Philippe de Barentin and the Payns of Samares

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Philippe de Barentin and the Payns of Samares

This article by Peter Bisson first appeared in the 1996 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise

Samares Manor

In an article in the Annual Bulletin for 1987, I traced the history of the fief of Samares and its seigneurs through the Middle Ages, revising and amplifying Langton's account down to the end of the 15th century. To explain the purpose and scope of the present paper requires a short recapitulation.

de Salinelles

The fief first appears in our records in the 12th century in the hands of a family named de Salinelles, from whom it passed by marriage in about 1270 to a branch of the great Norman family of Saint Hilaire de Harcouet (not, as Guy de Gruchy tries to make out in his ‘’Medieval Land Tenures in Jersey’’, the de Saint Helier family that existed in Jersey at the time).

Members of both the de Salinelles and de Saint Hilaire families sometimes called themselves de Saumarais after the fief, the de Salinelles being the presumed ancestors of the Guernsey family of de Sausmarez.

The well-known document purporting to be a grant of Samares to "Raoul de Saint Hilaire" by William Rufus in 1095 is a later medieval forgery; however, the de Salinelles seigneur of Rufus’s time may have been named Raoul if he can be identified with the Ralf de Salsomara (Raoul de Saumarais) mentioned in a 12th-century list of donors to the Norman abbey of Foucarmont.

The outbreak of the Hundred Years' War between England and France in 1337 revealed the existence of a pro-French party among the leading Jersey families and Guillaume de Saint Hilaire of Samares was among those who defected to the French side.

The fief was accordingly confiscated by Edward III, who regranted it in 1346 to Geoffrey de Thoresby. In 1351 it was sold to the Warden of the Isles, Jean Mautravers (jointly with his wife Agnes), and, a few years later, it passed to Philippe de Barentin, probably again by sale when Mautravers ceased to be Warden in 1354.

Dominant family

The de Barentins were then the dominant family in Jersey, having eclipsed the de Carterets of Saint Ouen in importance for more than a century. They were not of Jersey origin, but became established here after Drogo de Barentin, a knight in Henry III's service in England and later Seneschal of Gascony, was appointed Warden of the Isles in 1235.

He was granted the fief of Rosel by the King in or before 1247, and later received a large grant of land in Trinity, part of which became the fief of Dielament; his descendants made Rosel their home and acquired further fiefs in the Island, so that Philippe, five generations on, was Seigneur of Rosel, Samares, Dielament, Longueville and La Hougue Boete, as well as various lesser fiefs.

However, the family's pre-eminence was not to last much longer. In 1367 Philippe made over all his Jersey estates to his two attorneys, Raoul Lempriere and Guillaume Payn, and in the ‘’partage’’ that took place in 1382, Samares was the principal fief that fell to the Payn share. It remained in the Payn family until shortly before 1500 when it passed to the Dumaresqs through the marriage of Mabel, daughter and heiress of the last Payn seigneur, to John Dumaresq of Vinchelez de Bas.

My 1987 article promised a sequel continuing the story of Samares in the hands of the Dumaresqs from 1500 down to its sale by Debora Dumaresq in 1734; this is now in preparation. Meanwhile, however, my account of the Payn seigneurs needs expanding and correcting.

With regard to the de Salinelles and the de Saint Hilaires, I examined the source material as fully as possible in order to establish an accurate chronology, but space and other considerations prevented an equally full treatment for the Payns and the one aspect of their seigniory that I discussed at some length - the building work bearing their arms at Saint Clement's parish church - calls for reappraisal in the light of advances since 1987 in the study of Jersey heraldry.

The present paper therefore re-examines the Payn tenure of Samares more thoroughly, placing it in the context of the sale of the de Barentin fiefs and the relationship between the two families.

The fall of the de Barentins

The de Barentin genealogy presents some difficulties but, fortunately, it is clear at the point most relevant to this study. Drogo (or Drouet) de Barentin, the original grantee of Rosel, was succeeded about 1265 by his son, Guillaume, whose eldest son, Sir Drogo II de Barentin, was Seigneur of Rosel at the time of the Assizes of 1299 and 1309.

An entry in the 1299 Assize Roll concerning the Fief de Meleches, or Fief Paynel as it was then called, tells us that Drogo II had two younger brothers, Jean and Gilbert, the latter still under age, and five sisters of whom the two youngest, Marie and Agnes, were respectively the wife of Thomas Payn and the widow of Raoul Payn.

How the male line of succession passed from Drogo II to Philippe has to be deduced from conflicting evidence. Guillaume de Barentin, described as nepos of Drogo II, and usually said to have been Philippe's father, claimed inheritance of Drogo's estates in 1329 and appears as Seigneur of Rosel in the Extente of 1331. Nepos in medieval Latin can mean either a grandson, its original classical meaning, or a nephew, which is what most accounts of the family have taken it to mean here.

According to the de Barentin pedigree in the 16th century manuscript mentioned below, on which that in Payne's Armorial of Jersey is based, Drogo died childless and Guillaume was the son of Jourdain de Barentin, a younger brother of Drogo who had predeceased him; a note adds cryptically that the relationship as stated in the Extente was the source of the subsequent trouble over the de Barentin estates.

However, all Drogo's siblings were party to the action about the Fief Paynel in 1299 as co-heirs of their grandfather Drogo I, and the very detailed record in the Assize Roll does not list Jourdain among them. Had Drogo II de Barentin died without issue, his heir would have been his brother Jean, assuming that the latter can be identified with the Jean de Barentin who was Constable of Gorey Castle in 1337-38, so it seems likely that Guillaume was not Drogo's nephew at all, but his grandson - a view taken by the editors of the Extente who render nepos et heres into French as petit-fils et heritier.

Though de Gruchy speaks of the "the decay of the de Barentin dominance" in Jersey affairs as though it was a gradual process of decline, there seems no reason to doubt the tradition that it was a sudden and dramatic fall.


