Notes on the origins of placenames

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Notes on the origins of placenames


The old chapel on Mont Cochon, named after the family Couchon?

This article, written by the Rev J A Messervy, was first published in the 1907 and 1908 Annual Bulletins of La Société Jersiaise. It has been translated from the original French by Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson

Although our translator remarks that it is difficult to challenge individual assertions by Messervy as to the origins of Jersey placenames, his assumptions, as some of them must be classified, are often somewhat less convincing than his studies of Jersey families, for which he is best known.

'It is with an enormous degree of trepidation that I suggest that the much revered Mr Messervy has sometimes plucked out of ancient documents references which might support his suggested derivation of placenames, as opposed to those put forward earlier, but might be equally misleading'.

It is impossible not to be surprised at the large number of names of localities, villages, hamlets and isolated habitations which already existed in Jersey in the 15th and 16th centuries, and the majority of which remain today. Maps, even the most detailed, are far from showing all.

It is difficult to find on the Continent for a similar area, the same abundance of placenames. The area of our island is as restrained as a steamship under way at medium speed could circle it in less than three hours, and yet in this limited space there is ample material to study from the point of view of topographic names.

The multiplicity of these names of ancient origin is further proof of the considerable density of population of rural Jersey in times past.

Several of these old and picturesque titles, we regret to say, are completely forgotten; others are disappearing, practically ignored by younger generations and scarcely survive in the memory of the aged and rare enthusiasts for things past. Elsewhere, for two or three generations, as the English language has progressed in the country, it has become a habit to replace the good old Jersey names with modern English ones, according to the fancies of the owners, and the ancient names are relegated to the background.

In the short study which follows we will attempt to explain some of the ancient names still in use, on which reading of old contracts and Rolls has thrown some light,

St Helier

Vingtaine of Mont Cochon

We first set aside the explanation of the over fanciful De La Croix [1] according to whom the etymology of this name would be le mont ou nous couchons - 'the mount where we sleep'. One origin a little more plausible would be that Mont Cochon is a corruption of Mont Couchant, ie 'situated in the west' (the setting sun). But this hypothesis has no serious proof.

Does this name not come from the family Couchon, or Cochon, of which one still finds traces in the Extentes and ancient contracts? The Extente of 1331 mentions on page 49 a tenant of the Fief du Roi in Grouville, having the name of the quadruped beloved of Monselet; a fiend in Grouville is called Clos des Pres Couchon; and in a contract of 1612 there is the question of Costil Cochon in St Lawrence, on the fief of Quatorze Quartiers.

We note in passing that until about 1620 the most usual spelling was Mont Couchon, [2] and in 1617 and 1625 Mont-a-l'Abbe and Mont Cochon appeared to form a single Vingtaine, a single Vingtenier having been sworn in for the two districts.

St Saviour

Did the brickworks in the background of this photograph of Maufant Village use 'bad mud' extracted nearby to make its bricks?

Vingtaine de Maufant

This name was written anciently as Maufant, 1309; Maufaunt, 1444; Malfane, Malfang, 1460; Maufancq, Maulfanc, 1461; Mauffanc or Maulfang, 1601; Maufang, 1621, etc. We have no positive data on the origin of this old name; but did it not come from two words of old French, ''mau (mal or mauvais = 'bad') and Fanc, fang, faine (fange, boue = 'mud)? This name seems to fit well with this area - a plain of heavy earth where rainwater drains with difficulty.

Vingtaine des Pigneaux

Without doubt Pigneaux takes its origin from the family Pinel (Pineaux in the plural) which must once have been influential and numerous in St Saviour. [3] For proof we offer the following extract from the Extente of 1331: [4] Guillaume de Chaeney, for the fief Pinel in the same parish (St Clement) and in the parish of St Saviour, and elsewhere in the island. In 1461 one said the Vingtaine es Pineaulx; in 1601 Vingtaine es Peneaulx; in 1609, CLement Perchard was sworn in as Roads Inspector for the Vingtaine Pynel; a contract of 1618 mentions two cabots of wheat rente willed or left 'to the poor of St Saviour, ie those of Ville es Pallots and es Pynealux, at the end of Rue a la Dame'; in a contract of 1620 there is the question of Ville es Pineaulx, St Saviour; [5] in 1660 and even as late as 1750 one still said Vingtaine des Pineaulx, or Pineaux; from our time, however, the spelling Pigneaux is definitely fixed.

