Pinels of St John

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Pinels of St John


La Vallette, St John - once a Pinel home and now owned by the National Trust for Jersey

By Winston Pinel
See the Pinel family page for his collection of trees

Several years ago, while on holiday in Australia, I was asked on numerous occasions: "Where do you come from?". My reply was always: "A little island off the French coast called Jersey". Although the majority of those enquiring had heard of our Island, most asked next: "But where did your family come from before that?". I replied with great pride, of course, that my family had lived in Jersey for the past 800 years or more. For those living in the Colonies, it is difficult to imagine roots of such depth.

Frankish origins

Where we Pinels came from before we settled in Jersey is a matter for conjecture. But information received from Arthur Pinel in the USA would suggest that we were originally Franks.

"The Romans, during their occupation of Gaul, established a fortress near the present town of Rouen in France. It was on top of the highest ground in the area and the Romans called it Pinnellium, which in Latin means 'On the Peak'."

When, in 486 AD, Clovis, King of the Franks, defeated the Romans and conquered northern Gaul, the Franks occupied the fortified village. They were refered to as being de Pinnellium, which over many years became shortened to Pinel."

This explanation seems plausible as, even today, the majority of French Pinels are to be found in the north-east of France.

History tells us that around 800 AD, the Vikings began raiding the area and eventually settled, forcing the Franks to be their serfs, working the land. But they came in smaller numbers than in the NE of England, so that eventually these Norsemen integrated with the Franks and adopted their language.

One would assume, therefore, that the Pinels who lived in Normandy during the 9th Century were of Franco-Norman descent. [1]

From about 500 AD Jersey was inhabited by Bretons, so that it was most probable that we Pinels came here some time after 933 AD when the Channel Islands were added to the Duchy of Normandy.

William the Conqueror

In 1066 William, Duke of Normandy, conquered England and among his many followers were almost certainly many Pinels.

Around this time there seems to be some great confusion in the records between the names Pinel and Paignell and I have yet to be convinced that they have a common origin, as some researchers suggest. Because of this, I have omitted references to a Rollo Paignell (Paynel) who is listed in the Dives Records as being one of the companions of the Duke.

As well as Crusading, it became the fashion in these Christian Kingdoms to donate land to the church. In a charter of between 1160-1170, a William Pinel, of Jersey, who was married to the sister of a Ranulfo de Bocleio, gave land at Turgisvilla in Normandy, in about the year 1136, to the Abbey of St Saviour in the same duchy. His sons William and Hamelin are mentioned in the same charter. At some time before 1204, a Pinel was granted land in the Parish of St John, which included Tesson Mill in St Peter, probably because of services rendered to his Duke, possibly during the Conquest of England. This land-holding, or Fief, later became known as Fief Pinel.

In 1204 Normandy was conquered by the French, and Jersey remained faithful to King John in England. It is unfortunate for our family today that, in that same year, the Fief Pinel was confiscated by King John because William Pinel, along with many other local seigneurs, was suspected of showing allegience to the French King. This William was probably the descendant of the William mentioned in the charter.

Thomas Pinel

Although the Pinels lost their lands in St John, they do appear to have remained in the area because, in 1531, the Commissioners Report lists a Thomas Pinel as being one of the principals of the Parish.

The notes of Rev Messervy indicate that his son Clement married, around 1515, a Catherine, sister of Michel Dorey.

Their son Thomas married, around 1540, a Collette, daughter of Symon Malzard, who was Constable of St John in 1525. They lived in the Vingtaine of Herupe and had three known children, Clement, Nicolas and Catherine.

Clement was the first fouageur , tax collector, of St John in 1575 and was an elder of the church. He continued to live at Herupe and his descendants include two Constables of Trinity and a line of Pennels in the USA.

Nicolas lived at Mont Mado and his descendants include the family who lived at La Vallette in St John, the majority of the Pinels still living in the same parish and several families in the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Catherine married Martin Romeril of St John and she was buried In the year 1615.

I will now continue with the descendants of Nicolas (Collas) Pinel who was born around 1550. He is of particular importance to me as he was my 11x great-grandfather.

The following Pinels are my direct ancestors. All baptisms, etc were at St John's Parish Church, unless otherwise stated.

Nicolas Pinel

He was married before 1590 to Ann Le Sebirel, daughter of Jacques Le Sebirel and Andrice Le Marinel. He had six known children; Marie baptised 1590, Jean 1592, Thomasse 1594, Thomas 1595, Elie 1598 and Ann, who was buried 1633.

