Old Court House Hotel, Gorey

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Jersey houses

Grouville:

Old Court House


OldCourtHouseFireplace.jpg


The fireplace at Gorey's Old Court House Hotel, thought by some to date to the 14th century, but most of its elements are probably much later


A postcard from the property's days as a hotel

The Old Court House Hotel on Gorey Common is no longer a hotel, not as old as many believe, and may not have been a Courthouse - nobody knows.

There is also an Old Court House at St Aubin, which is still in business as an inn, but no longer taking guests, but the status of either as a location for a previous court is very much in doubt.

As Joan Stevens wrote of the Gorey property in Old Jersey Houses: [1]

""The story of the 'court' does not define what sort of court. It could record a session, or sessions of the Royal Court, a Seigneurial Court, or an Admiralty Court for adjudging prizes. But there is no historical record of any such court here. The suggestion that it was a prison for the Castle is also unlikely, as the Castle itself was a prison." [2]

The oldest part of the building as it existed before a substantial rebuild late in the 20th century was thought to be the fireplace, which some dated to the 14th century, making it one of the island's oldest. But Mrs Stevens partly dismissed this idea:

"The fireplace as it now stands is of no particular century. The fireback and lintel are quite recent, and the supporting stones are not very old. The remarkable stones are the two corbels and those above them which support the lintel. They are of Caen stone and, as far as we know, this is the only example of such stone being used for fireplace corbels. They are of the standard local pattern, though somewhat larger than usual, and ornamented with three scallops or curves.
"The moulding could be of the 15th century or older, in which case they are by far the oldest fireplace corbels in the island. A possible, and most interesting explanation lies in the proceedings of the Royal Commissioners of 1531, when the then Governor, Sir Hugh Vaughan, was suspected, rightly, of having neglected the defences and provisioning of Mont Orgueil. "

It emerged from soldiers at the castle during the hearing that Caen stone from the Castle had been given away, and Mrs Stevens speculated that the fireplace corbels could have been among it.

Notes and references

  1. OJH I, 189
  2. It is also well established that when Mont Orgueil was used as the island's main prison, prisoners had to be taken to St Helier and back to appear before the Royal Court there.
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