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Marianne Carey Ed6

b. 22 Jul 1826 - d. 27 Nov 1912

daughter of Peter Carey
and Julia Hewitt

Married: 4 Oct 1853

Colonel Dugald Stewart Miller

b. 2 Feb 1823 - d. 27 Feb 1875

Of Old Cumnock, Ayrshire. 7th Fusiliers


Circa 1850

Signature of Marianne Carey

Marianne Carey

The Memoirs of Marianne Miller nee Carey

Taken from

From an early age, Marianne Carey had desired to build a church for the poor fisher folk living around Cobo Bay, Guernsey. Her persistance and inspirations finally brought her dream alive in 1852 with the laying of the foundation stone of St Matthew's Church.
The story is told in her own memoirs and from the writings of her grand-daughter, Mrs Thomas.

Rocque de Guet 1839
It was my father's custom to take us almost every year to Guernsey, there to spend the months of July and August. My earliest recollections are associated with Havilland Hall which was the house to which we went until it was used as Government House. My birthday occurring in July was therefore generally spent in Guernsey and the usual treat when I was a child was to go to Cobo and have tea on the rocky beach.

On my 13th birthday, we made the customary expedition and the distance from the hall being greater than from "the cottage" from which my cousins had walked and also my not being quite so strong as the others I was very tired and went to lie down on the Rocque de Guet overlooking the Bay of Cobo. While resting there my eyes wandered over the portion of the country around and I saw that there were many cottages inhabited by the fisher folk but could see no church or school. I knew that the nearest would be fully two and a half miles distant and began to wonder whether they ever went to Church. My meditations were however very soon interrupted by cheery voices calling me down from my perch and have tea which was certainly very refreshing.

On the Sunday following our return to our beautiful English home on the Isle of Wight. I took my Christian Year into the wood behind my lovely Church to learn, as was my wont, the hymn for that day and looking at the Church and our own house nestled so closely together made me think very sorrowfully of that lonely village on the seashore so far removed from any House of God and the longing to give them one arose very strongly in my heart.

On going into the house I sought my father and took up my favourite position on his knee, where-upon he asked: -
"What do you want to coax out of me now?"
"O Daddy, I want to build a church and I want you to tell me how to do it"
"Build a Church!" he answered in some amazement, "and pray where is this church to be, it sounds rather a big order?" -
"Oh, you are not to laugh at me, for I so want to build one at Cobo - you know how far it is from St. Mary's and I don't believe those fisher folk ever go at all."
"Yes my darling, I do see that they sadly want a church and I can understand how much you would like to enable them to have one - But - now child, don't be impatient - and listen quietly to all your old father is going to say to you. I am not going to dash your hopes nor throw cold water on the scheme - It may be that some future day that God will permit you to have the privilege for which you long, but now, and for some years to come, I am sure it is not your work. You have distinct duties marked out for you. You have your lessons to do and must give your mind to them - you have a class in the Sunday School - you have several old women to go and read to - you have to help your mother in the house and your sisters in the village. These are the duties that God has given you to do & you must be content with them for some time to come - but the day may come when you will have free time & we will talk of it again."

Years went by - each one bringing a reminder of Cobo's needs, but each day, nay each hour had it's appointed task. It is true the more rigid hours of the schoolroom were relaxed, but with an hour daily at the National School before matins and half an hour after that in a smaller school, then returning for an hours reading before luncheon - When alone, that consisted of history with my sister Caroline and one of the Cottage Carey cousins - When my brothers or cousins were at home it varied, Italian with Frank, French with Connie. In the afternoon two days at the school for work and other days district visiting on a walk with my father whom we never allowed to go alone - so had the pleasant duty by turns - or I had to accompany mother to make calls or for shopping.

If the boys were at home, I was ever at their beck and call, either for music or a long walk - in the evening we had out our frames to work for about an hour - having much to do for our newly built church of St. Peter - Frontals, mats, etc. and also garments for our district during this hour - Either mother or one other read aloud and music was expected for the last hour - so where was the leisure time for which I had waited and hoped - It seemed well nigh useless to think of it -

Again on my birthday I found myself on my favourite Rocque du Guet - and this time with a book given me that morning by my mother entitled - "She hath done what she could" - The very name of the book started me thinking and looking round on the Church-less hamlet I said to myself "Have I done all I could?" and the answer was one of doubt for what could I have done?

Neverless it seemed to stir me up to a determination to delay no longer and ways and means crowded in my brain but alas with small result - Next day full of the desire to start work I went into the Town and bought a sheet containing ten pictures which are found in the "divine Master" - This sheet cost me one franc - and it occurred to me that if framed these pictures might sell, so on our return to England I got some glasses cut to the required size and bought some brown American cloth and managed to make a very tidy little frame to be hung up by a ring of which I chartered a good supply - But once more my work was arrested - there were too many home duties to be performed to leave time for any extras - The following Spring, however, I hoped to have made a lasting start, having argued with my sister Caroline to send off the ten framed pictures to a friend who was away from home at the time and charge 5/- but urging her to bring them back unless she quite liked having them. Great was our delight when the reply brought a cheque for £2-2-0 a real nest egg.

