THE former St Martin Deputy, Bob Hill, has been writing a book on the history of the farms in St Martin. But now he needs some help – not to find the lost farms, but to complete the project, as he is currently indisposed.
Go back around 70 years and you would have found at least 140 farms in the parish. The further back you go, the smaller the farms would have been. Much the same could be said about every Jersey parish, but Bob Hill knows St Martin best: he went to St Martin’s School and lived and worked on two farms in the parish as a young man before setting off to London and his career in the Metropolitan Police. On his return to Jersey on his retirement, he stood as Parish Deputy and was the parish’s longest serving Deputy, with a record innings of 18 years.
So he knows his parish, and who was married to whom, and who the cousins were, and who owned farms and who rented them – essential knowledge if you are researching a book on parish farms and farming families.
Families come and families go: the surnames of some famous farming families of the 19th Century, pillars of the parish, which seemingly populated it with their ‘cousins’ are not found at all these days in the Phone Book.
Godfray, Perrée, Pallot, Ahier, de Gruchy, Billot and many others… all in their times were ‘Parish people’ as opposed to ‘people in the parish’ (a subtle distinction) and their stories, their homes, their farms and their prize-winning Jersey cows comprise the subject of Bob’s book.
Unfortunately, he is now indisposed and needs help in the final stages of the project. Can you help? Farming knowledge not required. Arrangements will be made to meet Bob and to review the material.
In the first instance , please contact Roy Le Herissier ( 873790).