The event said to have brought this about was the murder of John (or Jehannet) de Saint Martin by Philippe de Barentin's two sons, Gilbert and Philippe, incited by their mother to tear out the tongue of the man who had called her an adulteress.

Historians have not been slow to deduce that a love affair between her and Jehannet had gone wrong and that her fury was that of the proverbial woman scorned; her sons, however, took her at her word, waylaid Jehannet on the road from Saint Martin's Church to Trinity and brutally avenged the insult.

It was an outrage whose consequences not even a family as powerful as the de Barentins could hope to escape. The two murderers fled to Normandy: Gilbert was arrested and hanged at Caen but Philippe was allowed to settle near Rouen and founded a family there.

Back in Jersey a wayside cross, known as La Croix de Jehannet, was put up to mark the spot where the atrocity took place, at or near the crossroads now called La Croix au Maitre.

The authority for this lurid tale is a Latin manuscript consisting of a pedigree of the de Barentin, Payn and Lempriere families with accompanying notes, thought to have been compiled by Dean Thomas de Soulemont about 1540.

It is printed with a French translation in Annual Bulletin 1902, and the narrative part is summarized in the entry under Philippe de Barentin in George Balleine's Biographical Dictionary of Jersey.

De Gruchy, in his robust way, dismisses it as worthless on account of its "serious errors of fact", but there is probably some basis of truth to it, even though the details are unreliable.

La Croix de Jehannet certainly existed: it was evidently a familiar landmark when the manuscript was written and, as late as 1860, J Bertrand Payne records a surviving folk memory of the annual masses that were celebrated there before the Reformation.

It has to be said, too, that the episode is in keeping with what we know of the de Barentin character. Drogo II de Barentin, though a man of influence who held office as Sub-warden of the Islands, is revealed by the Assize Rolls of 1299 and 1309 as a feudal ruffian, overbearing, rapacious, contemptuous of the laws of lesser men and evidently feared and hated in equal measure by his neighbours.

If his great-great-grandsons were cast in anything like the same unruly mould, it would not be surprising if their response to a slur on their mother's honour was violent and bloody. On the other hand, their victim cannot be satisfactorily identified from contemporary records of the de Saint Martin family, which are relatively full.

What is certain is that in 1362 Philippe de Barentin was in England and appointed Raoul Lempriere and Guillaume Payn as his attorneys in Jersey "to sue and defend for him in all courts of the island" for a period of two years.

Letter patent

The appointment is recorded in a letter patent of Edward III dated 25 September 1362. Its purpose is evident from the de Soulemont manuscript, which tells us that on 12 October an action was brought aux assises de l'Ile deJersey by Guillaume de Saint Martin and his co-parceners against de Barentin, alleging that his relatives were trying to deprive him of his property on the grounds that he was thought to be leprous and that, in order to frustrate their claims, he was taking steps to convey his estates into the names of his attorneys.

This allegation is perfectly credible, since lepers in the Middle Ages were regarded as legally dead and therefore incapable of owning property; but the de Saint Martins' standing in the matter is obscure.

De Gruchy, discussing the fief of Trinity which had been held by the de Saint Martin family since before 1300, and which he thinks they inherited from the de Barentins, cites this "interference" in the de Barentin estates as evidence for an early link between the two families.

But the Guillaume de Saint Martin who brought the action, whether or not he was the same Guillaume who became Seigneur of Trinity between 1387 and 1399 and lived until 1413, was certainly not the head of his family in 1362. If he was actioning by right of kinship - as the reference to co-partners would suggest - the connection must have been more recent, probably through his mother or grandmother.

Balleine assumes that the murder had already taken place by the time Philippe de Barentin gave his power of attorney to Lempriere and Payn and that it was to escape the scandal that Philippe had left the Island. If so, he must have been back by 1364 when the Abbess of Caen named him one of her attorneys in the Channel Islands, implying that he was not in complete disgrace.

In the highly embroidered version of the story given by de la Croix the sequence of events is different, with the murder not taking place until some years later, but this will not fit the evidence: it is plain that by 1367 Philippe had no sons capable of succeeding him and his move to sell his property in 1362 strongly implies that he was already without male heirs at that time.

With Philippe's sons gone, there seems to have been no one left to carry on the de Barentin name in Jersey. The other prominent members of the family of whom we hear during Philippe's lifetime - Jourdain, who was a Jurat in the 1350s, and a third Sir Drogo, thought to have been a younger brother of Philippe, who was a man of consequence in the Island in the previous decade - apparently left no descendants.

Philippe had another brother who settled in England and was the grandfather of Drogo or Drew de Barentin, the goldsmith, who was Mayor of London when Henry of Lancaster usurped the Crown from Richard II in 1399. In Jersey, however, the de Barentins' day was over.

The sale and its aftermath

The eventual sale of the de Barentin estates to Lempriere and Payn in 1367/8 was a complex transaction. Presumably because of Philippe's supposed leprosy, the purchasers had to treat not only with him but also with his heirs.

The fact that these were not direct male heirs seems to confirm that he had none: his surviving son in France, as a fugitive from justice, will have been debarred from inheriting.

However, we hear no more of the de Saint Martins who brought the action of 1362. A group of entries on the Close Rolls in the late autumn of 1367 shows that the principal heir to Philippe's Jersey property at that time was an Englishman, John Lovel, son of John, of Herdington in Middlesex, whose mother must have been a de Barentin.

According to Balleine she was Philippe's daughter, but the evidence is ambiguous and requires further study.

At the begining of November Lovel made over all the rights of himself and his co-heirs to the de Barentin estates in Jersey to William de Hasthorp or Asthorp, later to become Warden of the Isles, from whom Lempriere and Payn acquired these rights by indenture passed in Jersey before the Bailiff on 8 January 1367/8.

The indenture, which is printed in the 1893 Bulletin from a manuscript copy by the 19th-century antiquarian Francois Guillaume Collas, is an interesting document. In essence it follows the customary form of a Jersey contract; but, most unusually, the original - which was among the Dumaresq archives at Samares Manor in the 17th century, but has long since disappeared - bore the seals of Lempriere and Payn as well as that of the Bailiff, Richard, Jean and Geoffroi de St Martin|Richard de Saint Martin]].

