Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Les Quennevais


‘Sand dunes to Shopping centres – the development of Le Quennevais’






Quennevais, the largest Vingtaine in St Brelade is now one of the more populated areas of the island, accordingly well serviced by shopping precincts, a secondary school and sporting facilities. But these are very recent developments to an area of Jersey that was once described as an Arabian desert in the midst of an island of the highest fertility!

This is evident on the 1795 Duke of Richmond map where the Le Quennevais area is the largest parcel of uninhabited or uncultivated land on the whole island, predominantly marked by sand dunes.

Geological and archaeological reports link this topography to abnormally stormy conditions during the 13th and 14th centuries, which deposited vast quantities of sand on to the land as a result of severe westerly gales. As an alternative theory to this there is a well-documented legend, which records that the area was actually spoilt by divine punishment following the plundering by the locals of 5 Spanish ships, shipwrecked off the coast in about 1495! 

Looking at the 1849 Godfray map there are very few houses marked; notable exceptions being Jean Huelin’s house at the crossroads which have become known as Red Houses, Don Farm, houses at Franc Fief and Le Ville es Quennevais.

Jean Huelin’s house and farm once stood on the site where Mark’s and Spencer and the Co-op stand today. In 1864 the property was sold to Jean de Gruchy, farmer, who owned it for nearly 20 years. It is believed that the name Red Houses/Rouge Maisons arose from the red tiles on the stables at Oakleigh, which were situated on the opposite side of the road, where the public car park is now. By the 1891 census the property is inhabited by the Leatt family who kept the house and land in the family for a number of generations. Thomas James Leatt sold the property and land in 1963 to Queenleigh & McCormick Ltd, who demolished the house and built shops for lease to retailers.



Don Farm, as the name suggests, was an agricultural farm, built on crown land by General Don during his period of Governorship of the island between 1806 and 1814. He is more widely acclaimed for his improvement of the islands road system to strengthen the islands defences, however he was also concerned with possible food shortages on the island during wartime periods. He built Don Farm to demonstrate that land, which most people considered highly unsuitable for arable crops, could be successfully cultivated.

 Sources record the farm flourishing until at least 1837, however in the 1861 census the farm is actually listed as Don Farm/Providence School and is being run by the Le Gros sisters and their brother. The crown sold Don Farm in 1892 to James Carrel and it was kept in the family for a number of generations, eventually passing into the Le Brocq family through marriage. Ironically it was sold back to the States for housing in 1965 and Don Farm Estate constructed soon after.



Opposite Don Farm a railway station was built, with a tunnel called Don Bridge, which ran directly underneath Quennevais Road. The Jersey Railway running between St Helier and St Aubin commenced in 1870 but it was not until 1885 that the service was extended further west to Corbiere, passing through Beaumont and Quennevais. Don Bridge station was extremely busy due to considerable military passenger traffic for the nearby St Peter’s Barracks and militia camps, as well as for recreational users attending the Quennevais horse racing.  On the bank holiday weekend alone, on August 1921, 12,307 passengers were recorded using the train to travel to the racing. Sadly, like the Eastern Railway, business dwindled in the early 1930’s as a direct result of the competition from the bus service. However it was the disastrous fire at St Aubin’s train station on 18 October, which finally forced the railway to close following the destruction of 16 passenger carriages as well as the station and sheds. The area of land encompassing the track between St Aubin and Corbiere was subsequently bought by the states for use as a pedestrian walkway. Known locally as the Railway Walk, it is a fantastic legacy of the railway, well frequented by islanders and their families.


There has been a strong military presence at various times in this part of St Brelade.The Jersey Militia used the area adjacent to Don Farm for military training and held regular camps there, with up to 500 militia men camped in over 100 canvas tent. There was also permanent accommodation at the Red Houses crossroads on the site of the present car park.



Quennevais is well known for it’s sporting facilities particularly with the building of the multi purpose sports centre in 1996. But nearly 100 years ago thousands of people flocked to Le Quennevais for the sport of King’s – horse racing. The course was situated where the sports centre and grounds are now situated and the Jersey Race Club’s meetings of the summer months were very popular and well attended from 1900 through to the 1950’s.’His Majesty’s Cup’ race was held there until 1936, where the cup presented to the winner was paid for from the privy purse of King George V. It was not only horseracing that took place at the Quennevais track: in 1904 greyhound racing was held there and in 1933 Jersey’s first ever Air Pageant was observed by approximately 10,000 from the racecourse. One of the stars of the Pageant was the Honourable Mrs Victor Bruce, an English woman, who was the first woman to fly around the world alone. 


This article only touches on some stories of Les Quennevais . The Archive is open 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Late opening last Thursday in the month to 7pm.

We encourage you to visit the archive, where our staff will be happy to assist you in studying the history of the island.

Alternatively, you can visit our website at: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/research-centre/jersey-archive

Or start your research with our online catalogue at: http://www.jerseyheritagetrust.jeron.je/archive.html


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Mont Mado


A butterfly darting in the white haze of a dusty road, and the cap of the careless lad that struck it down.... Berry-picking along the hedges beyond the quarries of Mont Mado, and washing her hands in the strange green pools at the bottom of the quarries. . . .



Sir Gilbert Parker wrote these lines about Mont Mado in his 1898 work the Battle of the Strong, a novel set in late 18th century Jersey. Parker visited Jersey to conduct research and must have seen the quarries at Mont Mado.

Historically Mont Mado is best known for its quarries which no longer exist but were once the most famous on the island, producing the finest granite in a range of colours from pink to bright red.

To trace the history of quarrying in this area we have to go back to the Neolithic period. We know that the area around Mont Mado was famed for its quality stone over 5000 years ago.

A good example of the high esteem our distant ancestors had for Mont Mado granite can be seen at La Hougue Bie in Grouville. This ancient passage tomb was constructed of granite from a number of different locations on the island, including Mount Bingham. Archaeologists have found only two pieces of Mont Mado granite on the whole site and these were saved for the most sacred parts of the structure.

The orthostat is the stone at the heart of the tomb. It is aligned to catch the first rays of the sun on the day of the equinox. Underneath the orthostat is a quern or grinding stone. Both are made from Mont Mado granite.

We know that the Neolithic quarrymen of Mont Mado valued this stone very highly as they took a great deal of trouble and effort to prepare it and transport it from Mont Mado to La Hougue Bie.

Two possible methods of splitting stone were to heat it and then pour cold water over it or to drive in wedges of wood and then to soak them so that they expanded. Once the quarrymen had a usable rock they had to roll it, drag it or push it to where it was needed. In this case the rocks were rolled several miles to La Hougue Bie.

During the following centuries Mont Mado granite was used as a building stone for houses in Jersey from the grandest buildings to solid farmhouses and simple cottages and sheds. It was not until the late 18th century that Mont Mado Quarries were exploited on a commercial scale.

We know that Mont Mado granite was not exported in large quantities but it was used for one particular overseas building project - the harbour at Copenhagen.

The quarries at Mont Mado did not have a single overall owner during the 19th century with various parts of the land and quarries in the area belonging principally to the Sarre and de Gruchy families. Charles de Gruchy with partners Richard Queree and Josue Renouf purchased part of the quarries from Helier Sarre in 1872. Charles was later to buy out his partners in 1882.