La Davisonnerie

At first sight it seems that this name is derived from Davison or Davidson; but no family of this name, as far as we are aware, has ever lived in St Saviour. It is therefore necessary to search elsewhere for the origin of this name. It appears to us, quite simply, to be a contraction or a corruption of David Robertsonnerie. Of English origin, the family Robertson was established in St Saviour from about 1600, and one of its members, David Robertson, was sworn in in 1642 and a roads inspector for the vingtaine Dessous La Hougue. In 1677 Jean Collas occupied the house [6] belonging to Edouard Jeunes, and before him to David Robertson. [7] It is known that the Collas family remained in possession of one of the Davisonnerie properties until quite recently.

The transformation of David Robertson to David Son, from where was derived Davisonnerie should not surprise us; there are similar examples in Jersey - Land, for Landhatherland; Tingley for Mattingley; Codesme for Nicodesme; Gustin for Augustin; Abbey for Bernabey; Sandre for Alexandre, etc. In Guernsey there is the abbreviation Nico for Nicolas. Elsewhere similar changes have taken place in almost all languages, as well known by linguists.

'When the words are too long, people shorten them. Sometimes they cut them at the end, sometimes at the beginning: Colas for Nicolas, Toinette for Antoinette, etc. This latter operation - cutting the head - is what rhetorics call an apocope ...' [8]

Fosse a l'Ecrivain

This hamlet, where a house has recently been demolished, is situated in a hollow south of Maison du Ponterrin, in St Saviour. The etymology of this name is probably not from a tomb of an Ecrivain, but more likely from a family Scriven, or Scrivain, who lived in the island in the 16th century. Here is what can be read in a contract of 1579: 'Jeanne, daughter of Jean Hubert and his wife Michelle, daughter of Drouet Bertram dit Jacquet, and wife of Walter Scrivain...'

On the other hand, in 1612, 'Benjamin Bertram, son of Jean and his wife Honoree, daughter of Edouard Hubert and Genette, leased to Jean Dolbel, son of Pierre and Priscille, his wife, a property including the bank of Rue a l'Escrivain and droit de campart of the fief of La Houguette, all situated in St Saviour, on the fiefs of La Houguette and others, for 5 quarters and 6 cabots of wheat rente. [9]

The St Saviour house Patier


One finds elsewhere Ville Patier. Johan Le Caumes (Caumais) of Ville Patier, figured in a contract of 1469 and this name is found in several other documents for this nature, notably of 1613, 1617, etc and in the Rolls of the Court of 1655. We have been led to believe that Patier is nothing other than the name of a family.

In 1331 there was a family Pastey in Jersey, a name which could by corruption have become Patier. But it appears to us more likely that Patier was a variant of Pasquier, because there was before 1309 a Jordan Pasquier, who seems to have had possessions in St Saviour. [10] Following the patois pronunciation patchi Pasquier could easily have become Patier. Applying this hypothesis we not that in 1797 in a case between Philippe Amy, Philippe Ahier, Jean Amy and Clement Ingouville, there was mention of the fountain and douet of Pacquier at St Saviour.

Petit Menage

This name seems to be an abbreviation of petit menage d'Allain.The family Allain, extinct for centuries, owned considerable property in St Saviour and St Helier. What we now call Gros Puits was called in 1601, for example, Le Grand Menage d'Allain. The neighbouring property, less well known, was Le Petit Menage d'Allain; later the word Allain was omitted and just the current name remains. Elsewhere a road in St Saviour is called Rue d'Allain.


This locality at a crossroads between Maison de Haut and Boulivot appears to us to draw its name from the ancient word roant, which signified 'turning'. It was originally, without doubt, the name of a road: one finds in a contract of 1621 mention of the Rue de Roen at St Saviour, on or near the fief es Verrans. In another contract of 20 September 1623 there is the question of the clos close to Rue Rouente. One knows that these ancient roads made a number of detours to respect the limits of properties.


