A hotel since shortly after the Second World War, Longueville Manor is one of Jersey's oldest manor houses, and the archway which provides access to the front of the property from the Longuevillel Road is one of the oldest, largest and most ornamental round arches in the island.
The first reference to a house on the present site was in 1332 when the Itinerent Justices visited the Island and on at least one occasion sat at the Manor. The next reference was in 1560 when Clement Messervy married Collette Nicolle, whose brother was the Bailiff, Hostes Nicolle. In 1631, in the memoirs of Benjamin La Cloche, reference is made to alterations he was making and there is good reason to believe that it was he who panelled the Great Hall using oak chests which, to this day, nearly 400 years on, are still in position in what is now the Oak Room Restaurant.
Sadly, there are very few historical facts recorded on the history of the Manor, but from what is known it can be reasonably assumed that the original front, which runs East to West, dates back to the 16th Century. The main entrance today, with its fine and elaborate arch, is assumed to date back to 1550, although there is good reason to believe it may be earlier. Longueville Manor had its own chapel. Dedicated to St Thomas, the chapel is referred to in the Assize Roll of 1309. The small granite house just north east of the Tower is often referred to as the Priest's House or Presbytere and has many features associated with the 16th Century.
For the most part, through the ages, the Manor lacked care and attention and on many occasions fell into a sad state of repair. There were exceptions such as Benjamin La Cloche in the 17th Century and the Rev W B Bateman in the 19th Century.
During the Second World War, whilst the Island was occupied by the Germans, the Manor was used as officers' quarters. Between the beginning of the Occupation of Jersey in May 1940 and the purchase by the Lewis family in 1948, the Manor fell into a state of neglect and disrepair.
The following is taken from George Balleine's The Bailiwick of Jersey:
- "An ancient manor, which has given its name to three vingtaines, one in Grouville and two in St Saviour. It was said that the house was once a nunnery, but this belief seems to rest on no firmer foundation than some small crosses cut as chamfer stops on an arch in the dining-room, a form of decoration which appears in about 20 instances in the Island, and probably carved there as a protection against evil spirits. The so-called 'Nun's Walk' in the grounds was only made in 1864 on the old course of the seigneurial water mill, called Le Moulin de Fossard.
- "In the 13th century the manor belonged to the powerful De Barentin family, who were seigneurs of Rosel; later it passed to the de Carterets; but in 1480 it was bought by John Nichol of Penvose, a cornishman who had become Gentleman-Porter of Mont Orgueil. His descendants spelt their name Jerseywise as Nicolle, and his great-grandson Hostes Nicolle became Bailiff in 1561.
- "The manor next passed to the La Cloches for about a century and a half, and Jurat Benjamin La Cloche has left a most important diary covering the years 1617-52, which is full of news and gossip of the times.
- "Then it was sold and resold, till in 1863 it was bought by the Rev W B Bateman. He found it in extreme dilapidation, and spent more than £2,000 on a drastic restoration. Till the beginning of the 19th century the grounds had been surrounded by a high wall with an arched gateway and a porter's lodge. The ruins of the manorial chapel, dedicated to St Homas the Martyr, ie Thomas a Becket, had been pulled down only in 1813. The water-mill on the stream through the grounds was still standing when Bateman bought it.
- The colombier with its 700 nesting holes is not the original one mentioned in 1299, byt was built in 1692 when George La Cloche reported that the old one was in ruins, and obtained permission to erect a new one 'in the Garden of St Thomas'.
- "Mr Bateman removed the cowsheds, stables and pigsties from the back of the house and made a lawn there. He filled in the millpond and diverted the course of the stream. He added another 30 feet to the tower and he thoroughly modernised the interior of the building. In the dining-room the oak pannelling at one end of the room was found by Bateman in position, but all the rest was obtained by buying and breaking up forty old oak chests."
From Old Jersey Houses Vol 1 by Joan Stevens
- "The south facade of the house has been altered many times by succeeding owners, but a gable stone with GLC IDC 1684, for George La Cloche and Jeanne de Carteret, was moved during extensions, and inserted in the far west gable of the newly-built wing. The north of the house retains more of its original features, including a round arch with no shoulders, and a row of undecorated dripstones, a design not seen elsewhere in the Island. The tower contains a circular stair, the upper third of which was added in 1863.
- "How much of the original manor remains is uncertain, but probably very little. It is known, however, that a gable over the drawing room was erected in 1631, and that in 1637 the fireplace of this new gable fell, killing a mason working there, named Jean de la Lande. The poor man lived for only a few hours after this, and died in the same room.
- "The Manorial chapel was dedicated to St Thomas (a Becket) and is therefore unlikely to be older than 1170, the year of his death. It was sold by the COmmissioners in 1551, when they confiscated all ecclesiasticazl property, although some manorial chapels survived. It was evidently still known when Bateman was restoring the house, as he mentions that it was pulled down some 50 years previously, and that he has heard that the stones from it had been used for other buildings.
The manor house is surrounded by 16 acres of grounds, including a formal garden, woodland and the Victorian kitchen garden.The modern gardens date backa to the mid-19th century when the then owner, the Rev W Bateman, planted specimen trees, created the lake, the walks and the kitchen garden.
The hotel was brought to life from a state of disrepair by Sidney and Edith Lewis in 1949. Soon their son Neal and his wife Barbara became involved, and they took over the reins in 1965. By 1969 Longueville Manor was not only the first Jersey hotel to have all en-suite bedroom, but also the first to have its own swimming pool.
Their achievements were quickly rewarded; in 1971 Longueville was the first hotel in Jersey to be awarded 4 stars by the AA and by 1972 had become a member of Relais de Campagne, later to be know as Relais & Châteaux. Neal and Barbara stepped back from the business in 1987, with their son Malcolm taking over, having already been actively involved with the hotel for five years. Today it is the only hotel in the island to have been awarded the AA's coveted five red stars.
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The Bailiwick of Jersey, by George BalleineOld Jersey Houses, Vol 1, by Joan Stevens