La Motte Street

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Manoir de La Motte in 1958

La Motte Street is one of the oldest streets in the town of St Helier, showing clearly on maps from as early as the 17th century. The road led from the end of Rue du Milieu (now Queen Street) at Carrefour de la Pompe de Haut (now Snow Hill) to Manoir de la Motte. The building was demolished in 1958 but there are conflicting views as to whether this was the original 15th century building or a later replacement. It may seem strange that there should have been a traditional Jersey country house on what is now a busy junction, but before La Motte Street was created, this was open countryside

The seven houses of Hemery Row, with the entrance to Ann Street on the right and La Motte House just showing on the left. The Street was an up-market residential area when this painting was created, with houses with large gardens along its length, including the back garden of Colomberie House, left of centre

Emile Guiton

Writing in the Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise in 1959 Emile Guiton is quite clear that the house, which was then known as Manoir de Saint Helier, fell into disrepair and was demolished in the 15th century. He says that after it became a ruin the stones and timber were carted to Gorey Castle, and probably used in building the Harleston Tower. There was nothing left of the building of the 15th century.

Guiton says that it is not known when it was rebuilt, but it must have remained an open site on the eastern edge of the town for some time, before a new house, known variously as Manoir de la Motte, Maison la Motte, Manoir de Tehi, or Maison de Tehy, was built. This became the residence of the Lieut-Governor in the 18th century, and it was here that Moyse Corbet was famously captured by the French invaders on the day of the Battle of Jersey.

La Motte House in 1912. The property had this name as early as 1851, when the census shows furniture broker, Englishman John Gaskell living there. Ten years later the head of household was Margaret Baker, whose Royal Navy Captain husband was obviously away on duty. In 1871 Elizabeth Bertram was running a boarding school at La Motte House, which is numbered 44 La Motte Street. By 1880 a Mrs Brown was running a boarding house there, and an 1886 almanac shows the occupants as the Misses Perry. Piano maker F J Walden lived at No 44 over the turn of the century, followed by a Mrs Ellis and then J R Turner in 1910. Although this photograph taken two years later shows the name La Motte House on the facade of the building, there is no mention of this name in census returns and almanac entries after 1851. By 1940 the property has been rebuilt and opened as La Motte Private Hotel, later changed to just La Motte Hotel, which operated there through most of the remainder of the 20th century.

Edmund Nicolle

However, Edmund Nicolle, like Guiton a Secretary of La Société Jersiaise, wrote in his Town of St Helier published in 1931 that the property then in existence was of a construction consistent with a 15th century building, suggesting that it was rebuilt earlier than Guiton proposed.

"In 1476 it belonged with its pigeon house and other manorial appurtenances to Raulin Lempriere, who in June of that year sold it to Perrotin Tehy. An authenticated copy of the deed of sale is to be found in the Public Registry and has been published by the Société Jersiaise. This fine granite front has, in recent years, sad to relate, been cemented over, whilst the interior has undergone modern embellishments, which have obliterated the distinctive features of this remarkable oldhouse; but a mere examination of the gables which are no less than 6 feet thick, the square tower with its stone staircase (now covered over with boards) and its small square windows shows clearly that the building is of early construction.

It would certainly appear to date from the commencement of the 15th century. The deed of sale is dated 1476, so that we cannot err in asserting that the house is five centuries old.


Joan Stevens

One of the greatest authorities on Jersey houses, Joan Stevens, suggests in Volume 1 of her Old Jersey Houses that it was between 1479 and 1481, after the sale by Lempriere to Tehy, that the manor was in ruins and the stones and wood removed to Mont Orgueil.

"The house must have been rebuilt soon afterwards, though it is difficult to see what condition it was in when it was purchased by Tehy and came to be known by his name."

Important buildings

It is at the eastern end of the street, towards the junction with St James Street, Ann Street, Grosvenor Street and St Saviour's Road, that the buildings of the greatest historical importance were erected. The area forms part of the Fief du Buisson.

Before the street was developed, the north side consisted of open fields belonging to Manoir de Tehi and the south side belonged to Colomberie House on nearby Colomberie. In 1798 a large tract of land belonging to the Manoir's owner, Jean Brohier, was acquired by Jacques Hemery Additional fields were purchased from Thomas Pipon and Charles William Le Geyt and Jacques Hemery built a row of seven town houses, as homes for his late brother's six sons and one daughter.

This is Hemery Row, and five of the seven houses survive today. Four have had the original cement rendering removed to reveal the fine granite work beneath.

  • A history of La Motte Street, a 2016 article based on a Jersey Archive presentation
  • History of La Motte Street, a 2019 article based on a further Jersey Archive presentation. It largely duplicates information contained in other Jerripedia articles, but has been included as part of our policy to make these important Archive presentations easily available in the future


No 51, between the junctions with Ann Street and St Saviour's Road, the home of the builder of Hemery Row

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Was this a visiting band staying at the 'Boarding Establishment' at 47 La Motte Street. If not, what were they doing posing for a photograph on the pavement? Either way, we don't know when the picture was taken. The bandsmen look possibly French, so they could have been participating in one of the Concours musicale in the early 20th century


La Motte Street businesses

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