Tapon appears to us to be a corruption of the old French word tacon, which signified a piece added to clothing, to a shoe, something added. One finds in an Act of 1562 the following expression: le Tacon Estur. Perhaps this name had its origin in a repair or addition made to a building by a member of the Estur family, which was once influential in St Saviour.


Vingtaine de la Rue

This Vingtaine does not draw its name, as one might believe, from Rue Jutize, but a road bordering houses which was once called Rue de Grouville, and which was evidently once one of the principal arteries of the parish. This public road was that, we believe, that ran from Grouville Church to the foot of Catillon. It is often mentioned in Acts and contracts of the 16th and 17th centuries, concerning the homes of a branch of the Amy family. It is in one of these houses in Rue de Grouville that, towards 1500, Sire Jacques Amy, priest, Dean of Guernsey in 1547, was born. Among other arguments in favour of our theory, see a contract of 1605 in which Philippe, Etienne and Jean Amy returned their shares in the estate of Sire Jacques Amy, son of Amy, of Rue de Grouville. [11]

La Couture

This placename is also found in Guernsey and Normandy, and comes from the Latin cultura - 'culture'. One can confirm without hesitation that this is one of the most ancient names existing in Jersey; it probably comes fromthe time of the Roman occupation, and the first attempts at culture in our island.[12]

La Rogodaine

This strange word, with an archaic sound, appears to us to be a corruption and a contraction of the two words Roque = rock and Godesme, an abbreviation of Nicodeme. This derivation has been suggested to us by reading an act of 1541, among others, in which Grouville is called La Roque Godesne, and a contract of 1607 in which there is the question of the house of Jean Pirouet, son of Jacques, near Rocque Godesne at Grouville. [13]

The lavoir at Marais a la Coque, Grouville

Marais a la Coque

Also known as Marais du Cocq, [14] this area is so designated in an Act of the Cour du Billet of 1661. Apparently this name is that of a family Coucq, or Coock, which was established in Grouville from the 16th century.

Le Boulivot

Few names of villages in Jersey has had spellings as varied and fanciful as this. Without pretending to know the origins of the word, we can cite: 1553, Le Bovlivocq; 1612, Le Ballivo; elsewhere around the same time, Le Valivot, Le Boulivo. In 1742 there is mention of the waters from the fountain of Bonvillot de Bas. [15] With so many diverse forms, we cannot reach any conclusion.

St Martin

Vingtaine de la Queruee

The word quéruée, also found as caruée and charuée, comes from the Latin carucata, and signifies an area of land of 60 acres, or 12 bouvées. Carucata is itself derived from caruca, meaning plough.

The full name of the vingtaine used to be La Quéruée ès Dirvaults or La Franche Quéruée ès Dirvaults in 1680. As recently as 1755 there was still a reference to Fief de La Quéruée ès Dirvaulx. [16] The name evidently comes from the Dirvault family, once important in St Martin, but extinct in Jersey since the end of the 16th century.

Nicolas Dirvault (or Diruald) was a Jurat in 1274. In 1331 Herbert Dyrvaud, for Caruée ès Dyrvaus, owed an annual rente to the King. [17] In 1557 Hugh Perrin sold to Hugh Dirvault 100 quarters of wheat rente. It was undoubtedly the same Hugh Dirvault, natif de Jersey, who in 1565 was a merchant at Hamptonne (Southampton).

The Dirvault family seems to have become extinct in St Martin with Marie Dirvault, daughter of Jean, and wife of Thomas Nicolle, grandfather of Edmond Nicolle, who was living in 1600. Another branch was settled in St Peter, where it gave its name to the fief La Hougue Dirvault.

Vingtaine de Faldouet

There is a mention of the Carucate de Faledut in 1331. [18]This name seems to be composed of two old words fal which signified 'cruel, merciless, violent, furious, etc' and doit which meant a 'conduit, canal or current' of water.

La Coneterie

This word is a contraction of Cornetterie and comes from the family Cornet, a name which is softened to Cosnet, as Bernard to Besnard, etc. On 18 August 1606 Laurens Baudains having the right from Thomas Payn, who had the right from Benest Vivian, who had the right from a Cornet, leased to Abraham Messervy, son of Edouard, a house for four quarters of wheat rente. [19] This house is identical to the property now known as Coneterie.

