A C Saunders

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A C Saunders


Arthur Charles Saunders, honorary librarian of La Societe Jersiaise, died on 23 June 1938. This obituary was published in the 1939 Annual Bulletin


The son of Mr C B Saunders, whose Caesarea Nurseries, on Mont de La Rosière, St Saviour, were so justly celebrated in Victorian times, he became a pupil at Victoria College in 1875.

His education was continued at the College of Avranches, Departement de la Manche, and completed at King's College, London. He then entered HM Customs and was stationed first at Inverness and later at Ipswich.


On attaining the rank of Collector of Customs, he served at Lowestoft in 1900, Londonderry in 1903, Swansea in 1908, Portsmouth in 1914 and Newport in 1916. During the war he was given the rank of Commander. He sold the family home, Alphington House St Saviour, which he inherited from his father, in 1901.

Société librarian

In 1921 he retired from the service and settled in his native island. He became a member of the Société Jersiaise in 1926 and was elected to the post of Honorary Librarian in 1928.

Mr Saunders' long and active connection with maritime affairs inspired him to study the careers of many eminent Jerseymen who had spent their lives at sea.

Some of the results of his wide researches were embodied in articles written for the local press. Others, as the following list shows, were published in our Annual Bulletins:

  • 1929 Charles Robin. Pioneer of the Gaspe Fisheries
  • 1930 The Corsairs of Jersey
  • 1931 Admiral Philip de Carteret, Seigneur de la Trinite. Circumnavigator of the world, 1766
  • 1934 Nicholas le Messurier, Master Mariner
  • 1939 Vice Admiral Philip Durell, 1707-1776 (This article was written early in 1938).


In addition to all the above, he wrote:

  • Jersey in the 18th and 19th centuries Published by J T Bigwood 1930
  • Jersey in the 17th century Published by J T Bigwood 1931.
  • Jersey in the 15th and 16th centuries Published by J T Bigwood 1933
  • Jersey before and after the Norman Conquest of England With an introduction by C T Le Quesne, Published privately, 1935
  • Jean Chevalier and his Times With an introduction by Dr R R Marett. Published privately 1936

A personal view

Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson has studied Saunders' Annual Bulletin articles and his books, and writes:

"I find it astonishing that given Arthur Saunders service to La Société and the importance of his writings, his obituary in the Annual Bulletin was so short and superficial. To fill the position of Librarian on an honorary basis for ten years was a remarkable contribution. His predecessor, the Rev J A Messervy was revered by the society, to which he also gave lengthy service, making many contributions to its bulletins.
"But Saunders' painstaking research covered a much wider field than the careers of seafaring Jerseymen mentioned in his obituary, and the five volumes given such a cursory mention in the obituary together amount to one of the most comprehensive and accurate histories of Jersey from Norman times to the end of the 19th century."
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