Hamptonne - La Patente

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Hamptonne today

The history of Hamptonne, a St Lawrence property named after the family of the same name, can be traced back to the 15th century, although the buildings which have been restored and today comprise one of the island's major tourist attractions, probably date from the 17th century.

Letters Patent

The house is also known as La Patente, because in 1649 Charles II granted Letters Patent to its owner, Laurens Hamptonne, giving the property the status of a fief and the house that of a manor. Laurens was entitled to appear at the Assize d'Heritage. The Letters Patent required that the property could never be divided.

Today the Hamptonne farm complex consists of three houses, a colombier, several outbuildings and an orchard. Each of the houses dates from a different century, reflecting the changing architectural styles of Jersey over time. The houses are named after the families who have lived at Hamptonne, there is the Syvret Building, Hamptonne House and the Langlois Building – which boasts some of the oldest architectural features in the Island.

At the instigation of the late Joan Stevens, the Island’s three main heritage organisations joined forces to save this unique farm complex and create the Island’s first country life museum. With the assistance of the States of Jersey the Trust acquired Hamptonne, which was then restored and refurbished by La Société Jersiaise. The Jersey Heritage Trust completed the interpretation of 400 years of rural history.

Visitors to Hamptonne can learn about bygone crafts and traditions, and discover exactly what life was like in the 15th century with the popular Perpetual Living History Programme. This program consists of a cast of re-enactors which bring the site to life through role play, including demonstrations of bonnet-making, spinning and bread-making.

Visitors are able to explore extensive grounds of Hamptonne, which includes a traditional cider orchard, wildlife pond and sensory gardens.

History

In the first volume of Joan Stevens' Old Jersey Houses she notes that the property could have had manorial status before 1649 because it already had its colombier and perhaps a chapel.

"A Guille de Hamptonne, of this property, was Seigneur du Fief ès Hastains, in St Lawrence, in 1490, and possibly earlier. The colombier may have existed because of the holding of that fief. It is a house which preserves strong traditions of visits of Charles II. The legend is so strong that there may be some foundation for it, even if the visit was but a casual and short one, in the course of a ride, or a tour of inspection of coastal fortificatios, rather than an actual stay in the house.
"In 1549 Edouard Hamptonne, son of Laurens, received a Patent granting him the reversion of the office of Viscount on his father's death or retirement, a position which he took up in April 1651 on his father's election as Jurat. Treasured relics of the supposed visit of the King, recorded in Payne's Armorial of Jersey, have long since been dispersed.
"There is a square colombier, one of the only two square examples in the Island, and the first record of this was its erection in 1145 by Richard Langlois, by permission of Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, Lord of the Isles at the time. It was rebuilt in 1674, as a result of permission granted by Charles II in 1649; the 15th century document states a columbier quarré.
"The Hamptonne family were prominent in local life, and among them were Laurens Hamptonne, Viscount, friend of Charles II, and one of the prime movers in proclaiming the young Prince of Wales as King, as soon as news of his father's execution was received. Also, in the previous century, there was Louis Hamptonne, Rector of St Lawrence 1502-28.
The rare square colombier

Property

"The large double entrance arch on the road is one of the finest in the island, and one of only two examples bearing a date before Civil War. It is dated 1637, with the initials LH and EH and Hamptonne arms. In this case it appears to represent the father Laurens, and his son Edouard, rather than the usual juxtaposition of the initials of a husband and wife. It has a moulded beading in place of the more usual chamfer. Inside the courtyard is the old house, facing south, and it is almost certainly older than this date of 1637.

Laurens Hamptonne acquired the property in 1639 and Mrs Stevens speculated that the stone might have been brought from elsewhere. The son whose initials are carved on it was only nine years old at the time.

"The Patente given by the King in 1649 gives the names and sizes of the fields comprising the 100 vergées granted to Laurens Hamptonne. A study of these compared with the modern names makes it clear that the Langlois had a house further south than the present one, close to the colombier, and described in the manuscript as les messières de l'Anglois. The adjoining field was probably Clos de Dom Philippe, a clerical member of the family who purchased Le Franc Fief in St Brelade from Nicolas Gervaise in 1546. It is quite possible that a chapel was situated in or near this field. De la Croix is the only authority for saying that the chapel was dedicated to St Eutrope; nor has the field which he says is so called been identified. The field now known as Rocque Batelet, and then called La Rocque Batteley, is intriguing. It may have some similarity to Clos de Battelage in St Mary, and may refer to some process of beating grain.
"The southern boundary of the courtyard has another building, said of have been a chapel. It is approached up a straight flight of steps, with a round arch at the tope, and it is rather an unusual arch. It has a hollow chamfer, and is composed of 11 stones, but does not appear to have been altered.
"The present main dwelling house, which borders the road, is of far later date."

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