Charles retired in the 1890s and left the running of the quarry to his son in law Captain Joseph Le Seelleur. However he could not resist coming back to the quarry to check on the work and to join in. On the last occasion he visited he helped to set a jig in place, which was to lift a huge boulder. Unfortunately the jig collapsed and flying debris killed him. The subsequent inquest discussed the safety implications of standing under a huge boulder whilst it was being lifted.

The quarries and granite trades provided a huge amount of employment in the Mont Mado area. The 1851 census for St John records that there were 2 masons, 13 quarrymen, 6 stone dressers and a stone merchant living and working in the area. There were also at least 3 master quarrymen employing their own labour who were resident around the quarry.

William Adair was a Mont Mado quarryman. In 1861 he is listed as living with his wife and four children. The oldest child George, aged 14, had followed his father to the quarry and was working as a stone cutter.

William was born in Malta but came to Jersey and married a local girl. The census shows that in addition to their own children the Adairs also had care of Michael Temple aged 6 who was not their natural son.

A Mr Middleton had found Michael on a doorstep of 8, Temple Place, St Helier [St Marks Road] at 8pm on the night of the 15th of December 1854. Hospital records show that he was aged about 3 days at the time.

He was boarded with the Adair family and they later appear to have adopted him as he is recorded on the 1871 census as their adopted son. Michael later changed his name to Adair keeping the Temple as a middle name. Michael stayed with the family in Mont Mado until he was an adult and trained as a shoemaker. After he married and had his own family he became one of the first postmen in St John.

The Le Quesne Family became the owners of the quarries in the early 20th century. Charles Thomas Le Quesne first inherited part of the property from his father who had purchased it from Charles de Gruchy in 1907 and then purchased the rest of the property from Josué Sarre in 1931. By 1933 the company Charles Le Quesne Limited had taken over the quarries and they were sold to the States of Jersey in 1958.

On the top of the quarry there once stood a windmill, like the quarry it no longer exists, but through records held at Jersey Archive we can trace the history of this structure.

Fire insurance registers show that the windmill was constructed of stone with wooden cladding. The registers also record that it was a wind corn mill used to produce flour for domestic purposes. The windmill stood over 400 feet above sea level and it was known as a navigation point for shipping.

The windmill was built between 1826 and 1827. Contracts show that George Ourry Lempriere, Seigneur of the Fief Chesnel leased land to Jeanneton Simon in August 1826 giving her a year and day to build the structure. The lease on the property ran until 1886. Construction was partly financed by selling promissory bank notes with a picture of the windmill on them.

In 1827 Jeanneton Simon leased out half the windmill to Jean de la Cour and in 1828 the other half to Joseph Le Brun with both leases running until 1886 - the length of Jeanneton’s original lease with the Seigneur.

Unfortunately in 1837 she was subject to bankruptcy proceedings – known locally as décret. The windmill continued to be leased until 1853 when Joseph Philippe Le Brun, the son of the original Joseph, ceded all rights and lifetime enjoyment back to François Godfray the Seigneur of Fief Chesnel thus completing the circle.

Sadly only 50 years after the windmill was built it was already falling into ruin. The cliff that was quarried below it created a strong updraft that destroyed the sails. For a while the windmill was used to pump water from the quarry but eventually it fell into disrepair and was reported to be in a sorry state just before the First World War. Evidence is hard to find for the eventual collapse of the windmill but we know that it no longer existed by the 1930s.

The quarry and windmill are not the only significant landmarks to have been located in the Mont Mado area. Near the site of the quarry there once stood a priory or religious house known as the Chapel of St Blaize and later St Blaize and St Marguerite.

Little is known about the chapel, although it is mentioned in early ecclesiastical lists. Richard Le Hardy son of former Bailiff Clement Le Hardy  was named chaplain of the of St Blaize and Marguerite on the 25th of May 1507. We can only surmise that it probably fell victim to the reformation some time after the 1520s.

There is still some evidence of the chapel’s existence in the Mont Mado area. The house St Blaize is reputed to have parts of the chapel embedded in its walls and a second house, La Porte is also supposed to have connections with this ancient priory.

This article only touches on some stories of Mont Mado . The Archive is open 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Late opening last Thursday in the month to 7pm.

We encourage you to visit the archive, where our staff will be happy to assist you in studying the history of the island.

Alternatively, you can visit our website at: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/research-centre/jersey-archive

Or start your research with our online catalogue at: http://www.jerseyheritagetrust.jeron.je/archive.html

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

La Rocque





The Vingtaine de la Rocque has long been home to farmers and fishermen. It has seen the building of churches to cater to the faith of the local population, the railway to develop links with St Helier, the harbour to shelter the fishing fleet and the network of Martello towers to protect the coast from invasion.

The Vingtaine stretches from Fauvic in the north to the Grouville - St Clement border in the west with the coastline on the east and to the south. The Vingtaine also administers the Minquiers.

La Rocque has strong links with the sea. Early States of Jersey minutes from 1602 mention a Jean du Parc as the supervisor for the harbour and fisheries of La Rocque. The 1795 Duke of Richmond map shows some fortifications in place near the current harbour but no man made structures to protect the boats of the fishing fleet.

The States of Jersey developed the harbours at St Aubin, Gorey and St Helier during the 18th and 19th centuries and by 1825 the inhabitants of Grouville decided that development also needed to take place at La Rocque.

The parishioners sent a petition to the States pointing out that the 40 or more boats that were moored at La Rocque were subject to southerly gales. The petition asked that a wall be built between the rocks Le Groznet and La Grande Sambiere. The Harbours Committee recommended the plan to the States in 1825 and on 7th October 1826 they approved that a Harbour be built at a cost of not more than £500. The contract for works was awarded to Abraham de la Mare.

In 1873 a petition signed by a large number of La Rocque fishermen was presented to the States asking for a breakwater to be built. The States established a Committee to look into the costs of the work. The Committee took some time to explore different options before presenting an act to the States calling for the establishment of a breakwater in February 1881.

The Archive holds a letter from the Attorney-General to the Lieutenant Governor dated 9th June 1881 which advises Her Majesty to confirm the Act of the States to build a ‘Shelter Pier’ at La Rocque. Royal approval must have been granted as finally Frederick Benest was appointed to carry out the works for the sum of £3,850 in November 1881.  

The fishing fleet was a vital part of life at La Rocque and the fishermen were vocal in their views of any changes to legislation that effected their livelihood. A petition to the States of Jersey dated January 1898 from the fishermen of La Rocque and Rozel concerns the proposed Law on Fishing presented to the States by Deputy E B Renouf. The petition concerns the use of dragnets and rakes as means of fishing and the effects of these on the young fish around the Island.

The petition gives us the names of the La Rocque fishermen of the late 19th century with the following individuals signing; Nicolas de Ste Croix, Thomas Gallichan, Joe Le Clercq, P Marin, Edward Mallet, George Mourant, G Marie, Charles de St Croix, Elie Jarvis, Philippe Vivian, W Gray, Elie Gallichan, F G Gallichan, J Lequer, J P Watton, E Gallichan, A Ahier, C Gallichan, Elie Le Clercq, Frank Mallet, Thomas Gallichan, Charles Le Riche.

