7th May 1742

Jersey historian Philip Falle dies

Philip Falle spent much of his life shuttling backwards and forwards between Jersey and the mainland. In the process, he produced a definitive history of his home island, found favour as an advisor to the king, and was ordained a priest. He died on 7 May 1742.

Although born in Jersey in 1656, he was educated in London and Oxford where he earned himself a Master of Arts. He was ordained a priest in 1679, by then aged just 23. In this capacity he returned to Jersey for the first time and was installed in the church at Trinity. By then, Falle’s father had died, leaving him with land from which he could earn a small living that would bolster the meagre salary he was earning as a priest.

A mission to the crown

His appointment in Jersey came to an end in 1687 when he returned to the mainland as a tutor but, two years later, he was back, this time serving in St Saviour. By now, the States of Jersey was getting worried that France was intent on invasion and occupation, and Falle was sent as its representative to petition King William III for protection. Believing it would help convince the king and his ministers that Jersey was worth the expense of defending, he wrote the first version of his history of the island at this time.

Falle clearly impressed the king, who appointed him his personal chaplain while he continued working on his history of the island, which appeared in a new edition several years later. Towards the end of his life, he bequeathed his considerable library of books to Jersey for the benefit of all islanders.


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