Early Bailiffs

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Early Bailiffs of Jersey

Very little is known about most of the individuals who held the office of Bailiff before the middle of the 15th century. We have consolidated the previous short biographies of each of them into this page, and included links to those longer biographies which are included in this site

Pierre de Préaux abt 1201

Pierre de Préaux was appointed Seigneur des Iles by a Charter of King John on 14 January 1200, renewed on 21 June of the same year. An order issued by the King to de Préaux on 12 November 1201 survives. He is referred to as Ballivus, which is the first recorded use of the Latin equivalent of Bailiff in relation to the Channel Islands. He is not, however, generally recognised as the island's first Bailiff, a role which does not emerge until later in the 13th century.

Drouet de Barentin abt 1258

Although Drouet de Barentin is not currently recognised as Bailiff, official lists starting with Philippe L'Evesque, he was accorded the Latin title Ballivus in some surviving documents

Guillaume de Barentin 1267-1268

References to Guillaume de Barentin as Ballivus have also been found

Arnaud Jean 1274

Arnaud Jean was Warden of the Isles from 1271-1275. A citizen of Bayonne in the south-west of France, he was the last Warden appointed for the Channel Islands by Henry III and remained in office after he was succeeded by Edward I in 1272. On 2 April 1274 the monks of Mont Saint Michel wrote to Edward to complain of the "oppression which had overwhelmed them" during his long absence "in absentia vestra diuturna" by the "Bailiff" of the islands. The "Bailiff" is named as "Helnandum Johannis de Contino". Despite the alteration of his first name and the addition of a surname which is not found elsewhere, it is evident that it is Arnaud Jean who is referred to. Two Royal Commissioners were sent to the islands in November 1274, Jean Gyger and Raoul de Broughton, their mission being to verify the accounts of Arnaud Jean since his appointment and to recover that which was due to the King.

Philippe L'Evesque 1277-1289, 1299-1309

L'Evesque is shown in some lists as having been Bailiff from 1277-1289 and it is suggested that he is the earliest Bailiff of Jersey about whose role there is any certainty. However, the Assize Roll of 1309 shows him as Bailiff then, and the only Bailiff to have been in office since the previous Assize, which was held in 1299. A Philippe L'Evesque, almost certainly the same person, is listed as a Jurat in 1292, and Philippe de l'Evesque is shown in the earliest list of Jurats known, from 1274. All available records point to Philippe L'Evesque as having succeeded Nicolas Hastein, probably in 1299, and remaining in office ten years later.

In his widely respected list of Bailiffs published in the Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise in 1898 the Rev J A Messervy shows Philippe l'Evesque as Bailiff from 1277-1289 and says that he died then. He also lists a Philippe Levesque as Bailiff in 1309 with a question mark. It is possible that Messervy believed that there were two people of this name who held the office. The translation from Latin of the Assize Roll was undertaken between Messervy's two lists of Bailiffs, so he may not have been aware that this document confirms that a Bailiff by the name of Philippe Levesque was in office from 1299 to 1309. He is referred to in the original Latin text as Phus Levesqe (short for Philippus), and elsewhere as Phus Leveske.

Pierre Darcys and Thomas Payn 1290-1292

Pierre Darcys is mentioned several times in the Assize Roll of 1309 as having been Bailiff earlier, although no dates are given, save for a reference to Thomas Payn, Lieut-Bailiff, having acted in his stead about 1290. The name is sometimes shown as Darcis

Jean de Carteret 1292, 1302

J A Messervy lists Jean de Carteret as having been Bailiff on these dates citing French historian Julian Havet's work Les cours royales des îles normandes, by the same author as an authoritative article Série chronologique des gardiens et seigneurs des îles normandes (1198-1461) on those who held office as Lord of the Isles and Warden of the Isles in the Channel Islands. The latter article has been drawn on extensively for Jerripedia's list of Lords and Wardens. This would appear to have been the Jean de Carteret who was the son of Renaud de Carteret and grandson of Sir Philippe Carteret, who married Marguerite d'Aubigné, niece of Warden of the Isles Philippe d'Aubigné. The de Carteret lineage in the 13th century is far from certain and Jean is sometimes shown as first son of Renaud, sometimes second after his brother Philippe, but if he was Seigneur of St Ouen in succession to his father, he would have been a natural choice as Bailiff, possibly in an interim role between other appointments.

