John Luce 1758-1827 Sunday, Oct 13 2013 

John Luce was born in St Helier, Jersey on the 3rd of November 1758 to John Luce a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and Elizabeth Matthews. John Luce senior had a distinguished career having been been involved in the land forces at the “Plains of Abraham” 1759, at Quebec, and the attack of Belle Isle in 1761.

He used his contacts to obtain a place for his son at Greenwich School which was of great repute in this period. He left there to enter the mercantile service again with contacts of his father Captain Collas and Clement Durell trading in West Indies and the Bay of Honduras,  with British settlements in the area it was a new and lucrative place for enterprise. He was received well in Belize with his family having connections with the settlers, especially Major Joshua Gabourel  of the royal local artillery, whose wife settled and resided in Jersey for some years when she became a widow.

Luce on his return to Jersey after a long absence was advised by his  godfather John Thomas Durell 1733-1800 the King’s Solicitor General of Jersey, to continue his career at sea and join the King’s navy, and within a few weeks he was serving in the small squadron then protecting the Channel Islands. He afterwards found his way to the West Indies, his favourite station, and served in the fleet opposing the Comte de Grasse;- he also served in the naval battalions conquest of Martinique, on the 22nd March 1793, and St Lucia;- he was further employed in several arduous situations in the transportation of Caribs from St Vincent to the island of Ruatan, but who subsequently deserted from that delightful and advantageous spot to Trujillo, on the Spanish Main.

Returning to Europe, Mr Luce joined the “Crescent” a frigate of 36 guns, the crew of which were mostly fellow islanders from Guernsey and Jersey, who were delighted to serve under that able commander Captain Saumarez.

After passing through the subordinate departments of the service, and having distinguished himself in the capacity as master’s mate on various occasions, that demanded considerable skill and intrepidity, when at Spithead, in the beginning of 1793, he got permission from his chief to visit London, and was favoured by Captain Saumarez with a strong recommendatory letter to Paul Le Mesurier, then MP for the borough of Southwark, and afterwards chief magistrate for that city.

Proficiently educated, Mr Luce soon passed the necessary examinations for the post of Lieutenant, being one of only seven out of the fifteen to pass.

"Crescent" capturing the Réunion off Barfleur

“Crescent” capturing the Réunion off Barfleur

He rejoined his ship in good time to share in the glory of the action fought with the Réunion, which was recaptured off Barfleur, in which conflict his distinguished conduct was particularly noted by his chief, and was rewarded with the rank to which he had for so long aspired to. Sir James Saumarez retained Lieutenant Luce for many cogent reasons. Familiar with the French language, he was a great acquisition to the service on the expedition on the aid of the Royalists at Quiberon Bay, and was frequently employed on the shore, not without imminent danger of falling into the hands of the Revolutionists, who never failed to slaughter their captives, without trial or mercy.

"Crescent" "Druid" & "Eurydice" engaging the French

“Crescent” “Druid” & “Eurydice” engaging the French

On the 7th of June, 1791, the “Cresent”, “Druid” 32 guns, and “Eurydice” 20 guns, fell in with the French fleet off Jersey. The vast superiority of the enemy prevented their coming to close action, but they occasionally engaged the French ships until they got off, into Guernsey roads, which was witnessed by a large crowd of islanders, and so bold and masterly a manoeuvre was displayed, that the then Governor issued a general complimentary order of the day, conveying the public approbation of the distinguished and consummate professional skill displayed on the occasion by British seamanship, most flattering indeed to the feelings of the crews attached to the small squadron.

Lieutenant Luce continued serving with Sir James Saumarez on board the “Orion” as first Lieutenant. The vessel was to take a prominent and distinguished role in the the Battle of L’Orient, being one of the first into action; this took place on the 23rd of June, 1795, for which Lord Bridport expressed his acknowledgements to the officers and seamen, for their intrepidity, courage, and skill during the battle.

The “Orion” continued cruising in different parts of the Channel. Whilst attached to the fleet off Brest: in the Bay of Biscay she made several captures of the enemy’s Privateers, that were sent into the nearest English ports; meanwhile in the early part of February, 1797. An order was received from the Lords of the Admiralty, directing the ship to proceed, and reinforce the squadron of Sir John Jervis, which they joined only a few days before the Battle of St Vincent against Admiral Jose Cordova took place on the 14th.

