Dale Cottage

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Historic Jersey buildings


Dale Cottage, St Helier


B20DaleCottage.jpg


This drawing from Old Jersey Houses Volume 2 shows the evolution of this 17th century two-storey cottage to the single-storey building which is there today

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U20DaleCottage.jpg

Property name

Dale Cottage

Location

Water Lane, St Helier (behind the Wellington Inn)

Type of property

17th century cottage

Families associated with the property

There is a police record of Francis St George (37) grossly insulting Miss Jessie Jones at Dale Cottage on 28 March 1915, while he was drunk. He was also accused of threatening to set the house on fire. Arrested by Centenier A Luxon, he was presented at the Magistrate's Court and fined £7, with the alternative of four days in prison.

Jessie Lavinia Jones (1869-) is recorded as the tenant of the cottage. The 1911 census, for the first time showing the name Dale Cottage, gave the occupants as English born Jessie Jones (40), laundress, and her brother, Reginald (28) who worked at a hardware store, with their nephew Hubert (Herbert) St George (12) and niece Grace St George (8). The cottage was described as four rooms, so the cellar (original cottage) was by then unused as living accommodation. Jessie and her brother lived in Oxford Road in 1901.

Francois St George was married to Jessie’s sister, Bertha Julia Jones, in 1898. She had died aged 24 in 1902 shortly after Grace’s birth and is buried at Mont a L’Abbe. Francois’ reason for calling at Dale Cottage was likely to have been to see his children and Jessie refused because of his state of intoxication. Jessie was shown in the Jersey Evening Post Almanac living at Dale Cottage until 1920 inclusive.

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

An unusual survival in the town area of circa 17th century property. It has many external features and some internal features remaining. Originally a two-storey 17th century house, the ground floor now below present ground level as cellar - containing granite fireplace with blocked windows and door.

The present owner relates that when a door was cut through the rear wall into the rear extension circa 1973 a late medieval timber window was discovered, unfortunately its significance was not realised at the time. They also relate that the cellar in the public house that abuts this building also has blocked up windows. This may explain the larger size and appearance of this building when viewed on the Richmond Map of 1795, and its relation to the road to the east.

Dale Cottage was renovated circa 1912. Semi-detached. Single storey with attic.

Central entrance, basement, rear kitchen extension. There is much panelling and also four-panel doors, but all the woodwork, except for two beams in the cellar, is either modern (in traditional style) or circa 1912. The oldest of the beams in the cellar is heavy chestnut with evidence of former partitioning. The beam on the west side is likely to be 19th century.

Within the cellar is a stone fireplace, its corbels are roughly cut but appear original, there are no uprights only stone quoins and the lintel is timber, there are a pair of small niches to the right side of this. In the ground level room, directly above, is another fireplace which also has a timber lintel.

Old Jersey Houses

When this small cottage was being renovated the Archaeological Section of La Société Jersiaise heard of it and dug some trial trenches, finding among other items a coin, a Louis XIV double, dated between 1643 and 1715, at a depth of some 10in.

This was surprising in what appeared to be a late-19th century cottage, but there were clues to show it was older than that, including the granite chimney, the fact that the cellar had windows and a door (immediately below the present front door) which are now completely underground.

It was clear from a 17th century granite fireplace found in one gable wall that the floor level had at some time been a foot higher.

As the cellar was, in part, too shallow for a normal person to stand upright, and as the archaeologists hit the water table at about 18in, one may conclude that a two-storey 17th century house was altered, probably more than once, the ground floor, which may have flooded in wet weather, becoming a cellar, and a small front garden being built up in front of it

Notes and references

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