A history of the de Quetteville family

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A history of the

de Quetteville family


A coat of arms attributed to a French de Quetteville family, not necessarily linked to any Jersey family

From A de Quetteville Family History by Cameron deQuetteville [1]

13th century record

The first time a de Quetteville appears in Jersey records is in the 1274 Extente. A Raoul, or Radulphus, de Quetteville had tenure over the fief de Houndeuoys in St Lawrence, along with Pierre Malet [2]

By 1331 the fief de Houndois, which may have comprised a carucate of land [3] including a mill, will have become a fief de Roi, escheated to the crown like that of Anneville, Everat and Lemprière in St Martin.

There was no connection at this point between Raoul, or any other de Quetteville, and the parish of St Martin, where the family would go to live for 650 years. There was mention of a fief 'es quetiveauls' in St Martin, although that does not necessarily mean that the fief did not yet exist.

There was mention of a ‘caruéé de Faldouet’, which would have existed alongside the carucate of Anneville and Everat. Did the carucate of Faldouet, or a portion of it, escheat to the crown? Perhaps it is out of this land that the fief es quetiveauls was created and named after the de Quetteville to whom it was granted. It seems that from the 1331 Extente the fief es quetiveauls was a fief du Roi.

Two sets of documents from the period help to understand the position of the de Quetteville family in Jersey; the Extentes and the Assize Rolls. The Extentes of 1274 and 1331 record the rents due to the King by tenants of his crown possessions in Jersey.

Originally all of Jersey was a crown possession, then several fiefs haubert were apportioned to senior families, such as the de Carterets, the Lemprières, the de Soulemonts, the de St Martins and the de Barantyns, in return for certain special services to the King.

Military service abroad was not required by Islanders, a privilege obtained under the old Dukes of Normandy. In lieu of that, they were required to pay rents and taxes for the upkeep of the island’s defences and for the nine mills belonging to the crown.

In the 1274 Extente of the second regnal year of King Edward I, there is no mention of a de Quetteville in relation to St Martin parish. [4]

In 1830, Payne speculated [5] that the de Quettevilles had “settled from a very early time in the eastern parish of St Martin”. Payne went on to say that the “family has continued to reside in its old ancestral house, and is now represented there by Francis deQuetteville. Another branch also residing in St Martin is represented by Joshua-Dumaresq (de Quetteville)”.

La Bachauderie

The Godfray map of 1849 shows that Francis’ old, ancestral house was called La Bachauderie, part of a large property that extends across the borders of St Martin, St Saviour and Grouville. [6]

J F Le Cornu’s 1940 article on Jersey placenames lists La Bachauderie as one of the names whose origin remains unknown; ‘Bachaud’ is a family name today, mainly in SW France, perhaps now extinct in Jersey. The etymology of the word is difficult to discern; there are at least two possibilities that I have found in relation to it

  • A bachaud is a Jersey word that was once common in St Ouen and St John for a type of cart used to haul the seaweed for fertiliser, known as vraic; [7]
  • There is an area with a farm named Bachaud in the Dordogne department, in the Perigord region of what is now Nouvelle-Aquitaine; there is a farm and road name La Bachaudière in the commune of La Bussière in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, near the river Gartempe. [8] ; there is a tangential possibility that the etymology of bachaud is related to viniculture – like bachelier — meaning there was a family involved in Jersey in the trading of wine, which was common in the era, or the growing of grapes on Jersey (it is known that some wine was being made in the south of England during the warm period).[9]

The entire line of Francis’ known forbears were baptised and buried at St Martin's parish church. Joshua Dumaresq, on the other hand, lived at La Hauteur (named so in the Godfray map), a farm located on the south-west fringe of Faldouet village. Joshua’s forbears were baptised in St Saviour, though they are all buried in St Martin. As far as I can tell at this point, the de Quetteville association with La Hauteur extends only to the 17th century, when it was probably purchased or obtained by marriage.

That the 1274 Extente does not mention a de Quetteville in St Martin is not proof that there were no de Quettevilles owning property or living there at that time, only that there were none who were tenants of the crown. The 1309 Assize Roll contained the first appearance of a de Quetteville in St Martin.

In a list of the 'Rents and Farm of the Lord the King', which details many fiefs that have escheated to the crown (several in the aftermath of war with France and treason against England), the jury says: “also that Richard de Quetteville holds of the lord the King 1 carucate of land of the fee of Quetteville [10] and pays 15s by the year to the aforesaid farm and owes full relief when it shall occur” [11]. What is not so clear is when this fief was acquired or for how long it had been in the possession of a de Quetteville.

