De Gruchy

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Philip de Gruchy

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Laurence de Gruchy in 1902
William Philip de Gruchy

Origin of Surname

The family originated at Grouchy, on the borders of the Cotentin and Bessin in Lower Normandy. The name is Viking in origin, perhaps derived from the old Norse personal name `Geirolfr`, (Spearwolf) and `ey`, (Norse for `Island`), making `Spearwolf`s Island`, at the time of the Viking settlements in what would become Normandy. The first syllable in the name of the Jersey parish of Grouville is thought to be of similar origin.

Early records

Hugh de Gruchy, "Hugo de Groceio", was recorded as being responsible for the collection of taxes and administration of justice in the four central parishes of Jersey that constituted the Ministerium de Groceio in 1089. His successors may not have been resident in the Island, as these early medieval offices could be purchased and sold. Deputies could also be appointed by the holders of such offices.

There are few, if any, surnames for which so many variations in spelling can be found in Jersey records.

In the Assizes of 1299 two Richard de Gruchys are mentioned, one the son of a priest. In the 1309 Assize Roll Geoffroy, Richard, Etienne and Guillaume de Gruchy are mentioned. The latter was fined for bringing an action "hors de la Royaume", presumably at the Ecclesiastical Court of Coutances, Normandy, which heard cases involving inheritance, against Colin de Laundes (sic) and Jean de Barentin. As the latter is mentioned in 1382 as having been a previous holder of the Fief [manor/landholding] de Gruchy, in Trinity, the historian G.F.B. de Gruchy, (q.v.), considered it likely that the dispute had involved that fief, which bears evidence of having been subsequently divided. Between 1338 and 1345, when Mont Orgueil Castle was under attack from the French, Rauf, "Radulphus", de Gruchy was among the defenders. A Rauf de Gruchy, (perhaps the same in old age), and Guillemet de Gruchy, both of Trinity, are mentioned in a deed of 1402. Colas, Guillaume, Nicholas and Raffe are mentioned in the Jersey Chantry Certificate of 1550.

Jean de Gruchy, born about 1300, is the earliest from whom modern members of the family can trace their ancestry with any degree of certainty.

Although probably originally of one family, the branches of de Gruchy and Gruchy have developed quite separately. However, the two names have become so confused in Jersey's church records that we have listed them all under 'de Gruchy/Gruchy' in our database.

Payne's Armorial of Jersey

In common with most families of mediaeval importance, the variations of spelling in the name of this one are numerous. Its name has been written, at different epochs, De Groschie, De Grochie, De Grouchy, De Gruchy, and Gruchy. Among the various contracts or legal deeds in the possession of the family is one dated 1362, in which the name is spelt De Grouchie; another, dated 1420, where it appears as De Grouchy; and in one of 1695, as De Gruchy. The patronymic is of such early occurrence in Norman annals that, to use the words of the Revue Generale Biographique, "the origin of the family ‘is lost in the night of time’".

Among the followers of William the Conqueror to England was a [de] Grouchy, while another member [correctly:"two members"] of the family fought in the Holy Land in the first Crusade. Among the soldiers in that of 1296 was Henri De Grouchy, whose arms are blazoned among those which decorate the ceiling of one of the chambers of the Palace of Versailles, [which should read:"among those which decorate the walls of the Chambres des Croisades at the Palace of Versailles"]. The French branch received a confirmation of nobility at Rouen, 7 January, 1497, [error for 1479]. The present General Count De Grouchy, son of the celebrated Marshal of that name, and Commandant of Division at Strasburg, writing on the subject in 1855, says, " I have heard from my father that two branches of our family were obliged to expatriate themselves after the conquest of Normandy by Philip-Augustus. One settled in Jersey, and engaged in commerce there, while the other sought refuge in England, where its descendants remained until they emigrated to America, in consequence of their religious opinions, which were opposed to the Puritan principles of Cromwell. This branch is now, I think, extinct, for I met its last member at Philadelphia in 1817, and who bore the same arms as myself ; he was sixty years of age, and, although married, had no issue. "

The Jersey branch has various traditions respecting its exodus from the Cotentin, where several places still bear its name, as shown by the maps of that district. It settled in the parish of S. Trinity in that island in the latter part of the 12th, or commencement of the 13th century, where it acquired considerable landed property, and gave its name to the fiefs De Grochy and De Gruchetterie. This last is now possessed by the Seigneur of Rozel, who holds the court of the fief in the house pointed out as the original residence of the family.

Several of its insular members have been in orders. Sire John Grouchy was Rector of St Mary in 1557 ; in 1607 the Rev Olivier Groschie was Rector of S. Clement. The Rev Daniel Grouchie, who married Catherine De Carteret, sister of the Seigneur of Trinity, was Rector successively of St Peter and St Mary. The Rev. Philip [de] Gruchy was Rector of St Laurence in 1730, and one of the last Roman Catholic Rectors of Trinity was also of this family.

Many branches derived from the same source have, from a very remote period, relinquished the prefix de. Its members are very numerous: in one vingtaine in the parish of Trinity there are no fewer than 16 individuals named Philip De Gruchy, besides many others in various parts of the island. Although the Jersey family has increased to such an extent, the French branches have been less fortunate, and are soon likely to become extinct, as its present members have no male issue.

de Gruchy children photographed by Ernest Baudoux
de Gruchy family photographed by Ernest Baudoux
Miss Poivell and Miss de Gruchy photographed by Ernest Baudoux

Variants

  • De Groschie
  • De Grochie
  • De Grouchy
  • De Gruchy
  • Gruchy, 1299
  • de Grouchie
  • Grochie
  • Grochye
  • Grochy
  • Groussey
  • Grussey
  • Gruche
  • Grochee
  • Groschey
  • Grouchie
  • Gruchie 1607
  • de Groschy, 1510
  • de Grochy, 1461-78
  • de Grouchy 1515
  • Grouhy 1515
  • de Grochie 1461-78
  • Grussy c1340
  • de Grochee
  • Grouche 1309
  • Le Groche 1309
  • de Groceio 1089


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