Rozel harbour

Rosel, or Rozel

The old form of the word roseau = 'reed' is a diminuitive of the old word ros, which had the same meaning. From the Gothic raus; rauzel in Provencal. In the region of Tinchebray, Orne, there is still a Chateau du Rosel. There is also a little village of Rosel, near to Flamanville, Manche. [20]


It is not difficult to recognise in this name the family name Noel, which was once written Nouel. This is another example of -el changing to -aux in the plural of a name. This is the root of the Noel family of St Martin, and should not be confused with the place of the same name on the road from St Helier to St Aubin. [21]


Vingtaine de la Ville-a-l'Eveque

We remember that the Bishop referred to in this name is that of Avranches, who possessed a fief in Jersey to which his name remains attached. The fief of the Bishop of Avranches is not in St Lawrence, as one might believe, but in Trinity. Avranches Manor in St Lawrence gets its name from its owners having been seigneurs of the fief of the Bishop of Avranches. There are other examples: the Manorsof Augres and Surville are not situated on the fiefs which bear the names. And Ponterrin, at St Saviour, is on the Fief du Roi, not that of Ponterrin.

Vingtaine des Augres

This vingtaine takes its name from the Augres family, once important, but extinct for a long time. In the 17th century it was divided into two districts, east and west, for each of which two Roads Inspectors were sworn in in 1648 and 1668. In the 18th century the two districts were known as Grands Augres and Petits Augres.

Vingtaine du Rondin

This vingtaine was known as Vingtaine des Rondins in 1623; in 1624 as Vingtaine du Rondy. In the old language a rondin was a measure for grain; a rondit signified a roundabout. [22] We don't know whether the vingtaine got its name from one of these words or from a family name.

Vingtaine de la Croiserie

In 1623 one finds the spelling croessye; another time it is Croisee, but they may perhaps be just the simple fantasies of scribes. In the old language croiserie signified the action of crossing, croisade. Did this vingtaine originate from the Crusades? Or did it come from a croisee, a building composed of two sections at right angles, and forming a cross?

The former entrance to Dielament Manor


The origin of this word seems to begin with difficult to explain, and the different spellings which one encounters in old documents, such as Dillamen, Dylament, Diexlament. Dieu la Min, etc, give no useful indication of its etymology. Reading a contract of 1524 [23] said us on the road to an explanation which appears quite plausible. According to this contract, passed in July 1524, Nicolas Herivel and his wife Jeannette, daughter of George Lempriere, leased to Sire Helier Bisson, priest, a place where there was anciently a house known as Manoir de Dylament, on the fief of Meleches in St Helier.

Dielament being also the ancient name of a manor and fief in Trinity, it seems therefore that the origin was not of a locality but the name of a person, as for most of the other fiefs. It suffices to remember the names of fiefs of Raoul Lempriere, Robert de la Hague, Luce de Carteret, Collette des Augres, etc. What, therefore, were the names the juxtaposition of which produced the word Dielament?

It seems, as we shall see, that the reply to this question must be Gille (or Guille) Hamon. There are other examples of a similar amalgamation: the fief of Pierigon, derived from Pierre Ygon, or Ugon, Bailiff of Jersey in 1274; La Davissonnerie, from David Robertson, etc

Did the locality which concerns us not derive its name from Guille (or Guillaume) Hamon who, in about 1125, founded the Abbey of St Helier? As we have already noted in the genealogy of the Hamon family, the members of the Hamon-aux-Dents family, seigneur of Evrecy, Torigny and Creully, owned much land in Jersey in the 12th century, and it is quite possible that Guillaume Hamon had built in St Helier a manor already demolished in 1524, and another in Trinity, not far from the site of the actual manor. [24]

The corruption from Gille Hamon to Dielament should not be surprising, given the patois pronunciation of Gi becoming Dji and mon being pronounced men.