The 19th century fishing fleet had established strong links with the Minquiers. Traditionally the fleet would leave La Rocque for Maîtresse Ile on a Monday staying to catch fish until the Friday. The fleet would then return to the mainland on a Friday with the weeks catch which would be sold locally or to merchants. Left over fish would be taken to St Helier by horse and cart or by the railway and it was then sold and shipped to either England or St Malo. 

The importance of the sea to the inhabitants of the Vingtaine is reflected in the establishment of two shipbuilding yards in the area. Firstly the yard of John Filleul and Thomas de la Mare operating at La Rocque from 1836 – 1837 and secondly that of Daniel Le Sueur operating from 1858 – 1884. Le Sueur’s yard built over 30 vessels. 

In the 19th century the religious lives of the community were enhanced by the building of two new churches – the La Rocque Methodist Chapel and the Church of St Peter La Rocque. The Methodist Chapel was the first to be built and the influence of Methodism in the area can be seen as early as 1808 when services were held in the house of Moise Gibaut. Moises’ house was burned down and replaced by Beechwood. 

Services moved to Gorey in the 1820s but as the popularity of Methodism in the Island increased meetings began to be held at La Rocque again in 1833. Initially meetings were held in a room in La Rocque Villa which was rented from François Mallet. Services then took place at Shirley Villa, the property of Mrs Philip Labey.

A site for a chapel was purchased in October 1837 with the funds being raised by subscription from the local worshippers. The foundation stone of the Chapel was laid in June 1838 and the Chapel was formerly opened for Divine Service on 4th November 1838.

The growth in Methodism at La Rocque prompted, Abraham Le Sueur, Rector of Grouville for much of the second half of the 19th century, to initiate the building of a new Church of England church in the area – St Peter La Rocque.

The minutes of the Ecclesiastical Assembly of Grouville record the date of the laying of the foundation stone of the Chapel of St Peter La Rocque. The entry for 6th January 1852 states that the foundation stone was laid by Lieutenant-General Touzel assisted by the Rector of the Parish, Abraham Le Sueur, Rectors from other parishes and many other principals in the Parish of Grouville.

Entertainment in the Vingtaine has been and continues to be provided at Seymour. The La Rocque Inn or Mary Janes as it was known is still remembered in the area. The Inn was located opposite what is now the Seymour Inn in the car park used by visitors to Seymour Tower.

Philip Ahier’s book, Historical and Topographical Hotels and Inns in Jersey includes some memories of the establishment 

‘Mary Jane had the reputation of being a martinet: she permitted no unseemly behaviour in her establishment and soon ejected any male who became cantankerous. My father used to recall how many a fisherman’s wife or farmer’s wife could call to the inn to ascertain whether their husbands were imbibing not too freely and not too well and then would proceed to bring them home!’

Mary Jane was Mary Jane Le Vesconte who was born in 1864. Her father Charles is first listed as living at La Rocque Inn in the 1881 census with Mary Jane, her sister Jane Mary and mother - also Jane Mary. By 1901 Mary Jane is listed as the Hotel Keeper at La Rocque Inn with Lizzie Bertram living on site as a bar worker. The Inn was eventually inherited by Mary Jane’s great niece who sold the property to Ann Street Brewery in 1958.  

Services were also an important part of the area. La Rocque post office was established in 1891 by the Postmaster General in London with George H Le Geyt as the first Sub-Postmaster with a salary of £5 10s per year. George was a grocer who lived at Seymour Place, 36, Beach Road with his wife Isabella.

No picture of La Rocque would be complete without a mention of the area’s military history. Famously known as the landing point for de Rullecourt’s invasion of the Island in January 1781, which led to the Battle of Jersey, the area has a number of military fortifications.

Records dating from as early as 1539 show the importance of defending La Rocque. On 13th May 1539 the parishioners of Grouville including Jacques Amy, Philippe Jutize, Thomas Baudains, Johan Jutize, Richard Amy, Philippe Amy, Francois Amy, Johan Payn and Blaise Laffoley promised the Lieutenant Governor that they would start to build a defensive works at the bays between La Rocque and Mont Orgueil.

Jean Chevalier in 1646 records that Prince Charles and his council examined the coasts to see which points were vulnerable to enemy attack. They directed the building of a fortress at La Rocque. Apparently when the building began they unearthed evidence of an earlier structure – possibly the 1539 fortifications.

Henry Seymour Conway, Governor of Jersey in the late 18th century, obtained approval for his plans to construct coastal towers around in the Island in 1778. A significant number of Conway towers can be seen on the coast of the Vingtaine de la Rocque today.

On the 28th January 1780 just a year before the de Rullecourt landing the Constable of Grouville was ordered by the States of Jersey to place a store and magazine at La Rocque and Rocque-Platte. Platte Rocque Tower itself was built after the Battle of Jersey and replaced a guard house which had stood on the spot.


This article only touches on some stories of La Rocque . The Archive is open 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Late opening last Thursday in the month to 7pm.

We encourage you to visit the archive, where our staff will be happy to assist you in studying the history of the island.

Alternatively, you can visit our website at: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/research-centre/jersey-archive

Or start your research with our online catalogue at: http://www.jerseyheritagetrust.jeron.je/archive.html

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Grève De Lecq




The approach to Grève de Lecq is of the most charming description, and the scenery is sometimes equal to that of Wales, and even of some parts of Switzerland.’ 

This quote appears in ‘The Tourist’s Guide’ section of the Jersey Times Almanac of 1868. The Almanac goes on to recommend that the visitor should stroll

on the fine sandy beach ……watching the huge waves as they come rolling on, foaming and roaring towards the shore’.

Whilst a modern description of Grève de Lecq might not be couched in such flowery language, the views of the countryside and bay are still as beautiful and dramatic.

This small area in the north-west of Jersey derives its name from ‘Grève’, meaning a ‘sandy beach scooped out from the foot of the cliffs’ and ‘lecq’, which is probably from the Norse word meaning ‘creek’, referring to the stream running through Les Vaux de Lecq. The stream also marks the boundary between the parishes of St Mary and St Ouen. The Cueillette de Leoville in St Ouen is to the west and the Vingtaine du Nord in St Mary is to the east.

Tracing the history of the area, one of the earliest land marks is an Iron Age defensive earthworks at Le Câtel de Lecq on the headland to the east of the bay.  One of the best-preserved defensive earthworks in Jersey, it was used as a place of refuge in the late medieval period and in 1779, Le Câtel Fort was constructed on the site.

General Sir Henry Seymour Conway, non-resident Governor of Jersey between 1772 and 1775, recommended the building of this fort in response to the threat of French invasion. Conway also recommended the construction of 32 round towers to protect the Island’s coasts. By 1794 it is estimated that 22 towers had been completed, with the tower at Grève de Lecq being one of the first to be built, work commencing in September 1780.

Jersey round towers are unique and whilst they are often commonly known as Martello towers, they are of a different design, pre-dating towers of this name built along the English coasts by some 20 years.  Examples of Martello towers in Jersey are Kempt and Lewis, which were built at the turn of the century.

