A history of Six Rues

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What's your street's story? - Six Rues


SixRusChapelOld.jpg
The original Six Rues Chapel


This article is based on a Jersey Archive Street Story presentation in 2014


It is clear from the 1795 Richmond map of Jersey why Six Rues in St Lawrence gained its name, with the roads all converging at a central junction.

The area is dominated by orchards and agricultural land, with few dwellings. But over the years a thriving community built up, with all of the amenities that one would expect in a rural district.


Methodist chapels

Methodism was very strong in the Jersey farming community, and Six Rues was no stranger to this. There was a drive in the community to build a Methodist chapel, and this came about in 1811, making it only the second Methodist chapel to be built in a country parish as part of the Frenc Circuit.

It was built on land bought from Marie de la Cour, wife of Jean Le Huquet, on 17 November 1810, and Jean de Quetteville and Henri Mahy conducted the opening service on 11 Deecember 1811. A Sunday school was started in 1817 and by the 1850s had over 100 scholars.

By the late 1850s it was resolved that it was necessary to build a new chapel for the burgeoning congregation. On 11 April 1858 the Rev Philippe Tourgis, the Superintendent of the Circuit, preached at Six Rues, proclaiming the need for a new building and calling for a public meeting later that week to discuss the idea.

The foundation stone of the new chapel was laid on 19 Septekmber 1859 and it was officially opened on 15 September 1861. The old chapel was kept by the Methodist Church and used as lodging for the Gardien, Captain Jean Luce, and also as a meeting place.

The gymnasium at Oxenford House School

Schools

In 1894 Ada Remon asked if she could rent the old chapel, to be used as a school. The trustees, including her father, Jean Josue, agreed to this suggestion and set the rent at £5 a year. Ada continued running the private school in the old chapel until 1908.

This was just one of the private schools in the area, others being Harleston House School, the school at St Matthew’s Church at Coin Varin, and the grand Oxenford House School. This was a magnet for some of the richer elements of the island, and also attracted pupils from the wider world, as shown in the 1871 and 1882 censuses, including pupils who were born as far afield as Tasmania, Jamaica, China and Haiti.

Alexandra House

One of the most recognisable properties in the area is Alexandra House, now the site of David Hick Antiques. George Frederick Simon bought a field from Philippe Marett called Clos du Jardin du Hurel, in 1837, and then built the property on it. George Simon ran the property as a grocery business until he died in the mid-1840s. His brother Jean, the Constable of St Peter, bought the inheritance from his older brother and it was then run by David, another brother, who was listed in the census as a linen and woollen draper.

Ten years later David Simon had left St Lawrence and is listed in the census at Isaac Pothecary’s institution at Bagatelle. Another ten years later he can be found in the lunatic asylum, where he was diagnosed with mania before dying in 1875.

By the 1861 census the family who were to be linked to the property for the next 50 yers were installed. Philip Vautier was 36, his wife Jane was 38, and they had a daughter, Amanda Theresa, who was six. Originally renting the property from Jean Simon, Philip eventually bought Alexandra House in 1879.

As part of his draper's business, Philip provided clothes and provisions for the poor of the parish, as well as for the hospital and the lunatic asylum.

After the death of Philip, his only daughter, Amanda Theresa, sold the house to Henry Charles Divers. Henry was a baker and grocer and bought the property in 1906, and was living there with his son Philip and daughter Ethel at the time of the 1911 census. It is believed that the shop was first run by Henry's wife Ivy, who had presumably died by 1911.

The Carrefour Selous when Lawrence Langlois was landlord

Public houses

Public houses are a central part of a rural community and Six Rues is no exception, with the Six Roads Inn and Carrefour Selous Hotel having been prominent taverns here in St Lawrence. The first evidence of the Six Roads Inn is the presence of Francois Romeril at the address in the 1871 census. The property must have been close to Alexandra House, which is the next listed in the census.

The public house seems to have changed hands some time in the late 1870s, with Marie Ann Helie taking over the licence. She is mentioned as a tavern licence holder in the parish assembly minutes of December 1877.

She got into trouble with the authorities in July 1882 when Centenier Helleur arrested her for opening the inn out of hours. She had admitted five people on 23 July and four the following day, when the premises should have been closed. She was taken to the Magistrate's Court and fined £1 13s 6d.

She was back in trouble in October the same year. The Honorary Police register records her arrest by the Constable, Clement Le Gros, for grossly insulting her neighbour, Marie Blanchard, the wife of Pierre Marquet.

At the end of 1883 she closed Six Roads Inn, intending to move across the road to the Carrefour Selous Hotel. Elizabeth Brown, the previous licence holder, had died and her daughter did not want to continue in the trade.

But this was an opportunity for the St Lawrence Assembly to register its disapproval of Marie Helie's previous indiscretions and she was refused a licence. Philippe Trachy took over the Carrefour Selous and Marie Helie moved away from the area.

The pupils of Harleston House School in 1897

Vimy cottage

One property that has been at Six Rues for more than 200 years is Vimy Cottage, on the corner of Longue Rue and Rouge Cul. A property can be seen here on the Richmond map of 1795 and it can be traced back to 11 August 1787 when Philippe Mauger sold it to Jacques Lion.

After the latter died, Nene Lion inherited the property and the next census shows that she was an unmarried midwife, a useful resident of a country district far from the town hospital.

She sold the cottage in 1849 to Nancy Benest, who in turn sold it to Philippe Trachy. Philippe's mother seems to have lived in the cottage, but there is no evidence that Philippe himself did. It was inherited by his son, Philip Henry Allix Trachy, who sold it to James Wilton O'Dowda, temporarily Brigadier General of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, later Sir James.

Why he bought the cottage is a mystery. He does not appear to have had any connections to Jersey, and possibly never lived in the Island. After serving at Gallipoli and Mesopotamia during the First World War, he was stationed in India until 1923.

The house was bought on 11 October 1919 by his wife, Gaynor Leonora Jane Simpson, acting as procureur. The procuration was signed in Peshawar, India, where he was stationed in August of that year. [He had married Gaynor Simpson in 1910, and she, also, does not appear to have had any previous connection with the island - Ed]

The cottage was next sold to another family with First World War connections. In August 1924 is was acquired by Auguste Francois Amourette, who appears to have renamed it Vimy Cottage.

On the opening day of the Battle of Arras - 9 April 1917 - the four divisions of the Canadian Corps, fighting side by side for the first time, scored an important tactical victory by capturing Vimy Ridge, although several thousand lives were lost in the process.

One of them was Ernest Henry Amourette, a sergeant in the Canadian infantry, and the borther of Auguste Francois Amourette. The 1911 census shows Ernest living with his brother, Auguste Francois, and his wife Lucille, at Le Passage, Six Rues, before moving to Canada to make a new life for himself.

On 26 April 1917 the Evening Post reported: 'The sad news has been received that another Jersey-Canadian was killed in action on 9 April last. The deceased soldier, Sergeant E Amourette of the 21st Canadians, had been in France for some 19 months and was killed instantly, being shot by a sniper during an attack on the German trenches'.

The house remained in the Amourette family until the 1980s and still bears the name given to it by a grieving brother.

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