30th November 1675
Diarist and deacon Jen Chevalier dies
Jean Chevalier’s diaries describe life in Jersey at a time when the crown and the state were frequently at odds. Born in 1589, he was a deacon and Vingtenier of St Helier, and his diaries record how the Jersey public sided with Parliament, forcing monarchist Sir Philip de Carteret to retreat to Elizabeth Castle. A report on a speech about Chavalier’s life, published in the Jersey Times of 23 February 1909 describes how when ramparts were thrown up by the Town Church, “Chevalier was ordered to deliver up the keys of the arsenal [to de Carteret] but, even under the threat of being run through the body, refused.”
Chevalier’s diaries were republished many years after his death and, on 4 May 1895, the Jersey Weekly Press and Independent reviewed a reproduction, saying hey described “a view of St Helier when [Fort Regent] was a deserted hill covered with furze – when there were no harbours – when the tide beat against St Helier’s Church – when there were no houses on the spot where Mulcaster and Bond-streets and neighbourhood have been built; this was part of the strand or sea shore – the spot where the inhabitants dried vraic (seaweed) which they used as fuel, the ashes of which were the only manure of those days. In that time the Royal Parade and all that neighbourhood, Broad-street, Sand and Seale-streets included, were nothing but downs. The Royal Square of this day was a valley, on the borders of which was a small Market which surrounded the Church.”
The reproduction had been greatly anticipated, with the paper reporting in March 1895 that the manuscript’s 1000-plus pages had been in the hands of Chevalier’s descendant, Miss Hemery, “in whose safekeeping it has remained for many years past”.
FREE Jersey history newsletter
Don't miss our weekly update on Jersey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want.