Talk:Le Couteur

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Note on the Le Couteur family lineage prior to 1500

Early genealogical records of the Le Couteur family on Jersey are rather fragmented, but with occasional references in the Extentes and Assize Rolls. George R. Balleine, in A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey, gives a summary as follows:

'The Le Couteurs are found established at St. Mary's as soon as our Records begin. The Assize Roll of 1309 shows Colin Le Costour as one of the Principaux of the Parish, and in 1324 his son Robert was one of the ‘Electores’ In 1534 Jean Le Couteur was Centenier of St. Mary’s and he was succeeded by his son Philippe. Philippe's son, grandson, great-grandson, and great-great-grandson were Constables of St. Mary's, and no less than eight members of the family have filled that office. From this branch sprang Dean Philippe Le Couteur, Dean Clement Le Couteur, and Francois Le Couteur, the militant Rector of St. Martin’s. In the 15th century two younger sons of Thomas Le Couteur of St. Mary's moved to other parishes, and established branches there, which survive to the present day (sic: ie in 1863). Nicolas settled in St. Peter's and Thomas in St. John's. From the latter branch came Lieut.-General John Le Couteur and Sir John Le Couteur.'

Evidence for the father of a Thomas and Nicolas being Thomas of St Mary is not presented in the biography. However, records of the family suggest that an elder brother was Bernabey (c. 1460-1534) of St Mary, and that his younger brothers would have been Thomas and Nicolas, who respectively headed branches in St John and St Peter. Another brother, Macy Le Couteur, had descendants in St Mary who appear to have died out in the 17th century. Le Couteur descendants of Bernabey live into the 21st century, as do those of Thomas and Nicolas.

A recent authority on Le Couteur history was Philip Edgar Le Couteur (1919-2007) of St Brelade. He was Judicial Greffier from 1950 to 1969 and Advocat of the Royal Court in St Helier, Jersey. He once recounted that, during the German Occupation, he spent much time in the Jersey archives researching his family ancestry ‘because there was nothing better to do’. I have been privileged to acquire a copy of one page of his notes that he made at the time, and in respect for Philip and recognition of his research, I should like to make reference to it in adding some information on the early Le Couteurs here. I envisage that his wife, son, and close family share that view.

Philip personally confirmed to me that he had no knowledge of the source of the information from Balleine, (who was a relative of Philip’s wife), regarding the father of Thomas being also named Thomas. Thomas le Couteur (c.1460- ) of St John was Philip’s direct ancestor, and DNA evidence is consistent with a common male ancestor for this Thomas and Bernabey of St Mary. Philip’s notes do not contradict the possibility that their father was also a Thomas, and suggest that Guilleaume Le Couteur (mentioned in ABSJ Vol. 10 p313) may have been their grandfather. Helped by Philip’s notes, the speculative early Le Couteur lineage can therefore be presented as follows:

  • 1 Colin Le Couteur, (c.1280- ) Living in 1309. ‘ Colinus le Costour’: an Electore in St Mary (Assize Roll 1309, p245 of document)
    • 2 Nicolas Le Couteur (c.1320- ) Wounded William Le Couteur with a hatchet. (Assize Roll 1299, p75 of typescript).
      • 3 Robert Le Couteur (c.1350- ) ‘Electeur de St Marie 1324’ (Extente 1331)
        • 4 Guilleaume Le Couteur (c.1380- ) ‘(deux des ‘antiques’ de l’isle)’ (ABSJ Vol. 10 p313)
          • 5 Thomas Le Couteur (c.1420- ) of St Mary. Named in A Biographical History of Jersey
            • 6 Bernabey Le Couteur (c.1455-1534) of St Mary m Marion Sarre. Le Couteur issue surviving beyond 2000
            • 6 Thomas Le Couteur (c.1460- ) m Catherine Sarre. Moved to St John. Le Couteur issue surviving beyond 2000
            • 6 Sire Pierre Le Couteur (c.1462- ) Priest and Rector of St John. No known issue
            • 6 Sire Philippe Le Couteur (c.1464- ) ‘Pretre Ecclesastique de St Ouens 1497’ (Le Croix Tome 1 p32) No known issue
            • 6 Macy Le Couteur (c.1466- ) living in St Mary 1538. No known surviving Le Couteur issue after 1620
            • 6 Nicolas Le Couteur (c.1468- ) Moved to St Peter. Le Couteur issue surviving beyond 2000
            • 6 Jean Le Couteur (c.1470- ) No known issue
        • 4 Jean Le Couteur (c.1380- ) Living in 1397
    • 2 Jean Le Couteur (c.1320- ) (Extente 1331)

Help needed with Le Couteur connection

Dear Mike , We have found your web site extremely helpful - Thank you . My dilemma is as follows : My Wife - Yvonne Fairlie Reed descends from Philip Le Couteur 1826 to 1903 whose Family home is " Beaumont " in St Peter - we visited there in 1990 , we met and became friends with George Edwin Le Couteur DOB 1922 who still lives in St Clement , Jersey - George's ancestors lived in a house directly opposite Philip's family home " Beaumont " in St Peter , we would therefore think that they are related BUT we have been unable to find any connection other than Bernabey Le Couteur back in the 1400's . Would you be able to assist us in finding a more recent link ?? Thank you and kindest regards, Graeme Reed.

