Longueville Manor revisited

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Longueville Manor revisited


This article by Rozelle Sutherland was first published in the 2012 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise. The earlier article to which it refers has yet to be added to Jerripedia, but there are other articles on Longueville Manor

In the 130th Annual Bulletin, published in 2005, I described in some detail the creation of a Victorian garden at Longueville Manor more than 140 years ago. [Article not yet available in Jerripedia]. This account was researched for a book on the history of Jersey gardens, written and compiled by members of the Garden History Section. However, recent research has provided more information and the oportunity to correct false impressions caused by long-ago printing errors.

During the period 1863-1873 the manor was owned by the Rev Christian Henry Bateman, 1813-1889, an Anglican clergyman and hymnologist. He married Margaret Fleming Browne in the mid-1840s and they had four sons and two daughters. One son died in infancy. It is not known why they came to Jersey, though it may have been through a family connection with another clergyman in the island.

Distinguished family

There is no doubt that the Rev Bateman came from a distinguished, and in many ways typically ambitious Victorian family. His father was an inventor and manufacturer, his mother a member of the influential La Trobe family of architects, composers, intellectuals and engineers, his grandfather the head of the Moravian congregation in England. This accounts for his early ministry in the Moravian Church, followed by a period as a Congregatonal minister, before taking holy orders in the Church of England. His hymns were mainly written for children and appeared in several collections.

His brother, Edward La Trobe Bateman, is undoubtedly the best-known member of the family. He was, in turn, a book illuminator, draughtsman and architectural decorator, well-known to the Pre-Raphaelite circle. In 1852, in company with several of them, he joined the Victorian gold-rush to Australia. His second cousin, Charles Joseph La Trobe, was the first Lieut-Governor of the state of Victoria, Australia.

Edward became a very successful illustrator, muralist and garden designer in Melbourne. In later life he returned to the British Isles and became a landscape gardener.

The eldest brother, John Frederick Bateman, was an internationally renowned civil engineer. His descendants settled in Sark, where the family still live. He was the first to adopt La Trobe as part of the family surname.

No doubt acknowledging the successful and well-known La Trobe connection, several other members of the family, including Edward, adopted La Trobe, or Latrobe, arbitrarily, was part of the family name, or were actually baptised Latrobe. Christian Henry's eldest son, another clergyman, was the Rev James Henry Latrobe Bateman. Coming from such a family, intellectual, artistic, creative yet essentially practical, it is perhaps not surprising that Christian Henry was inspired to restore and improve the Manor, and create a garden. As he put it in the journal he wrote, describing the results of his great endeavour 'it is a good, comfortable and most pleasant country house'. He describes his progress in detail, and gives the cost as 'a little over two thousand pounds', which was, of course, quite a large sum of money in the 1860s. The source of his wealth is unknown - surely it could not have been hymn-writing. There may have been family money.

[There was, indeed, family money, on Mr Bateman's wife's side, as a Jerripedia investigation in 2017 has established - Editor]

For the first seven years residence in Jersey he was unemployed, apart from a short period as curate at St Luke's Church. The task of supervising the restoration of the house and creation of a garden was probably taking up most of his time. His journal, printed in full in Joan Stevens' A history of Longueville Manor, describes the work on the manor and garden in detail.

Although he mentions discussion with architects and others, it is clear that he had firm control and the plans reflected his vision for Longueville.

'If I am spared a few years longer, and am still the Seigneur of Longueville, I will restore ... and convert the old mill into a chapel'.

One must therefore wonder why the family left the island. There may be clues in a series of letters sent between May and November 1870, held at Jersey Archive.

Dispute with Dean

The Lieut-Governor of Jersey, Major-General Philip Melmoth Nelson Guy, had been appointed in 1868. British regiments, as well as the Jersey Militia, were quartered in the island. It was the custom to appoint the curate to the Rector of St Helier as Military Chaplain, and the previous Chaplain had recently resigned. The Lieut-Governor wished to appoint Mr Bateman, but the Rector, the Rev Philippe Filleul, known to be a difficult man, considered the appointment to be within his gift. A stipend of £110 a year was attached to the post, but was paid to Mr Filleul. It was suggested that Mr Bateman should be appointed as his curate, as well as Military Chaplain, but Mr Filleul would not agree. The Lieut-Governor insisted. The matter went to the highest level, both in the Anglican Church and the War Office, and the Lieut-Governor won. The Rector capitulated and Mr Bateman was to be both Military Chaplain and curate at St Helier's Church.

It is interesting that the Dean at the time, William Corbet Le Breton, Rector of St Saviour and father of Lillie Langtry, played no part in this dispute.

The Bishop may have decided that there could be no harmony after such disagreement. In 1871 Mr Bateman was offered the living of All Saints, Childshill, Middlesex. He accepted, the family left Jersey, and in 1873 Longueville Manor was sold to Charles Kipling. By a strange coincidence, Rudyard Kipling (were the two related?) lived in a house called Batemans in East Sussex.
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