Bel au Vent

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Edouard Jandron was the owner and farmer of Bel au Vent - a smallholding of no more than 25 vergees. By 1883 he had retired from farming and was in October leasing the house, buildings and lands to his son, as from the next Christmas, for a period of seven years at the annual sum of £3.75 per vergee.

As well as imposing conditions with regard to keeping the house and lands in a good state, the father retained the use of two rooms in the house - the parlour to the west of the house and the bedroom above - and a small garden, for his own use. But he died before enjoying his retirement.

The property remained in the hands of the descendants of the family, although through the female line, until well after the German Occupation of 1940-45. The last owners were Pinels who have been in this area of the parish for many generations and whose numerous descendants have connections with nearly all the other families of this vingtaine and beyond.

Fascinating name

One of the most fascinating aspects of this property is its name. On Godfray's map of 1849 two properties are indicated, and bracketed under the name of M T Cadoret. Both Godfray's map and the Duke of Richmond's survey of 1795 indicate two avenues, one leading to the main road (Grande Route de St Jean) and the other to Mont Gavey, and two sets of buildings separated by an orchard, again suggesting a possibility of two distinct farms at an earlier period. What is interesting is that Godfray names the property as Chateau Bel au Vent.

It is the use of Chateau which seems inconsistent with a small farm no different from the many in this area and dotted all round the island. The main part of the name, Bel au Vent, suggests a courtyard open to the wind.

This fits with the property in question. It lies on high ground to the west of Les Saints Germains Farm, which is in a valley on Rue des Hamonets. It would therefore be, at times, open to harsh easterly winds. St Lawrence has at least two other properties using bel in their names, Mon Bel (Coin Hatain) and La Maison Charles at Bel Royal.

A fascinating new theory has been propounded, which exhibits increasing merit the more one examines it. E Littre's Dictionnaire de la Langue Francaise (1885. Paris) gives one meaning of bel as a fisherman's term for the structure aboard ship where the cod is stored. The term chateau can be used as part of the ship's superstructure, which obviously would have to be open to the wind aboard the sailing vessels.

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