Reply to above query from Graeme Reed

Courtiergm 12:41, 20 December 2017 (GMT)

The closest Le Couteur family connection between Yvonne Fairlie Reed and George Edwin Le Couteur is through Thomas Le Couteur (c.1460-), a brother of Bernabey. This has been conveyed to Graeme Reed through correspondence by explaining that all the Le Couteur family trees on Jerripedia are linked to the tree shown for Colin Le Couteur (c.1280- ). A master family tree recently posted on the Le Couteur web-page may clarify such links for these trees. This is structured to represent 'child' branches of the early 'parent' tree.


Sadly George Edwin Le Couteur is now deceased, but both ancestral properties referred to above were located by his descendants and subsequently visited by the questioner Graeme Reed. Courtiergm 17:27, 5 March 2021 (GMT)

Note on the misleading anecdote in Payne's Armorial of Jersey

The implication that a Le Couteur family in Hacqueville, France around 1770, had connections with the ancestors of Sir John Le Couteur of Belle Vue, Jersey can now be confidently dismissed. The explanation is provided below.

Information from numerous manuscripts preserved by the Le Couteur family of Belle Vue in Jersey has been described in the book, ‘Victorian Voices ‘ by Joan Stevens. On pages 106 & 108, writings from Sir John Le Couteur, Q.A.D.C., F.R.S. (1794-1875), make reference to Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, (1769-1849), with whom he was personally acquainted. He recounts an occasion when they both attended a conversazione at the Royal Society in January 1843, and a meeting of the Humane Society on another occasion to which he was invited by Sir Marc Isambard Brunel.

Early in their acquaintance, Sir Marc 25 years older, must have observed that John Le Couteur shared a surname that was familiar to him. He is very likely to have mentioned that he was born in Hacqueville, Gisors, France, and also that the Lordship was held at that time by someone named Le Couteulx. This family name has only just been found, after over 30 years of research into the similarly sounding name of Le Couteur. Furthermore, this information establishes that Marc Isambard Brunel was effectively born on the Parimonial estate of the Le Couteulx family, but NOT the Le Couteur family.

The surname ‘Le Coutuelx’ must have sounded very similar to John Le Couteur, but he appears not to have pursued any possible connection to his own surname seriously. The matter was left unresolved, but clearly spawned a speculative and misleading source of information for the quotation regarding his ancestry in The Armorial of Jersey. The anecdote was further distorted by confusing the Brunel generations, but that was probably due to J. B. Payne misrepresenting that important detail.

The Le Couteulx surname, having no significant references on Jersey, precludes any connection with the Le Couteur lineage, since at least 1400AD. Finding a biological link between the two surnames would be best pursued by testing Y-STR DNA of male descendants of the Le Couteulx family to provide comparison with the known haplotype for early Le Couteur ancestry.

It should be mentioned that there is a small district called Hacqueville, coincidentally close to Coutances and Jersey, on the West coast France at Granville. This must be discounted from having any association with Marc Isambard Brunel, and cannot represent the Hacqueville mentioned in the anecdote.

Archived records identify one of the Le Couteulx banking family as Lord of Hacqueville at the time Marc Isambard Brunel was born: ‘’Antoine Louis Le Couteulx de La Noraye , Lord of Hacqueville and Richeville, born May 17, 1719 in Rouen and died September 19, 1779 in Nîmes, was a mayor of Rouen’’

Belonging to an old and honourable family of bankers established in Rouen, Paris and Cadiz , Antoine Le Couteulx de La Noraye(1719-1779) is the son of the merchant Barthélémy Le Couteulx de La Noraye, judge-consul of Rouen, and Marie-Anne Bouette. He was successively attorney-syndic (1755), first consul (1756), prior (1757) and syndic (1771) of the Chamber of Commerce of the Province of Normandy .

His son, Antoine Le Couteulx (1722-1810) from Verclives, a few miles N.W. of Hacqueville, Gisors, was also a Mayor of Rouen.

Note. ’Syndic’ translates as a ‘Managing Agent’ in English.

Courtiergm 17:59, 5 March 2021 (GMT)

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