With defence still a priority at the beginning of the 19th century, Lieutenant Governor, General Sir George Don instructed the building of the Grève de Lecq Barracks as part of his plan to ensure that every bay and possible landing place was fortified.  Designed for the garrison of troops stationed in the Island, the construction of the barracks began in 1810. 

Accommodating up to 250 men at times, they remained in use for this purpose until the 1920s and are the only surviving barracks in the Island. They were purchased and restored by the National Trust for Jersey in 1972 and along with the round tower, are a permanent reminder of Jersey’s military history and a prominent feature of the bay.

Travelling away from the beach through the valley along Le Mont de Ste Marie, there are still large expanses of woods and fields. Some of this land has been used for farming, including sheep-breeding, with knitting a major industry in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Godfray Map of 1849 shows several substantial properties owned by people such as Nicholas Arthur, who according to the 1851 census, was a landed proprietor of 26 acres and lived in a house called Le Rondin. Not far from him was Philip Dumaresq who lived at Les Colombiers and was a landed proprietor of 12 acres. The families must have owned a fair proportion of the land in this area between them. 

Along Mont de le Grève de Lecq, on the St Ouens side, the Godfray Map shows family names such as Hubert, Hacquoil and Lucas all of whom are described as farmers in the census records

The stream running through the valley powered a water mill, now the site of the Le Moulin de Lecq Pub and Restaurant.  An indirect reference to this ancient water mill in the Assize Roll of 1299 indicates that parts of it may date back to the 12th century.  It is the largest water wheel on the Island and was worked entirely by the weight of water, being used for either grinding corn or as a fulling mill until 1929, when it was converted into a private home. 

Census records from 1871 to 1901 show that the mill was run by two generations of the Baudains family. In 1871 Abraham Baudains, his wife Mary and 5 children, including eldest son George, were living there. In 1881 Mary is a widow and George has taken over as ‘miller’. He and his wife Elizabeth are listed at the address in 1891 and 1901 when George is also described as a ‘Wesleyan local preacher’. 

The Germans requisitioned the wheel during the occupation in order to generate power for their search light batteries and after 1945 a Mr C T Clarke ran a tea room from the premises. In 1954 it was converted into a licensed inn by a Mr and Mrs R Ronald and has been run as a public house ever since.

The popularity of Jersey as a tourist destination grew in the 19th century. The first hotel  to be established in this area was the Grève de Lecq Hotel. It is listed in the census of 1851 as Grève de Lecq House, with a Mr John Toy as ‘hotel keeper’. He is running the hotel with his wife Mary and 2 servants. The Toys have 11 children, aged from 18 to 1 year. 

By the time of the next census in 1861, a Mr T P G Poujol was the proprietor. A Frenchman from St Croix Le Bocage, he is still running the hotel in 1881 at the age of 92 years. He appears to have been an interesting character, attracting prestigious patrons such as Prince Lucian Bonaparte, Napoleon’s nephew, who stayed two nights whilst pursuing his interest in Jersey/Norman French. 

In 1872, Monsieur Poujol took the opportunity to advertise the hotel by serving a seven-course dinner to the members of the Grève de Lecq Harbour Committee, States members and other influential islanders. This was on the occasion of the laying of the foundation stone of the new harbour. The building has since been converted into the Les Pierres de Lecq apartments.

The 1881 census lists the Prince of Wales Hotel on the St Ouen side of the bay, now called the Prince of Wales Guest House. Mr Samuel Parker, a Chelsea Pensioner and publican is running it, although in 1901 it is listed as uninhabited. In a property contract dated 1863, the site is described as a piece of land or sand dune, owned by Mary Jean. By 1867 a house has been built there which is owned by Robert Randall.

Just below the car park of the round tower, are a number of new houses, called Fisherman’s Wharf. Part of this development occupies the site of another hotel, which was known as ‘The New Pavilion’, ‘The Pavilion’ or ‘Pooley’s Pavilion’. 

It first appears in the 1891 census under the management of a Mr Rodney Pooley – hence the name ‘Pooley’s Pavilion’. At the time Pooley was a 41 year old man from Surrey. He had sadly died by the 1901 census and his sister Charlotte is recorded as ‘Hotel Proprietress’. The hotel was a popular venue for visitors and Mr Pooley seems to have been a very caring employer, leaving various individual legacies in his will to members of hotel staff.

The hotel was later destroyed by fire and rebuilt. Then in the 1980s the site became Caesar’s Palace, a well-known venue for live shows and cabaret, with performances from artists such as Stuart Gillies and Pat Mooney.

The ‘Hotel des Pierres’ was the last hotel to be built at Grève de Lecq. It was formally known as the ‘Pension de Lecq’ and before that was a house called ‘Bay View’, which was built sometime between 1936 and 1946.

We can imagine tourists flocking to Grève de Lecq to stay in these hotels and enjoy the beautiful beach whilst looking towards Sark. It was from this beach that the Helier de Carteret settlers left to colonise Sark in 1565.

As with other secluded bays in the Island, Grève de Lecq was frequented by smugglers. A profitable business for centuries, large quantities of French spirits imported by Jersey merchants were taken to England to sell and big profits could be made smuggling tobacco into both England and France.

Grève de Lecq pier has had an eventful history. After years of planning and deliberation, the pier was started in 1872 only to suffer storm damage in 1879, which resulted in the collapse of 40 yards of it within a week. The remains of this part of the pier can still be seen. 

During the occupation Grève de Lecq was designated a strong point and manned by the 16th Machine Gun Battalion. The sea wall, which was already there, was strengthened and two bunkers were built, still evident today at either end of the beach.  


This article only touches on some stories of Grève de Lecq . The Archive is open 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Late opening last Thursday in the month to 7pm.

We encourage you to visit the archive, where our staff will be happy to assist you in studying the history of the island.

Alternatively, you can visit our website at: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/research-centre/jersey-archive

Or start your research with our online catalogue at: http://www.jerseyheritagetrust.jeron.je/archive.html


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Gorey Pier




Le Quai du Havre du Mont Orgueil, more commonly known as Gorey Pier, is perhaps the most iconic image of Jersey; renowned worldwide for its picturesque harbour nestled at the base of the magnificent Mont Orgueil castle.

However, the harbour at Gorey was not always protected by a fine pier such as exists today. In 1685 Dumaresq wrote  ‘At the foot of the castle is the most ancient harbour in the island. There is an old decaying pier, where such small boats as use the neighbouring coast of Normandy resort.’ By 1800 the pier had deteriorated even further and paintings of the castle at this time show almost no trace of it.

The subsequent history of the pier, its properties and inhabitants were all heavily influenced by one significant event; the establishment of the oyster industry in Gorey. 

Jersey men had always known of the oyster beds in Grouville Bay and oyster shells had been found in the prehistoric tomb at La Hougue Bie. In 1606 the Governor tried to claim the oyster banks as Crown property but the Royal Court decided that every islander had a right to dredge there. For many years the trade was confined to local fisherman and by 1797 there was a limited export of oysters to England with the discovery of further beds. However, by 1810 a regular oyster fishery had been established in Gorey to supply merchants of chartered oyster companies -  predominantly from Kent and Sussex.

