In temps passé, this was all done by hand, as you can see in this short clip from a 1954 Tourism film.
“Branchage” is a word that people in Jersey use when speaking English, but in Jèrriais it is branquage. It means cutting of the branches.
Branque is Jèrriais for branch.You may see some brantchettes (twigs) lying in the road as people trim their hedges, but these êmondîns (trimmings) must be cleared up, otherwise property owner risk being naûmiés”(fined)!
The Visite Royale occurs in each parish once every six years. The Royal Court will visit the parish to inspect the parish and roads accounts and will judge on matters relating to public roads and footpaths brought to its attention by the parish.
August will see the Visite Royale taking place in St Martin, St Lawrence and St John. This tradition has been going on for centuries.
These images from the Jersey Evening Post Photo Archive shows other occasions when the Visite Royale took place.
1. St Brelade 1976
2. St Brelade 1958
3. St Helier 1958
4. St John 1955
5. St John 1979
6. St Lawrence 1978
7. St Ouen 1947
8. St Ouen 1977
The branchage is a tradition that dates back centuries. If you have been found to have breached the Branchage Law you are in danger of being fined.
This paper, from the year 1800, records fines levied on parishioners from Grande Vingtaine in St Clement who fell foul of parish officials.
They were fined £1 but were warned that this would be raised to £4 if it wasn’t fixed in 8 days