Alphington House

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Alphington House today. The property across the road is now known as Paul Mill, the former Maison du Pol, not a transalation but an English word pronounced the same way as the original French one

This property, on Mont de la Rosiere, St Saviour, has undergone a number of name changes and was known as La Maison du Moulin du Pol, Maison du Pol Farm, Valley Farm, then Alphington House, or Alphington Court, for some time, The Priors for a brief period at the end of the 20th century, and now Alphington House again.

It is a classic example of a house on which a datestone can be found which gives a completely erroneous impression of ownership of the property at the date shown on the stone.

Earlier house?

Joan Stevens included it in Volume 1 of Old Jersey Houses in the stated belief that there was an earlier house on the site, possibly a single-storey structure that was extended upwards. The result she believed to date back to 1753, and a datestone inscribed 17IEN♥♥IAH53 is believed to represent a marriage between Jean Esnouf and Jeanne Ahier.

The heading of a contract of sale of the property in 2000. These contracts have since switched to being written in English

Earlier stones

However, the Jersey Datestone Register records an earlier stone - ILB♥♥MMR1737, representing Jean Le Boutillier and Marie Mourant, who married on 26 October 1734 and presumably moved into a rebuilt or renovated and extended house three years later.

The datestone register's entries for Alphington House are to be found in two linked sets, one referring to the property as 'now the Priors' and one as 'formerly La Maison du Moulin du Pol', but it is believed that the five entries all relate to the same property.

The other stones in the register are CIG1803, for Clement Ingouville, and CIG♥♥FEG1825, for Clement Ingouville and his wife Frances Elizabeth Godfray, from St Martin. Clement appears to have been the brother of Philippe Ingouville and Charles, either or both of whom was responsible for developing a large part of central St Helier in the early 19th century. Charles lived at La Fregonniere, which was eventually demolished for the building of what is today the Hotel de France.

Fifth stone

The fifth datestone gives the clue to the ownership of what became Alphington House, from the middle of the 19th century to the end of the 20th, but also creates something of a mystery.

Stevens records the inscription as FB♥♥NFV 1819, for Francois Bois and Nancy Fauvel, whereas the Datestone Register gives a more likely FB♥♥NFV 1839, and notes that Francois Bois moved to Jersey from Briqueville, Coutances, in Normandy and married Nancy Fauvel in St Helier in 1834. Family sources give the date of Francois Bois' arrival in Jersey as 1810.

The family shows clearly in the 19th century censuses, but they are shown as living at Maufant, at the other end of St Saviour, where they were farming.

Census returns

  • The 1841 census shows Francois (1801- ) and Nancy with children Francois (1837- ), Anne (1838- ) and Charles (1840- ).
  • The 1851 csnsus shows the same family, still at Maufant, with Philip (1843- ), Jean (1845- ), George (1847- ) and June (1850- ) added but Francois now married to his second wife, Virginie.
  • The 1861 census shows Peter (1851- ) and Mary (1852- ) added and the family still at Maufant, with Francois' wife Virginie.
  • The 1871 census shows eldest son Francois John married to Marie Francoise Bois (1840- ), with children Francis John (1866- ), George and Charles, living at 2 Waverley Terrace, St Saviour. Francis John left this property to his daughter Avice Marguerite when he died in 1924.
The Royal Court record of the 1865 transaction

Transactions

Royal Court records show that Alphington House was sold in 1865 by Alfred Saunders, son of Bernard Saunders, to his brother Charles Bernard Saunders. The family also owned the adjacent Swiss Cottage and Charles Bernard Saunders was renowned in the 19th century as the proprietor of the adjacent Caesarea Nurseries.

The house passed to his son, Arthur Charles Saunders, who sold it in 1901 to Hermann Becker, who changed the name to Alphington Court.

He, in turn, sold it in 1908 to Francis John Bois, who changed the name back to Alphington House, and left it on his death in 1922 to his son Francis de Lisle Bois.

Surgeon Frederick William Higginson lived in the house from 1898-1900, although apparently as tenant rather than owner.

It is therefore clear that the 1835 datestone must have been created for another property, perhaps the Maufant farm, and moved with the Bois family to Alphington House when they acquired it over 70 years later.

Distinguished islanders

Francis John Bois and his son Francis de Lisle Bois were both to become very distinguished islanders, the father as an Advocate and then States Deputy, and his son as Advocate, Law Draftsman, States Greffier and ultimately Deputy Bailiff.

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