The three seals are depicted in the Armorial footnote though, as usual with Payne, we cannot tell whether he saw them in the original or copied them from a secondary source. At the Assise d'Heritage of 18 January 1367/8, ten days after the indenture was passed, Lempriere and Payn jointly made their premier comparence for the fiefs of Rosel, Samares, Dielament and Saint Jean la Hougue Boete, desquels fieux eulx sont Seigneurs a heritage sy comme pleinement est declare par la delessance faite de Philippe de Barentin en l'ouye des parroesses ou lesdits fieux suyent ...

This part of the transaction was ratified by a contract passed before the Royal Court on 29 January - the Saturday before Candlemas - whereby Philippe de Barentin appeared in person, estant en bonne prosperite et memore to acknowledge having 'given and ceded' for himself and his heirs all his Jersey fiefs, manors, lands and rentes to Lempriere and Payn and their heirs in perpetuity.

Given the nature and circumstances of the transaction the reluctance to describe it as a sale is understandable but it was not a gift in any sense that we should recognize today:

Lempriere and Payn undertook to pay de Barentin £200 sterling a year for his lifetime, equivalent to at least £180,000 in modern money, and he also retained life-enjoyment of some of the seigneurial rights.

Title insecure

Even after this, the new seigneurs' title was far from secure. Rosel and Samares, being fiefs nobles held in capite from the King, were not alienable without his permission, and this had not been obtained.

On 8 May 1368 we find Edward III fining and pardoning "Ralph le Emperer and William Payn of the island of Jereseye ... [for] their trespass in acquiring in fee from Philip de Barantyn the manors of La Rosell and Saut Mareys in the said island, and entering therein without the king's licence".

Then, having cleared this hurdle, they found themselves beset by claims for retrait. Under Norman law, when a property was sold, any of the vendor's blood relations could buy it back within a year and a day for the same price as the purchaser had paid; and, if this right, known as retrait lignager, was not exercised, the right of ‘ ‘retrait feodal enabled the seigneur of the fief on which the property was situated - or, in the case of lands held in capite, the Warden of the Isles on behalf of the King - to buy out the purchaser in the same way.

Lempriere and Payn had to face proceedings not merely for one form of retrait or the other, as was usual, but for both.

Philippe de Barentin's sister Mabel had married into the Saint Lawrence branch of the Payn family, and at some time in 1368 her elder son Pierre Payn, Rector of Saint Brelade, brought an action for the recovery of his uncle's lands by retrait lignager.

We know about this in some detail because an appeal from the Royal Court's judgment was still being pursued against the descendants of Raoul Lempriere and Guillaume Payn at the time of the French occupation of Jersey under the Comte de Maulevrier a century later.

In 1462 the case was brought before Maulevrier's assizes at Mont Orgueil by the guardian of Pierre Payn's heirs, the great-grandchildren of his younger brother Raulin, and a record of the proceedings - including a summary of the progress of the original action of 1368 - survived long enough to be seen and printed by de la Croix in the 19th century.

According to the pleadings, the terms of the sale of the de Barentin fiefs obliged the purchasers to pay Pierre Payn 100 royaux (probably equivalent to around 120-150 livres tournois) and sixteen quarters of wheat rente.

Their descendants in 1462, Regnaud Lempriere of Rosel and Philippot Payn of Samares, submitted that Pierre and his heirs were barred from seeking to upset a transaction from which he himself had benefited; but against this it was argued that Pierre had not been a party to the contract of sale.

Not in contract

What is puzzling is that these payments are constantly referred to as being stipulated in the contract, when in fact they are not. Possibly this was an error in the initial representation and was repeated afterwards in good faith: the contract itself-which evidently did not reflect all the complexities of the transaction - may not have been produced to Maulevrier's court.

Early in the course of the 1368 action it was agreed between the parties that the estate should be placed in the King's hands ‘ ‘pendente lite’ ‘ and the Viscount duly recorded avoir mis les heritages en main de justice.

Edward III himself, however, evidently knew nothing of this or of Pierre Payn's claim. On 1 May 1369 he issued an order to the Warden, Walter Huwet, stating that he had been unaware of the custom of retrait when he pardoned Lempriere and Guillaume Payn for purchasing their fiefs without licence but was now informed that, when the estate was put up for sale, Huwet had offered to buy it from Philippe de Barentin for the same price as Lempriere and Payn paid; so "no one of the blood of Philip suing for purchase thereof within the year," it had escheated to the Crown by retrait feodal.

Consequently Lempriere and Payn were in unlawful possession and Huwet was ordered to indemnify them according to the customary law and to take possession of the estate in the King's name.

Balleine, taking at its face value the assertion that there had been no claim for retrait lignager by any of Philippe de Barentin's relatives, infers that Pierre Payn failed to make his claim within the permitted time and that this was why it ultimately failed.

However, an action that was out of order on so fundamental a point would have been dismissed out of hand. In any case, the 1462 pleadings state that the clameur de retrait was made within a year of the sale, and the point does not appear to have been disputed.

Is it possible, then, that after so many years, the basis of the original claim was misremembered and that Pierre Payn brought his action not comme prochain parent du vendeur du cote dont l'heritage procedoit, but in some other capacity?

This is the view taken by de Gruchy in his attempt to discredit the de Soulemont manuscript. Pointing out that the Payns were trying to wrest Rosel from the de Barentins long before the sale, he suggests that their claim may have been based on kinship to the de Fournet family from whom Rosel had escheated to the Crown before it was granted to Drogo de Barentin in 1247.

Justices Itinerant

Certainly a claim to Rosel by Guillaume Payn, son of Raoul, probably a nephew of Drogo II de Barentin, whose youngest sister Agnes was Raoul Payn's widow in 1299, was heard by the Justices Itinerant of 1304 and went before Parliament at Westminster the following year.

