A Pipon family history
From a Pipon family booklet by an unknown author
Frederic Godefroy, the author of the 1889 Dictionnaire de l'Ancienne L'Ange Francaise says that Pipon is derived from pipeur, meaning a trickster, maybe a flatterer, decoy, imitator or illusionist.
All the entries found in Jersey registers are spelt Pipon but variants such as Pippon, Pypon, and Pepon have been found elsewhere.
Newfoundland and Gaspe
In 1766 Pipons were co-founders with the Robins of shipping and fishing interests in Newfoundland and Gaspe, Canada. On 28 June 1768, HMS Glasgow arrived in the Baie des Chaleurs and seized two of their vessels, the Seaflower and the Recovery, for not having obtained the necessary clearance documents from a British port. These two ships and their contents were later sold, and the firm Robin, Pipon and Co received about £250 in compensation.
However, as they were still the losers of nearly £2,000, they later petitioned the Governor of Quebec for further compensation in the form of land. The area bought was 1,000 acres adjoining the Bank of Paspebiac and upon which the company had erected storehouses, stages and other conveniences for the fishing trade, as well as 5,000 acres more for the use of planters or others so that they might settle there. This land, extending from the sea each side of the Rivulet La Nouvelle, was eventually ceded in 1785.
It is not the intention of the writer to give a general history or chronicle the achievements of the various members of the family, but merely to outline its settlement and growth in the Island, the main objective being to record the family connections of the various branches. There have been one or two previous publications listing branches of the family. One is recorded in the bulletin of La Societe Jersiaise for 1906 and another is in the Armorial of Jersey, the latter not being very accurate. Now, after many year's research, it is possible to record the family connections in much greater detail.
The earliest published Island record of the name Pipon is in the Assize Roll of 1309. However, it is certain that members of the family were established in Jersey prior to this period. The possibilities are that the family originally came from Normandy, perhaps from Caen or Lisieux, where there are still Pipons.
However, as the family is of great antiquity and, it is said, had its settlement in Jersey many generations before the French line of this name, the probability is that the Normandy Pipons were descended from the Jersey line.
The Assize Roll of 1309 lists three Pipons — Richard, who was a baker, Pierre, a taverner and Robert, a farmer and landowner. As all the names are listed in St Peter, it is fair to assume that the cradle of the Pipon family was in this parish. A few years after in the Extente for 1331, Pierre Pipon was stated to be owner with Richard Cauf of three bouvees of land (60 vergees), situated in the parish of St Peter, for which they paid to the King an annual rent of 24 sols.
In 1412 Guilleaume Pipon of St Peter, and others, owed to Denys Ryther and Collette Brasdefer, his wife, some rents accruing from the succession of Jehanne Brasdefer, daughter of Pierre and lately deceased. Then in 1460 these rents were due by the heirs of Guillot Pipon and the heirs of other persons mentioned in the deed of 1412.
In 1469, one Nicolas Pipon, in the right of his wife, owed some rent to the Tresor, or parochial fund, of St Saviour's Church, on behalf of Nicolas Morin. In 1503 Nicolas Pipon, Guilleaume Le Robelin dit Remon, and John Horman, all three of the district of St Anastase, in the parish of St Peter, passed a contract with Guilleaume Trachy, lessee of Gigoulande Mill at St Mary, and with Thomas Gobes, lessee of Gargate Mill at St Peter, with regard to these two mills.
This Nicolas Pipon, who seems to have been a descendant of the Guilleaume Pipon of 1412, is possibly the ancestor of the branch of La Moye. Nicolas is mentioned in an Act of the Royal Court Heritage Division of which the following is a copy:
- Octobre, 1538. Il est ordonne que l'entier des heritages de Collas Pipon (Collas was then often used for Nicolas, of which it is an abbreviation), pere de Jeahannet, soft myns en pts (parts) egales et pareillement XX vergees de terre dorm& pour une messe a terme de vie et touchant ytelle partie come appartient a Johan Pipon de St. Brelade quelk sera mynse apart a la discression de six homes pour Nicolas Pipon, puisse jouyer d'une baille ptie d'heritage. "
1550 Chantry Certificate
In the Jersey Chantry Certificate of 1550 mention is made for the parish of St Brelade of one Johan Pipon buying on the 15th day of July one cabot of rye assigned to the Fraternity of St Brelade, due by himself, for the sum of two crowns.
The foregoing Acts are proof that the Pipons of La Moye, St Brelade, were an offshoot of those of the parish of St Peter. We do not know the exact date at which the above-mentioned Johan Pipon settled in St Brelade. It is possible that he did so after his marriage with the daughter of Nicolas Orange early in the 16th century.