Nicolas Hastein 1298

(See below)

Raoul Gautier, 1299

Very little is known of this man except that he is shown in Edouard I's Assize Roll as Bailiff of Jersey in 1299. He seems only to have served for a few months because Nicolas Hasteyn had apparently been Bailiff the previous year and wording in Jersey's Assize Roll of 1309 suggests that Philippe Levesque was in office by the end of 1299.


From 1309 to 1331 it appears that the office of Bailiff was held in rotation by perhaps as many as ten different Jurats, who may only have been appointed for the periods when Justiciers Itinérants visited the Island.

They were:

Philippe L'Evesque, already Bailiff in his own right until 1309; Guillaume Longynnour; Henri de St Martin; Guillaume Le Petit; Pierre Hugon (Uguon); Lucas de Espyard; Pierre de la Haye; and Philippe de Vincheleys, Geoffrey de la Hougue, Nicolas Hasteyn, Philippe de Vincheleys, Mathieu Le Loreour and Pierre de la Haye. Colin Hasteyn, not included in the list of Jurats but shown in Messervy's 1898 article as Bailiff in 1315. However, in his 1911 article Messervy suggested that this might be the same person as Nicolas Hasteyn, and noted that he was also mentioned as Bailiff in documents of 1327, 1329 and 1331. Richard de St Martin, not included in the list of Jurats but shown in Messervy's 1898 article as Bailiff in 1318. However, this may be the same person as Henry de St Martin.

The Hastein (or Hasteyn) family were prominent in Jersey at the end of the 13th and early in the 14th centuries. There are records of William Hasteyn holding the office of Jurat in 1274, Nicholaus Hastein in 1324 and Adam Hastein in 1362. J A Messervy shows Nicolas Hastein as Bailiff in or around 1298, and suggests that he might have been the same Nicolas Hastein shown as Bailiff in a contract of 1315, although there were clearly others in the role in between. He further suggests that he may be the same person as a Nicolas Hasteyn, mentioned as Bailiff in English Assize Rolls of 1 May 1327, 29 September 1330 and 2 April 1331, held in the Public Record Office.

This, however seems unlikely, and appears to be contradicted elsewhere in Messervy's Société Jersiaise Bulletin article on Bailiffs, for he writes that between 1309 and 1331 nobody held the office permanently but that it rotated among a number of Jurats of the time. It is, of course, possible that this process was in use in the late 13th century, which might explain the relatively short periods of office apparently served by some Bailiffs. But, between the record of Nicolas Hastein around 1298, there is the apparent ten-year-plus term of Philippe Levesque, and the first record of a Nicolas Hastein as Jurat is in 1324, which makes it seem unlikely that this was the same Nicolas in office in 1298

A list of Bailiffs in a 19th Century book A brief description and historical notices of the island of Jersey, which otherwise corresponds with lists produced by earlier and subsequent historians, shows Aymon and Simon Stuckhart as Bailiffs at some time in the 13th century and Pierre Vigoure (1301) and John de Jersey (1307). These names have not been encountered elsewhere.

Pierre Uguon, 1329

Pierre Uguon (this spelling of the name appears to be favoured) is listed by J A Messervy as one of the Jurats between whom the office of Bailiff alternated between 1324 and 1332 and that he held the position twice. Nothing else is known about him, although Messervy does suggest that he gave his name to the Fief de Pierre Ygon, or Pierigon, in St Martin. Ygon is a surname found relatively frequently in early Jersey records, although it is now extinct.

Guillaume Brasdefer, 1331

Guillaume was the first of three Brasdefers to hold the office of Bailiff in the 14th century. He was one of the Jurats among whom the role rotated from 1332 to 1348, and is shown by J A Messervy as Seigneur of Augrés, Trinity, a title inherited by his wife. He was followed in 1380 by Thomas Brasdefer and in 1396 by Giefrey Brasdefer, probably relatives, although no link has been proved.

Raoul Turgis, 1332

Raoul Turgis appears in J A Messervy's supplementary list of Bailiffs, a reference to him holding the office having been found in a document dated 2 May 1332 in the Archives of La Manche.