But Pierre Payn's action in 1368 was for the recovery of all Philipe de Barentin's lands, not only Rosel, and cannot have had anything to do with the de Fournets. The obvious inference is that it was a separate claim from that of 1304, in which case there is no reason to doubt that its grounds were as stated in the 1462 pleadings.

However, if we accept the pleadings as a true record of what happened in 1368, we are forced to conclude that Walter Huwet - never a very conscientious warden and seemingly not a scrupulous one either - misrepresented the facts in his report to Edward III. His motive is not far to seek: the King's expropriation order of 1 May 1369 was followed a few days later, as Huwet no doubt had reason to expect, by a grant of the estate to him in fee, with power to regrant it to whomsoever he pleased.

Whether this grant took effect is another matter. Langton assumes that it did and opines that Huwet leased the estate back to Raoul Lempriere and Guillaume Payn for an annual rent; but we learn from the proceedings of 1462 that Raoul Lempriere and Guillaume Payn remained in possession nonobstant que les heritages [ussent mis a la main du Roy ... [comme] il avoit este appointe par Justice.

This suggests that, though the order placing the estate in the hands of the Royal Court in 1368 had little practical effect, the grant to Huwet did not override it.

If Huwet did take possession of the estate, it must have reverted to the Crown after¬wards, possibly when he died in 1373. We do not hear of it again until after Edward III's death four years later, by which time Raoul Lempriere, too, was dead.

In November 1378 the new King, Richard II, issued a writ of supersedeas in favour of Guillaume Payn and Drouet Lempriere, Raoul's son, after taking homage from them for their lands in Jersey. A writ of supersedeas is generally one that prorogues a tribunal or suspends or revokes the powers of a trustee and, in this instance, it presumably signifies the release of the estate, either from the hands of the Royal Court by virtue of the 1368 vesting order, or from the sequestration ordered by Edward III in 1369.

Pierre Payn's action at this time was still pending before the Court, which did not give judgment against him until 1381. In the opinion of the French lawyers who examined the appeal in 1462 this was a wrong judgment and Pierre's heirs had a good claim in law to the retrait of the estate; unfortunately they were short of funds to pursue it and there was talk of a patrilineal de Barentin heir being substituted as claimant in their place.

The final judgment, however, rested with Maulevrier himself and must either have been given against the appellants or never given at all, for Lempriere and Payn and their respective heirs remained in possession of their fiefs.

The de Barentin/Payn relationship

The Payns were a family of importance in the Middle Ages, both in Normandy and in Jersey, where they had been established since before 1180 and were very influential throughout the 13th century. The Extentes of 1274 and 1331 and the Rolls of the Assizes of 1309 show branches of the family established in various parts of the Island at that period; but the de Soulemont manuscript would have us believe that the Payns of Samares did not stem from any of these.

It asserts that Guillaume Payn and Raoul Lempriere were 'foreigners' from Brittany, who after paying Philippe de Barentin £800 sterling for his estates in the reign of Edward III were later forced to compound with Richard II in the further sum of £70 for permission to retain them.

In part, this obviously reflects a confused memory of the events that followed the sale of 1367. The figure of £800 may even be correct, indicating that de Barentin lived to enjoy his £200 annuity for four years after parting with his lands.

The note of Richard II's 1378 writ of supersedeas in the Calendar of Close Rolls does not mention a payment of £70, or any other sum, but this is not to say that no such payment is mentioned in the original writ: the entries in the printed Rolls give only a summary or abridgement of each document and important as well as unimportant details are sometimes omitted.

Quite certainly, however, Lempriere and Payn were not Breton immigrants. Both were Jurats long before they acquired the de Barentin estates, which in those days would have been impossible unless they belonged to established Jersey families.

Indeed, we know that Raoul Lempriere and his ancestors had held the Fief Lempriere in Saint Helier since the 12th century. Balleine suggests that these Lemprieres were descended from a branch of the original Norman family that had settled in Brittany and that, even after several generations, the conservative Jersey people regarded them as Bretons; we should have to assume, in that case, either that Guillaume Payn's origins were similar or that the memory of those of his partner became wrongly attached to him as well.

However, contemporary evidence for a challenge to the 1367 sale on grounds of alienage is conspicuous by its absence. Neither in the printed official Rolls, nor in the proceedings by Pierre Payn and his heirs for recovery of the estate, is there any suggestion that the purchasers of Philippe de Barentin's ‘ ‘fiefs nobles’ ‘ were persons unworthy to hold them. Such a plea was to form the basis of a lawsuit in the 16th century concerning the Payn armorial bearings, which were adopted by the Dumaresqs as the arms of the fief of Samares; but this probably took its authority from the de Soulemont manuscript itself.

De Barentin descendant?

There is, in fact, reason to believe that Guillaume Payn was descended from the de Barentins. The clue to this is to be found in a family settlement recorded in the Assize Roll of 1309 by which Rauline, wife of Nicholas Desvee, and Thomas Lempriere, son of Raoul, for himself and his co-heirs, ceded part of the estate of Thomas Payn to his widow Marion - who had remarried William de Chalgrave - and to her son Guillaume Payn.

The only way I can make sense of this is to assume that Thomas Lempriere's mother had been Rauline's sister and that they were Thomas Payn's daughters by an earlier marriage, though it is not clear why the estate was in their hands rather than in those of Guillaume, who was presumably his father's principal heir.

Both Guillaume Payn and Thomas Lempriere were under age in 1309, Thomas's guardian being his father Raoul, while Drogo II de Barentin was guardian of Guillaume Payn. That Guillaume's mother was the Marion de Barentin mentioned elsewhere in the Assize Roll is beyond doubt, especially as the de Barentins had a manor at Chalgrove in Oxfordshire, from where her second husband presumably came; and since the name Marion is a diminutive of Marie or Mary, we may safely identify her with Drogo II's sister Marie who was the wife of Thomas Payn in 1299.

