The Orange family of St Brelade

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Capt George Orange photographed by Henry Mullins

The Orange family has been resident in St Brelade since before 1300 as evidenced in the listing of Guillaume Orange as one of the electors of that Parish in the Assise Roll of 1309. Jourdain Orange, who died at Sherborne, Dorset in 1457 stated that his family came from St Brelade, and he left money to the parish. His son, Richard, (Bp 22 August 1542, buried at Sherbourne 9 October 1606), became a goldsmith there and married Mary, daughter of Guile Bisson. Bisson was the Constable of St Brelade from 1555 to 1566. Richard's work in Dorset is dated from 1572, and he appears to have been a resident of St Brelade at least some of his life.

Family houses

A number of houses built by the family are documented in Joan Stevens’ book "Old Jersey Houses", the earliest being La Maison Gruchy, built before 1528, as it appears in the Extente for that year. It was sold by Marie Orange, wife of Jean Messervy, in 1737. Guillemone Orange, who was born about 1525, is cited as "of La Roque Pontue, La Moye Villa", and the relationship between him and Genette Orange, who married John Pipon , who owned La Moye Villa, is not clear. Possibly they were brother and sister.

Another La Moye Villa in St Brelade, located on the Route de Sud, “appears old" according to Stevens, and has family connotations, for in 1774 it was the property of the heirs of Jean Orange. It was probably this house that was inherited by Captain Edward Orange in 1845.

Route Orange

John Orange (1768-1854) was Constable of St Brelade 1820-26, and Route Orange was named in his memory. He married Anne Le Brocq in 1794 and demolished the old Maison de Franc Fief, and built Westlands on its site. This was for a number of generations the Orange family home.

The oldest datestone is located high on a barn wall and reads "1675 NOR", and is purportedly for Nicholas Orange.

There is a stone in the wall opposite the side entrance to the main residence, which reads "EPP 1727". This is for Edward Pipon, whose daughter Mary married John Orange in 1724. A third stone is located high in the garden wall and reads "JOR 1852". This is for John Orange and probably approximates the date of the building of Westlands.

The present resident is Charles Orange Le Couteur. He is a descendant of the family through Walter Orange (1868-1909) on his mother's side. He and his father are also in possession of a number of family portraits

"Curious personage"

It was presumably this John Orange of whom Sir John Le Couteur commented in 1830: "I do not know by what right Orange monopolises to himself so large a portion of the common (in St Brelade) as 97 sheep must eat, which the poorer people certainly have a right to. He is a curious personage at best".

Philip and Jean Orange were trading into Bonaventure, Newfoundland, about 1674. The family, in association with Touzel, were ship owners as early as 1649, and Jean Orange is listed as a Jersey privateer in 1705. Subsequently Edward Orange ( -1845) and George Orange (1811- ) were captains of sailing ships for Robin (Oliver Blanchard 1828-31), and the family in partnership with Briard owned tea clippers such as the ‘’Fort Regent’’, which carried 1,060 tons of tea on the run from the Far East. Charles Orange was a shipbuilder in St Aubin in 1841.

Parish officers

Many of the family were centeniers and surveillants of the parish of St Brelade. One of the daughters of the family, Elizabeth (1689- ), who had married the celebrated Captain Philppe Janvrin at the age of 21, was widowed some ten years later, and went on to marry Joseph Adams, the uncle of the American President. The family seems to have been comparatively affluent, probably primarily through trading over the years.

The surname Orange is extinct in Jersey today, the last to bear it in the island seems to have been Clifford Orange, who was a Jurat in 1954.

The main stained glass window behind the altar in St Brelade’s Church is dedicated to the memory of Peter Briard, and his wife Anne Orange and also to Edward Orange and his wife Elizabeth Hamon, and is dated 1890.

In 1854, when John de Caen and his family moved from High Street, St.Aubin to Waverly Villa in St Saviour , Edward Orange's family seem to have moved into the St Aubin house. Edward had died in 1845, but his widow Elizabeth Hamon and his sons Edward and George are living there in the 1881 census. His third son Daniel was an agent for Robin at Paspebiac in the Gaspe and died there in 1877.

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