As a direct result of this the pier was rebuilt by the States between 1816 and 1817, at a cost of £16,000. The rebuilding project was primarily to provide shelter for the fishing fleets involved in this trade. At the height of the first boom of the industry between 1820 and 1830 there were an average of 100,000 tubs of oysters being sent to England each year. The oysters were dredged by 300 vessels which were manned by up to 1,500 British seamen.

One can only imagine the chaotic scenes on the pier with so many vessels and fisherman in one very small area of the island. The fishermen had the reputation of being reckless and unruly and this was evident when the oyster beds became exhausted and they began to encroach upon French territory. There were a number of skirmishes and this resulted in British naval ships having to patrol the local waters to curb further hostilities.

To assist the declining industry the States spent £4,000 laying down new beds and asked the fisherman to show restraint until the oysters were ripe for dredging. This was not heeded and in April 1838, the Battle of the Oyster Shells occurred where 120 boats put to sea with the intent to raid the oyster beds. On the second raid the Lieutenant Governor was notified and he sent out the garrison and the town militia. The fleet of fisherman were brought back to port and 96 captains arrested and fined. Ironically the only casualty was the Lieutenant Governor, Major General Campbell, who caught a cold and died a few days later!

Despite a second boom in production in the 1850s, the trade had collapsed again by 1863 as a result of the natural decline in production, over fishing and the chocking of the oysters by seaweed through the introduction of a closed season. This downturn marked the end to an industry, which had undoubtedly helped to shape Gorey Pier and the surrounding area.

A number shipbuilding yards, such as Aubin, Bellot, Picot and Cantell, had developed between the pier and the village at the time of the original oyster boom, supplying vessels for the fishing fleet. A memorial in the gardens adjacent to the pier, resembling the keel of a ship was erected in commemoration of the industry and lists the names of some of the larger vessels built in the Gorey shipyards between 1820 and 1885.

The huge influx of people involved in all areas of the oyster trade led to the rapid expansion of Gorey Village and Gorey Pier.

Many of the buildings along the pier, such as the Moorings, the Seascale and the Dolphin were built at the time of the original boom and provided services to the fishing fleet. Services available in the area included hotels, inns, lodging houses, chandlers, grocers and bakeries.

The Moorings was originally called the British Hotel, which is first mentioned by  name in the 1851 census, when it was owned and operated by Philip Payn. In his will of 1875 he left the hotel to his niece, Anne Messervy and her husband,  Francis John Cantell. Francis John Cantell was a master mariner who had spent a number of profitable years fishing in the Gaspé. When he returned to Jersey to run the British Hotel with his wife he purchased six further properties on the pier between 1882 and 1892, some of which were adjacent to the hotel. This enabled him to increase the size of his business which was well known as ‘Cantell’s British Hotel’. There are many photographs in existence from this period where the name is clearly displayed. George Lestang purchased the Hotel in 1905 and it then became ‘Lestang’s British Hotel’. It changed hands a number of times after this until it became the Moorings Hotel in the 1950s.

The other prominent hotel of the time on the pier was the Elfine Hotel which was located on the site of the current restaurant Feast. It is first mentioned as the Elfine in the 1881 census, where it was being run by Auguste La Mare, a French sailor and innkeeper. Auguste also owned shares in a 24 tonne cutter, named the Elfine, which in 1881 was recorded regularly bringing sheep in to Gorey Pier from France, and which presumably gave the hotel it’s name.

In a remarkably similar story to that of the British Hotel, Auguste had a daughter Emilie, who married an Englishman by the name of Reuben Main, who bought the Elfine Hotel in 1892. Reuben Main then purchased 4 further properties between 1894 and 1898 rapidly increasing the size of the hotel. Not to be out done by his close neighbour and entrepreneur, Francis Cantell, the hotel became known as ‘Main’s Elfine Hotel’. It would seem that these two rival hoteliers would have been in direct competition with each other!

Reuben Main sold the 4 houses under the name of the Elfine Hotel to the Jersey Investment Company in 1919, but the name of the hotel was in existence until very recent times.

Another major development that changed the face of Gorey Pier forever was the extension of the Jersey Eastern Railway line linking St Helier to the pier. This was completed using reclaimed land and opened on 25th May 1891. The station platform was 300ft long, with a single track and run around loop.

The time taken for the trip from Snow Hill Station to the pier was 24 minutes and the return fare cost 1s 3d for first class - approximately £2.86 in today’s money. Second class fares cost 1s or £2.29. The summer timetable showed 15 trains in each direction on weekdays and nine on Sundays.

This meant that the pier was now accessible for a very pleasant day out from St Helier. It also helped to open up travel possibilities and in 1899 a ticket could be purchased from St Helier right through to Paris, returning via London and Weymouth. The paddle steamer ‘Cygne’ connected Gorey to Carteret and linked up with the train Chemins de L’Ouest to take the passengers to Paris. The price for such a ticket was 104s 11d first class or £299.33 in today’s money and 83s 5d second class or £237.39, expensive even in today’s prices and therefore presumably used by only the very wealthy!

Sadly the railway was forced to close on 21st June 1929 and Jersey Eastern Railway was placed in voluntary liquidation. The legacy of the railway is without doubt the wonderful walkway replacing the train line from Gorey slipway to the pier.

This article only touches on some stories of Gorey Pier. The Archive is open 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Late opening last Thursday in the month to 7pm.

We encourage you to visit the archive, where our staff will be happy to assist you in studying the history of the island.

Alternatively, you can visit our website at: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/research-centre/jersey-archive

Or start your research with our online catalogue at: http://www.jerseyheritagetrust.jeron.je/archive.html

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Five Mile Road

Sand, Surf and War – The Story of the Five Mile Road




The Five Mile Road or La Grande Route des Mielles as it is officially known in the almanac has been synonymous with the wide variety of history, natural landscape and the great surf that St Ouen’s Bay has to offer! But what are its origins, close examination of the Godfray map of 1849 shows that whilst roads existed at both ends of St Ouen’s Bay there was no road between Les Laveurs and La Pulente . However investigation of the States of Jersey minutes reveals that they gave approval for a military road on the 21st September 1855 following a report by the Island’s Defence Committee, with an initial grant of £300.00 (image opposite). By 1867 the map of Jersey by Staff Commander J Richards clearly shows a road running the length of the bay, whilst the individual committee books indicate through the minutes of the committee responsible for La Grande Route des Mielles that work on the road continued throughout the 1860s and into the early 1870s. In fact a report by the committee on the 14th October 1869 requested the States of Jersey for a grant of further sums of £300.00 for both 1870 & 1871, in order to complete more work on the road including Mont de la Pulente. This suggests that even after it was built and had provided a link between L’Etacq and La Pulente various amendments continued.

