Oak Farm

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Jersey houses


Oak Farm, St Lawrence


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Property name

Oak Farm

Other names

  • Les Carrières
  • Bigrel Farm

Location

Rue Ville ès Gazeaux, St Lawrence

Type of property

Farm with 15th century origins: Still a working farm in the 21st century

Valuations

Sold for £1,326,666 in 2009 and for £1.4 million in 2014 [1]

Families associated with the property

The datestone at Oak Farm - INC MGB 1747 [2] - refers to the owners at the time, Jean Nicolle and Marie Gibaut, who married in St Lawrence in 1741. It would suggest that the mid-18th century changes to the property were carried out for them and that this date marks them. What is unusual, and puzzling, is that there appears to be a second line of characters on the stone, which have either worn away or have been defaced

Datestones

INC MGB 1747 The initials stand for Jean Nicolle and Marie Gibaut, who married in St Lawrence in 1741. he couple had children Edouard (1742- ), Marie (1746- ) and Jean (1749- ). We have not been able to place this family group in any of our Nicolle trees

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

A high quality survival of a substantial farm group developed in the 18th and 19th centuries from 15th century origins, with outstanding 18th century interiors. Previously known as 'Les Carrières'. Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795.

Seven-bay, two-storey house: Interior includes a lavabo, two round stone arches, high quality circa 1750 doorcases with Georgian style architraves and staircase, panelling of the cabinet at the top of the staircase, and ground floor hall and main room with Swanage paving stones.

Most complete stair and panelling seen outside town. [3]

Old Jersey Houses

Oak Farm, Ville ès Gazeaux, St Lawrence, previously known as Les Carrières, presumably a reference to the nearby China Quarries, was known in the 19th century as Bigrel Farm, after its occupants, the Bigrel (or Begurel) family, who first settled in Trinity in the mid 17th century, having arrived in the island from France, probably as Huguenot refugees.

Apart from noting this connection to the Biguerel family and the Nicolle datestone, Joan Stevens has little to say about the history of the property in her first volume of Old Jersey Houses.

She believed that it was altered substantially in the mid-18th century. Further renovations in the late 20th century revealed a second interior round arch.

The main feature of the property is a benetier, with a sophisticated drainage system running under the floor, across the garden and road to a meadow beyond. The staircase, added during the 18th century is described as one of the finest of its period to survive in Jersey.

She mentions the house again in the Vol Two, noting that its owner was shown as P Bigrel on the 1849 Godfray map. Having previously believed that the east wing may have been of later vintage than the main house, she reverses this view. She comments that the house has the most complete stair and panelling of any house outside the town of St Helier.

It is clear from the history we have been able to piece together here, and in the accompanying family history that the Bigrel family did not build Oak Farm - that happened much earlier than their occupation - but merely gave it their family name for a period. So what it was called before then is a matter for conjecture.

Notes and references

  1. It seems unlikely that both these transactions were at open-market prices for exactly the same property
  2. Not JNC as shown in OJH or IMC as shown in HER
  3. This comment is taken from the reference in OJH. It begs the question 'Seen by whom?' because the author of the books was not allowed to see the inside of many of the historical buildings included in (and overlooked by) her books
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