Monday, 27 September 2010


At about 5.30 p.m. this Tuesday, following the States meeting and weather permitting, there will be a meeting and celebration in the Royal Square.

The occasion is organised to recognise those brave Jersey people who protested in 1769 and initiated reforms that are still significant today.

28 September 1769 should truly be recognised as JERSEY REFORM DAY and we invite everybody to join us and hear about this most important day in Jersey history.

Bring a brolly just in case - but if you have an interest in our historical and political development and how it is relevant today - please join us

On 28 September 1769 up to 500 islanders marched on St. Helier from the country parishes and halted the proceedings at the Royal Court house in the Royal Square.

The corrupt Court was in session as the ancient Cour d’Heritage which still meets today. This was Jersey’s own revolution against oppressive government and pre-dated those in America and France but it was a peaceful affair and the reformers returned to their homes at the end of the day.

The reformers demanded many changes. They wanted regular elections, consultation before laws were changed or adopted, a comprehensive book of Jersey laws, restrictions on the export of foodstuffs and cattle and a properly regulated market, standardised taxation through the feudal wheat rentes system with an appeal process, import taxes to pay for a harbour, the appointment of a King’s Advocate, a general all-Island rate and the release of several prisoners from jail. Some of the reforms are still outstanding.

The corrupt Jersey government, which was centred around the Lt. Bailiff and other Crown Officers, appealed to London for military support to prevent further trouble and arrested many of the reformers.

Since they faced potential charges of sedition, for which the sentence was death or transportation, the action of the reformers was courageous.

Fortunately, the London government intervened and demanded that the Islanders should submit their complaints in the form of petitions. Eventually, all the brave reformers were released with full pardons by order of the Privy Council – but there is no memorial to them in Jersey now.

The gilded statue of King George II which still overlooks the Royal Square, was already there in 1769. The existing Royal coat-of-arms over the doorway to the Royal Court/States Building was also in place then over a doorway to the old, long since demolished, Royal Court building.

The reforms achieved by the brave Islanders in 1769 included the removal of the corrupt Attorney-General, the appointment of a new Lt. Governor and other Crown appointees, regularly elected representatives as the basis of a future democratic States Assembly and the publication in 1771 of a Code of Jersey Laws.

But – who now remembers Philip Alexandre, Philip Luce, Clement Gallichan, Francis Le Boutillier, John Coutanche, Amice Le Vavasseur Dit Durell, John or Edward De Ste Croix, Nicholas Arthur or Thomas James Gruchy and the several hundred others who fought for our rights & freedoms on JERSEY REFORM DAY

28 September 1769?


Ian Evans said...

Reform Day???

When is this alledged spectacle to take place?

Or should I say, when is the alledged reform likley to take place!!!

Not In Our Lifetime I will Wager....

Ha Ha Ha, word verification "testing U"

Anonymous said...

Didn't our former Bayleaf marry a Le Vavasseur Dit Durell?

Good luck with Reform Day!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone go to this event. I think you might have given a bit more notice! Not everyone works in St Helier!!