Either way St Ouen’s Bay from this point on was transformed and what had been largely rural and sparsely populated, with the beach the only way of travelling from one end to the other, now become a more widely used and accessible area as a result of the Five Mile Road. As we moved into the 20th century in particular the natural beauty of the large expanse of sand dunes, beach, and good surf became an obvious draw for both islanders and tourists. The Five Mile Road itself is a colloquial term referring to the road officially known as La Grande Route de Mielle, with Mielle meaning sand dune. The road covers the large stretch of sand dunes from La Route de la Pulente ending near to Lewis Tower and Les Laveurs. Local historian, Frank Falle has suggested the mystery of its name given even though the road is actually not 5 miles in length originates from if you were standing at Corbiere looking towards L’Etacq it is around 5½ miles. Therefore the road spanning the three parishes of St Ouen, St Peter and St Brelade, once built provided a link between La Pulente and L’Etacq, and thereby a continuous road for the first time, between these more cultivated areas and there existing road systems. Consequently the article focuses primarily on the area between La Pulente and L’Etacq and the period from the mid-1800s onwards.

Nevertheless some mention should be made of those buildings and events prior to the road’s existence. Across the centuries St Ouen’s Bay proved a focal point of foreign invasion, resulting in numerous defensive fortifications being constructed during the 18th & 19th centuries as well as by the Germans during the Occupation. This was highlighted during the conflicts of the English Civil War when with the defeat of Charles I, the leader of the Parliamentarians; Oliver Cromwell focused on other Royalist strongholds such as Jersey. Consequently on the 20th October 1651, Admiral Blake, arrived with a parliamentarian army in St Ouen’s Bay, and while bad weather delayed a landing, two days later Colonel James Hearne and the Roundhead force had landed on St Ouen’s beach. The Royalist Governor George Carteret retreated to Elizabeth Castle but subsequently surrendered and the Island fell under Cromwell’s rule for nine years.

This was followed by the failed French invasion attempt by Prince Nassau at St Ouen’s Bay on the 1st May 1779, convincing the Island of the need for more defensive fortifications along the bay, which included gun batteries, redoubts and entrenchments. This continued with a number of towers built in the 19th century such as Kempt Tower in 1834 and Lewis Tower completed in 1835. In Lewis Tower’s case this wasn’t without complication after Seigneur Philip du Heaume raised a Clameur de Haro over the common land rights of himself and local farmers, which had to be settled before the local workforce, would return to work.

Following the building of the Five Mile Road and a continuous route across the bay military influence continued to play a role with events such as the First World War.  The need for prisoner of war camps resulted in the building of the timber town camp at Blanches Banque, where the first German POWs arrived for internship on the 20th March 1915. The commandant of the camp was a Lt-Col G.Haines and a number of interesting documents exist about the camp including greeting cards, letters on the arrival of prisoners of war and a letter from the army contractor Edward Lander of 3 Brook Street, concerning the supply of cigars.

The next major military impact on the area came with the German Occupation of the Island in World War II when the Island as a whole was heavily fortified. The large-scale building of fortifications along the Five Mile Road led to many bungalows and existing properties at this time being destroyed. This is clearly highlighted in a letter from the President of the States Department of Labour on the 22nd July 1941 to the Bailiff of Jersey, Alexander Coutanche, where he mentions the daily destruction.

However the military story is only one aspect in the history of the road and its surrounding area, equally the road and St Ouen’s Bay in general have since the 20th Century been a draw for both local and international surfers and surfing is an integral part of the social history here. The early stages of surfing in Jersey were very much launched with the formation of the Island Surf School of Jersey, by Nigel Oxenden in 1923. Whilst it now doesn’t exist it is generally recognised as Europe’s oldest surf club and started the strong connection between surfing, the Watersplash and St Ouen’s Bay.  Consequently buildings such as the Watersplash have become iconic landmarks for the surfing community. Built by Arthur Parker the property originally called ‘Idaho’ wouldn’t become known as the Watersplash until after the war, and its transformation from a residential home occurred with its purchase by Harry Swanson on the 24th January 1948. Harry Swanson was to prove very supportive to the promotion of Jersey surfing bringing the South African lifeguards to the Watersplash area that besides patrolling the beach introduced locals to stand-up surfing. Harry Swanson also opened the venue to the fundraising efforts of Jersey Surfboard Club who were inaugurated in August 1959 with Peter Lea as president. The club was very instrumental in establishing Jersey as the surf capital of Europe during this period with the first UK regional contest in 1963 and the first British Championship in 1964 both held in St Ouen’s Bay. Another key building in the surfing social history of the Five Mile Road is the El Tico, which became the site for Jersey Life Guard Station and Centre, which was approved in1965. The café itself opened in 1948 after it was built on land purchased by Maurice King in 1946, who took James Holloway and his wife as partners in the property in order to complete it. The two buildings together with other key spots along the road such as Secrets have proved focal points for surfing over the decades and played a role in both the national & international success of the Island’s surfers!

A further part of the story revolves around the growth of Jersey as a holiday destination, with the building of various hotels, bars, guesthouses and even at one point a holiday camp! This refers to the Chateau Plaisir, which in the early years of its life was a holiday camp with some 80 chalets after being bought in 1934. However with advent of the war it was requisitioned first by the States of Jersey for an Army Boys Technical School before being destroyed by the Germans in the Occupation and replaced it with a water-pumping bunker. It resumed life as tourist accommodation after the war though its days as a holiday camp were over, following a refusal by the States of Jersey, and instead a hotel was built. Other tourist accommodation along the Five Mile Road included the Pro-Tem guesthouse, which was later called the Cutty Sark and was built on land acquired by Kenneth Britton in 1932.

The protection of the natural landscape has ensured that only limited residential development has occurred along the road and in fact prior to it being built the Godfray map of 1849 shows only the property of J Carrel existing near Val de la Mare. Consequently many of those existing today are post 1900 such as Atlantique cottage built on land acquired by John Francis Le Cornu on the 19th November 1904 and originally called Five Mile Cottage, which at one point was owned by the famous retail businessman Baronet Jesse Boot.

The story of the Five Mile Road or La Grande Route des Mielles therefore provides an interesting view of both social & military history, as well as the beautiful natural landscape epitomised by places such as St Ouen’s Pond and La Mielle de Morville.  

This article only touches on some stories of The Five Mile Road. The Archive is open 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Late opening last Thursday in the month to 7pm.

We encourage you to visit the archive, where our staff will be happy to assist you in studying the history of the island.

Alternatively, you can visit our website at: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/research-centre/jersey-archive

Or start your research with our online catalogue at: http://www.jerseyheritagetrust.jeron.je/archive.html

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

St Martin's Village




The village centre of St Martin, surrounding the Parish Church, has actually been quite sparsely populated for much of the island’s history. The 1795 Duke Of Richmond map shows the Parish Church as a cross shape with a scattering of buildings surrounding it, including some either side of the junction where the present-day St Martin’s House and Nevill Holt stand. A building on the site of the Royal Hotel can be seen, as well as one on or near the site of Wrentham Hall on La Grande Route de Rozel. The roads are mainly lined with fields and orchards, which shows the importance of agriculture in the area at that time.

A few years later in 1806, General George Don was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Jersey. In order to defend the island from a possible French invasion, he decided that improvements to the road network were needed. The roads that existed at the time were narrow, winding and muddy, making it impossible for soldiers (and their cannons) to march quickly to the scene of an enemy attack.

