Le Ponterrin

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Jersey houses



S19LePonterrinStSArchGuiton.jpg


A close-up of the attractive arched front entrance, photographed by Emile Guiton


A drawing of Le Ponterrin from Old Jersey Houses omitting recent additions to the property

Property name

Le Ponterrin

Other names

  • Ponterrin
  • Ponterrin Manor
  • The Monastery
  • Ponterrin Cottages
  • Le Petit Ponterrin - An 18th century house on the opposite side of the road from Le Ponterrin, demolished in 1990 [1]

Location

Rue du Ponterrin, St Saviour

Type of property

16th century house with older origins and converted 17th century gatehouse and outbuildings

Valuations

Several parts of the complex have been sold in recent years. In 2012 Le Ponterrin Cottages with the old house known as the Monastery was sold for £1.5 million, and Le Ponterrin was sold for £2,080,000. In 2015 Le Ponterrin Cottage was sold for £500,000. In 2020 Le Ponterrin was sold for £1,925,000. In 2021 Le Ponterrin Barn was sold for £2.3 million.

Families associated with the property

See OJH section below for details

  • Ponterre
  • De St Hilaire (1331)
  • De Barentin
  • Payn (1367)
  • Bailhache
  • Falle
  • Dumaresq
  • Le Hardy
  • De Faye

Datestones

  • PF 1745 - For Philippe Falle
  • JJN ♥♥ SDGC 1828 - For Jean François Journeaux and Susanne de Gruchy, who married in St Saviour on 26 July 1823 [2]
  • RDM 1726 - For Richard Dumaresq [3]
  • TLHDY 1782 - For Thomas Le Hardy [4]
The original house while derelict, and, below restored

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

16th century house with medieval origins; and 17th century gatehouse range. Associated with Fief du Ponterrin.

The site is of great importance as a rare survivor of an early type of Jersey farmhouse and the quality of the architecture and of the decorated granite is exceptional. Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795.

The property takes its name from a fief in Trinity which was granted to the Abbesse de Caen by William I around the date of the Conquest, which in turn was probably named after the Ponterre family. The property in St Saviour and fief in Trinity became united in the early 1640s when Philippe Falle (whose family owned the house) married Isabelle Payn (whose mother had been Dame du Ponterrin). It was at this stage that the property became known as Le Ponterrin.

The property is sometimes referred to as Ponterrin Manor, because of its seigneurial association with the fief, and the older house is traditionally known as The Monastery. This is in part based on the chamfer stops to the main doorway, which have a pre-Reformation cross on the left-hand stop and what is interpreted as a chalice on the right-hand stop.

Le Ponterrin is also believed to have ecclesiastical connections with the field adjoining the house being named Le Jardin de L'Abbé, and the archaeological remain of the medieval Chapelle de St Maur located somewhere in the vicinity.

Courtyard

The buildings at Le Ponterrin are arranged around a courtyard. The main house forms the north range, and parallel to it - alongside the road - is a gatehouse range. Another range of agricultural buildings that formed a west range has been demolished leaving only a garden wall.

The main house has the appearance of a 16th century property but has a long and complex building history which is not yet fully understood. The front door has a massive round arch of early form, and a cross chamfer stop which certainly dates it before 1547.

However, the wall in which the archway is set is potentially a re-fronting of an older house of which the gable ends survive, and details of some of the windows and of the internal arched doorways may also date earlier to the late 15th or early 16th century, suggesting that the primary structure has medieval origins.

The house is two-storey, with four irregular bays and contains a wealth of interesting features. There is a chamfered central doorway with massive stone arch, and outer row of voussoirs. The left-hand chamfer stop is in the form of a cross, and the right-hand stop thought to be chalice.

Windows

There are four windows on each floor. The upper windows are regular in size, all chamfered with the exception of that to the right of the arch, which is moulded with bar holes. The fenestration on the ground floor is irregular. There is a squat window with accolade lintel, a deep window with a decorated lintel and massive sill, a tiny window with bar sockets combined with the arch, and a tall window with lintel decoration.

There are three robust chimney stacks with thatch stones serving three granite hearths, and a pantile roof. The right hand gable stone is said to be carved with a face wearing an innocent and surprised expression.

A later granite stone extension has been built on the east and north elevation.

Interior

The interior has lost much of its historic joinery but retains massively built granite fireplaces - all of the same cornice design. There are also two interior stone arches, both shoulderless - one leading from the entrance hall to the room on the left, and one from the passage above to the bedroom. Interior stone arches are rare and indicate a house of high social standing.

Southern range

The southern range bordering the road comprises a six-bay house, likely of 17th century origin, with a 19th century extension on its east gable, a combined double-gateway and gatehouse, built in the 17th century when the house was united with the fief du Ponterrin, and a 19th century pigsty at the east end of the range.

The cottage is two-storey, six-bay, with stone rubble walls and pantile roof. Most windows have granite surrounds of 17th century pattern; with later brick dressings used at ground floor. There is a granite chimney stack with thatching stones on the west gable, and a red-brick chimney stack on the east gable.

