Surville

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Surville



This article by Jean Arthur was first published in the 2001 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise


This picture was captioned Surville Farm. It is believed to be part of the property mentioned in this article

Payne's Armorial, which is dated 1859, gives the genealogy of the Le Gallais of Surville. There are two tales here. This branch of the Le Gallais family gave the name Surville to its home. Let us first consider Surville.

13th century record

It is believed that the name existed in the Island of Jersey from the thirteenth century when it was found in a transcript from the Great Rolls of the Exchequier of Normandy in the form of Sulleville. There is no place known of that name in Normandy, which suggests a copyist's error for de Sureville, the name of the family in the Island which held Le Fief de Surville, and which family was known from about 1200-1274. It is, therefore, one of the oldest fiefs and it is to be found in part in the Parish of Saint John and in part in that of Saint Helier.

It is clear from a Charter of 7 January 1200 in the reign of King John that the land of Guillaume de Surville lay immediately to the north of land described as tenements from which l'abbaye de Belosanne was to receive 20 livres de rents donnees en perpetuelle aumone. This must mean that the land south of Guillaume de Surville's fief was what became known in the early 16th century as le fief qui fut a l'Abbe de Bellozanne.

Rabbits

The Extente of 1607 has an entry about the Fief de Bellozanne on which the property called Surville to this day actually stands: "Poullage due for the Fee of Melesches in manner and forme etc: Helier Lempriere having right of Mr John Poullet for the Gaine of Conyes as well upon this Fee as upon the Fee of Bellozanne oweth yearly 4 capons".

Unfortunately neither this nor subsequent Extente explain "Gaine of Conyes". Conies are wild rabbits and it seems likely that Gaine is a word contracted from garenne or warren. John Paulet, a Roman Catholic priest, arrived in the Island in 1549 with his brother Sir Hugh Paulet, the Governor, and was made Rector of St Martin and later Dean. The date is a little early to discover how it came about that he acquired two warrens. It is possible that they were adjacent, one on the Fief de Surville, which is a sub-fief of Meleches, and the other on Fief de Bellozanne, and that he was able to treat them as one.

Very little is known about the practical running of a warren. However, keeping in mind that rabbits burrow downwards, controlling them in a valley would probably be easier then on open high ground, and as one or these warrens is on the Fee of Bellozanne, as is the property the Le Gallais family acquired and called Surville, it seems possible that the area is one and the same.

It is noted also that le Fief qui fut a l'Abbe de Belozanne was an ecclesiastical fief, which explains why it was not mentioned in the Extentes earlier than that of 1528. In that year the brothers Symon Le Galle and Edmond Galles were charged to pay to the Crown 3 cabots and 1 quarter of wheat annually, respectively, for the fee of Bellosanne. This must mean they owned land on the fief. It seems likely that it was the same land as their descendents named Surville. Certainly, in the year 1841 the La Gallais family recognised a Paulet connection with the site of their new house, as will be seen below.

The south-facing front of Surville

Messervy research

At this point one cannot do better than quote the work of earlier researchers of repute. J A Messervy and his wife give copious detail:

Fief de Surville. Une partie de ce fief est situee sur la paroisse de St Helier, et l'autre sur celle de St Jean. Au 14e siecle, il appartenait a la famille de St Martin. En effet, en 1399, Guilleume et Jennequin de St Martin, freres, fils Jean, vendirent le fief de Surville a Colin Blondel, au nom de Lucas de la mare jun, fils Lucas, pour 563 francs et demi, et le moitie d'une pipe de vin etc. En 1446, John du Gayllart etait Seig de Surville en cause de sa femme. En 1537, Thomas de Vic (jure Justicier de Guernesey) etait Seigneur de Surville, en cause de sa femme, fille et heritiere de Nicolas de la Mare. Ce Thomas de Vic fut pere de Jean de Vic, aussi Seig de Surville lequel fut pere de William de Vic.
A le fin du 16e siecle, Helier Dumaresq de la Haule, jure-justicier, en etait Seigneur.
Le 18 Mars 1620, M Elie Dumaresq fils Helier, assigna a M Philippe Lempriere (fils Hugh et de Sara Dumaresq, sa femme en premieres noces) pour la partie d'heritage de sa mere, le fief de Surville.
M Hugh Lempriere, fils Philippe, bailla le fief de Surville vers 1668, a M Amice Norman, qui peu apres le bailla avec tous ses droits a Mathieu Le Gallais. Cependant George Badier, en cause de se femme, fille d'Amice Norman, s'efforca d'obtenir possession de ce fief, en vertu du droit de retrait lignager, et intenta un proces a ce sujet a M Mathieu Le Gallais. Mais il n'obtint pas gain de cause, et le fief resta aux mains des Le Gallais pendent plus de deux siecles.
Notons en passant que la propriete appelee de nos jours Surville ou Manoir de Surville n'est pas situe sur le fief de ce nom, mais sur le fief a l'Abbe de Bellozanne. Elle a pris le nom de Surville parce que la famille Le Gallais, qui possedait cette propriete, avait acquis le fief de Surville (vers la fin du 17e siecle).

