16th December 1556

Guillaume de Beauvoir appointed dean of English Church in Geneva

The mid-16th century was a time of religious persecution. Whether you followed the Catholic or Protestant faith was far more relevant than it was today, since disagreeing with the monarch could cost you your life.

We saw this in the case of the Guernsey Martyrs who were burned at the stake for their protestant belief in 1556. The previous summer, a Guernsey trader called Guillaume (William) de Beauvoir had fled the island for Geneva. He was granted residency within the city and, on 16 December, was appointed dean of the English Church in Geneva. This appointment was re-affirmed on the same day in both 1557 and 1558.

Return to Guernsey

Guillaume de Beauvoir kept watch on events in England and, when Queen Mary died (8 February) and Elizabeth I took the throne, he decided that it was safe for him to return to Guernsey. With the change of monarch had come a change in the country’s favoured religion. Protestantism was now the order of the day.

This not only meant it was safe for de Beauvoir to practice his faith openly; it also brought other political opportunities. Catholic jurats were removed from their positions in the Royal Court and protestants were appointed in their place. One of the new appointees was de Beauvoir himself.

This was just the first step in his rise up the political ladder, however. In 1572, Guillaume de Beauvoir, having been thoroughly rehabilitated, was appointed bailiff of Guernsey. He served in that position until 1581.


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Other events that occured in December

French fishing boats prepare to invade 1st
Two cargo ships collide on their way to Guernsey 2nd
Guernseyman Herbert Le Patourel wrongly thought killed 3rd
A Guernsey funeral takes place in Cornwall 4th
Guernsey steamship SS Rossgull is wrecked 5th
The Guernsey Tapestry is completed 6th
Air UK Fokker overshoots Guernsey runway 7th
Naftel’s paintings go on display 8th
Guernsey and Jersey newspapers agree to merge 9th
Sark holds its first election 10th
Beau Sejour opens for business 11th
Victor Hugo flees France and Napoleon 12th
Explorer Edmund Kennedy is speared to death 13th
Author Mary Ann Shaffer is born
Herm bribery case comes to court 14th
Alderney’s evacuees return to their island 15th
Guillaume de Beauvoir appointed dean of English Church in Geneva 16th
Castle Cornet surrenders to Guernsey 17th
Telex, phones and telegram cables go quiet 18th
Guernsey shipwreck results in starvation 19th
Channel Islands Securities Exchange founded 20th
G-COBO has a bumpy flight 21st
Guernsey struck by an earthquake 22nd
William Hedley Cliff buys Jethou 23rd
Wombles author Liza Beresford dies 24th
Asterix is discovered in St Peter Port harbour 25th
Guille and Alles lease the Assembly Rooms 26th
The Red Cross saves Guernsey from starvation 27th
Operation Hardtack targets the Channel Islands 28th
Ebenezer Le Page author GB Edwards dies 29th
Castle Cornet is struck by lightning 30th
Guernsey Police makes the world’s first underwater arrest 31st