In St Martin, he took the three roads leading to the church as the central point for his improvements to the parish’s road system, possibly because the parish militia’s cannons were stored there. These roads are now known as La Grande Route de St Martin, leading to Five Oaks (and providing a link to town), La Grande Route de Rozel, leading to Rozel Bay, and La Grande Route de Faldouet, which improved the existing route from the Church to Gorey Harbour.

The island-wide network of roads that General Don built for the defence of Jersey also had the effect of making communications and commerce with the rest of the island much easier than it had been. The route between the parish centre and town was especially important, as it provided a link to the UK mainland and the outside world in general.

The improved road network can be seen on the 1849 Godfray map. Looking at the St Martin’s Church area, a few more houses had been built further down La Grande Route de Rozel, but overall the buildings were still quite scarce.

By the 1934 Ordnance Survey Map, there had been an increase in the number of buildings along La Grande Route de Faldouet, although still nothing like as many as there are today. Many of the familiar features of the area, such as the war memorial outside the Churchyard, the Public Hall, and St Martin’s School, had been built by this time.

St Martin’s Parish Church is at the centre of the village and is one of the oldest, if not the oldest building in the parish. We know that a church has existed there as far back in 1042, as it is mentioned in a charter where William, Duke of Normandy (who became William The Conqueror) granted ‘The Church of St Martin The Old in the Isle of Jersey’ to Cerisy Abby in France, along with its lands and a third of its tithe of grain. The building itself has been added to and renovated many times over the course of its history.

During the reformation the chancel of the church was boarded off and the area was used as a school. There continued to be no dedicated school building in the parish until St Martin’s School was opened in 1900 following a law that came into effect in 1894 (the Loi sur l’Instruction Publique) requiring that the authorities of each parish had to provide a place of education.

There have also been a number of privately-run schools in the parish. These included Mr William E Silk’s School. Originally located at Springside on La Grande Route de Faldouet, it was moved to Les Alpes from 1920 – 1933, and while there adopted the name ‘St Martin’s Collegiate School’. The school moved to premises in La Longue Rue in 1933 and remained there until it closed on Mr Silk’s retirement in 1948.

After Silk’s school moved out of Les Alpes, Miss Elsie Marguerite Touzel moved her own school from Les Fonds at Fauvic into the premises, where she stayed teaching until her own retirement in 1977. Springside was also continued as a school by Mrs Hilda Ahier and her sister Miss Linda Le Seelleur, who continued teaching there until the 1960s.

In a way, the lack of a public school building also led to the construction of St Martin’s Public Hall. St Martin is famously the only parish to have a public hall rather than a parish hall.

In 1877 the States offered each parish £2000 for the building of a Parish Hall. Unfortunately the Parish assembly was not happy with any of the tenders it received for the building work. Eventually, the parishioners of St Martin’s church provided an additional £75 toward the project on the condition that the building was used for Sunday School on Sunday mornings. The hall was therefore built partially with money from the public. It has since been extended several times.

Based at the Public Hall, the Honorary Police of St Martin have certainly been kept busy over the years. For example, on May 17th 1885 Mr Le Cuirot of Grouville was fined for driving his ‘voiture’ dangerously fast in the vicinity of the church while drunk. Presumably this was a horse-drawn cart rather than a motor vehicle, but it shows that some aspects of parish life don’t really change!

Another important institution at the centre of the village is the Royal Hotel. The Royal is not listed by name on the 1851 census, although living at St Martin’s House nearby we find Samuel Le Four and his wife Mary (née Falle). Samuel was a ship owner and master and hotel keeper and employed six men. Touchingly, his ship was called the Samuel and Mary. She was a 24 tonne cutter built in Jersey, perhaps at one of the shipyards at nearby Gorey, in 1844.

By the 1861 census the couple had moved into the Royal. By this time Samuel was describing himself simply as a Hotel Keeper, and the Samuel and Mary was eventually transferred to Colchester in 1863.

Sadly by 1871 Samuel was described as a widower. The couple had at least two daughters, one of whom, Louisa Mary Le Four, took over running of the pub after Samuel’s death in 1883, and on May 8th 1884 got married to Elie Falle, another experienced tavern keeper from the parish who was a widower. Elie was 13 years older than Louisa, and given the timing of their marriage and the similarities in their business interests, we can wonder whether this might have been a marriage of convenience, love, or a little of both.

Elie died in 1905, but by 1901 the pub had passed to John P de Feu and his wife Marceline. Louisa died in 1923, leaving property to her nieces and nephews.

One event that had a huge impact on the character of the whole parish was the building of St Catherine’s Breakwater in the mid 1800s. A large influx of workers from the UK and Ireland arrived in Jersey to work on the project. At the peak of the project in 1852 the works had as many as 361 employees. The 1851 census lists a number of people living in the St Martin’s Village area with occupations such as ‘Labourer, St Catherine’s Government Works’. Many of them were accompanied by wives, children and other family members. For instance Thomas Rudd, a clerk to the government works originally from Croydon, was accompanied by his wife, eight children and two cousins.


One of the oldest houses in the parish of St Martin can be found opposite the Church in the shape of St Martin’s House.  Quite a lot has been written about this house in various publications.  The Collas family owned the house for many years and their family are included in Payne’s armorial.

The first record of the house being purchased was by Gratien Collas.  Payne’s Armorial notes that Gratien was involved in the disastrous Battle of Saint Aubin du Cormier, which took place in July 1488 between the forces of King Charles VIII of France and Francis II, Duke of Brittany.  This battle effectively saw the end of Breton independence.

It is reported that Gratien fled, severely wounded, according to legend “avec ses entrailles sur ses bras” (with his entrails in his arms) and came to Jersey.  He did have enough time, however, to collect some of his wealth as well as bringing with him his wife Philippine Noel, sister of a priest called Nicolas Noel.  They settled in the property that came to be known as St Martin’s House.
  
In September 1490 in front of parish officials he bought the Maison de St Martin from John Nicolle.  This was later confirmed in a contract registered in the Royal Court 20 years later in 1510.  Here is an extract from the extentes of 1528 confirming that he now owed rentes on the land that he had bought from John Nicolle.

There the Collas family remained for almost the next 400 years.  During that time they farmed the land around the house and changed the house massively with both the internal and external views of the house having been renovated and refurbished completely.  There were distinguished members of the family.  One member of the family was Philippe Collas, who was constable of the Parish from 1775-1779 and then again from 1784-1790.

By 1851 a Francois Guilleaume Collas, an unmarried, 43 year old landed proprietor and keen amateur antiquarian lived in the property.  It was he who provided most of the information to Bertrand Payne in creating the entry relating to the Collas family of Maison de St Martin in the Armorial and he was afforded this coat of arms as a sign of friendship from the author.

He was still living there in 1861 but died in 1867.  He was soon followed by John Jervoise Le Vesconte Collas, his cousin, who had inherited the property but only had possession of it for a year.  By 1871 Frederick C Lane is living in St Martin’s House.  He is a 41 year old annuitant from St Helier living with his 22 year old wife.  However, interestingly also living in the house is Edwin J F (Jervoise Francois) Collas who is registered as a boarder of 17 years old from North Bideford in Devon.  His father having died he was actually the owner of the property, albeit not yet of age.  By the 1881 census he had taken possession of the property and had married to Laura C Collas, 26.  She is registered as being from Yorkshire.  They have a son John Jervoise Collas, aged 1.