Was Richard the first of his name to own property in St Martin, or could he be one in a line of de Quettevilles that stretches back to a grant of land that precedes 1204? If the fief of Quetteville [12] existed as a fief of the King before 1309, why is it not mentioned in the 1274 Extente? A fief of Faldouet is mentioned there, but it is referred to again in 1309 as well, so it cannot be that the fief of Quetteville was created from that, though they are in proximity, and the fief de Quetteville might have been carved out of the fief of Faldouet. Likewise, the fief de Quetteville is not mentioned in the 1331 Extente. [13]

Richard de Quetteville

The name of Richard de Quetteville of St Martin, mentioned in 1331, echoes the Richard de Quetteville, who witnessed a charter in Yorkshire in 1154. For the two to be connected, the Jersey Richard would have had to have been a great-great-great grandchild of the earlier Richard. This seems improbable, but not impossible.

The de Quetteville who is mentioned in the 1274 Extente is Radulphus [14]. An entry for the chancery records for St Lawrence shows that Rauf shared possession of a portion of the fief of Handois, which had escheated to the crown in the same manner as that of Anneville and Everat in St Martin, [15]

This entry could lead one to believe that Rauf de Quetteville and Pierre Malet, like Laurent Payn and Raoul de Hundeweys, had long been tenants of the fief of Hundeweys, which had escheated to the crown in the decades after 1204. [16]

For Rauf to have been of legal age to own property in 1274, he would have had to have been born in at least 1255, and most likely some years sooner. In the 1309 Assize Rolls that list the Crown Pleas for the parish of St Helier, a Rauf de Quetteville is listed among the bakers who have amerced on account of unlawfully selling bread made from wheat that has been milled in a mill other than the King’s mill.

Also on this list of bakers is another de Quetteville, named William, who is possibly a brother or a son of Rauf. In around 1312, during the reign of King Edward II, Rauf and William de Quetteville led the bakers of the island in a complaint to the King demanding their rights against the unjust treatment by Otto de Grandison, Lord of the Isles of Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and Alderney:

"To the King and his Council show and complain Rauf de Keytivel and William de Keytivel with many other bakers of the island of Jersey, and William le Segersteyn and William Columbe and many other taverners of the said island that the bailiffs and attorneys of the said Otto de Graunson have imposed grave fines upon them at their will without the 12 jurats, which is contrary to the custom, the which custom is that no fine can be made until it be judged by the 12 jurats assigned by the King in the said island to guard the rights of the King; wherefore the said bakers and taverners pray for remedy and that they may be treated by the custom, Endorsed: Let them go the Chancery and show the wrongs done to them, and let them have a writ to the justices when they shall come into those parts” [17].

All of the entries for the Extentes and Assize Rolls in relation to Jersey and Guernsey must be scrutinized in the context of Otto de Grandison’s rule and the many complaints against it. It is not certain that this Rauf is the same one from the 1274 Extente. Rauf would have been 60 years old or more.

Another Rauf de Quetteville appears in the 1331 Extente for St Lawrence. This Rauf is seigneur of the fief of es quetiveauls, which is the first time this fief is mentioned in relation to St Lawrence. [18] This must certainly be a son or nephew of the Rauf in the 1274 Extente; otherwise, he is a very old man of 81. The development of land that, if the same as in 1274, was once part of the fief of Handois, is now a separate fief Es qeutiveauls. Was this fief named after Rauf sometime after 1312, perhaps in recompense for his leadership on the complaint against Otto de Grandison? And can this fief be located somewhere between Handois and the Chemin des Moulins? As it is in this Extente that a Quetivel Mill is first mentioned in St Lawrence, it raises the question whether that mill is one of the appurtenances of the fief.

In a broader sense, it should be mentioned that the Channel Island customs and laws as enshrined in the so-called constitutions of King John, which first appear in writing in 1248, are almost identical in structure as those imposed by King John on his domains in Ireland in 1199. [19]

Keytivel and Ketevill

It is possible that the Keytivels of St Peter and St Lawrence were not related to the Ketevills of St Martin. The es quetiveauls and ketevill fiefs would, then, also be separate and unconnected. What mitigates against that conclusion, however, is that both families are referred to with the ‘de’ prefix. This means that they both originated from one of the Quetteville communities in the Cotentin, as there is no such placename in Jersey, or in England. Nor, it should be underlined, is there a village anywhere named Keytivel. [20] A French source attributes the meaning of the suffix –vel to the Scandinavian word, velr = ‘field’; hence ‘Ketel’s Fields’. But there are other possibilities. If it is accepted that the family is named after the fief, which was called es quetiveauls, it must also be accepted that this fief may be named after a Viking settler named Ketel. To date there is no evidence of placenames in Jersey derived from a Viking settler, with the possible exception of Geirr, after whom the island is named. [21]

