Falle, Philip (DNB00)

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FALLE, PHILIP (1656–1742), historian of Jersey, was born in the parish of St. Saviour in Jersey in 1656, of a good yeoman stock. The name occurs in local records as far back as 1331. He was the eldest of four brothers, two of whom were killed in battle, and one, as a reward for service in the navy, was appointed first lieutenant of the Hampton Court. Sent to England at a very early age, he was educated, first at a school kept by a Transylvanian in Great Queen Street, London, and afterwards by one Mr. Dalgarno at Oxford. In the winter of 1669 he was entered at Exeter College, where his tutor was Dr. Marsh, afterwards archbishop of Dublin; and on Marsh becoming principal of Alban Hall, Falle migrated thither, and there graduated M.A. 1676. He was ordained deacon by Ralph Brideoake, bishop of Chichester, in the following year, and priest in 1679 by Dr. Carleton, who had succeeded to the see. In 1681 he was presented by Sir John Lanier, then governor of Jersey, to the living of Trinity parish in that island. The stipend was only some 40l. per annum; but Falle had inherited a small estate by the death of his father. He also undertook the care of the garrison, which was then without a chaplain. In 1687 Lord Jermyn, who had succeeded Lanier in the government, took Falle back to England as tutor to his only son; and in that occupation he remained all through the revolution, living for the most part at Rusbrook, Lord Jermyn's country seat, near Bury St. Edmunds. In 1689 he returned to Jersey, and was translated to the charge of his native parish of St. Saviour. Meantime the battle of La Hogue had been fought, and the French navy, no longer able to keep together as against that of England, became dispersed, and highly formidable in cruises and maritime depredations. The States of Jersey, to which Falle belonged ex officio, took alarm, and resolved to make a strong personal appeal to William III to bespeak his protection. Taking with him Mr. Durell, the advocate-general of the island, Falle proceeded (6 Feb. 1693) to wait upon his majesty at Kensington. Aided by Jermyn, and favourably received by the accomplished Dorset, the delegates hastened to point out (in the words of the address, drafted, it is said, by Falle) ‘the mischief and danger threatening your realms should the French become masters of this and the adjoining islands.’ The commissioners seem to have favourably impressed the sovereign and those departments of the public service before which they were successively permitted to appear. Not content with this, Falle, to strengthen his case with the public, resolved to preface a brief historical work setting forth the past services and future possibilities of Jersey. ‘Here then,’ he says, ‘an honest zeal for my native country suggested the thought of doing something that might place us in a new light, remove prejudices, and rectify misapprehensions. For, though we stood secure of his Majesty's favour and of the good opinion of the court, it seemed very desirable to have the body of the nation come into the same sentiments, and not be unconcerned at what would become of us.’ The first ‘Account of Jersey’ appeared in 1694, in which year the author was appointed chaplain to the king, and in that capacity preached a sermon upon Queen Mary's death (20 Dec. 1694). About the same time Falle edited a history of the campaign of Landen by his friend and colleague the Rev. Mr. Dauvergne, rector of St. Brelade. In January 1700 Falle became a prebendary of Durham. In 1709 he resigned his Jersey rectorship, having been collated to the valuable benefice of Shenley, near Barnet. In 1722 he contributed an account of the Channel Islands to Bishop Gibson's translation of Camden's ‘Britannia,’ and in 1734 brought out an expanded edition of his ‘History of Jersey.’ In 1736 he presented to his fellow-islanders his collection of books. Being subsequently augmented by a similar act of liberality on the part of Canon Dumaresq (d. 1805), this benefaction has gradually developed into a large library, for which the States have provided a suitable building in the town of St. Helier. The library is free of access, without subscription or other payment. Falle died at Shenley, 7 May 1742, having never married. His principal work is based on materials derived from his friend Poingdestre; but Falle cannot be fairly commended for the use made of the matter which he thus appropriated. His style, indeed, is that of an educated man; but his narrative is at once dull and credulous, nor does he always mention important events, even when he must have known of them from eye-witnesses. Falle published a few sermons, and ‘Account of the Isle of Jersey, the greatest of those Islands that are now the only remainder of the English Dominions in France, with a new and accurate map of that Island,’ 1694.

[Wood's Athenæ (Bliss), iv. 501; Le Neve's Fasti, iii. 301; Life by E. Durell prefixed to Account of the Isle of Jersey, 1837; communications from H. M. Godfray of Exeter Coll. Oxford, esq., and from the Rev. Henry J. Newcome. Also Douzième Bulletin of the Société Jerséaise, St. Hélier, 1887.]

H. G. K.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.120
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

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170 ii 37 Falle, Philip: for 1781 read 1681