Greenhill

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This article has been adapted from articles written by St Lawrence historian Henry Coutanche

Conefray

In November 1776 Philippe Corbel purchased a field called Clos de St Jean to add to his small-holding in St Lawrence, in the vicinity of the farm now called Greenhill, near the boundary with the Parish of St John.

In January 1784 Philippe died and the tuteur (guardian) of his only child sold the property to Philippe Gruchy, son of Elie. The road ran between Clos de St Jean and the rest of the farm. The field was in St John, on the fief Esnouf, and the larger portion of the holding lay south of the road in St Lawrence on the fief of Handois, quatorze Quartiers or Garis. The neighbour on the East was Marie Conefray.

In 1805 Marie Conefray, daughter of Richard, parted with her five vergee farm to the same Philippe Gruchy. This sale included her house and outbuildings, and the lands called Clos de Haut, Petit Clos, Jardin à Potage and Grand Jardin. Marie probably owned nothing else, and after a life barely above subsistence level, needed some security for her declining years.

She must have found her inheritance too much to cope with at 77 years of age, and with no family to care for her, she had to make her own arrangements. In return for giving up her means of livelihood and her home, she would receive the annual interest from seven quarters of wheat rente, and, more importantly, she retained the use of one room in her house for life, without payment.

Three years later, in 1808, perhaps because he, too, was getting old, Philippe Gruchy sold both small properties to Philippe Romeril, son of Edouard, who sold them to Clement Noel and Jeanne Godfray, his wife, the following year. Marie Conefray was still enjoying her retirement in the West room of her house, and presumably continued to do so until her death in 1818.

Jeandron

Edward Jeandron bought Greenhill in 1816, and retained it for over 30 years, during which time he enlarged the holding and improved the buildings.

Early in March 1816 Edouard Jandron bought a substantial rente (9 quartiers 1 cabot) from Jean Picot. This was precisely one quarter of the sum he paid for the Greenhill property he bought from Clement Noel and Jeanne Godfray, in the contract passed in the Royal Court on 25 May 1816. He had no more to pay as business was conducted, as was customary at that period, through the rente system. The property was encumbered with debts (through rentes) - of a purchase price of 36½ quartiers, 20 quartiers were already owed on the property. Jandron assigned the Picot rente and promised to pay the remaining sum himself.

On 8 January 1825 he bought approximately five vergees of extra land bordering his own on the Fief Esnouf, in the Parish of St John, from Charles Hamon, son of Charles, for 10 quarters of wheat rente. As he had originally paid 36 quarters of rente for the main holding his total expenditure was about 46 quarters. He finally sold the entire tenement for 96 quarters on 12th May 1849 to Edouard Norman, son of Daniel.

It has remained in the possession of the latter's descendants to this day. It is also interesting to note that the Clos de St Jean appears to be called Clos de la Rue in the 1849 sale.

In view of this astonishing increase in the value of the property, and allowing for the gap in time and slight increase in area of the land, Jeandron must have been responsible for building the new house.

For the next 30 years Jandron was transacting regularly. He purchased more land, assigned rentes and was obviously prospering, even if in a modest way. On 11 December 1824 his wife, Marie Hocquard, sold to her brother Jean all her share in the inheritance due to her from her parents, Abraham Hocquard and Jeanne Anley, for 6 quartiers of rente.

On the day he sold Greenhill he bought a house at First Tower district, bordering the Plein de Mars, from Philippe Dorey. He settled there and it became the family home.

Normans

The 1849 contract gives no further mention of the small house of Marie Conefray, nor even of its site. Edouard Jeandron must have demolished the latter and built the newer dwelling, perhaps even using some of the granite. The architectural features of the present house suggest the early mid-Victorian period and thus the contract gives it a likely final date of construction. No marriage stones exist to give further information for this period. There is, however, one building, lying to the southwest of the present house which certainly predates it and could well have been standing at the time of the Richmond Map of Jersey.

The new purchaser of the house and lands, Edouard Norman, was obliged to discharge the majority of the rentes of his predecessor. For the rest of the price he had to assign many more. As was quite normal for a young man starting out, he was helped by his father, who had made a gift of rentes to him some time earlier.

His wife, Anne Bauche, allowed him to assign several rentes that she had inherited from her late father, Jean Bauche. As the contract states, she was a willing participant to the contract, and her husband promised, according to custom, to repay his wife or replace the rentes.

The final participant in the contract was Nancy Corbel, first wife of the vendor, Edouard Jeandron.

Edouard Norman was a younger son and so had to make his own way in life. He seems to have retained the land, but does not appear to have added any.

His only son and principal heir, Walter, added the outbuilding which backs onto the road (Rue du Huchet, or Rue du Huquet) to the north. This road is the boundary between the parishes of St Lawrence and St John, but is the responsibility of St John. The initials of Walter and Rosalie Francoise, his wife, can be found on a very large cut granite lintel above the cart entrance to this outbuilding.

Although the couple's only son had no children the property eventually reverted to the American descendants of his aunt, Ann Norman, who had married John Coutanche of St Lawrence Villa. They sold it to the present owner, Mr David Vibert, who is himself a great-great-great-grandson of the Edouard Norman who bought the property in 1849.

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