litigation etc

Notes & Comments
June 2006

Pierre/Peter Monamy
Pierre in Guernsey; Peter in London

Pierre Monamy of Guernsey was involved in business, nefarious and legitimate, in both Guernsey and London during his lifetime. He was imprisoned in the Westminster Gatehouse in 1676. Here is a transcript of his petition for release:

To the Kings most Excellent Majestie

The humble peticõn of Peter Monamy, now Prisoner in the Gatehouse


That the 28th July last your Petr was by Warrant and Command of yor Matie committed Prisoner to the Gatehouse Westmr on Suspition of having been an Accomplice in Counterfeiting yor Mats Royall Signe Manuall, and the hand writeing of the Earl of Arlington when he was Principall Secretary of State, to severall Warrants, for making Foreigne built Ships, Free, as of English Built.

That yor petr is most iñocent of that hainous Fact, and also most deeply afflicted, that by his Imprisonment he is made uncapable of all meanes of making that Evident to yor Maty and the Lords of yor Mats most honoble Privy Councell; the Sence of soe great A misfortune as to be fallen into yor Mats displeasure, together with his imprisonment; having cast yor petr into so great a mallanchcolly and languishing Sickness, that by the Opinion of ye Doctors he can subsist but a Very short time.

Your Petr doth therefore most humbly beseech your most Sacred Maty to have Compafsion upon him considering his Weake Estate of Bodie, and the great misfortunes he lyes under, to be gratiously pleased in yor Princely goodness that upon Security to appeare and answere to all such things as shal be alleadged against him, to grant him his Liberty ---

And yor petr (as in duty bound)
shall ever pray &c --.

He was involved in a dispute over his inheritance from his father in 1680-82. He is described in 1682 as "the heir of Andrew Monamy", in connection with a case which began 17 March, 1661. Two members of a family Dobrée, Samuel and William, had put in a suit against Andrew Monamy (ie André the Jurat) and Peter Dobrée in claim of a sum amounting to 3,362 livres, 17 sols, 3 deniers. This sounds like a substantial tally of £sd today, which André and Peter Dobrée had apparently jointly borrowed in 1656. See CSPD Charles II, below.

Between 1676 and 1681 Pierre/Peter fathered five children in London. [But see here for another child, John]. He is mentioned as "Merchant" in 1696, when his son Peter was apprenticed to William Clark; though this is perhaps not incontrovertible proof that he was alive at that date. After this there is no further information. Because of Graham Guille's finding that in 1686 "the house at St Jacques [was] in the ownership of the heirs of one Pierre Monamy", the suspicion must be that he had died before 1686. In this year the heirs of Pierre would presumably have been his widow Dorothy, aged 26; his daughter Ann, aged 8; and his son Peter, the future painter, aged 5. The other three children, Peter Gilbert (died before 1681), Charity and James, can be discounted.

The large brood engendered by James and Ann Gilbert requires some comment. Of particular significance is the occurrence of the name Charity, born in 1665. There are several other Charity Gilberts recorded by the IGI, and it appears to confirm that Charity Monamy was therefore, indeed, the daughter of Dorothy and not Elizabeth. The appearance of the name Elizabeth is in fact a complete mystery, which can only be attributed to the carelessness of a clerk. The children Joan (4) and George (6), baptised at St Olave's may well be cuckoos in this nest, but James seems to fit both the naming pattern and bi-annual birth pattern. The repetition of the names Thomas and James indicates that the elder children had died young. See also here.

André/Andrew Monamy
André in Guernsey; Andrew in London.

The life of André/Andrew Monamy is much better documented than the life of his brother Pierre/Peter. An outline can reasonably be pieced together, thus:

1661: Guernsey

On balance, this appears to be the most probable year of André's birth.

1687: London: 9 Aug

A letter from Andrew Monamy to Lord Hatton requesting a licence to trade in wool. [BM: f 285; 29 562]

1689: London: 7 Dec
[Harleian Soc & IGI]

Andrew Monamy, with Marie Caouet, witnesses the baptism of Samuel Winn:

1691: London: 5 Jun

Passes issued for Mr Daniel Le Febvre and Andrew Monamy to go to Harwich and embark for Holland. [CSPD].

1692: London: 2 Aug
[Harleian Soc; Vol 31]

1696: London:
30 Jun
4 Aug

Andrew Monamy recorded as trading in salt and wool, in partnership with Daniel Le Febvre.
BM 253;     BM 279 [29 566];     BM: 32 734 318;     BM: 32 693 322;     BM: 32 986 226

1705: Guernsey: 2 Jul

André Monamy ... [was] ... registered on the 2nd of July 1705, before the Royal Court as being the guardian of one George Guille, son of George. See Graham Guille, here.

1706: Guernsey

The Livre de Perchage entry for this year records that André Monamy, son of André the Jurat, purchased the property at St Jacques from his brother Pierre's heirs.

1727: Guernsey

There is a document in the Guernsey Greffe mentioning André Monamy at this date. It has not been examined.

1732: Guernsey

By 1732 the house and property were seized by creditors to settle debts, and the property finally passed out of Monamy ownership. See above.

Taking the above details and new information into account, it is possible to construct a new scenario for the early years of Peter Monamy's life, in which his Uncle Andrew plays a much more significant part. Suppose Pierre/Peter Monamy died in 1686, when the St Jacques property is said to have been in the possession of his heirs, who would have been his widow and two small children (at least). The following year, 1687, provides the first evidence of André/Andrew's trading activities, when he would have been aged about 26. Could it be that Andrew was now taking on the bread-winning role of his deceased brother, and providing support for his widow and children, as well as administering the property at St Jacques on their behalf?

The remaining dates tie in quite well with what we know about Peter the Painter's early life, as well as his middle years up to the apparent crisis point in about 1732. In 1692, when Peter was eleven, Andrew married Marie Le Bouteillier, but the marriage was evidently childless. In 1696 Peter was apprenticed to William Clarke, and in the same year his Uncle Andrew was clearly extremely active in his trading business. Peter was made free in 1704, and in 1705 Andrew took on the protective guardianship of another youngster, George Guille. This looks as if it was in Guernsey, and from this date on Andrew seems to be spending much time in Guernsey. His purchase of the St Jacques property, in 1706, must have been from Peter the Painter (and perhaps his sister, Ann, married to John Randell). Money at this juncture would have been welcome to Peter, who had just become a father, and was setting up in trade on London Bridge.

During Peter's years of prosperity in London and Westminster, 1715-1730, it is not at all improbable that he was continuing to benefit from the support of his childless uncle and aunt. Since the indications are that André/Andrew probably died shortly before 1732, his identification with the mysterious Stephen Monomee, who is reported in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1731 as having died in Chelsea, grows a little more likely. The apparent collapse of financial security of the Monamy household, the added expenditure assumed by Peter's probable move to the house "next to King Henry VII's chapel" and the sales drive implied by the mezzotint production in 1731, the death of Lord Torrington, who was Peter's only presumed major patron, in 1733, the establishment of the Scott-Walpole Club, and the loss of the East India Company commission to Scott and Lambert, in 1732, all point to a combination of difficulties which assailed Peter at this point in time.

Who is this man ?

petition of the island of guernsey 1644
maison monamy by graham guille
notes by col de guérin
catalogue chronology
article 1981       article 1983
family background
monamy website index


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