Menage du Rocher

This property, situated not far from Ville Machon, in the Vingtaine of Rozel, does not take its name directly from a rock, as it might seem. The ancient name was Menage du Rocquier, which must mean de le Rocque. The family of this name, who owned the fief of Savalle in the same parish, lived in this locality in the 16th and 17th centuries. One sometimes says Le Rocquier for de La Rocque in the same way that one says le Balleinier for Balleine, or de La Balleine, le Houguais for de La Hougue, etc

One finds in 1668 that Jean de la Rocque lived in the house du Rocquier which the elder, Elie Rocque, has given him in the partage. [25] One also finds that in 1717 Jean Mattingley had the right from Jean de Gruchy and his wife Salome Le Vesconte, who had the right from Charles Dumaresq, to a certain house and land called Menage du Roquie. [26] The modern form Menage du Rocher is thus incorrect and can mislead as to the origin of the name.

The above remarks apply equally to the area now called Pot du Rocher. According to De La Croix [27] the pot was the pedestal of the Croix de Jehannet. The word Roqui or Rocher, indicated as we have said, the family de La Rocque, owners of lands in this area. There was a mention in 1614 of Croix du Rocquier situated in Trinity on the fief of Saval. [28]

St Ouen

In St Ouen the vingtaines are called Cueillettes. This parish must be congratulated for having preserved this gracious name, which in the old language signifed harvest, collection of taxes etc. By extension the Cueillette has become the district where the notion of funds levied in the public interest was made by someone specially chosen for this effect.

Anciently the name Cueillette was not unique to the vingtaines of St Ouen. One finds mention, for example, in 1503, of the Cueillette de St Anastase in St Peter, ([29] in 1623 the Cuillette des Augretz in St Peter. On the other hand the cueillettes of St Ouen were sometimes called vingtaines. For example, Vingtaine des Mielles (Millais) in 1643; Grande Vingtaine in 1644, etc.

The Cueillettes of Millais and Grantez seem to draw their names from families of those names. There is also Mont Millais in the same parish. Robert de Granteyz was one of the jurors for the parish in 1331.

The restored St Ouen farmstead Leoville

Cueillette de Leoville

To begin with one could believe that this name signified the Ville au Lion, particularly knowing that there is a Croix au Lion in St Peter, but that is very improbable. Let us see if the ancient spellings which are encountered can throw any light on the subject.

In 1486 Jean Dumaresq was seigneur of Liouville; the same spelling in 1538 for the partage of the estate of Jean Dumaresq, son of Thomas; Jacques Le Cornu, son of Laurens,of Liouville, living in 1621; Jean Prouings was sworn in as Vingtenier of Liouville in 1651; the fief of Youville is mentioned in Ex 53 in May 1658. Thus Leoville seems to be a corruption, and the original name could have been Hiouville, town of Hiou or Hugh. [30] The letter 'l' could have been added by euphony or mistake.

There are analogies in the French language: the Latin word hedera first produced the word ierre, which became lierre (='ivy'). Similarly one frequently says Liden for the family name Iden or Yden in Jersey. [31]


This word is without doubt derived from the Latin porta infra - porte inferieure = 'lower door'. Between the parishes of St John and St Mary there is Rue d'Enfer, which descends towards the sea; the etymology of this word is probably the same as for Portinfer.


This name in all probability is a corruption of Torodes coming from the family name Torode (or Tauraude), extinct in Jersey. [32] There was also a Croix Tauraude in St Ouen, on the fief Haubert, close to Ruette au Prieur. [33]

La Robeline

To all appearances La Robeline comes from the family Robelin. In 1331 GUillaume Robelin was owner of lands at St Mary; at the same time Guillaume Robelyn, probably the same, was Prevot for St Ouen and St Mary. In 1503 Guillaume Le Robelin dit Remon was one of the tenants of the Cueillette de St Anastase in St Peter.

St Peter

Vingtaine du Coin Varin

This Coin or district derives its name from the Varin family, extinct for a long time in Jersey. Richard Varin was in 1331 one of the 12 jurors for the parish of St Peter and the contree du fieu Varin is mentioned in the Register of Contracts in 1615.

Vingtaine de St Nicolas

This vingtaine takes its name from the ancient Chapel of St Nicolas, on the fief du Roi in St Peter.

Carrefour a Cendre

Despite appearances this name has nothing to do with ashes, but comes from an abbreviation of the name Alexandre. Sandre is often used for the baptismal name Alexandre. The English name Saunders also comes from there.