Fiefs owned by Le Gallais family

Having established that Surville is not situated on the fief of that name, it is important to note that the Le Gallais family were proprietors of the fief de l'Abbe de Bellozanne prior to 1602 when the Registre began. They were seigneurs of le fief payn en herupe, le fieu de herupe and le fieu es hemonnets. It is clear also that they held and continued to own property on La Fief du Roi in the Parish of Saint Lawrence.

It is possible, indeed likely, that the first dwelling at Surville was an early one on the site of the present Victorian house, which replaces a building and probably a small courtyard or buildings including stables recorded in 1787 for the Duke of Richmond's Survey Map.

Payne believed the Le Gallais title in the area went back to the fifteenth century.

Unfortunately, the Victorians must have done a thorough job of clearing away the old buildings because the cellars under the house today show no signs of antiquity.

The earliest house which exists today is generally considered to date from about 1600. In 1997 the vernacular buildings group of the Societe was invited to study the buildings at Surville. A detailed measured survey of the earliest existing house and the other buildings around the yard was undertaken and may be consulted in the Library. It is proposed here to note only particular features, especially when they can be dated approximately and linked into the Le Gallais story. Unfortunately, at the time of the survey (1997-98) some of the principal features, such as hearths, were obscured by later fireplaces. Most of the beams which were visible appeared to be of 18th century date, although the western portion of the house had older ones on the ground floor. The south facade of this building has been altered so much that it is not very informative. It is nevertheless visually pleasing as the accompanying photograph shows.

The top of the tourelle shows in this picture

Tourelle

The principal and very fine feature of this house is its tourelle. It lies behind the central masonry wall and it is directly behind the middle chimney stack. The more westerly doorway in the south facade leads directly to its foot.

There is, as is usual, a small storage space beneath the spiral stair with access from both inside and outside the house. The saleur or trough which contained the winter's supply of salt pork, a small stack or bottled cider, a little cask of cider vinegar and possibly some wine, would have been kept here for use within the house.

The doorway from the hall is a stone aperture hidden under plaster, but it is likely to be straight lintelled and to have 4 in chamfers similar to the doorways in the adjacent room to the west. The door in situ is of mid-19th century design and has a metal latch.

The tourelle itself is built, like others one has seen, of blocks of granite with a flat upper surface, which are triangular in shape and have a round extension at the narrowest point. There is a depression cut into the round bit on the top and a knob of like size below. Each stone makes one step. Each step supports the circle of the next step up on its own circle and the curved outer edge or the triangle is built into the external wall of the tourelle. The pile of round bits make the pillar which holds the whole structure together. The result is an everlasting stairway.

There is near the foot of this stair, as is also usual, a blocked doorway which led outside to the west.

At first floor level, the landing is composed of large slabs of stone, and there are two doorways, one on either side of the central masonry wall. Both are straight lintelled and chamfered. The tourelle goes on to the attic floor level. The outer wall shows that a clay mortar was used originally between the stones and over the surface, and that it received coats of lime wash. It would be nice to know when the first lime was applied. The landing stones have been moved around and the fine doorways which should match the pair below are largely missing.

The tourelle originally extended upwards again forming a tower higher than the thatched roof of the house, from which it would have been possible to see Noirmont and to keep an eye on activities in Le Baie de St Aubin. The late Joan Stevens noted: "Very fine tourelle d'escalier which stretches up above the level of the roof .... 23 steps, each about eight inches high and five feet long. The tourelle is thus about 25 feet high".

