Lemprieres of St John
To understand well the history of our island it is useful to study with care the annals of certain families such as de Carteret. Lempriere, Dumaresq, Payn, Poingdestre, Hamptonne, Le Hardy etc, who, over several centuries, in some ways presided over our destinies.
After the de Carterets, no family, perhaps, has played a more considerable role no exercised a greater influence in Jersey than Lempriere. Their history is intimately linked to that of the island and their name figures on the majority of events which have taken place.
The genealogy of the Lemprieres given in the Armorial by J B Payne is more or less complete and sufficiently accurate. One could no doubt point to certain errors but they are not serious. However, one branch has been neglected or summarised too briefly. It is that of Lempriere of St John. It was founded around 1594 by Thomas Lempriere (younger son of Michel Lempriere, Seigneur of Dielament) who married Rachel Sarre, only daughter and heiress of Edouard Sarre, Constable of St John (1578-86).
The Sarre property thus inherited by the Lemprieres was already very important in the 16th century and was further enlarged during the first half of the 17th by new owners. Accorder to the diary of Elie Brevint, Minister of Sark, 1612-74, Thomas Lempriere (of Augres) had 500 vergees of land, of which 300 was at Mourier. He was also owner of two houses and could go from one to the other without leaving his land. The second house was undoubtedly Catelet, obtained from Jean Maret and others by Thomas Lempriere on 12 July 1621.
The Lemprieres of St John were seigneurs of many fiefs, of which we give a list below, situated in St John or St Mary. Also their house was called Maison or Manoir de St Jean, and retains this distinction today. It is necessary to add that this title returned later, by right, to the Manor of St Jean la Hougue-Boëte, which belonged in the 17th century to Le Febvre, then to de Carteret.
It should be noted, however, that the seigneurs of the Fief de Chesnel sometimes claimed prominence in St John; but as far as we know they did not have a manor in this parish.
On the house of Lempriere of St John are the initials JLP and ELC (Josue Lempriere and Esther Le Couteur) and the date 1696, as well as an excellent representation of the arms of this ancient family. The house belongs now to Colonel Swan, Seigneur of Trinity.
Here are some notes regarding the fiefs which belonged to Lempriere of St John:
- d’Escraqueville. Thomas Lempriere, son of Michel, sold his part of the inheritance to Hugh Lempriere, Seigneur of Dielament, his brother, for 30 quarters of wheat rente, including the Fief d’Escraqueville.
- Augrés. Thomas Lempriere, son of Michel, purchased in London on 25 February 1617 from Jean Lempriere, son of Helier, the fiefs of Augrés and ès-Godeaux, and Augrés Mill for 18 quarters and one cabot of wheat rente, and this contract was confirmed in Jersey on 12 April 1617.
- Herupe. On 19 January 1609 Edmond Le Gallais, Seigneur of Fief ès-Hamonnetz, had his claim to the Fief Hérupe, belonging to Thomas Lempriere, dismissed. On 22 April 1609 Thomas Lempriere acquired from Hugh Le Gallais Fief Payn de la Houguette en Herupe, for the sum of 15 écus sol.
- Lulague. Thomas Lempriere, son of Michel, acquired on 16 May 1615 from Philippe Dumaresq the half of the Fief de Lulague situated at Mourier, St John, for four cabots of wheat rente. On 15 November 1617 the same Thomas Lempriere acquired from Elie Dumaresq of La Haule, the other half of the Fief de Lulague, for five cabots of wheat rente and a chicken. This fief is known as le fief de Thomelin Lulague dit du Mourier. On 20 January 1620 there was an agreement to separate this fief from that of Motier or ès-Poingdestre.
- Boutevillon. This fief, on which we believe the Maison de St Jean stands, seems to have been inherited from the Sarres.
The Lemprieres of St John are now represented by the descendants of Sir Jean Dumaresq, Lieut-Bailiff 1802-16.
In conclusion we should say that another branch of the Lempriere family, but of lesser importance, was established in St John on the Fief de la Hougue-Boete, before that of which we give the genealogy. It would probably be necessary to go back some way to find a common ancestor.