Of all of the branches of the Vibert family John Este’s was probably the best connected and wealthiest, as the male members of the family seem to marry into other wealthy families enabling the branch to inherit much wealth. To be fair to them they did undertake a lot of military service and undertook their fair share of local parochial duties.
Where better to start than with John’s great grandfather Phillipe who was born in St. Peter on 23/1/1740. He became captain of the North West Regiment of the Jersey Militia in 1718 and acted as a Centenier for St. Mary from 1783 to 1786. He married Jeanne De La Perrelle daughter of the then Constable of St. Ouen and they had eight children the oldest of whom was John born 4/10/1767.
John Jnr. became a church minister and for the three years from 1796 to 1799 was ” Ministre Officiant” of St. John in the absence of the Revd Francis Ricard. However John must have been a man of principle because he took the drastic step of taking his fellow minister to the Royal Court. Why you may ask, well let me tell you.
From the Acts of the Royal Court it appears that it had been agreed between John and Francis that the former would take charge of the parish of St. John for two years, beginning Christmas 1796. Towards the end of these two years, a new agreement was entered into, this time with the Attorney of Francis who was then abroad, probably in Jamaica where he was Ecclesiastical Commissioner.
According to this second agreement John was to remain in charge for three more years. But Francis came back to Jersey early. As a result John was compelled without previous notice to leave St. John’s Rectory in the middle of winter and lost his job. No wonder he was upset !It appears that they could not reach an amicable solution because on the 21st October 1800 Francis was ordered by the Royal Court to indemnify John for the last two years during which he had been deprived of enjoying the benefits of the position.The records indicate that Francis appealed but it looks like he abandoned his case as no further record has been found.
Shortly after these proceeding he must have decided on the quiet life as he then left the island with his wife Susanne Nicolle and became chaplain to H.M. forces in Alderney, where he died aged 47 and was buried on 16/12/1814.
In the interim however he had four children the oldest of whom was John Este Vibert who was born in St. Mary, Jersey on 31/7/1803. The middle name of Este derived from one of his godparents who was a naval offer, who was chaplain to H.M. troops in Alderney. In 1924 his great aunt Jane died and John Este inherited the beautiful property ” The Grange” in St. Mary which would have been one of the grandest properties in the parish. This property had been in the family since 1730 and was to remain in the family until 1924. The property is mentioned in the book Old Jersey Houses by Joan Stevens
John Este Jnr had eight children including two sons the elder of whom he also named John Este and who was born in 1837.
The latter had a distinguished University career at Cambridge England. He also spent some time in Russia where he acted as tutor for the son of Prince Vladimir Bariatinsky of St. Petersburg. It appears that John travelled troughout Europe with the prince and the actually visited Jersey on the 19th August 1863 as part of a European tour. Whilst in Russia he and his wife Fanny Dix whom he had married in London had the first of two sons in 1867. And guess what , they named him John Este ! After John and Anne’s return to Jersey he became Headmaster at the College for Boys in St. Aubin, Jersey. Sadly he died at the relatively young age of 49 in 1886. His wife much have also learnt the Russian language for she placed an advert in the Jersey Times on 13th May 1890 offering to give lessons on Russian.
Before he died John Este must have been held in high esteem by his peers because his branch of the family was granted the right to bear arms. This coat of arms was reproduced in Payn’s Armorial of Jersey and is shown below.
The description of the Arms (as borne by John-Este Vibert) : Argent, a fesse, azure, between three eagles, displayed, sable. Quartering : Barry, azure and or, over all, an anchor, erect, counterchanged, for Le Bosquet Argent, three lozenges, gules, for Arthur Per fesse, argent and or ; in chief, a dexter hand, clenched, ppr., cuffed of the second ; in base, a mullet of the first, for Poingdestre Argent, three owls, sable, for Le Couteur. Crest : An eagle, displayed, per pale, or and sable.
Another indication of the family’s status was the fact that they had bought a prominent pew in St. Mary’s church in Jersey. Some old church records of the pew allocations have survived and a plan of the pews showing the one owned by John’s family is reproduced here.
The John Este born in 1867 went on to marry a Scottish girl named Anne Hibbert in 1895 and he became a naval offer on the HMS Prometheus in Australia in 1908.