In the baptismal records he is noted as being of Mont Mado. It is possible that the family was, even as early as that time, living at the farm, La Vallette, which has definite evidence of habitation by his descendants.

It is also possible that his father, Thomas, who was said to be living at Herupe, lived at the farm Le Douet, which also has definite evidence of later habitation by the Pinels. (Dated stone JPN/ARR 1814, representing Jean Pinel and his wife Ann Romeril).

From this time onwards the records show a clear distinction between the Pinels of Herupe and those of Mont Mado. So it would appear that the senior line remained in Herupe and the junior line moved to Mont Mado, an area which was originally in the 'Fief Pinel'.

Thomas Pinel (1595- )

He married, on 29 December 1613, Jeanne Hotton, the daughter of Helier. The previous month, his brother, Jean, had also been married.

Thomas and Jeanne had three known children; Jeanne (1614- ), Clement (1618- ) and Anne (1622- ). The records also note Thomas as being of Mont Mado.

Neither Jean nor the brothrs of Thomas had any male heirs to it was left to Thomas to perpetuate the line. Thomas was buried on 19 December 1661.

Clement (1618-1651)

He married Rachel Anley ( -1696) in 1643. They had four known children; Thomas (1644- ), Clement (1646-1649), Rachel (1649- ) and Nicollas (1651-1654).

Thomas (1644- )

In 1655 he married Elizabeth Arthur, the daughter of Helier and Perrotine Le Quesne. They had four known children; Clement (1666- ), Perrotine (1668- ), Anne (1674- ) and Jeanne (1681- ).

They are also noted as being of Mont Mado and it was this Thomas who, in 1675, bought the field known as Clos Maugier, which is now part of the La Vallette property, from Guillemine Maugier, who was the daughter of Andre Maugier.

Clement (1666- )

His first marriage was on 16 November 1687, to Rachel Le Mottey. They had three known children; Jean (1694- ), Thomas (1688- ) and Clement (1692- )

Rachel was buried on 6 December 1696 and on 13 April 1700 Clement married Jeanne Mauger at St Helier's Parish Church. They had five known children; Jeanne (1706- ), Josue (1708- ), Clement (1716- ), Jean (1718- ) and Mathieu (1722- )

Josue fathered a line of Pinels who eventually farmed at La Grande Maison, Les Chenolles

Mathieu was possibly the Mathieu who emigrated to the USA and in 1743, at Marblehead, Massachusetts, married Agnes Trefry.

Clement senior, is believed to have been the Clement whose initials CP can still be seen incised on the round arch at the back of La Vallette. He was buried on 6 September 1738.

Thomas (1688- ) as the eldest son inherited the farm and his descendant, Elizabeth (1767- ) married Charles Le Masurier in 1799 and La Vallette passed out of the Pinel family.

Clement (1692- )

On 3 February 1717 he married Catherine Blampied (1694- ), daughter of Nicolas and Catherine Luce. They had six known children; Clement (1720-1720), Clement (1721- ), Jean (1724- ), Josue (1727- ), Rachel (1729- ) and Thomas (1732- )

It is possible that the family lived in the hcuse opposite La Girette at Mont Mado, on which the initials CFN and the date 1743 are to be found.

On 26 April 1755 Clement (1721- ) married Marie Blampied (1726-1801), the daughter of Jean and Guillaume Lesbirel and niece of the Catherine Blampied above. He fathered the line who eventually farmed at Les Issues, St John and who married into the Falla family, who are still living there today.

Thomas (1732-1772)

On 2 May 1759, at Trinity Parish Church, he married Elizabeth Blampied, (1730-1799) the daughter of Nicolas and Elizabeth Marett, and also niece of Catherine Blampied.

They had four known children, Thomas (1759-1760), Thomas (1762- ), Marie (1766- ) and Josue (1769- ).

Thomas married Marie Hocquard and they had five children: Thomas (1787- ), Helier (1790- ), Jean (1793- ), Amice (1796- ) and Marie (1800-1800).

On 13 April 1811 Helier married Elizabeth Aubert at St Clement’s Parish Church. Their son Philippe (1816- ) was farming in 1851, at La Croute, Rue de St Blaize. Four of their sons emigrated to the USA and Canada.