For example, Alexandre Regon, who appears in a contract of 1627, [34] is called Sandre Regon in another contract in the same book. We have already said that there was a tendancy to shorten names in this era.

Les Niemes

This word, also written Naymes, 1525; Naepmes, 1564; Niepmes, 1627, comes from the family Naymes, which also gave its name to the fief of Naymes, or Niemes.

Les Routeurs

Routeurs was the name once used for works to retain water in streams. By extension the name was given to the environs. There is also an area at St Saviour with the same name.

St Brelade

An 1882 etching of Ile au Guerdain, popularly known as Janvrin's Tomb

Ile au Guerdain

This picturesque island is better known by the public under its modern name Janvrin's Tomb. The name Guerdain was often linked to that of Le Goupil, which means fox, from the Latin vulpiculus, diminuitive of vulpes. The Le Goupil dit Guerdain - or Guerdain dit Le Goupil - family owned land adjoining the island where Capt Philippe Janvrin, who died on board his ship in 1721, was temporarily buried. Here is the record of this subject in the St Brelade Registers:

"Philippe Janvrin, returning from Nantes and obliged to undergo quarantine in the harbour of Belle Croute, died after two days on his vessel and the Jurats, in the presence of the Lieut-Governor, ordered that he be buried on an island surrounded by the sea, called Ile au Guerdain, [35] and so the said Janvrin was buried on the said Isle on 27 September 1721."

Several weeks later his widow, Elisabeth [36] Orange, obtained permission to have the mortal remains of her husband buried in the cemetery of St Brelade. Here is a copy of the inscription which was without doubt placed on the tomb. The text was found on a loose page in the Registers:

"Here lies, awaiting the blessed Resurrection the body of Philippe Janvrin of the Parish of St Brelade, who was attacked by an ordinary fever returning from Nantes to Jersey and died on his vessel on 25 September 1721 aged 44 in the second day of the quarantine he was obliged to undergo because of the disease which had ravaged part of the Kingdom of France, the Magistrates of this island having ordered that he be buried in this place. Elizabeth Orange, much touched by the death of her dear and faithful husband has erected a tomb for him as a sad and pious monument to his tenderness and his memory."

One can still see above the door of a farmhouse at the top of the coast the initials TLG and MB, ie Thomas Le Goupil and Marie Benest, his wife, and the date 1607, we believe. Thomas Le Goupil dit Guerdain married Marie Benest in 1602 at St Brelade and was Vingtenier of Noirmont.

Mont a la Brune

It is easy to recognise in this name the feminine form of the family Le Brun. It was normal use in times past not only to feminise family names but also to decline them in a way: Croix au Maistre, St Martin - Le Maistre family; Ville au Bas, St Ouen - Le Bas family; Mont au Roux, St Brelade- Le Roux family, etc.

The Le Brun family was very ancient in St Brelade, where there was also Menage du Brun.

Avranches Manor is in St Lawrence, not on the Fief d'Avranches, in Trinity, but it was built by a seigneur of Avranches

St Lawrence

Vingtaine du Coin Hâtain, or ès Hâtains

This name evidently comes from the family Hasteyn (Hastain, or Hâtain) which anciently had a certain importance in Jersey. William Hasteyn was Jurat in 1274; Colin Hasteyn, Bailiff in 1315; Nicolas Hasteyn, perhaps identical to Colin Hasteyn, Bailiff in 1331. [37] It is interesting to remark that one finds le Coing des Hastains in 1583 and 1620, and the fief ès Hâtains in St Lawrence in the Vingtaine de la Vallee. [38]

Vingtaine du Coin Tourgis

The Tourgis family was once important in St Lawrence, where it owned the fief des Arbres. Several Tourgis were Jurats: Nicolas Tourgis, 1292; Raoul Tourgis, 1315. [39] The fief des Arbres passed to the Mahaut family by the marriage of Jeannette Tourgis, daughter and heir of Guillaume Tourgis, to Raulin Mahaut. A less important branch continued in St Lawrence for several generations, because in 1623 Jean Tourgis was sworn in as roads inspector for Coing Tourgis. [40]

Vingtaine du Coin Mottier

Although the two previous vingtaines indicated the name of a family, this one was always called Coin Mottier, or Motier, but never ès Mottiers. We could cite several proofs of this up to 1620. Mottier is, therefore, not the name of a family, and as far as we know, it does not appear anywhere else as such in ancient documents. It is necessary to search elsewhere for the origin of this name. It appears that motier, mottier or moutier were nothing else but a monastery, the name coming from the Latin monasterium.

