Le Catel

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Jersey houses


Le Catel, Trinity


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Property name

Le Catel

Other names

  • Le Catel de Rozel
  • Le Catel Farm
  • Le Catel House

Location

Rue des Cotes du Nord, Trinity [1]

Type of property

18th century farmhouse with mainly 19th century outhouses. [2] It has features, including a well, dating to the middle of the 18th century. Datestones show that the property can be traced back at least another century, whilst history establishes a much earlier origin. Unfortunately, with the building of the present farmhouse and outbuildings, all trace of the former house has been lost barring, perhaps, some interior walls.

Valuations

According to one database of house sales, this property sold for £1,575,000 in 2010. However, a second reference correctly relates this sale to the nearby Le Catel in Rue du Catel.

Families associated with the property

Datestones

18 PDG MDG 22 - For Philippe and Marie de Gruchy






History

On the site of the present early 19th century house, previously stood the home of Matthieu (Macy) Le Riche (c.1400- ). Surviving contracts and early court records have enabled the owners of this property, from ancient times, to be known. Matthieu Le Riche had a son, Nicolas, who was succeeded by his son and grandson, both named Regnauld Le Riche. The latter married Perronelle de Gruchy and had issue an eldest son, Jean Le Riche (c.1500- ), husband of Collette Chevalier, daughter of Thomas. From Collette, through a purchase, by way of `partage,` from Jean Malzard, in right of his wife Marguerite Chevalier, eldest sister of Collette, is based the Le Riche`s claim to the St Helier Fief Hocquin, for which they paid the Crown annually 10 sous, a charge paid by their descendants Le Riche and de Gruchy into the 20th century.

Captain Philippe George de Gruchy (1880-1969), , Commodore of the Clan Line and owner of Le Catel

Jean Le Riche and Collette, his wife had issue, amongst others, an eldest son named Vincent, whose `ainé` was Jean Le Riche, husband of Marguerite du Feu, daughter of Lucas (see note 1, of his tree). Their son Thomas, who also owned this, the paternal property of Le Catel de Rozel, had issue by Sara Blampied, his wife, Regnauld (Renaud) Le Riche, father of Jean. The latter, of Le Catel, married Appoline du Fresne and had issue an eldest daughter and heiress, who married Elie de Gruchy of the property, until recently, called Brookvale, in Trinity.

Elie de Gruchy and his wife farmed her family`s former land at Le Catel, much of it lying behind the once-named "Roman Wall" which was, in fact, an Iron Age fort and encampment that gave its name to the area. Their son, Jean de Gruchy, married Susanne Cabot of Trinity and, inheriting the property, left engraved at the back of the house their initials and date: "JDG.SCB.1755". Their grandson, Jean de Gruchy, was perhaps the Jean (being the third of three, in direct succession) who gave his name, Le Havre Jean de Gruchy, to the picturesque little cove and anchorage below Beauvallet, which can be reached by crossing one of the family`s fields and walking down a track. Having inherited from his father at an early age, Jean sold the property in 1797 to his brother, Philippe.

Jean de Gruchy`s youngest brother, Elie de Gruchy (1783-1852), settled in St Helier. He was a Master Mariner and privateer commander, co-owning the privateer brig Hope, in 1809 and 1810, which he commanded. He became a shipowner, co-owning in 1822, the schooner Hazard and in 1824 owning the cutter Horatio. For many years, he owned the Guernsey Lily, which gave him his house-flag, when he became also a merchant, of a Guernsey Lily upon a red pennant: Jersey and Guernsey Almanac (1827). His merchant business was conducted from 19, Broad Street [3]

The above Philippe de Gruchy commemorated his ownership with a stone on the south facade bearing his and his wife`s initials and date: "18 PDG.MDG 22". Philippe de Gruchy was still alive, aged 75, at the time of the 1851 Census of Trinity, farming with his son, also named Philippe, 24 acres, being approximately 60 vergées, a sizeable holding by Jersey standards. Philippe junior, who inherited in due course, was both Farmer and Master Mariner. He became in 1855, Centenier of Trinity, an office he was still holding shortly before his premature death, aged 44, in 1862, which probably also denied the parish an able future Constable.

The situation of the farmhouse with an upstairs view, in two directions, of the sea, will have led to several other sons choosing for their careers, the sea. One, however, who would have inherited on coming of age, was Jean de Gruchy (1852-1870), son of the last-named Philippe. However, a family row led to his walking out on the family, going down to Rozel Harbour and being taken aboard a collier brig awaiting the tide. He transferred in England to a deep-sea vessel, which failed to reach its destination. His loss at sea was reported in the Chroniques de Jersey in May 1870.

The ill-fated Jean's nephew, another mariner, who owned Le Catel, was Captain Philippe George de Gruchy (1880-1972). He went to sea in the latter days of sail, then converted to steam, becoming an officer employed by the Clan Line, whose ships were all named after Scotland`s ancient clans. He became a most competent Commodore of the Line. He recorded to the author of these notes the following anecdote. When he was a junior Mate in the early 1900s, his steamer put into a Brazilian port. He was off-duty, wandering around the harbour, when he came across a Jersey vessel stranded by the death of the captain and most of the crew from tropical fever. He offered to sail her home with a skeleton crew, an offer that was most gladly accepted by the owners` agent, which he succeeded in undertaking, to the relief of the Jersey owners and to the enhancement of his reputation as a seaman. He served in the Merchant Navy, with Clan Line, throughout both World Wars, retiring to Le Catel. Finding himself childless, he let to his wife`s family, Querée, his farmhouse and land, and retired to a bungalow overlooking the sea, at Rozel Harbour.

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

Historic farm group with early-mid 19th century granite house retaining its historical character and proportions. The outbuildings add significance to the group as a whole.

The house emulates the polite architecture of Georgian fashion but with a continuing local character.

Old Jersey Houses

Not mentioned, although the 1822 stone is listed in Volume Two

Notes and references

  1. Although this property was shown in its HER listing to be on Rue du Catel, it is not. The junction with Rue du Catel is just to the east. There is another property called Le Catel a short distance along Rue du Catel, also listed by HER. Considerable confusion has been caused by showing information about one property in the record of the other. We are still checking the data to ensure that each property is properly identified
  2. It is becoming increasingly common to find properties dated as though an initialed and dated stone indicated the date of construction, which is only true in a limited number of cases. This is one of hundreds of houses throughout the Island that were rebuilt or amended in the 18th century
  3. The Strangers` Guide to Guernsey and Jersey (1833)
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