Jean was married at St Helier's Parish Church on 18 September 1816 to Jeanne Coutanche. Their son Philippe (1820- ) became famous in later life, when he was nicknamed ‘King Philippe Pinel of the Ecrehous’.

Their son Jean (1818- ) fathered the line of Pinels who, in 1851, were farming at Le Petit Sentier, Rue de la Mare Ballam. Their descendants include the majority of Pinels still living in the parish.

Josue (1769-1842)

He was a farmer and on 29 April 1794 he married Jeanne de Gruchy (1769-1852), daughter of Philippe and Marie de Gruchy. They had only two known children; Josue (1795-1796), and Josue (1799- ).

In the 1806 Military Muster, Josue and his family were listed as living in the Vingtaine de Nord, St John. (Josue Pinel - 1 male : 2 females : 1 boy).

All healthy men, during this period, were expected to train as part-time soldiers, due to the threat of invasion by the French.

In the 1815 Military Muster he was listed as being a storekeeper in the Royal Jersey Militia and still living in the same Vingtaine. (Josue Pinel - aged 46 : Storekeeper : 1 female).

In 1826 he sold 12 perches of land in Jardin des Buttes, on the NW side, situated in the Fief La Hougue Boete, St John, to Anne Sauvage, daughter of Jean.

In the 1841 Census, he was living in the Vingtaine de Douet, St John. I believe that he lived in Rue du Muet. He was then aged 72 , Jeanne aged 71 and they were both agricultural labourers.

Josue (1799-1873)

In the 1815 Military Muster he was living in the Vingtaine de Nord, St John. He was listed as being aged 17 and a soldier in the Royal Jersey Militia. Like his father before him, he was also a farmer and on 6 May 1820 he married Marie Gallie (1797-1873), daughter of Samuel and Rachel Malzard at St Mary’s Church. Her father was a farmer at Prospering Farm in Rue du Maistre, St Mary.

The initials SGL 1820, representing Samuel Gallie, are on the entrance pillars.

They had 12 children; Josue (1821-1821), Mary (1822- ), Josue (1823- ), Philippe (1825-1825), Philippe (1826-1906), Jane (1828- ), Elizabeth (1830-1834), Henriette (1832- ), John (1834- ), Elizabeth (1836- ), Amice (1838-1841) and Amice John (1842- ).

In 1823 Marie Gallie sold her share of inheritance from her father to her brother, Samuel.

In the 1841 and 1851 censuses the family was living at La Sergine, next to the St.John's Hotel.

By 1861 and 1871 only Josue and his wife were living at La Sergine.

He then owned and farmed only 5 acres, probably because he had either given or sold some of his land to his son Josue, who, along with his family, were living in the second of the two attached cottages which together make up La Seraine.

Mary married John Le Sueur, a carpenter who was born in St Mary. In 1851 they were living in St John's Village, opposite her father's cottage.

Philippe was a carpenter and married Mary Ann Luce (1840-1914) on 30 December 1858 in St Saviour's Parish Church. She was the daughter of sailor Thomas. They had four children born St Helier; Louisa Mary (1862- ), Ada (1864- ), Philip Duchemin (1867- ) and George Thomas (1870- )

In 1881 Mary and the three youngest children were living with her mother at 24 Lymington House, New St John's Road, St Helier, and Philippe was boarding with Mr Guppy, a baker, and his family at 1 Alma Place, First Tower.

Philip Duchemin was a shoemaker and on 1 January 1888 at St Helier’s Parish Church, he married Susan Alexandre Laurens, daughter of builder John. They had only one child, Reginald (1888-1890).

In 1857 Jane married Thomas Mollet, of St Martin, a carpenter. In 1858 in Trinity Elizabeth married sailor James Le Boutillier, son of Jean and Jeanne Le Brun.

On 15 September 1844 Josue married Jane Le Boutillier (1825- ), sister of James (see above). Her father was a farmer at Trinity. At that time, Josue’s occupation was quarryman. They had three sons; Josue (1846-1847), John (1848- ) and Philippe (1850- ).

In the 1851 census they were living with Josue’s father-in-law at Le Binaud, Rue de L'Epine, in the Vingtaine de Rondin, Trinity. Josue was then aged 27 and was a farm labourer.

In the 1861 census they were living in a house called Puchot, near Le Binaud, which was then farmed by his brother-in-law, James.