The Collas association with the property came to a close in March 1885 when Edwin sold the property to Dr Edwin Godfray for the sum of £650.  By 1891 Edwin Godfray, a 38 year old Doctor, born in St Helier is living in the house together with his wife and children.  He is still living there in 1901 with his wife, children and servants.

In 1958 the new owner of St Martin’s House discovered the top part of an ancient cross and a rough basin to the east of his property.  Joan Stevens writes about this discovery in the 1960 edition of the Societe Jersiaise Bulletin.  At first the assumption was that the cross was from St Martin’s Churchyard, however, she discounts this theory in her article.

Instead she believed that the cross came from the Chapel of Sire Augustin Baudains, a medieval chapel that has since been destroyed, the believed site of which can be seen on this image from the map in Jersey Place Names.

Methodism was obviously a massive influence in the Island in the nineteenth century and St Martin was no exception.  In the Public Registry in 1819 a contract can be found between Edouard Luce, son of Edouard and Thomas Messervy, George Bree, Jean Messervy, son of Clement, Jean Gorey, Jean Le Hucquet, Jean Renouf and Michel Beaucamp, the group named by the Methodist Church on 10th June 1819 for purchasing land on which to build a Methoist Church in St Martin.  It was based at the end of the road on which the current Methodist Church now stands and is now the site of Ash Cottage.

The land was purchased for the sum of 4 cabots of wheat rente.  A chapel that could seat up to about 300 people was built on the site.  Unfortunately the congregation soon found that they were outgrowing the venue.  On the 19th January 1850 two contracts passed before the Royal Court that concerned St Martin’s Methodist Church.  Firstly the site of the original Chapel was sold to Frederic Nicolle for the sum of £138, 9 shillings and 3 pence.  Underneath this entry is that of the Trustees buying land from Ellen Hubert, wife of Peter Fallaize, for the sum of 3 quartiers of wheat rente with the purpose of erecting a Church on the site.

The architect Philippe Bree, who also designed Grove Place Chapel, was commissioned to design the building.  The cost of the new building was £770 and the foundation stone for the new chapel was laid on 28th April 1850.  the first service was conducted by Reverend Philippe Tourgis on 5th January 1851.  In 1891 the chapel was enlarged and a new Sunday School and Committee Room were built.
  
In his report on Methodist Chapels published in 2007 Jeremy Lake picked out these, one of only two examples of painted text boards in French, the other being in Philadelphia, of particular interest. 

An individual very concerned with the state of the Methodist Church in St Martin was Edward Slade.  He was born in England in the early 1860s.  His mother was born in the Island and Edward moved back here and can be seen living in St Martin in 1881 with his uncle and aunt Jean and Ann Ferey.  They lived at La Forge near the Drill Shed on Rue de la Croix au Maitre.  Jean Ferey was registered as a Blacksmith and Edward was his apprentice.  The St Martin’s book says that Edward had moved to the Island when he was just 14 in order to learn the trade from his uncle.

By 1886 he had raised sufficient funds to buy a property of his own and purchased what was called Orkney Cottage and which he renamed El Hassa on La Grande Route de Faldouet from Charles Garnier for the sum of £387, 12 shillings.  The contract records that the property had a forge attached to it.  From this image of the 1891 census you can see that he continued to follow his profession of blacksmith.

In 1889 Slade married a girl from St Martin called Mary Elizabeth Noel and they were shortly to have a son in 1890, also called Edward.

The Slade’s were very deeply involved in both the Parish and the Methodist Church.  We hold a number of depositions in which Centenier Edward Slade was called as a witness for a variety of crimes.  Looking through the honorary police registers he was often called upon to sort out problems within the parish.  We also hold the St Martin’s Methodist Church minutes in which he was employed to install a hot water system in 1910.


Interestingly his role within the parish and his Church clashed in a case detailed within the St Martin’s Parish Book.  Edward believed it an injustice that the money that he paid towards rates was used in the maintenance and upkeep of the Anglican Church but that the Methodist community had no such luxury.  Because of this he decided to withhold his rates payment for 1907.  He was acclaimed, as you can see in this extract from the almanac, as the first passive resister.

The case was brought in front of the Petty Debts Court on March 20th.  His representative, Advocate Nicolle, explained that he didn’t object to paying rates to the parish and was quite happy to pay £1, 15s, 11d.  He did object, however, to contributing to a Church of which he was not a member and for paying for the church ventilation.  Consequently he would not pay the extra 1s 7d that was due.  He was ordered to pay the full amount of rates plus costs. 

As he refused to pay his colleague from the parish the Constable, C Perchard, as well as an officer of the Court came to his house to auction his goods in order to recover the funds.  An advertisement was placed in the parish box but when someone took it down Mr Slade advertised within the local newspapers in order to highlight the event.  From the report within the Jersey Times it sounds like a raucous affair with sympathisers and onlookers gathering to see the event.  There was laughter and cat calls as Mr Slade announced that he was quite happy to pay if the court official could show him a law that compelled him to do so.   In the event, as recorded in the Evening Post of the time, Mr J Renouf, a fellow Methodist, bid the amount owed for the first item that was auctioned, a scarifier that Slade had recently patented. 

Mr Renouf was quoted as saying, “When I go cycling on a Sunday, I do not expect the church folk to pay for the repairs to my tyres and consequently I do not think that I ought to be called upon to pay for the expense of their services.”

Afterwards the Reverend Allpress addressed the crowd acclaiming Mr Slade’s stand and saying that the Constable may have to come to his house later as he objected to paying the money as well.  As the officials left one wag shouted, “That’s what I call taking the devil’s money for the Church.”  Mr Slade finished by addressing the crowd by saying, “Goodbye gentlemen, I hope to see you all again next year.”

When I saw the name Slade in the census the first thing that I thought about was the buses.  I don’t remember them myself but when I go out conducting reminiscence sessions people often remember the bus company that used to operate from the Parish.  That was run by Mr Slade’s son, also called Edward.  This is the photograph of him from his occupation registration card. 

Edward junior converted El Hassa from a blacksmiths to a garage and he steadily set about creating a bus company.  His first route, which was started in 1923, was from St Helier to Greencliffe via St Martin’s Church.  By 1934 he was operating three routes, to Faldouet via La Hougue Bie, to Archirondel via St Martin’s Church and to Rozel via Greencliffe, with extra coaches put on in the summer. 
  
Edward finally sold the company to the Jersey Motor Transport Company Limited in 1946.


This article only touches on some stories of St Martins Village. The Archive is open 9am to 1pm and 2pm to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Late opening last Thursday in the month to 7pm.

We encourage you to visit the archive, where our staff will be happy to assist you in studying the history of the island.

Alternatively, you can visit our website at: http://www.jerseyheritage.org/research-centre/jersey-archive

Or start your research with our online catalogue at: http://www.jerseyheritagetrust.jeron.je/archive.html