Structural features

The central masonry wall is 30 inches thick at the attic level and has had a fireplace from each side leading into the stack. On its west the hood, a mixture of clay and stone, is visible in the attic and this fireplace was at first floor level where there is 18th century woodwork in place. On its east the fireplace is a 19th century insertion with a brick hood in the attic. This fireplace is on the ground floor but it is at present obscured by something of about 1950.

The attic west of the central stack has two tie beams holding back and front of the house together. In the west gable there is a brick hood to the currently invisible hearth on the ground floor and it is surmounted by a brick stack which must be mid-19th century. Beside it is a 19th century window. The gable itself has been raised but some ledges for purlins for thatch survive. Needless to say the present roof is 20th century and entirely of slate.

The east attic is longer and has narrow, and therefore late, worn planks on the floor. This has been a storage area. There is a small window in the north-east corner and the top of a sizeable chimney hood from the ground floor recedes into the stone stack.

The first floor has many features which are not original. However, it does have the only joists visible in the house. They are of the sort quite common in the Island where wood has always had a scarcity value. The joists are quite stout but look as if taken from the nearest hedge. They have beaded edges, where there was an edge to bead, which suggests late seventeenth or early eighteenth century in date.

These joists are to be found above a little corridor which runs west from the tourelle on the first floor along the main back wall of the house and would have led (there is now a bathroom in the way) to a small window in the west gable. It is suggested that such a corridor became quite common in the seventeenth-century houses for two purposes. Firstly, to make the space into two bedrooms by adding a wooden partition under the central beam. Secondly, perhaps more importantly, to make it possible to use the small west window to bring all kinds of dry goods, from bracken to strings of beans, into the house for storage in the attic.

The north wall of this corridor, that is to all appearances the back wall of the house, is itself of interest. It clearly had at one stage a window looking north. Today it looks on to a blank wall of which more below.

In this same back wall at ground floor level there is another pair of fine straight lintelled chamfered doorways in painted stone. They lead out of the kitchen, as do similar apertures in other houses of similar original date, into two small rooms at the back of the house. The more westerly is currently a scullery and the more easterly, which blocks the exit from the foot of the tourelle as noted above, was probably a larder and dairy, but it has had a small brick chimney which suggests a late 19th or early 20th century wash-house copper. The stone wall between these two little rooms is very thick, some two feet seven and a half inches. It needs to be strong. The ceiling of the larder and part of the ceiling in the scullery looks like two enormous dolmen stones. Are they?

A page of this article is missing here and will be added as soon as it can be scanned.

A plan of the property at the end of the 20th century

17th century records

It is possible in that case that three generations witnessed the planting of the first stone. What house were they living in at the time? John Paulet's?

However, in the early 17th century the three possible witnesses were: Edmond Le Gallays, who was buried in Saint Helier on 17 November 1629, his son Matthieu, who was buried on 12 April 1618, and his son, also called Edmond, who was made of age in 1621 and was buried on 15 October 1636. Did building begin between 1601 and 1619?

There are many references in registered contracts to the Le Gallais lands on Le Fief de Bellozanne in the early years or the Registre Public. In 1611 le long clos, in 1613 le bout du voest de la courte piece, in 1614 jardin et cotil joignant ... le chemin au Val Salmon aller jusques au doit. The same names appear in a Partage of 1616 and they recur as land changed hands within the family.

There is a Clos de la Hougue gesant aupres de la maison Jecques le brun in 1620. This one is important in relation to the existing old house at Surville. In 1630 the same Clos de la Hougue was leased in perpetuity to the Le Brun family and seems likely to have been the land now known as Clos Brun. Did the Le Gallais retain any capstones from their Hougue? It is worth noting that Rose Farm just to the north of Surville has a stone slab lintel to its front door which is believed to be unique. It juts out from the facade by about two feet. It was noted by Neil Molyneux that the underside is naturally smooth. It has not been quarried and is evidence for a dolmen source of stone in the area.