On another tack, depending on roughly when each family might have migrated to Jersey, it might be possible to compare the spelling of the family name with that of the placenames in Normandy. [22]

In both cases, the ‘de’ argues for a seigneurial name with a provenance in the mid to late 11th century, if not earlier. [23] On the other hand, it may be that these are two branches of the same family. In either case, the question becomes: who preceded whom?

Did the de Ketevills arrive in St Martin from Quettreville-sur-Sienne in the 11th century and establish a chapel on the Bay of St Catherine, where they were engaged in ésperquerie? Did they then take advantage of circumstances after 1204 to extend their holding in Jersey to the parish of St Lawrence, establishing a cadet branch there in the service of the Kings Mill, whose surname then became a variation of the spelling due to a scribes’ misunderstanding? Or were the de Keytivels the original family to arrive in Jersey, perhaps as an extension of holdings on the French mainland, all of which had a mill as an appurtenance?

Did they even maybe originate in Jersey, being named after the fief es quetivel, which was itself named after Ketel Valley? [24]The similarity of the Jersey mill names with that of Cherbourg, for instance, lends credence to this interpretation. Though, again, it is difficult to distinguish precedence in these cases. From the relative financial success of their mills in Jersey, perhaps they in turn took advantage of the circumstances after 1204 to purchase property in St Martin.

Quetivel mills

The 1331 Extente shows that there were two mills of the King named Quétivel, or Keytivel - one in St Lawrence and the other in St Peter. It is not clear how long these two mills had been in existence, or so named. A King’s mill in St Lawrence is referred to in the 1274 Extente and this could possibly be the same that is near Handois.

It is curious that beside the two medieval mills in Jersey named after Quétivel, there were two such mills in the Manche department of Normandy. One was located on the outskirts of Octeville-Cherbourg. [25]

If there is a connection between the Norman and the Jersey mills, is it safe to conclude that the de Quettevilles were one of those families that “had purchased from the seigneurs or the Crown the rights to operate grain mills. The ordinary people were prevented from owning mills and thus the monopoly enabled these milling families to become very wealthy”? Is this what enabled the purchase of a fief in St Martin? Or is it more likely that a Norman seigneur of Quetteville had developed a special technique for building mills in the 12th or 13th century that led to them being named after him?

