The Herault family in Jersey

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The Herault family in Jersey

This article by the Rev J A Messervy was first published in the 1898 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise, and has been translated from French by Mike Bisson

Herault family page

Extente of 1274

Two members of this family, Guillaume Heraut, of St John, and Raoul, of St Mary, are mentioned in the Extente of 1274. That of 1331 also confirms the presence of a Guillaume Heraut at St John and of Colin Heraut at St Mary, and speaks of the Bouvée ès Heraus, situated in the latter parish. In the 16th century this name had disappeared in St John and St Mary but we find it again in St Helier and St Clement, where two branches were established which we have not been able to connect with each other with any certainty, although we have reason to believe that they had a common origin.

To the first of these two families, which lived at Vaux, near Moulin de la Ville, belonged the Greffier, Jean Herault, who should not be confused, as often happens, with the Bailiff of the same name. He was ‘clerk’ of the Court for 42 years. From January 1611, because of failing eyesight, he was replaced by Pierre Le Goupil, and on 21 September 1615 he obtained his discharge. He died a few years after. This branch was represented in the last century by the Guillaume family of Mont au Pretre.

A second branch has long been established in St Clement and gave birth to the roots of Mont à l’Abbé, St Helier, and of St Saviour. The Heraults of St Clement were represented in the last century by the Journeaux family; those of Mont à l’Abbé by the Guerdain family.

Bailiff Herault

Although born in St Saviour, Bailiff Herault belonged to the St Clement branch. Apart from the role he played in the Royal Commission of 1607, he does not appear to have held important positions in Jersey before being sworn in as Chief-Magistrate in 1615. However, it is clear from many Acts of the Court that he was one of the leaders who never ceased to call for procedural and administrative reforms.

Bailiff Herault died, without having married, in March 1626, and was buried on the 12th of the month at St Saviour’s Church. The funeral oration was given by Thomas Olivier, Rector of St Helier, who was executor of his will. His heir was his younger brother Jean Herault jnr – it was not rare to find two brothers with the same baptismal name.

It is convenient do mention also a parent of the Bailiff, Abraham Herault, who played a very important role in the conflict between the Royalists and Parliamentarians in the 17th century. He succeeded Jean Herault as Greffier, in 1615, and was sworn in as Jurat on 20 January 1625. One of the five Parliamentary Commissioners in 1643, he fled to England with Major Lydcott on the arrival of Captain George de Carteret, and was condemned to hang, as well as having all his assets confiscated. It is known that he was one of the authors of Pseudo-Mastyx. His wife, and his daughters, the Lady of Samares, were arrested and held in prison for a long time. The diarist Jean Chevalier recorded that in June 1649 Mrs Herault, mother, and her daughter-in-law, were sent to St Malo; that they returned to Jersey in 1650, and that they were banished again in April 1651.

When Jersey fell into the hands of the Parliamentariane in October 1651, Abraham Herault took up his responsibilities again, which could not have been a sinecure, because there were only one or two Jurats left and, when Cromwell named twelve magistrates on his own authority in 1654, he had been for some time the only Jurat to serve under Bailiff Michel Lempriere. He died in December 1655 and was buried at St Helier Church.

Land purchase

Nicolas Herault (father of Abraham) and Edouard Herault, his brother, bougth on 9 March 1584 from Hugh Nicolle, Seigneur of Longueville, land for a sum of 439 pounds sterling. They had a house called La Croisie built in the town in 1586.

Abraham Herault, grandson of the Jurat of the same name, willed “six gowns, stockings and shoes” for six poor people, to be distributed annually after their dinner on All Saints Day. His heirs, finding this commitment too onerous, preferred to offer a one-off sum of 100 ecus “without prejudice to the 100 pounds also willed by Abraham Herault, in the event that a hospital is built in St Helier”.

Jean Herault of St Saviour, the last representative of this family, had a dispute over precedence at St Saviour’s Church with Pierre Anthoine in 1722. Mr Anthoine had dismantled Mr Herault’s pew , placed with the consent of the principals and officers of the parish, in front of his own.

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