Guille Hastein, 1348 and 1352

Guille Hastein was almost certainly a descendant of the earlier Bailiffs, Colin Hasteyn (1315) and Nicolas Hastein (1298), who some sources suggest may have been the same person, but no definite link has been substantiated. Guille was Bailiff from 1348 to 1351, when he appears to have been replaced for a few months by Roger de Powderham, before being reinstated.

Roger de Powderham, 1351

Roger de Powderham, about whom little is known, appears to have been Bailiff for a few months in 1351, replacing Guille Hastein, who was then reinstated. Powderham is a castle and parish in Devon, a few miles from Exeter. It seems likely that de Powderham came from England and was appointed Bailiff on a temporary basis by Warden of the Isles Jean Mautravers, who was also from the West Country.

John Cockerell, 1356

Absolutely nothing is known about Cockerell, but he is shown in some lists as Bailiff in 1356. What happened to the post from 1357 to 1362 in uncertain

Raoul Lempriere, 1362-1364

Raoul Lempriere was the first of a number of Lemprieres to hold the position of Bailiff. He was Seigneur of Rosel, the son of Thomas Lempriere. Payne's Armorial of Jersey shows the family as descending from the de Lempriere family of Normandy, but subsequent research has shown that they probably came from a branch of the family which had settled in Brittany.

Richard de St Martin, 1367-1368

Although three men bearing the same surname were successively Bailiff between 1367 and 1374, their relationship is uncertain. Jean and Geoffroi were brothers, Jean being the elder of the two, and George Balleine's Biographical Dictionary of Jersey suggests that their father was a Richard de St Martin, Seigneur of Trinity. However, documents relating to the Richard who was Bailiff suggest that he did not hold property in the island, and could not, therefore, have been Seigneur, and father of the two brothers. Payne's Armorial of Jersey, on the other hand, suggests that Richard, Jean and Geoffroi were all brothers, Richard being the eldest, and that he succeeded their father Henri as Seigneur in 1341 and was the Richard who was appointed Bailiff in 1367.

Richard Le Petit, 1368-69

Richard Le Petit was appointed Lieut-Bailiff in 1367 by Richard de St Martin, and took over from him the following year when he fled to Normandy accused of treason. By 1370 Jean de St Martin had taken over as Bailiff, and although J A Messervy shows Le Petit as Bailiff again in 1371, it is not known on what evidence this assertion is based.

Jean de St Martin, 1370-1373 1374-1376

  • See above

Geffroi de St Martin, 1373-74

  • See above

Thomas Brasdefer, 1378 1380-1391

Thomas is thought to be the son or grandson of Guillaume Brasdefer, who was Bailiff before him in 1331. It is not known whether he was related to Giefrey Brasdefer, who was Bailiff in 1395, and was a Jurat during his term of office. There is a record in the Jersey Archive of a contract between Sire Pierre Payn of Jersey and Guillemyn Degarris of Guernsey. It records the lease in perpetuity of the Manoir de Malorey, St Lawrence, for the sum of £10, to be paid on the Feast of St Michael, and four cabots of wheat rente. The contract was passed by Thomas Brasdefer, Bailiff, Edmond de Garris, Guille Leloront, and Giefre [Geoffroy] Bras de Fer, Jurats of the King. The date on the parchment is obscured, but may be 1387.

Thomas de Bethom 1386

This supposed Bailiff is a mystery. The name is only shown by J A Messervy in his largely authoritative list of Bailiffs produced at the turn of the 19th and 20th Centuries. This was not a Jersey family, although there was a prominent English family of the name de Betham at that time, in the North West of England. Some, but by no means all, genealogical studies of the family show a Thomas de Betham born in about 1370 to Sir John de Betham and Margaret Tunstall, and one researcher names this Thomas as Bailiff of Jersey in about 1426. But why someone from the north of England should be appointed Bailiff, whether late in the 14th or early in the 15th century, when almost all other Bailiffs were islanders, is a complete mystery. Messervy states that he was appointed Bailiff on 1 October 1386, by Warden Hugh Calvilegh.

Giefrey Brasdefer, 1395-1401

Little is known of the Brasdefer (Bras-de-Fer) family, three members of which were Bailiffs of Jersey in the 14th century. Thomas, who was Bailiff in 1378, and again from 1380-1391, may have been son or grandson of the earlier Bailiff Guillaume Brasdefer, but he is otherwise a complete mystery, which is unusual for someone who apparently held the office for so long. His term of office was interrupted in 1378 for some unknown reason and Geoffroi de St Martin, an earlier Bailiff, stood in as juge-délégué. Giefrey (Giefroy/Geoffrey) was appointed on 6 Nov 1395 by Warden of the Isles Sir John Golafre. He had Colin Le Petit as lieut-Bailiff and was succeeded by him in September 1401.