Early on the morning of that memorable day, it was known on board that the enemy’s force counted twenty seven sail of the line, exclusive of frigates and other armed vessels. At noon the fleets were closely and warmly at work, when the action became more general two hours afterwards; it was half past three when the Spanish ship “Salvador del Mundo”, of 112 guns, got desperately engaged with “Orion” of 74 guns, but was soon compelled to strike her colours, followed by hoisting of the English Jack, this was a happy omen for the English fleet, particularly for those on board the “Orion”, the ship’s cutter was then immediately lowered, and with the rapidity of lightning, First Lieutenant Luce, whose privilege it was, jumped into the boat and quickly took possession of the prize, with the formalities observed on such occasions.

The following morning the fleet anchored in Lagos Bay, when Lieutenant Luce proceeded for England in charge of the “Salvador del Mundo”, which he safely conducted to Spithead.

On the 7th of March of the same year, Lieutenant Luce was honoured with a commission of commander, as reward for his distinguished merit in the battle off Cape St Vincent, a reward which was justly entitled, after the hard earned victory for which, in common with the rest of the officers of the squadron, he received the thanks of Parliament.

In his active career for his country Captain Luce cause in many hard fought actions and skirmishes, in which he sustained variously bodily injuries; fortunately, however, for his family and friends, the most inconvenient was that which occasioned his deafness, arising from the concussion of a canon shot in his last engagement , which at the moment blew off his speaking trumpet whilst giving orders on board the “Orion”, the shock of which he never completely recovered.

He married in 1800 to Miss Scarvel, at Gosport. He had formed an attachment with her in Antigua, during his sojourn in the West Indies. The resided some time at Greenwich, whilst building a cottage of his own choice at Walworth, where he always felt a humble pride in entertaining his former shipmates and companions. Including his old captain the late Admiral Saumarez.

After a painful illness lasting three years he passed away on the 7th of May, 1827. He remains were deposited in Trinity Church in Newington, Butts, Surrey on the 14th of the same month; flowed by Colonel Waldegrave Fane, of the Royal Marines;  Lieutenant Charles B. Stockdale R.N.; Messrs Guillet, Walker, and other intimate friends.

Leaving no issue Captain Luce appointed his nephew, and heir at law, Mr Pickstock, a merchant of Honduras, the sole executor of his will, bequeathing to him the greatest portion of his property.

The above is from an article in the Guernsey and Jersey Magazine of 1837


Notes – Mr Pickstock was Thomas son of Thomas Pickstock a Privateer who died of fever in Surinam in 1800 and his mother was Elizabeth Luce. In the same Guernsey and Jersey magazine of 1837 an article states he was a magistrate and judge of the supreme courts of Honduras (also mentioned in Honduras Gazette), and resided in London in the 1830’s.


1841 census London has Thomas Pickstock 50 merchant and presumeably his wife Mary 45 both Jersey born and children Augustus and George born Honduras, and Thomas born England. (Leonora De La Taste age 20 born Jersey in household), And Leonora’s father Edward is in Jersey with a John Pickstock – merchant (foreign 15) staying with him.


Jerripedia gives us a summary of the Gabourel family stating they were involved in the slave trade, the 1851 Jersey census has John Joshua Gabourel age 54 born Honduras and his wife Harriet Benest 53 born Jersey.


We have mentions of Gabourel’s owning a plantatition at Cape Fear in North Carolina with: Joshua Gabourel with an American will registered in London 1726, died at Cape Fear, bachelor, master of the “Maxwell”. Another mention is of a Joshua Gabourel who came to the Cape Fear region from Jersey before 1734.


The “Honduras Alamanack” of 1829 mentions the following as subscribers: John Gabourel, William Gabourel, Thomas Pickstock, E Neel & Deslandes, Ph De Ste Croix, Francis Messervy of London, John Poingdestre it is known that he and James Poingdestre traded in mahagony and based themselves in London.


A search in ancestry.co.uk under Pickstock and Gabourel with Honduras as country a number of British slave registers come up.


Jersey involvement in the slave trade (bottom picture link to PDF) “A respectable trade or against human diginity” by Doug Ford:


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