The difference between the victor and the vanquished

The leaders of the opposing sides in the Battle of Jersey on 6th January 1781 both died as a result of wounds received in the battle.

Major Francis Peirson, the senior officer commanding British and Jersey Militia forces was killed on the point of victory as his troops stormed the French troops who had been surrounded in the centre of St Helier.

Major Francis Peirson

As hero of the day and the man who saved the Island from the French, Peirson’s grave is in the nave of the Town Church of St Helier. Peirson also has a large memorial close to the side chapel altar.

Major Francis Peirson’s Memorial

Baron de Rullecourt , the leader of the French forces, who today might be called a soldier of fortune having taken French financial support but without official French military resources unless the expedition to capture Jersey was successful, was severely wounded in the fighting and he died shortly afterwards.

Baron De Rullecourt

His grave was outside of the church in the churchyard, marked with a simple stone with his name and date of death.

For the real history buffs! – whilst the above was correct in 1781, in the Victorian era, an entrance vestibule was added to the western end of the church and De Rullecourt’s grave was built over. The plain flat grave stone was moved several yards further west into the churchyard to its present position. So the irony is that at the end of the day, De Rullecourt did in fact get an “inside grave”!

Join us on one of our military tours around Jersey. The Battle of Jersey Tour lasts half a day and visits key sites leading up to the battle and the battlefield itself, in the bustling streets of St Helier, whose layout hasn’t changed in 240 years!