In 1631 the sisters, Anne and Jeanne Le Gallais, ceded their shares in an inheritance for small sums of rente to their elder brother Edmond fils Math. ... pour le maintien d'vne bon(n)e maison. They were acknowledging that he needed to have a viable agricultural holding. Their husbands were presumably providing adequately for them. It was quite normal for sisters and younger brothers to cede shares in property, but it is not usual to find the reason spelt out. Through the centuries it has been true, and it becomes more obviously so in modern times, that a family's holding in land cannot be expected to support ever increasing numbers of human beings. Channel Islanders have been fortunate in being able to use the sea as a highway and to make careers for themselves all round the world.

Widows had their legitimate third, of course, and maiden aunts or 'blind' uncles would always have bed and board while they contributed their skills for everyone's benefit. Tensions there must have been as the standard five bay family house struggled to shelter as many as three generations. Increasingly, in the 19th century a dower house was built as a small separate dwelling attached to the main house but run independently by the widow. Alternatively, as happened at Surville, a larger early Victorian house was built and became the main dwelling.

Back in 1632 there is an example of the common practice, begun much earlier as the 'open field' system of agriculture faded, of concentrating one's holding in land in one locality for ease and economy of management. Edmond Le Gallais parted with some land in the Mont Cochon area and acquired in exchange Le Clos de Herault ... fieu de labey de bellozanne ... gesant entre les terres dudit le gallais. The process continues, although an area which was viable in earlier centuries is often no longer so today. In 1635 Edmond acquired Le Clos de pinel evec le Jardin joignant ... fieu de Bellozanne. Access from the north to Surville is still via Ruette Pinel.

Tutelle

In 1636 Edmond died and a tutelle was appointed to look after his children. Their mother, Richarde Le Petevin, was among the electeurs who appointed as meneur or guardien Philippe Le Geyt. The latter, on the children's behalf, transacted in land both in St Lawrence and on the fief de Bellozanne in order to support, it would appear, the growing family and maintain solvency.

In 1637 as meneur, Philippe Le Geyt sold, that is for cash in the sum of trente escus sol po(u)r une fois payer avec trente sols en vin et vente ... , le fieu appeelle les hamonets dependent du fieu de melesches avec le Court verp guerp succession et aultres droicts et casualites qui an dependent generallem(en)t. This fief had been held by the Le Gallais since 1475 according to Payne. Its boundary with le fief payn en Herupe was established in 1608 and confirmed an earlier agreement of 1531.

In 1640 Nicolas Benest was appointed meneur and passed several contracts on behalf or his pupilles.

By 1650 Matthieu Le Gallais, the principal heir, was of age and started to reacquire par retrait lignager property which had been alienated during his minority. Thus le fieu des Hamonnetz came back into the family. At the end of 1653 his brother Edmond was made of age. In March 1654 he leased in perpetuity all his share of the inheritance from both father and grand-father to his elder brother Mathieu.

In 1657 Mathieu made things fair again by passing Le Mesnege de l'Anglois qui jadis ep(par)tenoit a Catherine Martell grand-mere desdyts Le Galleys ... St Laurent fieu des Arbres to his younger brother. In 1659 he gave to his sisters, Jeanne, Collette and Esther chacune dix cab de froment de rente par voye de partage.

Mathieu Le Gallais

In 1665 Mathieu Le Gallais, for the first time since he came of age, parted with unenclosed land on his home ground deux camps ... fieu de L'Abey de belleozanne ... un camp ... fieu de Melesches. The new owner was Mathieu Le Geyt.

There is no means of learning whether Mathieu worked his own land, worked in some other capacity and only directed the farm work before he went to Town, or else went to sea to earn some money but by 1669 he was able to reacquire the family's favourite fief, le fief de Surville from Amice Norman. It was described as part in Saint John and part Saint Helier. He had to agree to undertake such duties as applied and to pay all that might be due, also in addition the dix cabots quatre sixtonniers de froment de rente. As it is a sub-fief of Meleches, the dues, whether in kind or in cash, were payable to the Seigneur of Meleches.

In 1673 he leased in perpetuity to Jean de Ste Croix Sa maison du Val Salomon. This form of description indicates that it was not his only house. It is an interesting contract. Jean de Ste Croix could use the lavoir for washing his linen providing he shut the gate afterwards. He could use Le Gallais chasse, that is the one which runs down to the east, and keep straw in it if he wished, which suggests it was not being used for access to Surville at the time. The property was on le fief de l'Abbe de Bellozanne.