Colin le Petit, 1402-1403

Colin Le Petit is mentioned as Jurat in 1390, 1391, 1392 and 1397, and apparently still held that office in 1401 when, on 1 September, he was appointed Lieut-Bailiff to Giefrey Brasdefer. The following year he took office as Bailiff, a position he held for just over a year according to J A Messervy. Other lists of Bailiffs show him in office in 1405-06, so it is possible that he served for longer than shown by Messervy. Whether he was related to the earlier Bailiff, Richard Le Petit is not known.

Guillaume de Layc, 1405-1406

This Bailiff's name is shown as de Laye by most sources, but an article in the 1970 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise by Joan Stevens and Jean Arthur concerning papers relating to the du Costil (du Cotil) family held in the La Haule Manor collection, gives the spelling as de Layc (de Laic). It is not a name commonly encountered in Jersey, but this spelling seems far more likely. The article refers to Guillaume de Layc's seal, with a motif which appears to be a dog, or similar animal, with a bushy tail, and a surrounding legend which confirms that he was followed in office by Thomas Danyel.

Thomas Danyel, 1406-1425

Given that he apparently held the office of Bailiff for 19 unbroken years, it is remarkable that nothing appears to be known about Thomas Danyel. The surname does not appear in Jersey genealogy, so it is assumed that he was appointed from outside the island. He had as Lieut-Bailiffs Guille Dumaresq in 1407 and Jean Poingdestre, probably in 1425.

Jean Bernard, 1432, 1436-1444

Information relating to Bailiffs of Jersey in the early 15th century is generally scarce, and Jean/John/Johan Bernard is no exception. J A Messervy originally showed him as Bailiff from 1436-1442, but later stated that he was already Bailiff in 1432, with Pierre Morin as Lieut-Bailiff. Bernard was, according to Messervy, lieutenant of Lord of the Isles John, Duke of Bedford in 1433, which would have put him in total control of Jersey, if not the whole of the Channel Islands. He was not a Jerseyman, but a member of the Bernard family of Isleham, Cambridge. He was buried there after his death on 23 March 1451. It is likely that he was born in 1394, the son of Robert Bernard and Elizabeth Lylling, with a pedigree on his father's side stretching back to Thomas Fitz Bernard 1125-1184. He married Eleanor Sakevyle (1404- ) in 1424 and they had a son John two years later.

  • Messervy gives conflicting information about Bernard, Lempriere and de la Cour in his two articles. In 1898 he shows Jean Bernard as Bailiff from 1436-1442, preceded by Thomas de la Cour in 1435 and Jean Lempriere (1435-1436) but in 1911 he writes that Bernard was already Bailiff in 1432, without any further reference to de la Cour and Lempriere.

Jean Lempriere, 1434-38

Jean Lempriere's main claim to fame today is that he is the only member of his family to become Bailiff whose life is not well documented.

Thomas de la Cour, 1435

Who was Thomas de la Cour and when was he Bailiff? In his 1898 listing of Bailiffs the Rev J A Messervy shows de la Cour as having been appointed by Letters Patent of 8 November 1435. In his update published in 1906 he indicates that Jean Lempriere was Bailiff from 1434-1438, but he makes no further mention of de la Cour.

A Thomas de la Cour was appointed Bailiff of Guernsey in 1433, but it seems unlikely that the two were the same person.

Jean Payn, 1444, 1446

Jean Payn served two short terms as Bailiff. He was a Jurat in 1430. He was the son of Guille Payne and his wife, the daughter of Geoffroi Brasdefer, who may have been the daughter of the Giefrey Brasdefer who was Bailiff at the end of the 14th century.

Regnauld (Renaud) de Carteret, 1446-1451

This Renaud was the Seigneur of Longueville. Apart from this, little is known about him and it is not known where he fits into the wider de Carteret family tree.

Further Bailiffs

From this point onwards sufficent information is available about the Bailiffs, for whom we have created individual biographies, starting with

Jean Poingdestre, 1452-1453

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