J. B. LE ROY

born 1791

COMPASS AND NAVIGATIONAL INSTRUMENT MAKER
GUERNSEY
AND
15 MULCASTER STREET, ST. HELIER, JERSEY

Worked circa 1810 - c1862

J. B. Le Roy ship's binnacle (above) (compass card inset left)

Binnacle photographs courtesy of
Ross Le Bail.

This is one of only two known compasses still in existence made by John Bosdet Le Roy. It has a turned wood bowl and press-on lid, max diameter (lid) 105mm. Overall weight is 528g. The compass has a hand-drawn, 64 point maritime card, which is clearly signed in the same hand that drew the card, so it wasn't a generic card that was simply branded by the seller. Dial diameter is 105mm. The card has a brass cap and is balanced underneath with sealing wax. The dial is signed around the perimeter of the central brass cap "J. B. LE ROY - 15 MULCASTER ST. - ST. HELIER'S - JERSEY". The North Fleur de Lys marker has gold leaf covering the central plume, and beneath can be seen the compass and dividers symbol of Freemasonry. The bowl interior is painted white, with a black lubber line. The exterior is painted black with decorative lateral lines.

John Bosdet Le Roy was born in 1791 in the parish of St. Sampson's in Guernsey. Circa 1826 he married Mary (born circa 1804 in St. Sampson's, Guernsey).
John and Mary had two children:
John L Le Roy, born circa 1827 in St. Sampson's Guernsey, and
Emiline Le Roy, born circa 1830 in St. Peter Port, Guernsey.

J. B. Le Roy had his own business in Guernsey, and was listed in various documents as a "merchant". It is known, however, that he sold mainly marine and navigational instruments. At some time after 1830 the family moved to St. Helier, Jersey (British Channel Islands).

In Jersey J. B. Le Roy resumed his trade as a "merchant" dealing mainly in nautical instruments from a shop at 15 Mulcaster Street, St. Helier, Jersey.

The 1851 Jersey census records give the following information:

John B Le Roy, head of household, age 60, year of birth 1791, occupation "optician", place of birth St. Sampson, Guernsey.

Mary Le Roy, Wife, age 47, place of birth St. Sampson, Guernsey.

Emiline Le Roy, age 21, place of birth St. Peter Port, Guernsey.

Address for the above: 15 Mulcaster Street, St. Helier, Jersey.

The 1861 Jersey census records give the following information:

John B Le Roy, head of household, age 70, year of birth 1791, occupation "optician", place of birth St. Sampson, Guernsey.

Mary Le Roy, Wife, age 57, place of birth St. Sampson, Guernsey.

John : Le Roy, Son, age 36, occupation "naval instructor", place of birth St. Sampson, Guernsey.

Margaret Jones, sister-in-law, age 54, occupation "Assistant", place of birth St. Sampson, Guernsey.

Jane Russel, age 16, occupation "servant", place of birth St. Brelade, Jersey.

Emiline Le Roy is not present - now known to have moved to England and she married Capt. Thomas Bosdet (a cousin?) in Westminster in 1861.

Address for the above: 17 Mulcaster Street, St. Helier, Jersey.

I have not been able to ascertain when John Bosdet Le Roy died, but neither he, nor his son, feature in any census records that I have been able to trace prior to, or subsequent to the above.mentioned records of 1851 and 1861.

The only items bearing the "signature" of J. B. Le Roy believed still extant are one octant bearing the inscription "J. B. Le Roy - Guernsey", two octants marked "J. B. Le Roy - Jersey", 3 telescopes, one barometer and two compasses, the one above and a binnacle compass shown below.

J. B. Le Roy was a Freemason in Guernsey and became an eminent Freemason in Jersey, which explains the Freemasonry mark beneath the north mark on the above compass, a mark that does not appear on any of his other instruments still in existence.


TELESCOPE
Nickel silver 7-draw telescope by J. B. Le Roy,
Jersey, circa 1820
The telescope barrel is wrapped with baleen.