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What's your home's story? Captain falls victim to theft and collision

What's your home's story? Captain falls victim to theft and collision

Friday 14 July 2023

What's your home's story? Captain falls victim to theft and collision

Friday 14 July 2023

Tower Road near Bellozanne Valley was once home to a seafaring Captain who could not keep hold of his belongings while they were onboard his vessel.

‘Your Home, Your Story’ is a new series of free talks at Jersey Archive that focuses on individual properties nominated by islanders wanting to know more about their home and the area they live in.

As part of the next upcoming talk at the Jersey Archive this weekend, Emily Le Feuvre has shared part of her research on Bellozanne and Tower Road area...

Towards the end of the 19th century, Tower Road near Bellozanne Valley was home to a seafaring Captain who could not keep hold of his belongings while they were onboard his vessel!

Captain Henry James Pennison fell victim to a theft and a collision at sea in the space of just over a year, losing the contents of his ‘luxurious’ cabin on the Satellite.

At the time, he rented 2 Daisy Villas in Tower Road and the team at Jersey Archive researched his story for a free talk this weekend as part of a new series called ‘Your Home, Your Story’, which looks at properties nominated by Islanders wanting to know more about their home and the area they live in.

The 1891 census shows that 2 Daisy Villas was home to Captain Pennison, his wife, Mary Ann, their three teenage sons and his mother-in-law. He was a well-known seaman in Jersey, captaining various local vessels, including the Satellite, which was owned by R Allix of Havre des Pas.

The Satellite, under the leadership of Captain Pennison, was famously the vessel that a young Thomas Benjamin Davis (better known as T B Davis) went missing from, assumed drowned, in March 1883. He had been tasked with lowering the ship’s longboat and was accidentally cast adrift. He was eventually found drifting by another vessel, rescued and taken back to shore safe and well, but not before news of his death had already been mistakenly reported in Jersey.

Several months after the 1891 census was taken, Captain Pennison was in court as a witness to a robbery that took place onboard the Satellite while it was berthed in St Helier Harbour.

On the night of 9 September 1891, a French national named Jules Guérin, alias Jules Fauché, entered the cabin of the vessel and stole a suit, two coats, four pairs of trousers, an overcoat, four shirts, several collars, several pairs of stockings, a pair of socks, a quantity of ham, some biscuits and a handkerchief, all belonging to Captain Pennison.

The newspaper reported that Captain Pennison was staying ashore that evening, therefore wasn’t on board when the break-in happened.


Pictured: Theft from the 'Satellite' in the Poursuite Criminelles Registers which shows criminal cases tried before the Royal Court,1892. (Jersey Heritage)

A couple of weeks later on 23 September, the accused broke into another vessel called the Argo and stolen two overcoats, two pairs of boots, a jacket, a pair of stockings, a white cravat with blue spots, several ties, a penknife, four bottles of wine, a quantity of ham, two pairs of trousers, a handkerchief and a towel.

Suspicions were raised when Guérin tried to pass one of the stolen overcoats to another man to sell, after which his lodgings were searched with several of the stolen items found in his possession. His landlady, Mrs Amédée, recalled him coming home one day with a sack full of clothing.

His trial didn’t take place until several months later with various witnesses, including Captain Pennison, called to give evidence and identify their possessions amongst those that were recovered from Guérin’s lodgings.

The jury took four minutes to find him unanimously guilty and he was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment with hard labour and banishment from Jersey for five years.
Clearly this sentence did not deter Guérin as just over a decade later in 1903, he was back in Jersey and back in court, having stolen from another vessel moored in St Helier harbour. This time he was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment with hard labour and another five years’ banishment.

In December 1892, Captain Pennison and the Satellite made headlines again. Bound for Newcastle from Jersey and having just entered the Tyne, the ship was being towed into the harbour when it was hit by another vessel, the steamer Raithwaite Hall, which was heading back out to sea. Having sustained considerable damage, the Satellite reportedly foundered within a couple of minutes of being struck.

There were nine crew on board, all from Jersey, and somehow in spite of the rapid demise of the vessel, none of them perished or were injured. All of them clambered onboard the steamer that struck their vessel and were taken safely to shore.

Captain Pennison lost a large number of personal effects and money in the incident, including a valuable gold watch and chain, clothing and a harmonium. The Jersey Independent and Daily Telegraph reported that he had "fitted up the vessel, in which he had been for 13 years, in really luxurious style".


This article only touches on some of the research into the Bellozanne and Tower Road area for the ‘Your Home, Your Story’ series, sponsored by Antony Gibb Historic Buildings Consultants. 

If you would like to hear more stories, Jersey Archive is hosting a free talk on Saturday 15 July at 10:00To book a place on the talk, call 833300 or email

The Archive will also be open from 9am-1pm for general research.


What's your home's story? To the Manor born

Pictured top: 'The ‘Satellite’ off Dover' by Charles Kensington, 1882. (Jersey Heritage)

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