22nd May 1761
Methodist minister Jean de Quetteville is born
Jean de Quetteville took Methodism from Jersey to Guernsey. Although born in Jersey and becoming a member of the Church of England, he learned about Methodism during his education on the mainland. Despite this early encounter with the religion, it was not until 1783 – six years after his return to the island – that he converted.
Methodism had been present in Jersey for some time by then, having been brought from Newfoundland by Pierre Le Sueur and Jean Tentin in 1774. Far from being a mere passive follower, de Quetteville became an active preacher and, in that capacity, was dispatched to Guernsey by Robert Carr-Brackenbury to spread Methodism to the neighbouring island. He was ordained in 1791 and produced three hymn books during his ministry.
A far-from-warm welcome
By all accounts, his early days in Guernsey were not easy. The locals didn’t want to hear what he was preaching, and he was frequently pelted with eggs and other rotten matter, both there and in Sark. Nonetheless, he fell in love with and married a Guernsey local, Susanne de Jersey, and had two daughters who outlived him, as well as one son who died.
De Quetteville’s travels took him beyond the Channel Islands and although he was denied the chance to preach in Canada he traveled to France in an official capacity. He died in 1843 and his remains were interred in St Peter Port cemetery, opposite Priaulx Library.
He is commemorated with a plaque at St Martin’s Methodist Church and remembered as The Apostle of the Channel Islands. In 2009, Methodist Homes for the Aged opened the 29-bed Maison De Quetteville in Guernsey to care for dementia patients. It was opened by broadcaster Pam Rhodes.
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