Les Sts Germains
Having a most unusual name, dedicated to two saints, Les Saints Germains is strongly associated with Handois Manor and was built on the fief of 'Handois, St Germain, Les Quatorze Quartiers ou Garis'. Legend has it, for there is no documentary evidence, that the house was built some time after 1350, when La Brecquette Manor, which was situated in the area of L'Etacq on the island's north-west coast, was inundated by the sea in a terrible storm.
Centre of the island
The owner, John Walsh (or Wallis), decided to build a new home as far from the sea as possible, and it is said that he bought land in the very centre of the island, at St Lawrence, as this extract from our article on Handois Manor by Joan Stevens explains.
- ”Il se retira dans la paroisse de St Laurent en ladite ile ou it fit batir un chateau, aujourd'hui en ruines, que l’on appelle le Chateau de St Germain."
- 'It is believed to have been demolished in 1639 and in 1655 Gibbon is his Roll of Arms says:
- '"St Germain, an ancient seat whose ruins yet remain... "
- 'And a manuscript says that the present house was built in 1694 by Philip Le Hardy. These facts support the local tradition that the original owner had decided to build his house as far away from the sea as possible, and Colonel J Bichard, who lived there until his death in 1955, used to make the proud boast to his visitors, clapping his hand over the newel post of the stairs: "This spot is the centre of the island."
- 'It is fairly clear that during the 16th and early 17th century the house of Les Saints Germains was in ruins and uninhabitable and Handois must have been the Seigneur's home. But Mr G de Gruchy thinks that the de Garis lived at Les Saints Germains, as in 1364 Edmond de Garis, then a child, is stated as having gardens 'at St Germain by the brook on the borders of St Lawrence and St John'.
- 'This description fits the house of Les Saints Germains perfectly, but we have already seen that it was the Walshes who built it, probably before 1364 (if we are right in dating the inundation of La Brequette to about 1350) and the Walshes only obtained possession of the fiefs by marriage with the de Garis widow, Eleonore, mother of this Edmond.
- 'Her first husband, Jean de Garis, died probably in 1361, so that 1362 is the earliest date when the Walshes could have claimed the fief. It seems quite possible that the de Garis lived at Handois, possibly renting a garden on the Walsh property. It seems clear that the Walshes built their house at St Germain before they acquired the fief through the marriage of Geoffrey Walsh to Eleonore de Garis, nee de Chesney.'
In Old Jersey Houses Mrs Stevens writes that had St Germain's Manor demolished in 1636-38 and the stone was carted away for the construction of Elizabeth Castle.
The present house is believed to have been built by Philippe Le Hardy (1631-1705) in 1694.
There is also a farmstead, known as Les Sts Germains Farm, which although it has a keystone inscribed MLP ICB 1683, and another stone in the west gable inscribed PL 1699 EP, is believed to date from about 1830-50. The first stone has not been explained; the second is for Philippe Laurens, who married Elizabeth Poingdestre in 1688. A third stone on the front door shows PLB ♥♥ ERD 1870, and is for Philippe Le Brun (1815-1889) and Esther Rondel (1813-1885), who bought the property from Anne Nicolle in 1866.