La Chasse, St John

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Jersey houses

St John:

La Chasse


Mystery stone

Normally a datestone gives a positive identification (or at least a strong clue) to the person or persons whose initials were engraved, but this stone at La Chasse is a complete mystery. The convention used for datestone initials was that the husband's name appeared on the left and the wife's on the right. The first letter of each group of initials represented the individual's forename, and the remaining letters indicated their surnames, split into syllables. In this case, one would expect to find a man with a forename beginning with K, and surname Le S.... married to a wife with forename starting with F, and surname with syllables beginning C, S and A. This does not fit anyone in our database of over 200,000 people. There are no baptism or marriage records for a man whose forename started with 'K'. The period covered by our records, and certainly those for the late 17th century, includes no Kevins, Keiths, Kyles or Kierans. LS could have stood for Le Sueur, Le Seelleur, Le Sauteur, or, perhaps more likely in 17th century St John, Le Sebirel. On the female side, F could have stood for Francoise, but C S and A are a complete mystery. Perhaps this could be a rare, almost unheard of, example of the wife's name appearing on the left and the husband's on the right. There were certainly Katherine Le Sebirels in that era. Could FCS stand for Francois and the surname be represented by 'A' alone? We have fed all possible permutations into our database and failed to come up with any married couple matching these initials.

Common name

One of numerous properties in the island to bear the name, this house in Les Chenolles, St John, appears to have been built at or about 1700. This is supported by several features of the property and particularly the stone over the front door, with the initials KLS 1699 FCSA, not ECSA as interpreted by Joan Stevens in her first volume of Old Jersey Houses in 1965, since when the stone has been cleaned.

This has not helped identify the occupants whose names are forever recorded with an inscribed stone.

Elsewhere on the property there is a farm building with a stone JLMT ACB 1755 above the door. This has been identified as Josue Le Mottais and Anne Cabot, married in St John in 1753.

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