Notes and references

  1. Although some parts of this article are highly speculative, and not supported by any references, we have reproduced it largely as published on the de Quetteville website, with some of the more hypothetical elements transferred to notes. The author uses the spelling deQuetteville throughout. Although this may be how he spells his own name, it is not, to the best of our knowledge, a form found in Jersey records. The combination of family names with a prefix 'de' or 'Le' is a French phenomenon, dating from the Revolution, when such names were thought to denote aristocracy
  2. Raoul de Keytivel and Pierre Malet et leurs parchonniers tiennent 7 quartiers de froment qui sont d’échètes et sont dûs au Roi du fief de Hondeuoys de surcroit. A few lines further it was noted that Laurent Payn and Raoul de Hundeweys also owed rents to the fief of Houndeouys on behalf of Ada de Sotuward, whose fee has been forfeited to the King for having taken the part of the Normans.
  3. Approximately 50 acres
  4. In about 1977 and again in 1986, I was able to see at the house of my great-uncle George de Quetteville and his wife Jean, in Canada, a typescript history of the de Quetteville family – author unknown — in which it was stated that a de Quetteville received from the King in 1311 ‘all the land an ox could plow in a day’. There seem to be more reasons to doubt this claim rather than accept it. The king –Edward II — would not have directly issued a grant of what amounts to one acre of land to a man in Jersey. And there is no documentary evidence from this time for such a grant.
  5. If this is a reference, as it appears to be, to Payne's Armorial of Jersey it was published in 1859
  6. La Bachauderie is located at the south-east corner of Rue de la Bachauderie and Rue Saint Julien. The house is said to be in St Martin, and the barns are in St Saviour, which has led to some confusion in the past
  7. A bachauderie may have been a site where these carts were manufactured or developed, or simply the seat of the family who first built this type of cart
  8. Any association between Jersey and the Poitou region most probably derives from the Angevin epoch between 1154 and 1204. [There is no evidence of a connection between Jersey and the south-west of France this early. Huguenot refugees came to Jersey from there much later – editor]
  9. These references are highly speculative. The writer does not say which 'era' is referred to. There is no record of wine being produced in Jersey before the 20th century – Editor
  10. Latin feodo de Ketevill
  11. Page 312
  12. A caruée in size, which equals that of Anneville and Evart
  13. Could a de Quetteville have come from England along with Drogo de Barantyn, who was granted Rosel in about 1220?
  14. Raoul in French; Rauf in English)
  15. Item dissent que Raoul de Keytivel et Pierre Malet et leurs parchonniers tiennent 7 quartiers de froment qui sont d’échète et sont dûs au Roi du fief de Hondeuoys de surcroit” - page 19. Further down there is another entry that reads Item dissent que Laurent Payn et ses parchonniers tiennent 8 quartiers de froment et que Raoul de Hundeweys tient 10 quartiers de froment qui sont une échète du sire le Roi pour la forfaiture d’Ada de Sotuward qui tint le partie des Normands, et sont dûs de fief du Hundeweys, et sont en la main du sire le Roi parce que les avant-dits Laurent et Raoul n’ont rien montré pour eux-mêmes, mais ont allègué la longue possession seulement.
  16. The 1274 Extente refers to a mill in St Lawrence that is not Tesson Mill. Could this unnamed mill be what was later referred to as the Keytivel Mill in the parish of St. Lawrence? And that one is not to be confused with the Keytivel Mill in St Peter.
  17. Page 23
  18. Les tenants du fief Esqeutiveauls que Raoul de Quetivel tient avec parchonniers doivent de relief après la mort du tenant, qu’il y en ait plus ou moins, pour chaque acre six deniers tournois. Et ledit fief contient une bouvée et deux acres avec appartenances; et de ce fief apparaîtra plus pleinement au rental des froments" -Page 79: Le Feuvre, 1876
  19. Though there is no evidence that Regnaud de Ketevil was in Ireland or Jersey at that time, it is a happy coincidence. That the Channel Islanders claimed customary rights that extended back in time to as far as the reign of William the Conqueror does not contradict the reality of King John’s legal reforms. Administrators conversant in the principles of King John’s administrative system would have been able to move between jurisdictions easily. A seigneurial farmer in France, and by extension Jersey, was considered to be part of the petty nobility and deserving of the title, écuyer, or (e)squire. However, the same person in England was not deemed to be of the same status. One can see why Channel Island land-holders preferred to maintain their French distinctions and to think of themselves as such, despite being English subjects.
  20. There was an ancient sandbar of Cattivelle in the Seine near Paris, which had long since disappeared. And there is one mill near Cherbourg-Octeville that was once named something like Keytivel. Unless we are to see in this spelling a sign of its pronunciation as homologous to the Hibero-Norse ‘Caitill’, there is not much to go on to explain this variance.
  21. This is just one possible derivation of the island's name – editor
  22. The rate of orthographical change of all those names is significant enough to make any conclusions cautiously, at best.
  23. Of note, as well, in this context, is a potential connection of the nearby fief Hundeweys/Hondoeuys with a Viking named Hundeis, who is known to have been active in the Seine estuary in the 890s.
  24. The author falls into the same trap as do many writers who, finding no definite origins for a family name, speculate that it might have arisen in Jersey itself. The vast majority of such suggestions have been proved incorrect by subsequent researchers. There is no proof that any family name which might have originated in Jersey was subsequently exported to Normandy, and records for the majority of Jersey names of French origin usually go back much earlier in France than in the island. The existence of the tiny commune of Quetteville in the Calvados department of Normandy suggests very strongly that the family name was exported from France to Jersey, rather than vice-versa. Although it is very common for a family name to be derived from a placename in France (the opposite is much rarer) the names of Jersey's fiefs are believed to originate with the families who first owned them. – editor
  25. In the Inventaire-Sommaire des archives départémentale – pages 418, 427) - there are several references to records ranging from the late 13th century to the early 15th century involving une vallée nommé le val de Quetivel, assise en Esquedreville et Octeville (pp 338, 428, 436,440, 446) that include a Quetivel Mill (pp 416, 423, 428) and a Quetivel Lock (416). In proximity to Quettot, but several kilometers northwest of it, is a hamlet that today gives the name Quetteville to a road (D65) near Helleville. That road crosses a stream that has a road running parallel to it called Rue de Moulin de Quetteville. [The lieu dit Quetteville is part of the commune of Helleville, and includes Le Moulin de Quetteville – editor]
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