WHERE IT ALL BEGAN
By 1813, the town’s population was increasing so rapidly that the Town Church became too small to accommodate the growing congregations. So a considerable number of merchants and principle tradesmen of the town set about raising a subscription for the purpose of purchasing ground and building a Protestant Chapel. For various reasons, it took until October 1817 for the order in council to be placed on the rolls of the Royal Court in Jersey and for permission to be given.
The Building of the New Chapel
One of the gardens bordering Le Chemin Neuf (New Street) was eventually chosen for the site of the new chapel. Twenty four of St Helier’s wealthy parishioners bought thirty shares between them to cover the cost of the building and elected Aaron de Ste Croix to be treasurer of the chapel building fund.
The total cost came to about £7,000, but most of this cost was met by the sale of the pews – as it was then the custom for families to buy the pew where they sat each Sunday for their exclusive use. This brought in £6,834. The first Service in the Chapel in French, which was still Jersey’s official language, was on Sunday 14th December 1817. No fewer than 1,200 turned up to hear the Reverend Francois Ricard, the Rector of St Ouen, preach the sermon of Consecration. He took his text from 1 Kings, Chapter 8, verses 27-30.