La Maletiere

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Jersey houses

Grouville:

La Maletiere


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La Maletiere, scene for a parish fete. Picture Jersey Evening Post

Known today as Les Prés Manor, Malet House, or La Maletière, bears the same name as the Fief of La Maletière. It became a Crown property at the Reformation and rente was paid continuously for eight centuries. Queen's Mill, as it is now known, is dependent on the manor. There was formerly a chapel in the grounds, how demolished, whose name is uncertain.

The house and fief take their name from the Malet family, who held it at least as early as 1170, when Robert Malet was seigneur. It then passed through the female line to the de la Hougue family in the 14th century, returning to the Malets by marriage in the 16th.

The Malet line then ended with Isabelle Malet, who married Jean Journeaux, and passed through his descendants to Jean Payn, who married Marie Le Feuvre, daughter of Germain and Collette, nee Journeaux. [1]

After two generations the male line again died out and the property passed through Elizabeth Payn, wife of Jean Le Couteur, into his family, where it remained until 1821 when their grandson went bankrupt and the house and fief were sold to Jean Cook, who again sold them in 1841 to Pierre Le Maistre. The manor and fief remain in this family today.

Hunting rights

The manor has Droits de Chasse (hunting rights) and the seigneur was the only person in the parish allowed to keep ferrets. On 25 January 1568 an ordinance was issued required all other ferrets in the parish to be surrendered in ten days. Commoners were only allowed to keep one dog, and when mature its leg had to be cut so that it could not chase rabbits and hares. There were threats of severe fines and public whippings for contraventions of these rules.

The house has a fine old stone turelle staircase, the upper flight or flights of which have been removed at some point. There is a 1635 sundial and, rare for Jersey, a cellar under one wing.

La Cloche diary

There are two references to the property in Benjamin La Cloche's diary. The first records that the Jean Payn who built the house in 1635 was the brother-in-law of Francois de Carteret [2] , and the son of Edouard Payn. The second says that he died in the house in 1650.

Jean Payn was a Jurat from 1640 until his death

The Payn family datestone. Although Old Jersey Houses [3] gives it a date of 1631, this illustration in Payne'ss Armorial suggests 1635, the same as the date ascribed to the sundial at the property, and the suggested date of construction of a new house. All other references in the book are to 1635, so it would seem likely that the date of 1631 given to the stone was a typographical error.

Datestones

A datestone in the south facade is dated 1635 and engraved for Jean Payn and his wife Marie. Uniquely in Jersey it also has the initials of their three surviving sons - PP, FP and IP - for Philippe, Francois and Jean. The couple had 16 children, the majority not surviving the first year or two of their lives: Edouard (1613-1614), Jean (1614-1614), Marie (1615- ), Jean (1616-1616), Thomas (1618- ), Jean (1619-1622), Marie (1621- ), Judith (1622-1622), Philippe (1623- ), Marie (1625- ), Edouard (1625-1626), Francois (1626- ), Sara (1628- ), Thomas (1629- ), Jeanne (1629-1633) and Jean (1633).

Grouville's church register suggest that Jean's wife Marie died in 1634, so she never lived in the new family home. Perhaps the datestone was commissioned before her death and left unchanged as a tribute to her.

The datestone tradition was continued in 1995 by the then owners Charles Alan Le Maistre and Edna Mabel Matthew, with a stone erected to mark the restoration of outbuildings, containing their own initials, and those of their five children, boys and girls. CALM 1995 EMM PLM CLM JLM CLM PLM. The Le Maistres erected a simpler stone, 19 CALM EMM 89 six years earlier to mark the restoration of the press house.

Les Pres Manor, as it is now known
The Payn trefoils on an arch keystone

Le Couteur

It is believed that a new house was built in 1635, retaining some of the features of the earlier property.

It was inherited towards the end of the 18th century by the Rev Francois Le Couteur, then Rector of St Martin. He famously owned private cannon, which he took to La Rocque on the day of the Battle of Jersey. After inheriting La Maletière he moved in and became Rector of Grouville. He was a man of many parts, being an agricultural expert and also the originator of plans for a road network in the island, which were eventually adopted in full by General Don.

Le Couteur died in 1808 and his family went bankrupt not long after. The property was then sold to Jean Cooke, a shipbuilder who was the son of Richard Cooke and Elizabeth Mallet. He could not reverse the fortunes of La Maletière and sold it for a profit to Pierre Le Maistre in 1841 and moved to St Helier.

The property has remained in the Le Maistre family ever since.

Notes and references

  1. This conflicts with information previously contained in the Jerripedia tree for this family, which shows Jean as the son of Thomas Payn. That Jean married Marie Anthoine, daughter of Collas, in Grouville in 1612. The Jean who married Marie Le Feuvre, daughter of Germain, in St Martin in 1612, was the son of Edouard Payn. The family tree has been adjusted accordingly
  2. Jean's wife was a Le Feuvre and none of his sisters is known to have married a de Carteret, so he cannot have been the brother-in-law of Francois. Jean's mother was a de Carteret, so perhaps Francois was a cousin
  3. OJH I, 178
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