The Thomas Lempriere of this settlement was the father of the Raoul Lempriere of 1367: he inherited the Fief Lempriere from his father Raoul between 1323 and 1331, and the younger Raoul apparently inherited it from him before 1342.

With the family link between him and a Guillaume Payn in 1309 paralleled by a connection between his son and another Guillaume Payn in the 1360s, the inference that the two Guillaumes were also father and son is hard to resist.

Certainly a Guillaume Payn descended from the de Barentin marriage was living in February 1380/1, when he passed a contract referring to four cabots of wheat rente due to him in right of Marion de Barentin; if we could be certain that this was Guillaume Payn of Samares, the contract would confirm that the latter was a descendant of Drogo I de Barentin and his son Guillaume, and a great-nephew of Drogo II.

Whether Thomas and Raoul Lempriere were related by blood to the de Barentins as well as the Payns is not known, but two factors suggest that they may have been. Raoul's son was named Drouet, the Jersey vernacular form of Drogo; and the Lemprieres of Rosel adopted the de Barentin arms of three eagles with the colours changed from silver on black to gold on red. This may, however, be an example of the association of arms with a fief rather than evidence of a blood relationship.

Apart from probably being cousins, Raoul Lempriere and Guillaume Payn, according to Payne's Armorial, were also brothers-in-law, having married the two daughters and co-heiresses of Geoffrey Brasdefer. This statement has been widely repeated, but I cannot trace Payne's source for it and any genealogical information for which he is our only authority must be treated with great caution.

Since both Lempriere and Payn are first recorded as Jurats around 1350, the usual assumption that their father-in-law was the Geoffrey Brasdefer, who was Bailiff between 1395 and 1401, is plainly wrong: either the Brasdefer in question has been misidentified or it was a later generation of Lempriere and Payn who married the Bailiff’s daughters.

The Payn seigneurs

The dangers of relying on Payne's unsupported word are well shown by a list in the of members of the Payn family supposed to have held office as Bailiffs, Jurats and Crown Officers between 1200 and 1788.

Many of these Payns are identified as seigneurs of Samares and other fiefs and the list would be of great value if it could be trusted; but comparison with primary sources, where this is possible, shows it to be hopelessly inaccurate. It does not even correspond with the pedigree Payne himself gives for the family, which, though far from perfect, at least stays closer to the evidence.

A better approach to the genealogy of the Payns of Samares is through J A Messervy's carefully researched list of Jurats in the 1899 Annual Bulletin, supplemented by information from documents published in later Bulletins and in the Cartulaire des Iles Normandes (1924), and by Ralph Mollet's lists of unpublished contracts in the Societe Jersiaise Library, in which he gives the names of the Bailiff and Jurats before whom each contract was passed.

Further information could undoubtedly be gathered from documents in private archive collections but the only such collection I have had the opportunity to examine at the time of writing is the one at Saint Ouen's Manor.

In the material so far collated we find the name Guillaume (usually abbreviated to Guille) Payn recorded as a Jurat ten times between 1352 and 1368, four times between 1379 and 1382, and another ten between 1397 and 1403.

The Guillaume of 1397 was certainly a different man from that of 1382, but the gap between 1368 and 1379 probably reflects a scarcity of source material rather than a break in the Payn juratship, for the pleadings in the retrait appeal of 1462 indicate that the Guillaume Payn of 1367 was co-defendant throughout the original action of 1368-81.

Messervy's 1899 list of Jurats describes him as Seigneur of Samares in 1380; I am not sure whether this is an editorial note by Messervy or whether it is taken from the source document but, in the latter case, the division of the de Barentin fiefs between the Lempriere and Payn families must have taken place de facto some time before the partage was passed before the Royal Court in the autumn of 1382.


The partage, which is printed from a vidimus of 1397 in the 1904 Annual Bulletin goes into far more detail than the contract of sale in 1367.

Drouet Lempriere took the fiefs of Rosel, Longueville and La Hougue Boete; Payn took Samares and Dielament, along with an assortment of lesser fiefs. Of these, La Fosse in Saint Helier had been a branch of Samares since at least the 12th century; Le Hommet in Saint Clement - originally part of a larger fief and much confused in modern times with an unrelated holding of the same name in Grouville - had been in the possession of the seigneurs of Samares since shortly before 1331; Ponterrin in Trinity, a sub-fief of Saint Ouen, was also held by Guillaume de Saint Hilaire in 1331, and so was presumably confiscated and regranted with his other fiefs.

The Fief Burrier or Burrey in Saint Martin was also associated with Samares but its origin does not seem to be known; nor is it clear how this group of fiefs came to include the Fief de Gruchy in Trinity or the Fief es Cras, one of the sub-fiefs of Meleches, in what is now the Sion district on the borders of Trinity and Saint John.

Most mysterious of all is an otherwise unknown fief called Monfort. Charles Stevens thought it might have been a dependency of Dielament, but the fact that all these minor fiefs are listed before Dielament in the partage does not support this view.

The contract specifies the amounts of rente payable and receivable by each of the parties, including a money rente of 24 livres to the Crown on the fief of Samares, and some sums due to Guillaume Payn personally, both in his own name and in right of his wife, who as usual in such cases it not named.

Included among the assessed values of Payri's minor fiefs - though faulty punctuation obscures the sense in the printed text - is the pound of pepper that is known from other sources to have been due on the Fief es Cras, and is commemorated in the name of La Rue au Poivre on that fief, close to the parish boundary east of Macpela cemetery. There is still no mention, however, of the sixteen quarters of wheat supposedly due to Pierre Payn under the deal of 1367.

An interesting provision, though one that is not easy to interpret, concerns the dower of Jourdain de Barentin's widow who had remarried the Seigneur of Saint Ouen.

Her first husband is most unlikely to have been Philippe de Barentin's grandfather, as stated by Payne; more probably he was the Jourdain de Barentin who had been one of the messengers chosen to carry dispatches from Jersey to the King in 1339 and who appears as a Jurat between 1352 and 1360.

