Battle day escape
The Hemery house at the eastern end of the Royal Square was where Clement Hemery was living on the morning of the Battle of Jersey, 6 January 1781. He famously escaped from the house through a cellar when French soldiers arrived in the square and went to warn the Lieut-Governor of the invasion.
Jacques Hemery purchased the house in the Royal Square from Temple Chevalier for £150 in 1767. It is thought Clement and Jacques lived in the house together at first, until Jacques moved to Plaisance. Certainly Clement was living there with his family in 1781. By 1800 Clement had purchased Colomberie, and the house in the Royal Square was rented out. So it was the Hemery residence for a little over 30 years. The Gazette de l’Ile de Jersey for 21 April 1804 carries an advert offering the house for rent, repeated the next week.
- To rent. C Hemery Esquire advises that his house situated on the Square, and presently occupied by Mrs Elizabeth Boully, is for rent, from next St Michael’s day. Apply to the owner.
Chamber of Commerce
By 1835 it had been sold to Philippe Falle. Jacques Hemery was the first secretary of the Chamber of Commerce in 1768, and ironically the Chamber of Commerce now moved into his old house.
Up to June 1835 meetings of the Chamber of Commerce were held at the York Hotel in the Royal Square, members renting two front rooms on the first floor from Mrs Le Gros at £40 pa. On 25 June 1835 a letter was received from Phillipe Falle concerning the house in Royal Square then occupied by Mrs Pallies, offering three rooms on the first floor for £60 pa for seven years. A letter dated 7 July 1835 reads ‘three rooms on the first floor of the house I am about to rebuild in the Royal Square’ The Chamber of Commerce offered £50 and Falle accepted £50 British Money.
Jersey Argus 27 October 1835. ‘On Tuesday next, 3 November, Mr Ph Falle intends to place the first stone of an elegant building he is about to erect at the bottom of the Royal Square for the Chamber of Commerce. A silver cup with the following inscription is to be placed beneath the said stone
- ‘Dieu protégé le Commerce. Cet edifice a ete erige pour le Chambre de Commerce de cette ile; la premiere pierre a ete posee par Philippe Falle et Betsy Esther Touzel son epouse, le 3 Novembre 1835.’ The cup, we understand, will be filled with the various silver and copper coins of the present reign as usual on such occasions.’