Known throughout the world as the home of Jersey Zoo, Augrès Manor was bought by writer and naturalist Gerald Durrell in 1958 as a home for his animal collection.
But although the property is always known as Augrès Manor, it is not the manor house of the Fief of Augrès, and should more correctly be known as Les Augrès. As Joan Stevens points out in Vol 1 of Old Jersey Houses, this is an instance of confusion between the name of a house and a fief, not uncommon with some of Jersey's more substantial old properties:
- "This house is actually situated on the fief of Diélament. The confusion arises as in 1634 Elie Dumaresq, already living there, bought the Fief des Augrès, which is also in Trinity, but continued to live in the same house. The house now known as Bras de Fer had previously been the Manoir des Augrès when the Brasdefer family held the fief. The present Les Augrès had been a Larbalestier house, and had passed to the Dumaresqs by the marriage of Collette, daughter of Michel Larbalestier, to Richard Dumaresq, in or about 1530. The house remained in the Dumaresq family for many years, but in 1771 the Manor and the Fief became separated, after a bankruptcy case concerning the inheritances of Elie Dumaresq in 1734."
Stevens concluded that the present ’manor house’ was built in the 1760s, probably by Jean Perchard and Marthe Le Feuvre, the property and the Fief des Augrès having separated in 1771 after Elie Dumaresq’s estate became the subject of bankruptcy procedures in 1734.
However, the best that she could suggest was that 1768 or thereabouts “would be a reasonable date to expect, considering the appearance of the house”.
A stone over one of the magnificent arches approaching the house is inscribed “1741 EDM♥EDC” for Elie Dumaresq and Elizabeth de Carteret, who are also represented by another stone elsewhere dated 1732. The lintel over the front door contains “17IPC♥♥MLF71”. By this time Jean Perchard had already been dead for three years.
All that her book offers about other parts of the property is that “there are many features older than the central part of the house”.
Photograph by Emile Guiton