If so, however, his place in the line of succession is obscure. As part of her dower his widow was entitled to le tiers du vraic de Rosel and during her lifetime Lempriere was to have l'assiette du vraic de Samares instead; exactly what these phrases mean is not very clear either.


The fief of Dielament did not remain in the hands of the seigneurs of Samnares for long. We next hear of it in a partage in 1409 between Guillemote Payn, wife of Robert Camel, and her sister Jenette, wife of Guillaume de Saint Martin, Seigneur of Trinity.

Their relationship to Guillaume Payn is at present unknown, but Guillemote was the principal heiress in her branch of the family following the death of a childless brother and, in 1413, she sold Dielament to a syndicate headed by Drouet Lempriere's son, John, who afterwards bought out his co-purchasers and whose heirs have held the fief ever since.

The other fiefs taken by Guillaume Payn in 1382 all reappear in an extente drawn up in 1608 of the lands of Daniel Dumaresq, Seigneur of Samares, except for Monfort, which we never hear of again, and Ponterrin, which was in a different branch of the Payn family by 1593. The Fief Burrier was sold by Philippot Payn of Samares at some time prior to 1469 but was repurchased in 1499 by Mabel Payn's husband, John Dumaresq, ensuring that it would be reunited with Samares by inheritance.

If we assume the Guillaume Payn of 1367 and 1382 to have been the son of the Guillaume who was a minor in 1309, and posit that he was born somewhere around 1320-25, he would have been a man of about sixty at the time of the partage - elderly by mediaeval standards, but not unreasonably so, though he probably died soon afterwards, since we have no record of him as a Jurat after 1382.

The Guillaume of 1397-1403 could have been his son, born around the middle of the century; but the long interval between the father's death and the son's first appearance as a Jurat is suspicious in an age when the seigneurs of the major fiefs usually became Jurats soon after inheriting.

It is possible that the Guillaume of 1397 was not the first Guillaume's son but his grandson: born in the 1370s, he would have inherited while still a child, been elected to the bench when he came of age and died a few years later, leaving an infant son to succeed him.

Alternatively, if the two Guillaumes were father and son, the succession may have skipped a generation after the son died. In either case it is probably at least partly owing to a long minority that we lose sight of the Seigneurs of Samares between 1403 and 1430.

Armorial list

The list of Payn notables in Payne's Armorial would have us believe that a Raulin Payn was Jurat and Seigneur of Samares in the latter year, but this cannot be accepted. The only Raulin Payn known as a Jurat at this time did not have the precedence due for Samares: he seems to have belonged to the Saint Lawrence branch of the family, in which the name Raulin occurs regularly. After the two Guillaumes, the next identifiable Seigneur of Samares is John Payn.

It is in 1430 that we first meet him as a Jurat and as one of the sureties named by John Lempriere on his appointment as Receiver of the King's revenues.

We also hear of him in the same year through the inheritance of his wife. Her Christian name does not seem to be recorded, but she was the younger daughter of Guillaume du Marest (Dumaresq) of La Haule; through her mother, a daughter of Jacques de Beaucamp of Guernsey, she was descended from the Guernsey family of de Canelly as well as from the de Saint Martins, and her sister, who was their father's principal heiress, was married to another Guernseyman, Pierre or Perrot Nicolas.

Under Guillaume du Marest's will, made shortly before his death in 1430, John Payn's wife received a house and land in Saint Ouen, and a ‘ ‘partage’ ‘ of the estate between Payn and Nicolas in right of their respective wives was passed later in the year.

John Payn's time as Seigneur of Samares was marked by an interesting dispute with one of his tenants over seigneurial rights. Jannequin Perchard, having become a Jurat, claimed that this status exempted him from the services he owed for his land on the fief, a view with which Payn, unsurprisingly, did not agree.

The matter went before the Royal Court whose judgment, given in December 1438 after lengthly proceedings au devant de ces heures, is enrolled in the 18th-century manuscripts of Thomas Le Maistre in the Societe Jersiaise Library.

As a rule the Court had little hesitation in backing seigneurs against insubordinate tenants, but a dispute between a Seigneur and a Jurat was an issue to split the loyalties of the bench. Five Jurats found for Payn but a sixth, John de Carteret, was not present, and final judgment was deferred while his opinion was sought; when he too came down in Payn's favour the Court had a clear majority and Perchard was obliged to submit.

Jurat John Payn

John Payn - his name is nearly always given as John or Johan, not Jean - was still a Jurat in December 1442, but in 1444 he was Bailiff. His seal is illustrated in the Armorial, supposedly from a document of 1446, and differs completely from that of Guillaume Payn on the indenture of 1367/8.

Guillaume's seal depicts a woman's head and shoulders, full face, wearing an antique crown - a device that, as Payne observes, closely resembles the crest of the Dorset and Leicestershire branch of the Payne family in England; it was borne as a crest by the Jersey Payns in the 19th century.

John Payn's seal, however, alludes to the well-known Payn arms of three trefoils, having a single trefoil on a shield flanked by the initials I P in elegant Gothic script. How long the Payns had been using the trefoils as their arms is not known: the matter was to be the subject of an action before the Royal Court in 1567, which will be discussed in my forth¬coming article on the Dumaresqs.

If John Payn was still Bailiff in the early part of 1446 he must have died or ceased to hold office during the year, for we do not hear of him again, and Regnaud de Carteret of Longueville was Bailiff from 1446 until 1451.

Payne lists Philip and Thomas Payn as successive Seigneurs of Samares in 1449; the first of these could have been the Philippot Payn who was Seigneur at the time of the retrait appeal in 1462 and passed a contract ratifying the sale of the Fief Burrier in 1468/9, but if he was John Payn's son he was probably still a minor in 1449 and could not have been a Jurat as Payne states.

The mention of Thomas Payn as Seigneur is almost certainly wrong, as is the pedigree in giving Philippot a younger brother John who became Lieut-Bailiff. Messervy records no John Payn as Jurat or Lieutenant-Bailiff between 1446 and 1500, the next being John Payn of Grouville, Jurat 1503-36 and Lieutenant-Bailiff in 1515, who cannot possibly have been a son of John Payn of Samares.

