La Ferriere

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Jersey houses


La Ferriere, St Saviour


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Property name

La Ferriere

Other names

  • Hillsborough House
  • La Ferriere Cottage [1]
  • La Ferriere Farmhouse [2]
  • La Petite Ferriere [3]
  • La Ferriere House

Location

Prince's Tower Road, St Saviour

Type of property

19th century 'cod' house [4]

Valuations

  • La Ferriere Cottage and land were sold for £2.2 million in 2014
  • La Ferriere Farmhouse and La Ferriere Cottage were sold together for £1,115,000 in 2016
  • La Ferriere was sold for £775,000 in 2016

Families associated with the property

Datestones

  • TM.E 1661 - Damaged keystone from former arch for Timothee Mourant, [5] who married Elizabeth Ahier in St Saviour on 24 January 1638
  • 1732 above door east side, northern end
  • IMR MF 1755 - Above the main garden gate, for Jean Mourant and Marie Falle, married in St Saviour on 10 January 1721
  • IM 1835 on northern end of old farm building and, in a similar style, 1841 on west facing farm building - for Jean Mourant

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

A good example of an early-mid 19th century Jersey Cod House retaining historic character and some features, forming a group with adjoining farm buildings. Early-mid 19th century, circa 1825-1850.

The house originally belonged to John Le Gallais the jeweller and a picture of the house appears in the book Royal Journeys.

A grand house, with five bays, three storeys with lean to (La Ferriere House), L-shaped farm cottages and stables; to the east (La Ferriere Cottage, La Ferriere Farmhouse and La Petite Ferriere).

The interior of the main house is two room2 wide, double pile with central passage, and tradesman's entrance from the yard and passage to kitchen. Features of interest are the dogleg staircase opposite original entrance (now relocated to side) rising to second floor; the four-panel doors on the ground floor, and the six-panel doors with beading on the first floor. Some room divisions have been altered.

In the adjoining cottage, the 19th century matchboard panelling survives. Otherwise the remainder of the outbuildings have been converted into residential use and modernised.

Old Jersey Houses

An entry in Volume One identifies the property as much older than the house which now stands there.

"One of the halberd houses, which had the duty of escorting prisoners from Mont Orgueil to their trial at the Royal Court. The present house does not suggest any great age, and is thought to be one of the 'cod houses' built by those who made money in the Newfoundland fishing industry.
"It is clear that it is built round a much earlier structure, [6] from its very thick walls."
Jean Le Gallais and his family photographed outside La Ferriere by Ernest Baudoux

History

This history of the property was taken from an article by Nick Jouault, which first appeared in Jerrripedia in 2013

Some years ago I looked rather unsuccessfully into the history of this property as a Ralph Thompstone had lived here with his aunt. Ralph had been at Victoria College with my uncle, Richard Jouault DFC (1920-1942).

I recently had the chance to look around the building and became a bit more intrigued about its past, so the following is a work in progress:

Victorian house

La Ferrière consists of a large three-storey Victorian house and adjoining converted farm buildings. There are a number of datestones to be seen, mostly on the farmhouse. [7]

Godfray Map of 1849

On the Godfray map is shown R (Robert) Brown (1792- ) born in St Helier, who was involved in many property transactions, but as yet I am not aware what his trade or business was. [8] In 1851 he handed over his affairs to his brother Daniel (1802- ), a miller and baker, and Daniel was living at the property which was then called Hillsborough House, in 1852. Daniel sold it to Jean Le Gallais, son of Nicolas, of St Helier, a silversmith and clock retailer. It is presumed this is when the name La Ferrière, which means a smith in French originated. [9]

Two weeks after the sale Daniel purchased a property from Jeanne Wimbée (1805-1870) wife of Julien Jouault (1895-1879), my great great grandparents. As Julien was a French national he was not allowed to have property in his name, although later he did become a British National and returned to France.

It is said that Jean Le Gallais had La Ferriere built, but I do wonder if it was actually Brown who did so. [10] It would appear that Le Gallais did not live here until after 1861. The following are listed in the census: Edgar Bayley (54) England, late Captain 12th Regiment, wife Elizabeth Bayley (47), daughters: Georgina (19), Fredrica (17), Charlotte (15), son Boné (14).

At the farm were Thomas Baudains (39) widower, son Thomas (10), daughters Jane (9), Ann (7).

The building certainly looked new when Le Gallais was pictured there with his son Theodore (1853-1903) [11] who went on to become Receiver-General, and his nephew Henri Le Bailly, his daughters Rebecca and Noemi. Rebecca married a Canadian, the Rev Josias Jesse Roy (1849-1931). Rebecca died in the 1880s and her sister went on to marry her widowed brother-in-law. Jean died in 1872 and although I think the family continued to own La Ferrière, the daughters remained in Canada, and Theodore lived in St Helier.

