La Porte

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Jersey houses

St John:

La Porte





Datestones at La Porte, the latest at the bottom

La Porte, St John, was probably built in about 1500, much earlier than the three datestones at the property. A wooden window frame believed to date from then was uncovered when work was being undertaken on the house in the 20th century. It is believed to be the oldest surviving window frame in the island and is now in the possession of La Société Jersiaise.



One of the datestones, from 1694, is believed to tell the story of a fiancée who died before marrying the man for whom work was being undertaken on the house. The stone is crudely engraved PEN 1694 with a blank to the right of the date. In her book Old Jersey Houses Joan Stevens says that it appears that the letters ES may have been engraved and then roughed out. Pierre Esnouf, who owned the house at this period died childless, some time between the last years of the 17th century and 1730 at the latest. This would have been Pierre son of Nicolas or Pierre son of Pierre, but we have not been able to fit him into any of our Esnouf trees.

A very faintly engraved stone on a fireplace shows IH 1666 for Jean Hue who married Philippine Le Geyt of St Helier on 17 October 1669.

Inside the hallway is a stone marked ILS ♥ REN 1819, for Josué Le Sueur and Rachel Esnouf, who were married in St John on 23 December 1795. We have not been able to fit them into any of our trees.

Two more recent stones are JRA ♥ LSA 1963, for James Ronald Allan and Lesley Stephen Alexander Thomson on the front porch, which was restored that year, and 19 TLS ♥ AMB 91, on an extension at the rear, for Jersey's second Chief Minister, Senator Terence Le Sueur and Angela Marjorie Bennett, who were married in St Helier on 22 August 1968, and are the current owners of La Porte.

Family history

There is a story of a Jean and Nicolas Hue being attacked in a house in this area by robbers and Joan Stevens speculates that this could have been a Jean Hue who was an ancestor of the Jean Hue above who married Philippine Le Geyt, sister of Philippe Le Geyt, Lieut-Bailiff and renowned commentator on Jersey law.

This couple had no children and the house seems to have passed by marriage into the Esnouf family, among them the Pierre Esnouf mentioned above, and then, probably, Richard Esnouf (1729-1812), described, along with his son Richard, in a church register as 'de la Porte'.

The house then passed to the Le Sueurs after the marriage of Rachel Esnouf to Josué. The house is shown on the 1849 Godfray map of the island owned by J Le Sueur, who would have inherited from his father, Jean, who died in 1820, who probably inherited from his brother Josué, son of the Josué who married Rachel Esnouf.

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