La Rigondaine

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Jersey houses


La Rigondaine


The article on this house in Joan Stevens' Old Jersey Houses [1] begins:

"Stones of many dates give evidence that the Graut family held this property for a minimum of three centuries".

However, three three stones at the property, to which she refers, have dates of 1786, 1840 and 1870 - hardly evidence of three centuries ownership. Perhaps she intended to write three generations. The Graut family certainly has roots in Jersey which go back at least to the 16th century, but how old La Rigondaine is and how long the family owned it is a matter for conjecture. If the house had been in the same family for three centuries it would be old enough to have merited a place in Volume One of Old Jersey Houses, but it is included in the second volume and it certainly has every appearance of a typical 18th century Jersey farmhouse. It is believed to have been constructed in 1786, when the two earlier houses were demolished.

Unusually for a property of this nature we have photographs of the 21st century interior, taken when the house was on the market for £2½ million in 2018.

The three datestones which have been identified allow us to trace the Graut family's presence through three generations from grandfather Josue to son Josue, to grandson Josue. The first is inscribed IG EAM 1786, for Josue Graut and Elizabeth Amy. This Josue was born in 1750. There is no record of his marriage to Elizabeth, but it must have been in about 1774, the year before the birth of their first son, Josue. He married Anne Gallichan - again there is no surviving marriage record - in about 1796, the year before the third Josue was born. He married Marguerite Jennes (or Jeune) in about 1822.

They must have been living at La Rigondaine by 1841, when a stone was erected on the eastern portion of the house, bearing the inscription JG ♥♥ MJ 1841. There are also stones at the property inscribed IG and JG 1870 [2]

Derivation of name

There is dispute among historians and etymologists over the meaning of La Rigondaine. In a 1907 article on Jersey placenames, added to Jerripedia in 2018, the Rev J A Messervy refers to La Rogodaine, a nearby location, and apparently to the house featured here:

"This strange word, with an archaic sound, appears to us to be a corruption and a contraction of the two words Roque = rock and Godesme, an abbreviation of Nicodeme. This derivation has been suggested to us by reading an act of 1541, among others, in which Grouville is called La Roque Godesne, and a contract of 1607 in which there is the question of the house of Jean Pirouet, son of Jacques, near Rocque Godesne at Grouville."

But an article in the 1975 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise by C G Stevens, L B Mallalieu, G Bernier and C A R Radford refers in passing to La Rigondaine and dismisses a connection between Rigondaine and Rogodaine:

"The meaning of La Rigondaine, name of a hamlet in Grouville, has not yet been discovered, but is probably unconnected with Rogodaine, a rocky outcrop not far off, which was associated in legend with St Magloire, and exploded by quarrymen in 1868. In our placenames the termination -aine is common enough .... but -daine is rare, occurring only in Rigondaine, Rogodaine and the legendary land of Gigourdaine .... the etymology of -daine has not yet been studied, but it appears to mean 'the country of' the person whose name precedes it."

Notes and references

  1. OHH II,183
  2. Each probably relating to one of the three Josue Grauts

The house in 2018

These are estate agency photographs of the house in 2018, when it was offered for sale at £2½ million

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