Census returns

In the 1881 census are listed Army Major Henry Charles Spearman, born Baden, Germany, 1836, died Battersea, 1891, and his family. The farm was occupied by Francis C Mourant (33) born St Helier, and family, a farmer of 24 acres.

In the 1891 census John Claudius Raven (59), born Jersey, a retired Army Officer, wife Isabella (McPherson) (49), of NSW Australia, and children born Victoria, Australia. By 1901 they were living at Beverley Lodge, Colomberie. At the farm were Francis C Mourant (44) and wife Jane (49).

In the 1901 census, Thomas Payn (54), retired Magistrate-Barrister, and his wife Jeanne Payn (61) were at La Ferriere and at the farm were F C Mourant (53) and wife Eliza (59).

The 1911 census recorded Marie Warin (41) married, French, and Aline Gaudefroy (67) her mother, widow. At the farm were Walter Le Gros (40) born Clairfield, St Saviour, his wife Jane (34) born Les Fontaines, St Martin, daughters Irene (7), and Marjorie (4).

There is also mention of a Charles Jones, of La Ferrière, whose his daughter Catherine Elizabeth (1830- ) married Naval officer Charles Burney and their son, Sir Cecil Burney (1858-1929) who became Admiral of the Fleet, the second highest Royal Navy officer of his day and the most senior British Serviceman ever to be born in Jersey.

Notes and references

  1. The Cottage was built on part of the land owned together with the main house
  2. This description, in English, will date from the latter part of the 19th century, and was used to distinguish the farm from the main house
  3. Adjoining the other properties
  4. The name popularly given to large country houses which were not farmhouses but built by ship owners and merchants from profits made in the code trade, or similar activities
  5. Joan Stevens, in Old Jersey Houses, Volume 11, under Datestones thought this stone was for a Thomas Mourant. It was Timothee
  6. This now seems unlikely, as the Mourant family had lived each generation, to judge by their datestones and genealogy, in what is now La Ferriere Farmhouse. Even the last Mourant to live here, Jean Mourant, added his initials with the date 1834 to the farmhouse. The latter was clearly the family`s dwelling-house for generations prior to 1834, whilst the present three-storey house was probably only built in the 1840s. That leaves few years for another building, as suggested. Perhaps Robert Brown, as a builder, intended to be warm, whatever the winter weather?
  7. These relate to the Mourant family, who owned this and two other properties nearby, in the 17th century, namely the farm near La Hougue Bie named Les Pigneaux and Champ Colin. Judging by the "Pedigree of Mourant", in J.B. Payne, An Armorial of Jersey, 294, and the 1637 datestone, what would later be called La Ferrière was owned in that year by Timothy Mourant, the elder son of Timothy, elder son of Timothy, elder son of Helier, elder son of Drouet Mourant, who was living in 1500. It was therefore, if the early genealogy is correct, the chef mainte of the Island`s Mourant family. Timothy`s nephew John Mourant, seems to have inherited his uncle`s home, as John`s grandson had his and his wife`s initials engraved there in 1755: "IMR.MF", as above. John had married a Poingdestre co-heiress and his great-grandson, Edward Mourant, married a co-heiress of the Luce family, which will have increased the family`s income in rentes and benefited them socially. Edward thus became both a Captain in the Militia and Constable of the parish, 1770-1773, having served as Centenier for no less than fifteen years. His younger brother, Joshua, followed suit in marrying another co-heiress. His grandson, also named Edward Mourant, became Seigneur of Samares, a Jurat and Lieutenant-Bailiff. To return to the Constable, Edouard Mourant, his elder son, a clergyman, having died without issue, the second son, Jean Mourant inherited the property, leaving his initials IM and the date 1835 on the farm building. This is significant, as it indicates that the farm was still the principal dwelling and that the three-storey house was as yet unbuilt. Shortly afterwards though, by 1849, the farmhouse and land passed into the hands of the builder, Robert Brown, whom we can now say, with some confidance, did build the present fine mansion, named by Jean Le Gallais, La Ferrière
  8. Robert Brown was a Builder, described as such in the 1841 census, hence the large number of property transactions. The pattern of transactions would indicate, in most instances, a speculator.
  9. Indeed, but not for this reason. Jurat G.F.B. de Gruchy always said that the Le Gallais descendants of the St Helier branch of his family, had named the house after the estate of Marshal de Grouchy, to the south of Caen, in Normandy. They and his own branch of the family had spent many memorable holidays there
  10. Brown was a builder, so is likely to have done so
  11. Theodore Le Gallais, M.A. (Cantab.), an Old Victorian, was a Captain RJM, an advocate, Constable and twice Deputy of St Saviour and Receiver-General. He and his wife were childless, so they lived elsewhere, at one time at Le Hocq and then on the edge of Town
Another Baudoux photograph
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