La Vieille Fontaine

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Historic Jersey buildings

La Vieille Fontaine, St Ouen


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Property name

La Vieille Fontaine

Earlier Property Name

La Fontaine [1]


Les Ruettes, St Ouen [2]

Type of property

House with two almost complete medieval fireplaces, suggesting 14th century origins[3]


The property was sold for £1.65 million in 2020.

Families associated with the property


Unusually for a property of this antiquity, no datestones have been found and the association of the Vibert and Le Feuvre families is mentioned in OJH, with no further information

Historic Environment Record entry

A house of early date, retaining historic character and some important interior features - in particular, two almost complete and original medieval fireplaces surviving intact. Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795.

A property with evidence of 14th century origins, later 18th, 19th, 20th century alterations. A later room known as la salle was built for the meetings of the Salvation Army.

Two-storey, four-bay main house with rear north wing and adjoining west extension. The refronting appears to date to circa 1820, and the raised stone openings suggest that it was originally partly rendered with exposed stone openings.

The rear elevation has a (now blocked) 19th century doorway and a large, modern, centrally placed, garage door. The two-storey, three-bay rear wing has shouldered stone window openings circa 1730.

There is a flight of external stone stairs. In the ground floor main room is a most magnificent surviving medieval hall stone fireplace, intact apart from its hood, traces of which are evident in the room above. Its stone lintel and shoulder stones are at the present ceiling height. It has plain corbels, one of which is a different colour stone, probably later and from the quarry of Mont Mado, with the rest of the stone matching (maybe from quarries in St Mary. The uprights are chamfered with acorn stops at the top and a form of Griffe at the bottom. These often appear at the base of piers in French Gothic churches. This fireplace is considered to date from circa 1350-1400.

In the west extension on the ground floor south gable is a repositioned chamber fireplace that originally came from the first floor west gable bedroom at the opposite end of the hall. It is of a pillar type with long uprights, chamfered on both sides, and acorn stops on the bottom. The chamfers follow through the massively deep corbels and are stopped at the top of the corbels with matching acorn stops. This fireplace is also considered to date from circa 1350-1400.

The original position of the first floor chamber fireplace, in relation to the ground floor fireplace, shows the likely possibility that this main part of the house was originally a very early open hall building circa 1400.

Listed building

Old Jersey Houses

This property has all the appearance of antiquity, without many definite features. There are two wings built at right angles to eachother, the wing facing south being far later in date.

In it two granite fireplaces survived, though one is damaged and being covered over. [4] Another, upstairs, is a good example with narrow corbels and slender uprights, chamfered on both sides.

A further building, on the edge of the lane, is rounded at the corner, as though to conform with the curve of the road. This appears to have been a stable, and probably the press house, and above there may have been living quarters, as the windows are of btter quality than would have been provided in lofts.

The ruins of another another small building, on the left on entering the drive, may have been the bakehouse.

The farmyard is cobbled, and this is a comparatively rare survival.


Notes and references

  1. The name was, in this instance, changed to La Vieille Fontaine, to distinguish this, the earlier house, from its neighbour, also called La Fontaine, 20 metres away, on the north side of Profonde Rue. The change appears to have been during the 20th century
  2. Although the postal address is given as Profonde Rue, the property is actually on Les Ruettes, which runs between Profonde Rue and La Ruette in the Millais district of St Ouen. This is clear in the satellite view which shows Les Ruettes running diagonally to the right of the property
  3. OJH goes no further than saying that the property 'has all the appearance of antiquity, without many definite features'.
  4. The fireplace appears to have been uncovered again in subsequent renovations after the publication of Volume One of the book in 1965
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