Jean Dumaresq

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Jean Dumaresq's signature

Jean Dumaresq - Bailiff of Jersey 1566-1596 (with interruptions)

When Bailiff Hostes Nicolle died suddenly in 1564. Jurat Eduard Dumaresq was appointed Juge-Délégué, or more exactly Juge commyns et ordonne aulx causes concernant l'office de Bailly en ceste Isle. Strangely he continued in this temporary position for two years, but he in turn died in 1566.


Jurat Jean Dumaresq, Seigneur of Vinchelez de Bas, who had only been elected to this position two years earlier, was immediatedly appointed Juge-Délégué in succession to his third cousin, by the Governor, Sir Hugh Paulet, and later in the year he was appointed Bailiff, being sworn in on 18 December.

He became involved in a lengthy dispute with his brother-in-law Hugh Perrin, Seigneur of Rosel, which culminated in a Royal Commission of three Jerseymen and three Guernseymen being sent to the island to try to resolve matters. Perrin's Seigneurial Court had declared the land of a tenant named Richardson forefeit until he paid arrears of rent. He appealed to the Royal Court, but Perrin exercised his right of objection to any Jurat he believed was not impartial.

The problem was that Perrin, who described the Bailiff as his 'mortal enemy' objected to the whole bench, a situation which had never arisen before. Perrin claimed that the law of Normandy demanded that the issue be put before the King, but Dumaresq disagreed and proceeded to try the case. He ruled that the land should be retained by Richardson, providing he paid his arrears. Perrin refused to accept this and Dumaresq imprisoned him for comtempt of court.

Royal Commission

When he fell ill the Lieut-Governor secured his release and he promptly fled to England to put his case before the Privy Council, which appointed the commissioners. They tried to mediate, without success, but there are no records to show the outcome of the affair.

In August 1583 Dumaresq was afflicted so badly by gout that he sought to resign. Governor Sir Amias Paulet, who had succeeded his father Sir Hugh Paulet, appointed his younger brother George to replace Dumaresq, which he did for three years until the latter was recovered sufficiently to resume his responsibilities. The two were to alternate in the past over a number of years, as Dumaresq's poor health forced Paulet to stand in for him.

During one of his periods in office in 1591 Dumaresq signed Ordinances drawn up by Royal Commissioners Napper and Pyne, despite there being some doubt as to whether they had the power to issue them. One of these ordinances abolished the right of a litigant to recuse (object to) a Jurat.

More litigation

There was prolonged litigation between Dumaresq and the Seigneur of his neighbouring fief, Vinchelez de Haut, Jean de Carteret, over the latter holding his Seigneurial Court at the Jonetz. Dumaresq raised the Clameur de Haro during the proceedings, but was found by the Privy Council to have done so wrongly, and the dispute lingered on.

In 1568 Dumaresq married his cousin Collette Dumaresq of Samarès in Sark. They had a son Jean, who became Seigneur of Samarès and eventually a Jurat. When his first wife died, Jean snr married Isabel, daughter of the new Seigneur of Rosel, Edmund Perrin. [1]

He stepped down as Bailiff for the last time in 1596 and died in May 1603.

Notes and references

  1. This information was contained in the biography on which this article was based in 2010. Reecent research shows that Isabel Perrin was actually Jean's first wife, by whom he had the son Jean. When she died he married Collette Dumaresq and had several other children: Elie, Abraham etc. This is clear from contracts 2:30 and 2:38 dealing with the partage of the inheritance among the children.
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