Bras de Fer

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Bras de Fer, Trinity

This house, whose name translated means 'arm of iron' recalls a very old Jersey family of the same name, which gave the island two Bailiffs in the 14th century, Thomas 1378 and 1380-1391, and Giefrey 1395-1401.

The family held the fief of Augrès, and this house was known for some time as Augrès Manor, although it did not lie on the fief. It should also not to be confused with Les Augres, home to Jersey Zoo, which is often wrongly called Augres Manor, but also lies on another fief and is not a manor house at all.

These are but two of several examples of principal family homes in the island which have been given the name of the family's fief, although situated elsewhere.

The house was certainly in the ownership of the Bras de Fers in 1572, when a Royal Court act shows it as their Chef Mainte, or principal house.

The exact date of the present house is not known, but it has probably been rebuilt at least twice.

Datestones

There are two datestones at the property. PDR 1717, for Pierre or Philippe Dorey, is in the garden wall, and FLS ILS 1664 in a shield for Francois and Jeanne Le Sueur.

Controversial election

Jurat Philippe Le Maistre (1782- ) owned the house in 1849 and left it to his daughter, who married a Gallichan, and in turn left the house to her daughters. Philippe, who was eventually a Jurat from 1835 until his death in 1853, was involved in a controversial election to replace Jean Poingdestre.

In the election of 20 September 1831 he gained 1480 votes to 1226 for Jean Benest of St Helier. The result was contested and a number of electors opposed the swearing in of Mr Le Maistre on the grounds that he did not possess the required qualities to be Jurat. Mr Benest also petitioned and the matter was referred to the Privy Council. The electors who had protested the result complained that the Court would not hear their arguments and the Privy Council suspended the whole procedure for four years.

In 1835 the petitioners conveyed their wish to abandon their opposition and the Court decided to admit Mr Le Maistre to take the oath. Two days after his swearing in he obtained precedence over Jurats Bisson and Nicolle who had been elected since him. He was the son of Francois Le Maistre, of Trinity, and Elizabeth Jeanne du Pré, and nephew of Philip Le Maistre of St Lawrence.

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