Philippe Dumaresq, surveyor

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A map drawn from Dumaresq's survey

Philippe Dumaresq, Seigneur of Samares, was the author of A Survey of Jersey, an extremely detailed and accurate 17th century map of Jersey.

Biography from A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey by George Balleine


Philippe (1637—90) was the eldest son of Henri Dumaresq, Seigneur of Samares Manor, and Marguerite, daughter of Abraham Herault and was born in Samares Manor on 2 May 1637, and baptised in St Clement's Church, Sir Philippe and Lady De Carteret being his godparents, for Civil War had not yet separated the families.

Civil War

But when war began, Henri Dumaresq became a leader on the Parliamentary side, and when the Royalists recovered the island, had to flee to England, leaving his wife and six-year-old son at Samares. In 1651 Mrs Dumaresq and her children were banished to France. Baker's Caesarea (1840) says that Philippe "entered the Navy and rose to the rank of Post Captain", a statement repeated in the Armorial and DNB. If so, it must have been the Commonwealth Navy, for the King’s Navy had ceased to exist, before he was old enough to join; and the Order in Council restoring his estates under the Act of Indemnity grants him pardon for his political misdemeanours during the Civil War.

He does not appear in Pepys' Register of Sea Officers, which records all who held naval commissions between 1660 and 1688. Any naval service however seems doubtful, since he describes himself in his Survey as "a stranger to the profession of the sea".

Petition to the King

At the Restoration in 1660 he petitioned the King: “As God hath not only restored you in so wonderful a manner, but touched your heart with mercy toward your enemies, I beg pardon for myself and my late father, and the taking off of the confiscation of the manor and seignory of Samares". His petition was granted, and he did homage in December 1660.


His hobby was gardening. A letter to his friend John Evelyn, the diarist, in 1666 thanks him for the help he has gained from Silva, Evelyn's book on tree-culture, "the subject being so suitable to my inclination and kind of life, that no fear of invasion from our ill neighbours can hinder me from putting daily in practice the directions there prescribed". He wrote again in 1670 that he has "planted about a score of cypresses from France and some borders of phillyrea (ie mock-privet), whereof most parts were of slips. I have this year began a little plantation of vineyard, encouraged by The French Gardener, (another of Evelyn’s books).


But, though he grumbled that "the ambition of others” dragged him away from his "rustic employment" to London, he seems to have revelled in lawsuits before the Privy Council. A dispute with the Seigneur of Trinity about precedence lasted from 1668 till 1685. Everyone agreed that among the Manors, St Ouen, Meleches, and Rozel ranked first; but did the fourth place belong to Samares or Trinity? In 1662 it had been granted to Trinity. Against this Dumaresq protested, and in 1669 won his case.

In 1670, however, Trinity got this decision reversed. The question was carried before the Council again and again; and at last in 1685 Samares was granted the precedence. In 1674 he claimed "free warren" (ie exclusive shooting rights) on the Town Hill, a claim that no Seigneur of Samares had made for 400 years. This was indignantly resisted by the Procureurs du Bien Publique, and, though he appealed from the Royal Court to the Council, he was unsuccessful. In 1678 he became involved in another "long and tedious suit concerning some rents relating to the tenements of Helier Messervy". It took Dumaresq 12 years to recover his seven quarters of wheat.

In 1682 Sir Edouard De Carteret, the Viscount, accused him to the King of misleading John Lanier, the Governor: "Sir John became acquainted with one Philip Dumaresq — your Majesty doth know that his father was hanged in effigy as a traitor — which said Dumaresq gave him such counsel that has caused all our differences, he being a man of the same temper as his father".


But in the midst of these controversies he was busy making a survey of the island, and drawing the most accurate map that yet been produced. It marks the frontiers not only of the parishes but the vingtaines, giving the number of houses in each. It names not only the bays, but the rocks and shoals round the coast. He presented this to James II on his accession in 1685 together with a manuscript Survey of Island of Jersey, Being an account of the Situation, Soyle, habitants, Fortification, Landing-places, Rocks, and Tides about the same.

He estimated the population at 15,000, of whom “half at least depend upon the manufacture of stockings", a “lazy manufacture that robbs the island of half its inhabitants, none adicting themselves to husbandry", so that Jersey, which used to export corn, has to import £3,000 worth annually. He described the Militia, and discusses the value of Mont Orgueil, deciding that its only use is "to lodge a company of foot". He made suggestions for strengthening Elizabeth Castle, one of which, the blowing up of the Hermitage, fortunately was not adopted.

But the main part of his work is a detailed description of the tides, currents, rocks, and shoals round the coast, pointing out the landmarks to be looked for, when entering the various bays, and giving warning as to likely places where an enemy might try to land. By this time he had shed the Parliamentary sympathies of his family, and spoke of Cromwell as "the Usurper" and the Civil Wars as "the unnatural rebellion”. This manuscript remained in the archives of the Admiralty until the Napoleonic War, when it was sent to Philippe d'Auvergne, Duc de Bouillon, naval commander in Jersey, who allowed some copies to be made.


In 1682 Dumaresq was elected a Jurat. In 1689 he was appointed Admiralty agent in Jersey for the Commissioners for Prizes. At the time of his death he was Farmer of the Import Duties on Wines and Spirits. He died in London in 1690 and was buried there on 5 June.

He had married in the Savoy Chapel, the French Church in London, in June 1672, Deborah, sister of Sir William Trumbull, who later became Secretary of State. He left one daughter, Deborah, who married Philippe Dumaresq of Les Augres, and died childless.

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