However, he was Constable of that parish from 1551 to 1553, when already well on in years. He had two sons, Thomas and Nicolas Pipon. The latter bought a house and land situated on the fief of Noirmont and founded a branch which remained in the district for several generations.
It was a different branch from the line of Seigneurs of Noirmont, who came from the parish of St Peter at the end of the 17th century. This branch bought Noirmont Manor in 1695 but La Moye Manor, St Brelade, was the home of another branch of the Pipon family long before this. Josue Pipon, Solicitor General, sold La Moye Manor in 1817 to David Trebout.
In an Act of the Royal Court of 1849 relative to the limits of the rocks on the King's Fief, mention is made of a particular spot called Les Saleurs, which was commonly called La Chaise du Lieutenant Bailli Pipon. As the Christian name of the Lieut-Bailliff Pipon is not given, it is difficult to state which one is meant but, as previous to this date these rocks belonged to the Pipons of La Moye, the reference is probably to one of the three Lieut-Baillis of that branch, namely Josue Pipon, (1715-1728), Josue Pipon, his son (1780-1782), or Thomas Pipon, his grandson (1801).
The first of these, however, probably gave his name to the rock, as he held the office for a much longer period than his son or grandson.
Noirmont Manor was bought by Elie Pipon, on 18 June 1695, having obtained the customary permission by Letters Patent from Lord Carteret. On this fief originally existed the Priory of Noirmont, which gave its name to the domain. The priory was subject to that of St Clement, and a cell to the Abbey of Mont St Michel, Normandy. In the 15th century the monks of this priory actioned the tenants, claiming the privileges of having their mill repaired, their tithes collected, and their wood and wine delivered by their lay subordinates.
Noirmont Manor remained in that branch of the family until 1880, when it was sold to Girard de Quetteville by the Rev James Clement Collier Pipon, Rector of Toddington, Lear Dunstable, Bedfordshire. It is worthy of note that the first manor house to be built at Noirmont was in 1700. It was constructed by Elie Pipon's son Philippe, who had inherited it in 1696.
Almost 110 years later the house was demolished, and in 1810 the present manor house was built by James Pipon, Seigneur of Noirmont, who was born in 1736 and died in 1819.
A branch of the Pipon family settled in the parish of St Mary in the 16th century and lived at Les Colombiers (Le Manoir de Ganoire). They were Seigneurs of this fief for almost two centuries.
The fourth manor in the possession of the Pipon family was that of La Hague, St Peter. This came about by the marriage of Jeanne Le Breton, only child of Thomas Le Breton, Seigneur de la Hague, to Jean Pipon, Constable of St Peter. He was the fourth son of Lieut-Bailiff Thomas Pipon of La Moye. Thomas Le Breton died in 1834 and thus the manor passed into the hands of the Pipon family. The manor house belonged to his branch of the family until 1871, when it was sold on 9 December to C P Le Cornu.
Manor furniture sale
Extract from La Chronique de Jersey of Saturday 19 July 19 1856:
- Manoir de la Hague, St Pierre – Avis de Vente
- M Philippe de Ste Croix, previent d'une maniere toute particuliere qu'il a recu des instructions pour preparer la vente aux encheres de l'entiere du mobilier en rosewood et en acajou, pianoforte, argenterie, porcelaine orientale, voitures et autres effets de valeur appartenant a Thomas Henry Pipon, Ecr. Des renseignemens plus detailles et plus complets seront donnes dans les annonces prochaines et dans des catalogues qui seront publies, en temps opportun, au bureau de l'Encanteur.
- Salle de Vente Victoria et Bureaux d'Agence de propriete, Library Place
The extract gives details of the sale of furniture and other effects of Thomas Henry Pipon. The sale was advertised until 3 September, the dates of the sale being Tuesday and Wednesday, 2 and 3 September. The last few advertisements appear in much greater detail, giving a description of the furniture and effects in the various rooms. The later advertisements stated that the manor would be let for a short-term after the sale; in fact it was not sold until 15 years later.
Finally I would point out that my own branch of the family came from the parish of St Brelade, the ancestral home being La Place, Route de Lisle. This house became a Pipon property when Jean Pipon married Francoise, daughter of Thomas de la Place. There is a stone there on the south-west corner with the initials JPP - FDLP 1726, representing Jean Pipon and Francoise de la Place. The date must record some alteration to the house, as they were married in 1709.
[Editor’s note: The writer of this article makes a number of assumptions at various points (most notably that concerning the island origin of the Pipons of Normandy) which are not supported by any documentary evidence and would undoubtedly be challenged by other Pipon historians. They have been left unaltered and individually unchallenged in the absence of any particular knowledge to the contrary.]