The gatehouse - built as one piece with the double-gateway in 1643 - is a very interesting structure and a rare survival of its type. The double-arched entrance archway is of well-dressed granite, with shouldered springers and large upright base blocks. The outer openings are embellished with a moulding comprising a three-quarters roll and sunk chamfer. There is a large archway for vehicular access and an adjoining pedestrian archway. The perforated stone corbels for the gates survive in situ. The pedestrian arch is now incorporated into the 19th century extension to the cottage.

The attached gatehouse is two-storey, two-bay, of granite construction, with a chimney stack with thatching stones rising from the east gable. The south front has a pair of windows on the first floor, with chamfered surrounds and accolade lintels. In the north wall is a single window with unchamfered jambs, distinguished by a massive projecting sill stone. Below the eaves either side of this window are two rows of pigeon holes. There are later openings at ground floor.

The ground floor of the gatehouse was originally used as storage and was open to the carriageway on its west side; with a chamber above accessed via a steep stair. The interior has features of interest including some original oak beams and joists - although the roof structure above the tie beams has been renewed. There is a rare 17th century stone window embrasure seat to the north window, and an inserted 18th century granite ashlar fireplace on the east wall at ground floor.

Also of interest at the rear of the main house is a granite well-head with a conduit which transferred water from the well to cattle troughs.

On the west side of the site is a set of seven stone steps leading up to Le Jardin de L'Abbé.

Old Jersey Houses

Le Ponterrin merits one of the longest articles in either volume, covering 2½ pages of volume one.

Fief

The fief from which the house takes its name was granted, with the mill of the same name, to the Abbesse de Caen, at about the date of the Conquest, which was in the very early years of that famous abbey, L'Abbaye aux Dames.

This is another example of a confusion of thought which has arisen between house, fief and seigneur. The fief and mill are in Trinity, the house is in St Saviour, on the Fief du Roi, and the name itself probably derives from the Ponterre family, living in Trinity in 1274.

The fief escheated to the Crown, and in 1331 it belonged to Guillaume de St Hilaire. Soon after it passed to Guillaume de Barentin, and in 1367 was sold by Philippe de Barentin, when the latter's estates were divided between Raoul Lempriere and Guillaume Payn. It remained in the Payn family until Jean Payn, son of Jean, son of Anthoine, passed it to Jean Bailhache, son of Jean. It was then bought by Philippe Falle, son of Edmond (1566-1639) and Isabelle Payn ( -1636) whose mother had been Dame du Ponterrin.

The second Philippe Falle (1600-1672) married Suzanne Pipon ( -1666) and it is his initials which are on the main entrance gate. It is at this stage that the house and the fief became joined, and the house came to be known as Le Ponterrin. [5] Philippe and Suzanne had only daughters. The eldest, Sara (1619-1706) married Nicolas Dumaresq (1613- ) in 1640 and their son Richard and grandson Nicolas inherited the fief, and presumably the house. It then passed to Nicolas' brother Richard, and to his son George (1727-1759), to his son George (1747-1767) and his sister Francoise ( -1808), who was Dame du Ponterrin and married Thomas Le Hardy.

Their son Charles sold the house to Philippe de Faye in 1814. In 1818 the deed of sale was questioned as being contrary to the previous amortissement but the matter appears to have been satisfactorily resolved. The query referred to an Order in Council of 1670 which stated that the house and fief were to be inseparable, and to pass to the eldest heir, unalienable without the permission of the Crown.

The Commissioners' report on fiefs (1645) shows Philippe Falle, son of Edmond, as Seigneur du Ponterrin. The fief carred the duty of providing a house for the King, and for guarding prisoners in stocks, as had been done in the time of Edward III in the Extente of 1331.

The house and fief became united in 1641, just before Philippe had his initials engraved on the arch which he had had built.

Older house

The house within the courtyard is much older, and may have been the Falle famil house long before he acquired the fief, which brought its name from a different parish.

In 1935 the owner Dr Doering, spent a considerable sum restoring the house after it had been severely damaged by frost. It seems that it had not been inhabited since about 1814, as the de Fayes lived in the part bordering the road, in origin just the southern boundary wall of the courtyard. In about 1930 the house was considered by La Société Jersiaise for conversion to a 'folk museum' but the cost was too great, and Jersey Kitchen was created at the Museum instead.

The front door arch is most impressive, with three large arch stones of a size which is quite unnecessary and uneconomical, but gives a feeling of immense strength.

Internally the house is now [6] derelict with no floors or stairs. One hopes that one day it may be restored to its former glory; its dignity it has never lost.

Notes and references

  1. Replaced with a modern building of no historical interest, save for some old datestones, which are included below
  2. On a farmyard lintel
  3. On sundial at Le Petit Ponterrin
  4. At Le Petit Ponterrin
  5. This is somewhat speculative, because houses did not generally have names this early. It is more likely that it was associated with the district - Ed
  6. 1965
H20LePonterrin6.jpg
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