Whether the Philippe or Philippot Payn who was a Jurat from 1477 until his death in 1497-98 was the same man as the Philippot of 1462 and 1468 is hard to judge. His daughter Mabel, whose marriage brought Samares to the Dumaresq family, lived until 1565 but her husband was of age in 1485, and possibly as early as 1482, and their great-grandson Henry Dumaresq came of age about the time she died, so her marriage probably took place around 1490; as the heiress to so valuable an estate she would have been married young and we may deduce that she was born some time in the 1470s.

John Payn, even if he was the grandson and not the son of the Guillaume last heard of in 1403, can have been born no later than 1408-9, so either one or two generations could have intervened between him and Mabel. If the Philippe of 1477 was the Philippot of 1462, we once again have the question why he did not become a Jurat sooner: his appointment could have been delayed by the French occupation but one would expect him to have appeared on the bench soon after the Island was liberated in 1468.

On the other hand, if there were two generations, the elder Philippot must be added to the list of those of his line who died before their time. The Dumaresqs in the next century were also to be noticeably short-lived and it may not be fanciful to suggest a link between so many premature deaths and the situation of Samares Manor, which must have been as unhealthy a spot before the surrounding marshes were drained as it is pleasant today.

Langton, who was evidently unaware of the references to Philippot Payn in 1462 and 1468, thought there might have been two Philippes between 1477 and 1497, but there is no evidence to support this idea. The Guillaume Payn who was a Jurat from 1473 until 1493 was certainly not Seigneur of Sarnares in 1487 as stated in Payne's list: he did not have the precedence due for the fief and there is no break in Philippe's juratship into which he could have fitted.

Juge Commis

Our documentary sources have little to tell us about the Philippe of 1477-97 apart from his regular appearances on the bench. In 1483 he presided over the Royal Court as Juge commis in a matter in which the Bailiff, William Hareby, was personally concerned and, in 1489, he made the ‘ ‘aveu’ ‘ for his fief that was arbitrarily demanded by Governor Matthew Baker from all the King's francs tenants in the Island.

The splendid improvements to Saint Clement's Church, for which he was probably responsible, and the description of him as a 'nobleman' (nobilis vir) in connection with the private chapel at Samares Manor, both discussed below, speak of his wealth and influence; but of his life we know next to nothing.

His wife, Thomasse, is usually said to have been a de Carteret, but is not easy to place in that family's genealogy. According to Langton she was the daughter of a Richard de Carteret, of whom nothing else seems to be known; Payne makes her a daughter of Regnaud de Carteret, Seigneur of Longueville.

There were two successive Regnaud de Carterets at Longueville in the 15th century, of whom the elder succeeded John Payn as Bailiff in 1446 and died in 1468/9 and the younger sold Longueville Manor in 1470 and died in 1472. The younger of these Regnauds apparently had only one daughter Jeannette, who married Michel Payn of Saint Lawrence.

Among my notes on the de Carteret family is a reference, which I cannot at present verify, to a daughter of the elder Regnaud who married a Philippe Payn; but her name also is given as Jeannette or Jenette, after her mother who was Jenette de Saint Martin.

If this is correct it suggests that the Philippe or Philippot Payn of 1462-68 and that of 1477-97 were father and son and that the identity of their wives has been confused, in which case the younger Philippe's wife Thomasse may not have been a de Carteret at all.

Though Langton says that Mabel Payn was her father's only child, Payne gives her a sister Marguerite, Dame of the Fief de la Rondiole in Saint Helier. This may be correct, as there was a dispute over this fief in 1623 in which one of the parties claimed to derive title from Marguerite Payn, and the act of the Cour d' Heritage describes her as having been the daughter of Philippot Payn.

Mabel's father was still alive in the early part of 1497, but by the following year he was dead and the male line of the Payns of Samares was extinguished. With his death we reach the end of the period covered by this article, leaving the tenure of the fief by Mabel and her heirs for future discussion.

The architectural legacy

In the late Middle Ages the architecture of Jersey's parish churches, previously simple and primitive, was transformed by a spate of alterations and extensions, in a mature French Gothic style, with traceried windows and an abundance of dressed stonework in Chausey granite.

John McCormack in his book ‘ ‘Channel Island Churches’ ‘ dates some of this work as early as the 1440s but Christopher Aubin and I believe it to be later, because similarities of craftsmanship show that the work was accomplished within a fairly short time and some of it is firmly dated after 1500 by documentary evidence.

In Saint Clement's church three distinct building operations from this period can be identified, all 'signed' with the Payn arms.

The most ambitious of these is represented by the remodelling of the crossing beneath the tower and the refacing of the south side of the chancel. The crossing, with its quadripartite vault and central oculus for raising and lowering the bells, is a simpler version of those in Saint Helier's and Saint Saviour's churches: it lacks their inner order of arches carried on attached shafts but, otherwise, is the same in both design and workmanship down to the detail of chamfer mouldings crossing over one another where the arches spring from the piers.

The Payn shield is carved on a fine granite image bracket alongside the north-west crossing pier, facing into the nave. Externally, the new facade and buttresses of the chancel are similar to those of the south chapel (now the Lady Chapel) at Saint Helier, and there is a massive canted buttress of matching design built against the corner of the tower, presumably to shore it up while the work was done on the crossing.

The turret staircase on the north side leading up to the belfry was also added at this time, being originally reached from inside the church by a doorway in the north transept; a similar doorway with curved sides at the top of the stairs, obviously not in the position for which it was made, suggests that a plan to rebuild the tower itself in the same style as those of Saint Helier and Saint Saviour was abandoned.

The Payn trefoils also appear on a stone tablet over the central pier of the arcade from the chancel to the north chapel. This arcade, with its two handsome Chausey granite arches, was obviously not constructed at the same time as the new crossing but whether it is earlier or later is difficult to decide.

