Chestnut Farm at Mont à l'Abbé has a very rare triple gate
Chestnut Farm at the top of New St John's Road, Mont à l'Abbé, in St Helier has a very unusual triple entrance arch which, because of its prominent location, near to the junction with Queen's Road, is very well known to islanders. The picture above, taken in 1905, appeared on a prominent auction site in the summer of 2016, and was then featured on a Facebook site devoted to old photographs of Jersey, accompanied by the predictable 'wailing and gnashing of teeth' and comment suggesting that a wonderful view had now been ruined. But a look at the property today in the Google Street View image below shows that remarkably little has changed in the intervening century. Certainly the road has been surfaced with tarmacadam, and there is usually more traffic than encountered by the Street View camera; the road has been realigned and vehicle access to Grande Route du Mont à l'Abbé on the left of the archway blocked. Behind the camera much has changed, but in front, Chestnut Farm remains largely unaltered externally, and it's arch, the central part of which dates from the late 17th century, is much as it was in 1905, except that today's gates are uglier and afford less of a view of the farm than those in the other photographs on this page.
The central arch has 1698 on the keystone, but parts of the house, particularly the right-hand section which can clearly be seen in the bottom-right picture in the gallery below, are believed to be much older.
As Joan Stevens wrote in Volume 1 of Old Jersey Houses in 1965:
- "In the house, the windows are quite asymmetrical and uneven in size, and very small. One, the smallest of all, still has its iron bars. There is also a fireplace on the first floor, this whole section of the building being now used for storage. The round arch is wide, and its proportions appear wrong, but one steps down to enter it, so the appearance is deceptive. The left hand section of the house is also of some age, with at least one very ancient ceiling beam, concave and in the untouchned shape of the tree from which it was hewn. The central portion is much later, but links up the two other wings, both older than itself. This farm was the home of the Le Geyt dit Le Mailleur family from the 16th until the end of the 18th centuries.