Review of the Guernsey Society - Winter 1977
Mrs Thomas - grand-daughter of Marianne Carey

'In the years between 1831 and 1839, Major General Peter Carey and his wife Julia (daughter of General the Rt. Hon. Sir George Hewitt) were living in the Isle of Wight; they used to bring their young family to Guernsey for the summer months most years. Their youngest daughter Marianne, was very fond of Cobo and liked to celebrate her birthday in July by having a picnic there.

On one particular visit when they had walked from Havilland Hall, accompanied by some of their cousins from La Chaumiere, Marianne who was not as strong as the rest, felt very weary and went to lie down on the Rocque du Guet. From there, she looked down on the houses of the fisher folk and felt great compassion for them as their nearest church was the parish church of the Castel, more than two miles distant, and she doubted if they ever went there.

The need for a church had been in her mind even from the age of five years, when one Sunday she saw everyone on the way to Castel Church. She went to her father, reading his paper, and said she was so sorry for those "poor people" (almost nobody over 25!") having so far to walk, and she wanted to build a church for them at Cobo. General Carey swallowed hard, said it was rather a tall order for someone so young, but she should come again when she was older.

He probably forgot the whole thing, but Marianne did not. Meanwhile, she was a good and dutiful daughter, and as she got older a great many things occupied her time: sewing of all kinds, schoolwork, district visiting, walking with her father, keeping her brothers amused, reading to old people and so on - quite unlike the present day concept of the idle Victorian young girl. But at the age of 17 she again went to her father and this time he gave his permission, with the proviso that she was not to use her beautiful voice to make money for the scheme.

Marianne began by selling a series of pictures which she had bought, framed and sold for 2 guineas. Then her sister Caroline (Ed4) became very ill and needed reading to and other attentions so this delayed the serious work of raising enough money to build her church. But inspired by a book about a peasant girl in France who founded a hospital, the two girls pondered on what could be done. Caroline, who died soon afterwards and was buried in Guernsey, arranged to leave £200, her parents gave her another £200, Marianne herself gave £300, and then she went to see her various relations begging what they could spare.

She went to see her "Aunt Mourant", (Sophy - (E42)) was usually generous; but she had never heard of anything so mad, what was Marianne's father thinking about, and she would not give money to mad folk! Had she been to see her uncle Dean Carey (Nicholas Carey - Dean of Guernsey E34) He would certainly refuse and then as Marianne turned to go out, probably feeling rather depressed, the aunt added "If he does give you anything, I'll double it - but he won't!". In actual fact the Dean was thrilled with his niece's persistence and gave her £20. So Aunt Mourant had to cough up £40.

Gradually the money came in and culminated in a total of £1600, which in those days was sufficient to build a good church with 300 seats. Other gifts were as important - her godmother, Mrs. Thomas Carey ((Caroline E38a) - sister of Cardinal Manning) offered to build the Vicarage, the site for the church was given by Mr. de Beaucamp of Cobo, the Rev. William Collings presented the turret, two bells and the lychgate, and the Rev. Lord de Saumarez and Col. the Hon. St. Vincent Saumarez, the churchyard.

But a great blow was in store. The Dean said "This will be useless unless there is a Vicar to serve the Church. Where and how do you propose to find him?". The endowment for a Vicar's salary would need to be a minimum of £2000. However, again things went well, the Dean was a great help and a further sum of £300 was raised to start the endowment fund which built up the required amount.

At some time in the early 1850s, contact had been made by the Carey family with the architect Mr. John Johnson of No. 9 St. John Street, Adelphi, London. It is interesting to speculate how this meeting came about, and at the present time, more research has to be carried out on this point. Johnson does not appear to have been a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, although he was a most talented architect and in association with his partner F. B. Newman, was responsible for many building projects. To date we have no information on his pupilage or early career, although he was a Royal Academy medalist and student; and had exhibited at the Academy on several occasions. The RIBA have a few drawings of his in their collection but, regrettably, the drawings of St. Matthew's have not yet been traced.

The Star Newspaper - 21st September 1852
Report on the Laying of the Foundation Stone.

'Long before the appointed hour many a household gathering, many a group of happy children were seen emerging from the cottages near the seashore and bending their steps in holiday attire along the romantic lanes of that picturesque neighbourhood to the scene of attraction.

Over the entrance to the ground was suspended a legend worked in flowers appropriately directing the thoughts of all to the Giver of all good, by it's inscription "Louez le Seigneur".

The site of the church was marked out by St. George's banner at the west end and by an embroidered flag at the east end, which floated aloft with the prayerful motto "QUE DIEU DIRIGE L'OEVRE DE NOS MAINS".

The weather was propitious. The sun shone brightly upon the solemnity and the north west wind sweeping widely over the foaming waves of Vazon and causing "the floods to clap their hands with joy", added to it's invigorating charm to the wild grandeur of the scene.

Two hundred and eighty school children attended the ceremony. The foundation stone was lowered into place - a fine piece of granite - by Miss Carey daughter of the late General Peter Carey, while the Reverend James Maingy, the Rector of the Parish officiated.

As at all Victorian public occasions tea was provided afterwards, on this occasion in the Castel Infant School with Mrs. General Carey supplying "a bountiful supply of tea and 'gache a corinte'".