There is also a fief Mottier, otherwise called ès Poingdestres, in the parish of St John, but some distance, apparently from Vingtaine du Coin Mottier. The real name of this fief is Fief du Moustier. It was sold in 1419 by Collette de St Helier, widow of Pierre des Augres, to Johan Poingdestre andhis wife Johanne, for 15 crowns and a demi-ecu de vin et vente.

From the preceeding one can conclude that very anciently there was a monastery in this area. The neighbouring parish of St Mary is called, in the Assize Roll of 1309 Sancta Maria de Arso monasterio, which indicates that there was a monastery in this parish. Did it own land in St Lawrence and a fief in St John?

The form Coin ès Mottiers, used only for several years in recent times,is wrong and not justified by the origin of the name.[41]

Carrefour Selous

One searches in vain for the name of Selous in the Extentes and other ancient documents. It is possible that it is a corruption of a family name which is not very ancient in Jersey.

An English family by the name of Slow, or Slowe, settled in Jersey about 1651. On finds in the Registers of St Mary, in 1653, the baptism of Philippe, son of Philippe Slow, an English soldier, and Marie Le Couteur, sister of Philippe Le Couteur. Could this name of Slow, which by corruption could have become Selous, not have been left at the Carrefour? It's possible. [42]

Notes and references

  1. Jersey, ses Antiquites, etc Vol 1, 215
  2. By a singular coincidence Matthieu Le Porcq was, in August 1707, sworn in a Vingetnier of Mont Cochon - Ex 80
  3. There are other examples of family names finishing in '-el' qhich in the pluran change to '-eaux' or '-aux': Godel, Godeaux; Dolbel, Dolbeaux; Neel, Neaux; Noel, Nouaux; Corbel, Corbeaux; and in Guernsey we have, notthe Martels, but the Marteaux
  4. Page 39
  5. Reg Livre 5,318
  6. Maison et ménage: this term is commonly found in Jersey contracts and seems to be tautologous, because the present-day meaning of ménage is 'household' or 'home'. Chris Aubin's A Glossary for the Historian of Jersey gives the meaning of ménage as 'farmstead', including house, outbuildings and land, but contracts would refer to ' maison, menage, apurtenances et terres '. It is noteworthy that the equivalent Normandy word, mesnil is not found in Jersey. There are countless communes in Normandy bearing this name - Le Mesnil Rainfray just down the road from Jerripedia editor Mike Bisson's Normandy home, is but one example; and it is also found throughout other departments of northern France. It comes from the Latin mansionile meaning a small dwelling or mansio, the latter having been a roadside resthouse for travellers in Roman times - Ed
  7. Catel, book 25
  8. Apocope (the same word in English and French) apparently means the loss of one or more sounds from the end of a word, as used in this quote by Emile Deschanel, in Les Deformations de la langue Francaise
  9. Reg 4, 29
  10. Assize Roll 1309, 267
  11. Reg 1
  12. It is interesting that Messervy refers to the Roman occupation, something which many historians before him and most since doubt ever existed. Couture is perhaps more likely to refer to the practice of sowing fine garments than it 'culture' in its widest sense. More recent studies have identifed La Couture and La Grande Couture in Grouville, and a field in St John called La Couture
  13. Although this area of Grouville may have been known as La Rogodaine in Messervy's time, it is now called La Rigondaine, as it was in 1940, which throws some doubt on the suggested derivation. Jerripedia's Jersey place names gives the meaning as simply 'rock', but that may be based on Messervy's suggestion.
  14. There are other examples of feminine versions of family names, as encountered in Normandy. One finds, for example, in the parish registers, expressions such as Jeanne La Sauteresse (Le Sauteur), Blanche La Bourdonne (Le Bourdon), Jeannette la Hardye (Le Hardy), etc.
  15. Ex 97
  16. Ex 104, 209
  17. Extente 1331, 10
  18. It seems that in 1615 the Vingtaine of Faldouet was divided into two districts, one called Faldouet and the other Frederue (Froiderue), because at this time George Machon and Edmond Noel were sworn in as roads inspectors for the Vingtaine de l'Eglise, Collas de la Haye for Faldouet, and Guillaume Horman for Frederue Ex 28. There were two roads inspectors for each vingtaine