It was spring 1674 and poor Mathieu was in trouble. He sold some rente. It seems he had been in debt for some time and was regarde eu Chasteau a linstance de Philippe Le Geyt gene. However, his wife, Elizabeth Bisson, appeared in Court and guaranteed that that which was due would be paid. Nevertheless, in June 1678 Mathieu ceded all he had to his eldest son, also called Mathieu. He retained for his lifetime only vne Chambre au but de laest de le grand'maison avec le petit Cellier de la Maison de devant Com(m)e aussy ses fiefs des Ham(m)onets at de Surville et le Jardin du val fonteine Costil et Appartenances ... faite pour nourrir at entretenir de boire et manger Coucher et Lever ledit Mathieu le Gallais son pere et Elizabeth Bisson sa femme et les entretenir honestement d'habilem(en)t selon leur Capacite leur vie durante ... . Young Mathieu also had to discharge any debts there might be. The reference to la Maison de devant probably indicates an old house on the site of the early Victorian house.

It would appear that Mathieu subsequently regained control of his property because in 1686 he 'sold' several pieces of land and Elizabeth Bisson abandoned dower rights. At the end of 1699 Mathieu was dead. His younger children ceded their shares of inheritance from him and from their mother when her death should come, to the eldest, also Mathieu, for rente.

In 1701 Mathieu leased and sold Le Clos de Potteine sur le fief de Surville in the Parish of St John. It was not Le Gallais land but came from his mother, Elizabeth Bisson. Then in 1716 he, by then described as 'Mathieu Le Gallais senior', ceded his house, lands including his fief de Surville, to his eldest son Mathieu Le Gallais in order that he and his wife, Catherine La Cras, should be looked after for life. They were to have six sous par semaine to spend. In addition the two younger children were to be looked after for les trois ans prochains venants. It sounds as if the family finances were still shaky. This Mathieu married Elizabeth Poingdestre. She died in about 1745 and he about 1774.

Marriage stone

Their son was also called Mathieu and there were five daughters who, in 1774 ceded their inheritance to their brother for rente, 15 cabots each. This latter Mathieu married Marie Poingdestre, fille d'Abraham. This couple have provided the only marriage stone found at Surville. It reads 17 MLGL:MPD 56, and has every appearance of being in its original position. This couple were married at St John's Church on 20 April 1755. She came from Saint Lawrence. In the lifetime or Mathieu's father they must have built the outbuilding which bears their initials as described above. They are incised in the lintel of the window which faces east in the building at the bottom or the yard and which included the pressoir or cider making equipment. It is noted that the inscription is competently executed but the 56 is the work of a different, probably older mason. There is a tour a cidre on the property. It was acquired by the Chamberlayne family and is now a decorative feature in the front garden of the Victorian house. The southern part or this building has 19th century additions, including a brick chimney in the south gable and beyond that the manure pit, the liquid manure pit, the pump and, at a slightly higher level, the site of a 'one-holer' necessaire for the use of human beings.

It is likely that this Mathieu and this Marie were responsible for the renovation of the house east of the central chimney and occupied it while old Mathieu, the widower, occupied the western portion. On 4 December 1781 Mathieu acquired Le Cotil de Friquet from Philippe Beaucamp in exchange for another cotil and the contract states: se reserve ledit Beaucamp le Jeon croissant sur ledit Cotil pour cette annee seulement. Gorse (le geon) was an important fuel, used especially in the bread oven, and it is worth noting that in some parts of the Island it begins to flower at Christmas. The fresh growth in spring used to be considered worth chopping up to add to the horses' diet.

Partage

By May 1784 both Mathieu and Marie had died. There was a joint partage. Their elder son was another Mathieu and got almost all the land and le fief de Surville with this express condition: pour demeurer impartable a quiconque sera Aine ou Ainee de la Famille dudit Mathieu de race en race a fin d'heritage. The Le Gallais of Surville were feeling rather more sure of themselves, but clearly recognised that a self-imposed entail would be of benefit to future generations. The lands are listed and areas given. The younger son, Jean, got his share in rentes and the daughter, Marie, got La Piece de Noirmont, excepte le Desert. One wonders whether Jean had already settled abroad and, therefore, had no need of land, and whether Marie simply wanted a view of Noirmont. Her husband was Philippe Ahier.

