La Maison Gruchy
The name appears to give it away: This house must have started life in the Gruchy family. But did it, and when? The property is a classic example of how, even though it is included in the classic reference work, Old Jersey Houses by Joan Stevens, it can prove difficult, if not impossible, to trace its history
There is no clue in the first edition of the book to the age of this house, or which Gruchys lived there. We are told that they were followed by the Fiott family, but they are not identified either. By the time the book had reached its third edition the author had discovered more about its owners, and particularly that it was not a Gruchy house until the 19th century, but was built by the Orange family. The details are still sketchy, and there are gaps in what Mrs Stevens claims to be the house's 'full pedigree'.
She says that the house was built 'by a member of the Orange family', but does not say who. She notes that they were established in the area by 1586, and living in the parish as early as 1528, but does not attempt to put a date on the house, which has no datestones.
She writes that the house was sold by Marie Orange, wife of Jean Messervy, to Thomas Carrel. We know that Marie was born in 1711, the daughter of John Orange (1680- ) and Marie du Feu (1690- ). She married Jean Messervy (1709- ) in 1736, and presumably he had his own house, because she sold La Maison Gruchy, which would then have been known by its old name, La Vieille Maison, in 1737. Jean was dead by 1747, when Marie married Edouard Le Boutillier ( 1722- ).
Thomas Carrel was probably the Thomas born in 1712, the son of Estienne.
There is then a gap in Mrs Stevens' 'full pedigree' because she says that in 1788, Jean Le Brocq, son of Pierre, sold the house to Jacques Gallichan, whose son, also Jacques, sold it to Jean Lowe in 1812. There is then another gap in the history of ownership because Jean Gruchy sold it to Jean Fiott in 1883. We have not been able to find any 'Lowe' in Jersey church records, nor have we been able to identify which of many Jean Gruchys, and Jean Fiotts, owned the house.
The Gallichans mentioned were probably Jacques, who married Anne Carcos, and their son Jacques, born in 1779. There were several Jean Le Brocqs, sons of Pierre, who might have owned the house.