11th February 1645

Dean of Jersey killed in Mont Orgueil escape attempt

David Bandinel was the dean of Jersey, but if you thought that would mean he was placid and forgiving, you’d be mistaken. Bandinel fell out with Philip de Carteret, the Bailiff and lieutenant-governor who, like all of his predecessors, had been appointed by the king. This made de Carteret loyal to the monarch at the time of the English civil war and he eventually found himself out of touch with public feeling on the island.

Just as those on Guernsey who supported Parliament found themselves isolated in Castle Cornet, so de Carteret and the other Royalists found themselves stuck in Elizabeth Castle after a petition had been submitted for their arrest.

The Dean is not for turning

It might be expected that if anyone on the island could have acted as a go-between for the besieged and the besiegers it would have been the dean, but not in this case. Bandinel and de Carteret had previously fallen out, and Bandinel was not ready to forgive him. De Carteret fell ill and eventually died, but still Bandinel refused to help – or even to minister to him.

Unfortunately for Bandinel, two can play the revenge game, and when de Carteret’s nephew, George, became lieutenant-governor, he seized the opportunity to have Bandinel arrested and imprisoned with his own son, Jacques Bandinel, at Mont Orgueil, thus reasserting his family’s authority over the island.

Disastrous escape

On 10 February 1645, by which point the Bandinels had been confined for more than a year, they put into action a plan to escape, which involved knotting together their bed sheets and using them as a rope to climb down from one of the castle windows. Alas, bed sheets are not designed to be used that way, whatever literature and movies might suggest, and they snapped when the elder Baninel was still some way off the ground. He fell to the rocks below, was badly injured and died the following day.

A plaque in the Parish Church of St Martin Le Veux in memory of several Bandinels says of Daniel that he was the “first protestant dean of this island [and his was] a name for ever to be beloved, respected and revered”.


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