The Exeter

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Inns and public houses


ExeterQueenStreet.jpg


The owner and family outside the Exeter, Queen Street, at about the end of the 19th century


The Exeter Inn at 22 Queen Street is one of the oldest surviving public houses in Jersey. The name first appears in the 1861 census, but it is known that there was an inn there before. In 1851 Sophie Mann (1803- ) was the registered innkeeper, living their with her hairdresser son Edwin (1834- ). Philip Ahier's Historical Hotels and Inns of Jersey, the definitive work on the island's old public houses, notes: 'of the early tenants of this hotel, little is known'.

Henry Boyce

That is far from true. For many years it was known as Boyce's Exeter Hotel, after the owner or tenant, Henry John Boyce, who is first recorded in the 1871 census. Henry was born in London in 1834, and although one census return shows that his wife Louisa Emma, nee Davey (1841- ) was born in St Brelade, other records show her born in England, as were six of their eight children.

Henry was a brushmaker before he came to Jersey, but he certainly seems to have made a success of running one of the most important inns in the centre of St Helier, remaining at the Exeter until close to the end of the century when it was taken over by Samuel Picot (not in the 1880s as shown in Philip Ahier's book).

The Exeter was run by Charles Henry Mann (1811- ) in 1861. He was presumably related to Sophie, but we have been unable to discover how. The census shows him living at the Exeter with his wife Sara, nee Hutchings (1803- ) and daughter Sarah Elizabeth 91844- ) all born in England.

Freemasons

In between the Manns and Henry Boyce, a Mr Clark is known to have been the landlord. So popular was his establishment with the Freemasons who met there regularly that they had to be ordered by their Grand Lodge to move to the recently erected Masonic Temple in 1866.

Philip Ahier's book relates that the Yarborough Lodge of the Freemasons first met at the Exeter in 1849 and returned there in 1860, against the wishes of some of the members, because the landlord was Mr C H Mara, the lodge's Worshipful Master. This is presumably a misprint for Charles Henry Mann, who was allowed to continue in both roles until 1857.

The Lodge met at the Exeter on the first Monday in each month from 1812 to 1864. The Chapter of Harmony Lodge met there from 1849 to 1865 before merging with the Yarborough Lodge.

Picots

Samuel Picot was living at the Exeter in 1901. He was the husband of Elizabeth Jane, nee Moyse (1866- ). Living with them was their son Harold Samuel (1888- ) and Samuel's sister in law Alice Parris (1871- ). Samuel was born in Trinity in 1864, the son of Charles Picot (1820-1891) and Mary Ann Le Cocq (1822- )

According to Philip Ahier, Samuel sold the Exeter to his sister-in-law Helena Morrissey in 1813, and for the next two decades it was more commonly known as Morrissey's. This conflicts with almanac listings, which shows the public house in the name of E M Morrissey in 1920, and H A M Morrissey in 1930.

Ahier wrote:

"The family lived on the first floor of the premises in quite spacious accommodation that was later to become the lounge of the hotel. The alterations were planned for before the war, but were not finally ready until 1950, following the interruption of the Occupation years. By this time the downstairs bar had been doubled in size by moving the lounge upstairs. The small band that used to play in the public bar in pre-war days was later replaced by a television set, one of the first to be installed in a public house in the island."

Reginald Le Cocq took over the reins from his mother-in-law in 1935, although he had been helping at the bar since 1920, after he returned from a life at sea. He described his customers as 'a mixed bag of ex-servicemen, pensioners, retired businessmen and the ordinary fellow'. Women were still reluctant to run the gauntlet of disapproval that they would incur by being seen in a public house, although it was becoming acceptable for an escorted lady to enjoy a quiet glass of port and lemon in the upstairs lounge bar. Mr Le Cocq left the Exeter in the 1960s and was followed as landlord by J Healey and then William Stockton.

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