This picture supplied by a Jerripedia user is captioned 'Millbrook in 1881' but the location is undoubtedly Bel Royal, a little further along the coast to the west. There is and was no round tower at Millbrook, the closest being at First Tower and Bel Royal, and there was a windmill at Bel Royal in the 19th century. This illustration differs substantially from the large photograph below and suggests that the photograph was taken some time after 1881 and that new buildings had been constructed close to the windmill. It is not known when the windmill disappeared, but the coastal tower was blown up by the Germans during the Occupation
The first Jersey International Road Race in progress at Bel Royal in 1947
is a district in the centre of St Aubin's Bay
on the coastline of Saint Lawrence
. There is a slipway down to the sea flanked by a large concrete bunker left over from the Second World War.
Bel is Jèrriais for a yard, and many properties are shown on old maps as having an orchard or a bel behind them. Bel Royal was simply the yard belonging to the King where some of the island’s cannon were stored.
Legend has it that Bel Royal was given its name after the future King Charles II stayed there during one of his two visits to the island while in exile during the Civil War. However Jersey’s main historians are generally agreed that there is no truth in this story.
Indeed, it is believed, based on the 17th century diaries of Jean Chevalier, which covered the whole of the period when Charles visited Jersey, that neither he nor his brother ever accepted an invation to stay with any of the island’s gentry, “but the Lords of the Court used to accept, and the King counted this a compliment paid to himself”.
In any case, until the sea wall was built in relatively recent history, the land at Bel Royal was sand dunes with few houses. Today the whole area has been developed, very few open spaces remaining.
Bel Royal was at one end of the street circuit used for the Jersey International Road Race in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
The windmill at Bel Royal. The top of the coastal tower can just be made out protruding above the building on the right
A painting by De La Taste of a Militia parade on the beach at Bel Royal
Jumping off the slip in 1956
A high quality image showing St Matthew's Church, the windmill and coastal tower in the late 19th century - picture courtesy of Facebook group Jersey Temps Passe
A post-war aerial view from the late 1940s