John McCormack believes it to be later, but thinks it replaced an older arcade, the chapel itself in his opinion being 14th century. I am not convinced of this, despite the rough external appearance of the chapel: the Victorian mullions and tracery of its east window are set in an original Chausey stone frame which looks like 15th-century work and, as far as I can see, is integral with the chapel's east wall and not a later insertion.

Major alteration

The last major alteration was the rebuilding of the east end of the chancel in a rich style with moulded plinth, elegantly shaped buttresses - set diagonally at the south corner but axially at the north one, showing that the north chapel predates this work - and crockets on the coping stones of the gable. The three trefoils can just be made out, much weathered, on a shield above the finial of the magnificent triple-light window.

In my 1987 article I provisionally attributed the whole of this series of alterations to the patronage of Mabel Payn's father. This attribution was based on two assumptions: first that the French Gothic phase of our church architecture postdates the establishment of the Privilege of Neutrality in 1480; and secondly that Philippe Payn was the last seigneur of Samares who could have used the Payn trefoils except in conjunction with the scallops of Dumaresq.

I was nevertheless unhappy about accepting a date as early as the 1490s for the east end of the chancel, in view of its obvious affinity with the remodelled east ends of the north chapel at Saint Saviour and the south one at Grouville, which date from well into the 16th century (no earlier than 1515-20 and probably later), and with the Hamptonne chapel at Saint Lawrence, completed between 1531 and 1539.

Philippe Payn still seems to me the most likely patron for the crossing and the refaced south wall of the chancel: it may well have been his death in 1497-8 that put a stop to the intended rebuilding of the tower.

The date of the north chapel and chancel arcade remains problematic, but the east end of the chancel can now safely be placed in the 16th century. Research into Channel Islands heraldry since 1987 has established beyond doubt that the Dumaresqs of Samares adopted the Payn trefoils in place of their own family arms of three scallops.

The branch of the Lempriere family that inherited Trinity Manor from the de Saint Martins similarly adopted the billets of de Saint Martin in place of the Lempriere eagles and, in both cases, there is evidence that the arms in question were regarded as those of the fief - a concept alien to English heraldry but evidently recognized by custom here.

At Samares Manor the marriage of John Dumaresq and Mabel Payn is commemorated by a heraldic stone on which the Dumaresq scallops are dimidiated with the Payn trefoils; but after his death, in or about 1526, Mabel and their descendants reverted to the use of the trefoils alone. Since a date around 1530 exactly suits the style in which the east end of the church was rebuilt, we may assume that it was done at that time.

In the days when Jersey's roads were no more than narrow winding lanes, knee-deep in mud in the winter, the journey from Samares Manor over the hill to the church must always have been inconvenient. Whether the Payn seigneurs or their predecessors had a private chapel at the Manor we do not know but, in 1498, Philippe Payn's widow sought permission from the Bishop of Coutances to worship at home.

An entry in the Episcopal Register of Coutances records the grant of a licence on 26 October 1498, for the celebration of Mass "in a certain oratory situated ... within the manor house (infra domum manerii) of the noble Lady Thomasse, widow of the late nobleman Philip Payn, in his lifetime temporal Lord of Saumarescq in the parish of Saint Clement in the island of Jersey, twice a week for one year".

In 1987 I fell into the trap of construing infra in its classical sense of 'beneath' and assumed that the oratory was located in the vaulted cellar or undercroft below the present drawing room in the west wing of the Manor.

In fact, infra in medieval Latin usually means 'within', and our knowledge of what the house was like in the 15nth century is too slight for us to say where in it the chapel was.

Two reasons remain for suspecting that the cellar may have been used, but neither is compelling. The first is the presence in its west wall of a small square window of dressed granite, the mouldings of which suggest a date around 1500; this may indicate that a cellar previously used for wine or stores was upgraded to a more dignified function at this time but the window could equally have been saved and brought here from some other position during one of the many later remodellings of the house.

The other possible clue is that the cellar is now traditionally known as the crypt, suggesting a memory of some former ecclesiastical use. Certainly neither it nor the building above it can have been a chapel originally, for its long axis runs north-south: mediaeval churches and chapels were permitted to deviate from an eastward orientation only if forced to do so by the limitations of the site, which cannot have been the case here.

What the site plainly did dictate was the raising of the living quarters above ground level to keep them dry, and so this 'crypt' was probably the undercroft of a first¬ floor hall, perhaps dating from before the Payns' time. If Thomasse Payn had it converted into a private chapel, she must have found it a damp place in which to pray.

The chapel is generally said to have been dedicated to Saint Martha of Bethany, the sister of Mary Magdalene. If this is correct, which is doubtful, the dedication is a most unusual one.

When Christ's disciples went forth to preach the Gospel, legend says that Martha travelled with her sister and their brother Lazarus to Provence, which they evangelized, and that she rid the district between Arles and Avignon of a huge and terrible dragon which she tamed by sprinkling it with holy water before leading it to Arles to be killed; the dragon was known locally as Le Tarasque, and the place was afterwards named Tarascon in honour of the miracle. (None of this, unfortunately, is accepted as true by modern scholars).

Her supposed relics were discovered and enshined at Tarascon in 1187, but dedications to her in northern Europe are rare and there is no obvious reason why the chapel at Samares Manor should have been among them.

Evidence for the dedication is, in fact, not strong, as no mention of it can be traced before the 19th century. One of the fragments of wall painting in the north transept of the church depicts a female figure and the wing of a dragon, but this is more likely to be Saint Margaret of Antioch, who also vanquished a dragon and was a stock figure of mediseval iconography.

The name Samares, however, has more than once been misinterpreted as a saint's name by those unfamiliar with it - Saint Mares in the Extente of 1528, Sainte Marie elsewhere - and I am inclined to agree with Charles Stevens' privately expressed view that 'Sainte Marthe' may be another instance of this, more especially perhaps as Samares is pronounced Sanmathes in Jersey Norman-French.

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