In the 1871 census they were living with his father at La Sergine, in St John. Josue was a farmer of three acres and both of his sons were house carpenters and were living at home. Living with them was his mother-in-law, Jane Le Boutillier, aged 78 and by then a widow, and his niece, also Jane Le Boutillier, aged 23.

On 5 May 1875 his wife Jane died and the following 2 January he married Amelie Adelaide Dubois at St Lawrence Parish Church. She was 33, born in St Lawrence and the daughter of Jean, a grower. They had two children; George Philip (1876- ) and Ada Amelie (1879-1881).

Josue died on 5 January 1881 and there is a stone, dated 1882, above the door of a western extension to La Sergine, which was probably added by the new owners.

In 1881 George Philip, aged 4, was living with his uncle, Gustave Le Bellier, at Collingwood House, in the Vingtaine de Coin Varin, St Peter. Gustave was French and was a sailor. George’s mother was living at Beech Farm,in the Vingtaine de St Nicolas, St Peter, as a general servant for John Goodfellow, a farmer. George Philip died on 7 February 1941 and was buried at St John.

John (1848-1938) married his first cousin, Jane Le Boutillier, at St Helier’s Parish Church on 19 October 1871. They had five children; Louisa Jane (1873-1875), John Le Boutillier (1875-1877), Laura Edith (1876- ) Walter (1878- ) and Albert Henry

In 1873 they were living at 23 Aquila Road, St Helier, in 1876 at 1 Clearview Street and in 1878 at 4 Albert Street.

On 29 May 1878 Jane died, and by 1881 her sister, Eliza Jane, who was 19, had moved into their home at 21 Sand Street, to take care of the two youngest children, Walter, 3, and Laura Edith, 4.

On 4 November 1883 John and Eliza Jane were married at All Saints Church and they had at least seven children born in St Helier; Eliza Jane (1884-1913), John Albert (1885- ), Alice Maud Mary (1886- ), Ada and Hilda May (1893- ), Cecilia Mabel (1896- ) and Arthur George.

In 1884 they were living at First Tower, probably in the premises from which John and his brother ran their carpentry business.

Laura Edith married plumber Henry Gallie and they eventually emigrated to Vancouver, Canada. Albert Henry married Mabel Blanche and he farmed in St Lawrence. They had three children; Mabel (1911- ), Grace May (1913- , and Albert (1920- )

John Albert married Laura Clara and they had three children, Beryl Laura (1915- ), John (1918- ) and Clifford (1926- )

Arthur George was a plumber at First Tower, and he married Meleny Rose Sullivan. They had two sons Arthur John (1920- ) and George Edward (1925- ).

Philip (1850- )

He was baptised at Trinity Church on 25 August 1850. On 1 October 1877 at St Helier’s Church he married Elizabeth Mary Collings, daughter of Henry, a carpenter. She was born in Plymouth and they had met while she was on holiday in Jersey. When she married her occupation was given as a bookbinder.

Philip’s family did not approve of his marriage to an English girl and it is said that she was unable to obtain employment in Jersey, because nobody would employ a lady bookbinder, especially one from England.

They had ten children; Lily (1878- ), Philip Henry (1880- ), John Herbert (1882- ), Albert (1883- ), Sydney Roach (1884- ), Louisa Jane (1886- ), Clara Edith (1891- ), Eva Maud (1893- ), Elsie Elizabeth (1894- ) and Mildred (1896- ).

In 1878 they were living at 12 Journeaux Street, St Helier. About 1880 they moved to Plymouth, where Philip Henry was born. In 1881 they were living at 4 Clearview Street, St Helier.

The following year they had moved to First Tower, when John Herbert was born. They lived there until about 1890 when they moved to Brookside, a cottage in Waterworks Valley.

Philip and John founded a carpentry business at First Tower, which they ran sucessfully for many years. This must have been a great disappointment to their father Josue, who would have wanted at least one son to carry on running the family farm after his death. This may have been the reason why he left La Sergine to his second wife, much to the annoyance of the families of the two sons from his first marriage.

At the time that Josue’s sons were of the age to begin a trade, he was still only a farm labourer himself, so possibly they had no alternative but to take up another trade.

Family tree


Notes and references

  1. In a later article Winston Pinel has proposed that the Jersey family, far from originating in Pinnellium near Rouen, or from the 9th century Normandy Pinels, could have been descendants of Spanish mercenaries forming part of William the Conqueror's invasion army in 1066
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