Ecclesiastical events in 18th and 19th century Trinity

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Illegal baptism

On 18 December 1710 the Ecclesiastical Court sat to consider the case of Judhit Normant, of Trinity. She was accused by the Rector of allowing her child to be baptised outside the Church, not just outside the building, but by a non-ordained person. She accused the child's grandfather of performing the deed.

On 22 January 1711, Jean Gallichan was summoned to answer this charge, but he did not appear until 30 May. The court heard that he took the child, placed water on his head and named him, but did not perform a blessing. This saved him from excommunication and he escaped with a warning, after paying the court officers' expenses.

Clameur de Haro

As well as centres for worship, the Island's parish churches had other uses. Courts sat there, occasionally schools were taught there and, most commonly, the parish militia used part of the building to store their cannons and other munitions.

On the whole this was accepted by all the Rectors but there was one man who had had enough by 1828. The Rev Jean Thomas, Rector of Trinity, got fed up with the Constable, Jean Nicolle, when he sent two workmen to make room in the church for more artillery.

On 12 May he raised the Clameur de Haro against this "profane usage of the church". The Clamour required all work to cease until the case had been heard before the Royal Court. On 25 June the workmen, Edouard Elie Le Sauteur and Philippe Vardon, appeared before the Royal Court to plead they were only following the orders of the Constable.

It was agreed that Nicolle should become part of the suit, but over a year later the workmen were forced to go before the court again suing the Rector to drop his action as he must have still been pursuing them. It would be some time before the Churches were freed from military duties.

Churchwardens

The Rector in the 1850s was Rev William du Heaume, who became embroiled in several disputes between his churchwardens and almoners.

In 1853 Clement Messervy was elected as a churchwarden by a majority of only four votes. He was the last person du Heaume wanted assisting in his church and he complained to the Ecclesiastical Court that "he is not a member of the Anglican Church and has never taken Communion."

Messervy was apparently in the habit of walking around the outside of the church during the services and continually opening doors to watch the congregation. He had been heard to say that he would rather stay outside than assist with the Anglican service. So why did he want to become a Churchwarden?

During the hearing on 30 May 1853, the truth came out. He had made an enemy of Clement Emile, one of the existing churchwardens. Emile’s job was to keep order in the church and on a number of occasions he had slammed the front door in Messervy's face, often when he opened it to listen to the Rector’s sermon, puffing a cigar "to the great scandal of the faithful". Messervy declared that once he was elected a churchwarden, his old adversary would not longer be able to throw him out.

The Rector’s bid to remove Messervy may have failed as he is not mentioned again, but Clement Emile resigned and his position taken by Jean Falle.

All the churchwardens were replaced on 19 May 1856, after a three-year battle to get the Church accounts approved. The Rector was censured by the Ecclesiastical Court for allowing his parish to get out of control.

Almoners

Three years later the almoners fell out. Jean de Gruchy and Thomas du Feu shared the work of collecting the offerings after services. There were two doors to the church and one was supposed to stand at each. Jean habitually chose the principal door and du Feu became so angry that he never had the opportunity that he took the dispute to the Ecclesiastical Court.

The Court ordered that they should take turns on alternate Sundays but the dispute continued in 1859 and the matter was brought back to the Court. The following year both men were removed from office and replaced by Elie Le Gros and Philippe Binet.

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