  19. Reg 2
  20. Jerripedia's Jersey place names also links Rosel/Rozel to 'reed' and says that the Jersey name comes from the Roselle family in Normandy. Rosel is supposed to be the original spelling, still retained for the Manor, but the corruption Rozel is in general use for the area and the bay
  21. That Ville-es-Nouaux is at First Tower, a little way inland from the road itself
  22. It is not clear what type of roundabout Messervy was referring to, because clearly traffic roundabouts as we know them today did not exist at the time he was writing
  23. Trinity Manor collection
  24. Note also that an important branch of the Hamon family was once established at Catiaux, not far from Dielament.
  25. Ex 57, 1668
  26. Her 23, 120
  27. Vol 1, 360
  28. RC4, 206
  29. St Anastase has long ceased to be a cueillette or a vingtaine
  30. Compare the name Yeovil in England
  31. It has to be suggested that Messervy is really struggling to justify the transition from Hiou to Leo, but that, doubtless copied by its compiler from Messervy, is how it has been shown in Jerripedia's Jersey place names - Ed
  32. But still found in Guernsey - Ed
  33. Reg 1614
  34. Reg 8, 207
  35. The record, according to Messervy's transcription, shows Isle au Guerdain, which is incorrect French and may just be a typographical error
  36. Messervy's articles consistently use the French spelling 'Elisabeth', whereas this is one of the few forenames for which the English spelling has been used in Jersey from early times. It is believed that this may stem from the days of Queen Elizabeth I. Her father Henry VIII seems in a similar way to have influenced a change in the spelling of male forename 'Henri' to 'Henry' in the island. The spelling of other English monarch's names appears also to have had an influence on their use in Jersey. George is much more common than the French Georges, Guillaume all but vanished in favour of William. However, Mary and James do not appear to have had the same influence, Marie and Jacques being in common use until the 19th century, and Queen Anne's name was spelt in the French way, meaning that it was well into the 1800s before Ann became acceptable in Jersey
  37. This was more than a family of 'certain' importance: it was a family which held numerous positions in the 14th century. In addition to William in 1274, Nicholaus Hastein was Jurat in 1324 and Adam Hastein in 1362. Colin Hasteyn was Bailiff in 1315 and Guille Hastein in 1348 and 1352. In between there are records of Nicolas Hastein as Bailiff in 1327, 1330 and 1331, and it is now believed that this was not the same person as Colin Hasteyn. Sire Nicolas Hasteyn was Rector of St Lawrence during the reign of Edward III, circa 1350, and Roger Hasteyn was Rector of St Peter at the same time. Thus the family, whose name is derived from an ancient Viking name, can be seen to be more important at this time than the de Carterets, who only provided one Bailiff in the 13th and 14th centuries, but went on to rule the island for the greater part of the 17th and 18th centuries - Ed
  38. Ex 108, June 1766
  39. In fact, these were the only two members of the family to hold the office - Ed
  40. Catel
  41. Today the official name is Vingtaine du Coin Motier - Ed
  42. Messervy appears to have not known about, or ignored, baptisms for the name Selous elsewhere in the island which predate the St Mary Slow baptism. It would appear that the first member of the family to arrive in Jersey, some years earlier, was Thomas, whose son was baptised Thomas Selous in St Brelade in 1637. At more or less the same time a Philippe - possibly a younger brother - must also have arrived. His three children Philippe, Jacques and Elizabeth were also baptised in St Brelade between 1655 and 1664. The first recorded marriage was that of Jean Selous and Jeanne Laurier, also in St Brelade, in 1664. The great majority of the 128 members of the family baptised in Jersey lived in St Brelade, although the family was present in St Lawrence in smaller numbers, and could have given their name to the Carrefour. - Ed
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