Corbière and the Vingtaine of La Moye in census returns
Corbiere, Petit Port and La Moye residents from the 1841-1901 censuses
The 1841 census of the Vingtaine of La Moie (District 4 of St Brelade), conducted by Francis Horman, was very sparse on information – names, ages and some professions, and no indication of where the people actually lived.
At the time the vingtaine was sparsely populated, and the majority of this living there worked on farms. Among the owners of those farms were James Piton (55), Susan Le Cornu (70), John Le Maistre (45), Nicholas Le Rossignol (30), John Le Bas (40), Philippe Mallet (50), Edmund Le Bailly (30), John Renouf (75), Philip de la Haye (25), Mary Le Feuvre (35), William Stroud (60), Mary Seale (70), John Bisson (35) and Philip Marett (25).
It is noteworthy that farmers did not retire – they worked until they dropped, and then their widows carried on in charge until the farm passed to the eldest son. Even farm labourers such as Thomas Renouf could be found still working well into their seventies.
The census contains a small number of references to masons and quarrymen, but the heyday of La Rosiere Quarry was yet to come.
Elizabeth Slous and Elizabeth Amy are listed as publicans, but with nothing to confirm whether they lived on the premises, or the inn was to be found elsewhere.
John Burrows (50) was in charge of the signal station which gave advance warning to St Helier Harbour of vessels approaching the island.
The 1851 census reveals that John Burrows, who was still in charge, was a Chelsea pensioner. He lived at the signal station with his wife Ann, Signal Assistant son John (15) and daughter Ann (17).
Among the prominent farmers in the district were Charles Gruchy (73), Susan Le Cornu (83), several of whose grandchildren lived with her, Mary Seale (79), Rachel Le Quesne (63), Philip Charles Marett, whose father Edward had retired and was listed as a landed proprietor.
The census shows a number of housholds for which knitting was the major occupation, but it is stone cutters, stone dressers, masons and general quarrymen who are starting to emerge as important residents of the vingtaine.
Among them we find Nicholas Ingrouille, John Le Cras, Philip Le Gresley and his son Charles, Charles Bisson.
The only part of the district which is specifically identified is La Moye Village, where we find Charles Gallichan at La Moye Farm, and Jurat Le Gallais living in La Moye House.
Ten years later Patrick Renouf (60) is now in charge at the signal station.
Perhaps land is being divided, because there is a growing number of farmers, including Jean Mauger, Clement Dutot, Philip Renouf, Francis Le Goubin, John Le Brocq, Anne Dutot, Josue Barette, Mary de la Haye, Jean Fiott, Nicolas Bisson, John Bisson, Jean Vautier, Daniel Seale and Philip Gavey. It is impossible to tell if they owned their own farms because the census did not distinguish between proprietors and tenants. There is a growing number of quarry workers, notably at the house of Rachel Seale, where son Philip was amason, along with eight boarders who had various jobs at the quarry.
Unfortunately the handwriting and poor quality of reproduction of the census pages make it impossible to decipher some of the detail, including the name of the signal master.
Individual properties start to be identified, and we find Frederic Le Quesne living at the quarry, along with Philip Seale, shown as a farmer and innkeeper, and having a household of stone dressers.
The quality of the 1881 census return is fortunately much better and the identification of more individual premises than in previous years paints a more detailed picture of life in the Vingtaine of La Moie.
Jurat Philippe Le Gallais died in 1868 and La Moye House is now the home of his son Albert Le Gallais and family.
John Fiott is farming at La Moye Farm, living there with his ten children.
Another Chelsea Pensioner, Benjamin Davis, is in charge at the signal station.
Corbiere Hotel is identified, but the only person resident there on census day was barmaid Esther Le Brocq.
The size of farms various significantly. Because the census was essentially a British Government operation, land measures are given in acres, rather than the Jersey vergee (2 ¼ to the acre). At La Moye in 1881 Philip Marett was farming 25 acres, Alfred Pipon 10 acres and Francis Le Cornu a mere 8 acres.
At Highlands Farm widow Jane Seale and her son Thomas were farming, with Thomas’ seven children living with them. Philip Pinel is shown as a farmer at La Moye Hotel and John Le Boutillier was farming at La Sergente.
Corbiere Lighthouse features in the census for the first time. It is perhaps surprising to discover that lighthouse keeper Daniel King was living there with his wife Mary Carrel and daughter Alice, as well as assistant keeper John Le Cornu, of Trinity, his fie Susan and son Vincent.
Another Chelsea Pensioner, Benjamin Davis, was in charge at the Signal Station, living there with his wife and six children.
In 1891 Albert Le Gallais was still living at La Moye House, described in the census as ‘La Moye Manor’. At Les Creux House, where the head of household was William Corrigan, living with his wife Ellen, the Hon George Kenyon MP and his sisters Henrietta and Florence were resident, descrbed as ‘boarders’.
The arrival of the railway is indicated by the presence of gatekeeper John Henry at Le Riche House and John Squibb, of Bridport, Dorset, as stationmaster at La Moye Station.
The Forrester’s Arms was run by publican Joseph Le Feuvre, John Daubert was lighthouse keeper, assisted by Philip Monamy, anhd Harry Rowe and Eugene Goslin are described as ‘stone miners’.
The ‘manor’ has reverted to La Moie House in 1901, with Albert Le Gallais (73) still the owner. Farmers in the area included John Fiott at La Partie, Petit Port, and Alfred Bisson at the Elms.
Stone miners have reverted to ‘quarrymen’, including John Le Moignan at Grouet House, Charles Smith at Quarry House and seven boarders staying with Eugene and Harriet Anfray at Quarry View.
Corbiere Pavilion Hotel has Arthur Rayner as resident ‘proprietor’ and Corbiere Hotel is being run by Philip Galode.
This census is the first to feature several men whose occupation was listed as seaweed gatherer, including John Le Moignan at Grouet House, Jean Thiebaut at Petit Port Road, and others in the La Pulente area.