Nicolle history of St Helier - Chapter 6

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Notre Dame des Pas, 1790

The Chapels of La Madeleine and Notre Dame des Pas

Chapelle de la Madelaine, to which I have referred, was not the only religious edifice which existed in St Helier prior to the building of the present parish church. Another chapel, called Notre Dame des Pas, existed on the eastern slopes of Mont de la Ville, near the south end of Green Street. This building was still in existence at the beginning of the last century, but in 1814, after Mont de la Ville had been acquired by the Government to build Fort Regent, the Board of Ordnance caused it to be blown up. It was an act of vandalism, unfortunately not the only one which has deprived Jersey of some of its ancient historical monuments.

Engraving

In 1776 an engraving of this old chapel was published which gives us some idea of its construction. The flat buttresses, lancet windows with semi-circular heads and its arched roof of rubble, show that it was probably erected in the 10th century. It was in these two chapels that the early inhabitants of St Helier worshipped, the services being conducted by the Monks of the Abbey of St Helier. The fact that two chapels were built within so short a distance of each other tells us that the population must have increased. As the population went on increasing it became necessary either to enlarge these chapels or to build a new church.

The latter alternative was chosen in St Helier, as at St Brelade, where today you can see the primitive chapel alongside the church in an excellent state of preservation. [Editor’s note: Later studies suggest that the St Brelade chapel was built after the main church, although an earlier wooden structure may have existed there before the church was built.]

At St Helier the present parish church was built close to Chapelle de in Madelaine early in the 11th century. Chapelle de la Madelaine was used as a maison des pauvres for a considerable period afterwards, and still existed in the 18th century, though allowed to fall into ruins.

The vicissitudes of Chapelle de Notre Dame des Pas are worthy of record. It seems clear that it formed part of the ecclesiastical property in the Island which escheated to the Crown at the Reformation, and was sold by the Commissioners of 1562. During the 17th century we find it belonged to the Dumaresq family. Chevalier, the old Jersey Chronicler, informs us that in 1657 it belonged to George Dumaresq.

Sir George Carteret

Sir George Carteret used it as barracks for soldiers in 1646 and in 1665 soldiers were also lodged there. In the following century it passed into the Patriarche family and after changing proprietors several times it was acquired in 1782 by Pierre Le Sueur, who repaired it and converted it into a chapel for the use of the Jersey Wesleyans. This was the first Wesleyan Chapel in Jersey. In 1779 Pierre Le Sueur had placed at the disposal of his co-religionists a room in the rear of his house, 22 Rue des Trois Pigeons, where they met, but Chapelle des Pas was the first chapel in use by this sect. The building in Rue des Trois Pigeons was known as Les Calvins. In 1793 Le Sueur sold it to William Dieuaide and his wife, who in turn converted it into a dwelling house and used it as such until 1813, when it became the property of the British Government with the rest of Mont de la Ville.


Nicolle: The Town of St Helier
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