Pierre Faleyse

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Pierre Faleyse

Pierre Faleyse, who died in 1315, was Rector of Grouville and Dean of Jersey and figures in the 1309 Assize Roll

Church courts

He was a strong supporter of the right of the Church to regulate its clergy through the Ecclesiastical Courts, or Courts Christian, and was accused by the Justices Itinerant of fining men without knowledge of the Bailiff and Jurats and causing the fines "to be levied for his own advantage".

When Laurence of Sevenoaks, the Greffier, was arrested for stealing two silver cups and detained at Samares Manor, Faleyse broke and in rescued him and had him taken away from the island.

The role of the Church in the island's justice system was further complicated by the fact that the Church still came under French jurisdiction, a century after the Channel Islands had separated from Normandy. In 1309 the King attempted to bring the church courts to heel and wrote to the Bishop of Coutances:

"We emphatically forbid you to cite anyone from the Islands to appear before you or your Commissaries. If you do so we shall regard it as a grave assault on our royal dignity."

The King then wrote to the Warden of the Isles:

"Whereas we are informed that certain men ignoring our royal rights have maliciously summoned officers of yours to appear before the Bishop of Coutances to answer concerning inheritances and fiefs, the cognizance whereof belongs exclusively to us, we command you publicly to proclaim in full Court and in such other places as seem to you expedient that no one under pain of forfeiture of lands and tenements shall cause anyone to be cited before the aforenamed Bishop for matters of which the cognizance belongs to ourselves".

Faleyse retaliated by attempting to cite the Bailiff of Jersey to appear before the Bishop's Court at Coutances for attacking the rights of the Church.

The King's wrath was turned on the Dean's staff of Summoners and Apparitors by the Itinerant Justices, with the arrest of several of them ordered. The clergy and their supporters met and decided to defy the Justices, and there were threats that the Bishop of Coutances would send men to the island to arrest the justices. Matters came to a head when the Dean excommunicated the Justices, who responded by having him arrested and imprisoned. He was rescued by his fellow clergymen and escaped from the island. Whether he ever returned is uncertain, but he was still Rector of Grouville when he died in 1315.

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