Grande Maison du Francfief

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Jersey houses


Grande Maison du Francfief and Westlands, St Brelade


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This property should not be confused with Franc Fief, Franc Fief House or the farm of the same name on this road

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Westlands

Property name

Grande Maison du Francfief

Other names

  • Westlands
  • Westlands Farm

Location

Route de Francfief, St Brelade [1]

Type of property

Farm complex with possible 15th century origins. Grande Maison du Francfief is actually quite a small building and is all that remains of a larger farm complex, which was demolished when Westlands was built in 1882

Families associated with the property

  • Orange
  • Le Maistre: The Le Maistre family of Grouville has a herd of cattle based at Westlands Farm. It is run by father and son Philip and Philip Le Maistre
  • Le Couteur: 20th century owners, descended in the female line from Orange
  • Butel: During the German Occupation the Butel family were farming here. Albert Bienaime Butel (1913- ) and his wife Lucille Rose, nee Connan, were living with their children Denise Rose (1938- ) and Diane Carolyn (1944- )
  • Quenault: W C Quenault was farming here in the 1970s

Census returns

1901 - Farmer John Le Rossignol (1856- ) and his second wife Emma Renouf (1857- ) were living here with his sons by his first marriage to Emma Duval, Stanley (1881- ), a banker's clerk, and Hedley (1884- ), working for his father

1881 - John Orange (1827- ), formerly a merchant and banker, was farming 22 acres and living here with his second wife Mary Ann, nee Nicolle, sons John Herbert, a solicitor's clerk, Clifford and Walter; and daughter Florence Ann and niece Ada Sophia.

1871 - Having lost his first wife Mary Ann, nee Le Brocq, three years earlier, John was still a widower, looking after his four children

1861 - John was living here with his first wife;, his mother Anne, nee Gibaut; sister Anne, yet to marry Thomas Falla; and newborn son John

Datestones

  • NOR 1675 - For Nicolas Orange
  • EPP 1727 - for Edward Pipon, whose daughter Mary married John Orange in 1724
  • JOR 1882 - For John Orange. This stone is believed to have been erected when Westlands was built

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed buildings

Grande Maison du Francfief - An important survival of an early Jersey farmhouse, possibly 15th century, with arch doorway that is one of only a few seen in Jersey. Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795.

The house is associated with Franc Fief (free fief), mentioned in various partages and land sales as francum feodum since early 14th century. Part of the fief was located in St Peter and known as sub-fief Bekalowe. The Fief passed to the Dumaresqs of La Haule in 1589.

The original duties of the seigneur of this fief are unclear: the name suggests that they had been exempted from feudal obligations, but it is also reported that the duty of Franc Fief's seigneur was keeping a prison in which King's prisoners, pending trial at the Royal Court, were guarded. The latter possibility might explain the presence of a cellar under the front room. [2]

Cellars are a rare accommodation in Jersey. This one has two small windows. The house dates back to 16th century. It is said to have been be refronted in 1614. The entrance door arch, however, is of early 16th century.

The front elevation is in the style of Guernsey's small parlour house and the entrance arch also follows Guernsey pattern. It is believed that there is a 16th century arch inside the house, opposite the main entrance which could have led to a tourelle. [3]It is now leading into a wing at the back of the house. The age of the wing is unknown, but it might have been the free-standing chamber block associated with an early medieval hall preceding the present house.

There are reportedly only two other arches like this one in Jersey; the three-stone second voussoir being a pattern more often seen in Guernsey, as is the three-window configuration.

Slate roof with rendered chimneys. Two storeys, three windows on each floor, irregularly spaced. Chamfered window surrounds. Bar holes in ground floor surrounds. Squared granite ashlar front. Asymmetrically positioned door with chamfered arch surround.

Westlands - A good example of a mid-19th century farm house with associated 19th century farm group, retaining historic character and features. A cluster of historic farm buildings. Westernmost house, Westlands, is three-bay, two-storey with semi-basement; and single storey west wing.

To the east is Westlands Farm, a three-bay, two-storey house with associated farm buildings. Associated to the south is Grande Maison du Francfief.

Old Jersey Houses

This does not appear to be part of the property referred to in the two volumes, variously described as Franc Fief and Franc Fief Farm

Notes and references

  1. Official database of listed properties shows the address as Rue des Bruleries, which as far as we can establish, does not exist
  2. It would seem highly unlikely that any prisoners were kept at this property. The Royal Court sat in St Helier and prisoners were brought there from Mont Orgueil Castle. The route between was on the other side of the island from St Brelade.
  3. It seems strange that a Grade 2 listed building of this antiquity has not been fully researched to confirm the existence of such an old arch
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