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My Foote family

The first members of the Foote family to arrive in Guernsey were two brothers, George and John Foote, who arrived from Devon in the early years of the 19th Century, just after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. They were butchers by trade, and family tradition has it that they came to Guernsey to follow up some debts, and liked it so much that they decided to settle there.

There have been Footes in Guernsey since that time, and in the Rohais de Bas area there is a lane called "Foote's Lane" which runs through the land which the family once owned.

George's father was born in Ashburton, Devon, where the family had lived for generations. He moved to Plymouth, then to Totnes, Dartmouth & finally Brixham before finally emigrating to Guernsey.

George and John Foote were butchers and farmers - a family tradition which continued into the 20th century. They played a prominent role in the Island's Agricultural community - in which the Guernsey breed of dairy cattle plays a significant role.

There were a number of sailors and shipowners in the family. Guernsey was one of the major shipping ports during the 18th & 19th Centuries. George Foote, together with two other butchers : Francis Lamble and Charles Henry Baskfill, owned a number of ships. Among their fleet was the Dispatch built in Guernsey in 1849 by Henry Marquand and John de la Mare. At 338 tons she was one of the largest ships ever built in Guernsey. Another of the ships they jointly owned was the Jessie which was also built by Marquand & de la Mare in 1846.

My great-grandfather, William Henry Foote (pictured left), spent six years at sea with William Le Lacheur & Sons, rising from apprentice to Second Mate. Le Lacheur was responsible for establishing the coffee trade between Costa Rica and Europe. During his time with them, my great grandfather rounded Cape Horn twelve times - one of the most dangerous routes to shipping. He returned to settle in Guernsey, where he took over the family butcher's business in the Town Markets, and farming the family estate.

His brother, George William Foote (1853-1947), was a veterinary surgeon, and a well-known island character. He trained in Somerset where he met his wife-to-be Annie Orchard - they were married in Martock, Somerset. Following the 1881 Veterinary Surgeons Act, he was registered as an "Existing Practitioner" with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons. He practised as a vet in Guernsey for more than sixty years, and saw his last case the week before he died at the age of 94.

Both of my Guernsey-born grandfathers, and nine of my great uncles fought in the Great  War - more details about researching them on my World War 1 page.

Last update: 20 Mar 2004
© Stephen Foote 1996-2004