From an article by the Jersey Archive for its ‘What’s Your Story?’ series of presentations.
D’Hautrée was a house standing on St Saviour’s Hill, built in 1763 by Michel Bree.
At the 1861 census d’Hautrée was occupied by General Helier Touzel and his daughter Jane Touzel, aged 55.
Public Registry contracts reveal that Helier Touzel had bought the property nearly 50 years earlier, in December 1812, from Major-General William Robertson, who had purchased the house from Philippe Pallot and his wife Rachel Bree the previous year.
Rachel was the daughter of Michel Bree, who is recorded as purchasing the land in 1734 and it is believed the house itself was built in 1763.
Helier Touzel's will
In Helier Touzel’s original will of 1860, he asks both of his sons, Helier and Thomas Percival, to relinquish their rights to the property for a sum of money. He states that he would like it go his daughter Jane ‘who is much attached to d’Hautrée, to prevent it being sold to a stranger and to preserve it in the family’.
Jane must have been devastated when Helier had a change of mind, added three codicils to his original will, and sold d’Hautrée to Jean de Caen in June 1863. Such was her attachment to the property that in July 1866, following her father’s death, she bought it back from de Caen. She lived in the house for another 27 years until her death in 1893.
In her will she reminds her relatives that she bought the property back from Captain de Caen with her own money and asks that the house be kept in the family in ‘affectionate and grateful remembrance of her beloved parents’ and that her faithful old servant, John Heal, be given lifetime enjoyment of a certain part of the property ‘with full liberty to come in and out by the spinny door’.
She bequeathed d’Hautrée to her brother Thomas Percival’s three daughters and finally expressed her wish that the property should ‘never be let to or occupied by any of the Society or Order of Jesuits.’
Sold by nieces
Sadly for Jane her nieces obviously did not hold d’Hautrée in such high regard and sold the property less than two years after her death to George Quesnel Larbalestier. In 1905 d’Hautrée was sold again to Mrs Mary Cockburn-Mercer, who demolished the original house and built a modern replacement.
After a number of changes of ownership in the first half of the 1900s it was purchased by the States of Jersey in 1958 from Mrs R H Morris to be converted into St Helier Boys School and later d’Hautrée secondary school. It is now still used for educational purposes under the name of d’Hautrée House.
Jane’s comments regarding the Order of Jesuits may have stemmed from her close proximity to the Maison St Louis a seminary owned and run by the Order on the site of what is now the Hotel de France.