Herault, John (DNB00)


[[HERAULT, JOHN (1566–1626), judge in Jersey, born in 1566 in the parish of St. Saviour, Jersey, was son of Thomas Herault and Mabel Nicolle, his wife. He entered All Souls's College, Oxford, in October 1597, but never proceeded to a degree. In 1607 he was especially named in a patent addressed to the royal commissioners for examining and expediting the proceedings of the royal courts of the Channel islands, ‘in regard of his experience in the languages and customs of those isles.' In 1611 he obtained from the crown the reversion of the office of bailiff of Jersey, then held by George Paulet, and was sworn on 16 Sept. 1615. The unanimous statement of historians that he had previously officiated as greffier of the Jersey court arises from a confusion with another John Herault, who; died during his lifetime. Herault's first appointment was warmly resented by the governor of Jersey, Sir John Peyton, who contended that the power of appointment was vested in him as governor, Herault replied that the clause ruled upon had been surreptitiously foisted into Peyton's patent on the model of one erroneously or fraudulently procured by Sir Walter Raleigh. He contended successfully for the right of the crown, and was confirmed in his ottice with a fixed salary in 1614. The order in council, dated 9 Aug., having been framed after great deliberation, is still held as an organic law of much importance in the island. In 1617 another royal commission visited the island, but Herault remained victorious, another attack upon him by Peyton being decided in his favour, and the governor ordered to pay 60l. costs. In 1621, however, Herault was suspended on a fresh set of charges, and a substitute appointed. In 1624 this order was reversed, and Herault was reinstated, when the states sent a member of each section, a jurat, a rector, and a constable to welcome him and conduct him to his official seat. Herault died on 11 March 1626, when he was buried in the choir of St. Saviour's Church in his native parish.

Herault was an upright magistrate, who is recorded to have deprived his own brother of an office which he held on the discovery of a trifling malversation; but he is admitted to have been haughty and overbearing in manner. He was the first judge who ever wore robes upon the Jersey bench. His house in St. Saviour's parish was standing in the early part of the present century, but has been since removed. He died unmarried and poor, but his memory survives in Jersey as that of a vindicator of the liberties of the island. His exertions established the constitutional principle that 'the charge of the military forces be wholely in the governor, and the care of justice and civil affairs in the bailiff' (Order in Council, 9 Aug. 1614).

[The best account of Herault's quarrels with Peyton is to be read in Le Quesne's Constitutional Hist. of Jersey. London, 1856. Some documents will also be found in E. Durell's notes to Philip Falle's Account of the Isle of Jersey, Jersey, 1837. The rest of the above information is due to the help of Mr. H. M. Godfray, B.A. Oxon.]

H. G. K.