In 1796 Mathieu Le Gallais acquired Le Fief des Hammones once more on condition that it should always be part of the inheritance of the principal heir from generation to generation for ever. Nevertheless, he parted with it again in 1810. In 1797 he became owner of Le Moulin de Friquet, which is on the Fief de la Godeliere, This water-mill was leased and sold again in 1809.

In 1818 this same Mathieu's wife was Marie Poingdestre, fille de Philippe. By 1821 she was his widow. There were still children under tutelle in 1834. By 1835 she had married for the third time, to Charles de Ste Croix, and there was a Bail de Partage for the Le Gallais children: Matthieu, Jean, Mary Ann, Rachel and Elizabeth. Jean got some 21 vergees, out of which he had to provide rente for his sisters. In 1837 he passed some 10 vergees on the fief de l'Abbe de Bellozanne to his elder brother. In 1839 Matthieu Le Gallais as Seigneur de Surville abandoned Seigneurial rights on land which belonged to le Rectorat de St Helier.

Paulet and Le Gallais connection

The year 1841 is the next date of note in the Surville saga, together with the Arms of the Paulet family. Despite extensive research it has not been possible so far to find a convincing connection between Paulet and Le Gallais or with the family of a Le Gallais wife. What is quite possible, however, is that there may have been a stone or other evidence in the old buildings on the site of the Victorian house which bears the date 1841, something which bore Paulet arms similar to the fine lintel at Le Manoir de Handois, or even the 16th century tombstone at the same property. It is well known that when a house has been allowed to get into a poor state of repair the heavy granite lintels over the hearths fall and often break. Could something of the sort be the reason why the Le Gallais displayed Paulet arms so prominently on their new house? Perhaps the English priest, John Paulet did, in fact, live on his rabbit warren.

Whatever the reason, 1841 is the date which accompanies the Arms of Paulet in cement on the garden wall next to what must have been the principal access to the front door in the east gable of the house, for horse and carriage or pony and trap. The gateway in the wall is built to precisely the right angle for such a purpose. It is generally agreed that 1841 is about the right date for the house. Others built to a similar plan where the date of construction is known are La Foret, Saint Mary, about 1850; Westlands, Saint Brelade, 1850-51; and La Croix es Mottes, Saint Saviour.

It is one or those country houses of the mid-19th century which have three windows on the ground floor and three above in the south facade with the front door up steps in the east gable. These houses have cellars which make them stand high and look imposing. They belong to the time when locally made brick was becoming widely used for window and door apertures, as well as for chimneys. Rubble stone of no particular quality was used in between, because it was intended to render all the exterior walls. This was the case at Surville.

The south was carefully proportioned and surmounted by a pediment in which the Arms of Paulet are displayed together with the legend CARDES LAFOY under the shield. All three ground floor windows have had their sills dropped in the mid-20th century to turn them into French windows leading on to a terrace, from which there is a superb view down the valley.

At about the same time a large drawing-room was added to the east end of the house and the front door was transferred to the north side. It is certainly more practical to park one's horseless carriage in the yard. A wing has also been added at some time to the west gable, probably by the late George Amy Romeril, in about 1930.

The house has a fine staircase with turned balusters, curved mahogany rail and a neatly turned newel at the foot sealed with what looks like bone but whatever the little plug is the tradition is that its presence shows that the builder's bills had been paid. There are rounded recesses on either side of the stair window which is an elegant twelve pained sash with semicircular head above. The hallway which runs into the middle of the house from the east has six-panelled doors and doorways with mid-19th century features. The kitchen faces north, sensibly overlooking the yard and the earlier house.

The cellars under the house must have been used to store the cider casks, probably also a saleur. It is quite possible that the butter was made here. It would have been cool for the storage of milk and cream. At the west end there is a doorway wide enough to reverse in a horse and cart. No signs of any earlier buildings have been seen in the foundations.

Matthieu and Jane Nicolle

The new house must have been the home of Matthieu Le Gallais and his wife Jane Nicolle. They were married at Trinity Church on 21 September 1843. She was the eldest daughter and heir of Jean Nicolle and Jeanne Noel his first wife.

In December 1845 the boundary of the Fief de Surville where it adjoins the Fiefs de Collette des Augres et du Buisson was defined. The Seigneur of these other fiefs at that date was Francois Godfray fils Hugh. Then in 1849 the Seigneur of Surville, Matthieu Le Gallais fils Mathieu leased and sold to his overlord the Seigneur de Meleches, the same Francois, Godfray Ecr. fils Hugh, that portion of the Surville Fief which was within the boundary of the Parish or Saint Helier to be incorporated into the principal fief. The Le Gallais fortunes were none too secure as several other contracts passed in the same year show.

In 1868, however, the tables were turned. Godfray, who had acquired much land of a feudal nature around the Island, had died, and his son Francois Amiraux Godfray avait ete recu a remettre son bien entre les mains de la Justice. He, with the consent of Jurats David de Quetteville and Josue Le Bailey, returned to Matthieu Le Gallais La branche du Fief et Seigneurie de Surville qui est situe en la paroisse de St Helier pour etre jointe et incorporee avec ledit fief, as it had been formerly with all its rights and privileges. Le Gallais assigned rentes in payment. They were not his but his wife's. She was present in Court to agree and guarantee the transaction. Her name was given as Jane Mauger, which appears to be an error for Jane Nicolle. Also present and consenting was Albina Godfray, the only sibling of Francois Amiraux Godfray.

Matthieu Le Gallais and Jane Nicolle had ten children, of whom only four survived their parents. They all had two Christian names in the fashionable anglicised forms. They had started bravely with Edmund Matthew, but it was the third born son John Matthew who headed the list in the partage of both parents' property in 1891. The family home Surville passed entire together with Le Fief de Surville to John Matthew. He did not long retain his inheritance. There is a story, apparently, that it was lost in a game of poker. He sold, including his fief, in 1896 to Charles Le Quesne, fils Jean.

Charles Le Quesne

Charles Le Quesne must have done some repairs immediately, because the cement apex under the slate roof of the most northerly building records CVL 1898 at both east and west ends. These must be the initials of the man who did the work, possibly Charles Vallois. This building is itself of considerable interest. It is in two main portions, the older being the more westerly. It has the remnants or two early doorways. One or them, which is narrow, is now a window and the other has been widened to give better access to cattle. Its original width can be defined because there are pintle holes in both sill and lintel for the original wooden door. Both doorways may have originated in a dwelling but there is no sign of chimneys in the gables so it is concluded that this has always been a farm outbuilding. The quoins appear to be in their original positions. It is clear that the yard level has been lowered towards the west. On the upper floor there were only ventilation slits in the south facade, It may be that access for hay was originally via the gable end but in the nineteenth century loading and unloading doorways were inserted in brick on the south side. The eastern portion of the building is a 19th-century stable, initially for horses, but later altered to allow for an increase in the number of cows kept. Tucked against the east gable is a small 19th-century cottage. Some 20th century additions have been made to the west of this block, including a horse's stable at the foot.

No obvious grange or barn has been noted. It may be that oats and wheat were stored above the pressoir but one can imagine if that was the case that, in some seasons, cereals and apples would have been competing for the space. The pigstys are to the north of the pressoir with a covered area for a loaded van to stand overnight between the two.

Finally, stepping back in time again to the early 20th century, Charles Le Quesne's heirs sold the property to John Philippe Romeril in 1905. His son George Amy Romeril was in charge during the difficult years of the Germen Occupation. It is reported that in order to make it possible for a neighbouring farmer to bring his cows to George Amy Romeril's bull, contact had to be made with the German forces. They had a rifle range in the valley and would only stop firing for a very short period of time. Visits to the bull became a very scary experience. The neighbour's son says they could never be sure they would get home in time. George Amy Romeril sold Surville in 1949 to Tankerville Seymour Roca Chamberlayne.

The Chamberlayne family enjoyed their home at Surville for almost 50 years. They left their mark nowhere more firmly then on the drive down from the north. It must have been concreted in 1959 and at least two of the children pressed their hands into the damp cement. Mrs Chamberlayne recalls that the whole family, as well as their helpers, the dogs and the horses left their marks but she comments "Our concrete has not endured as well as the Jersey granite".

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