Domaine des Vaux

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Jersey houses


Domaine des Vaux, St Lawrence


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Property name

Domaine des Vaux [1]

Other names

  • Les Vaux
  • Les Vaux Cottage

Location

Rue de Bas, St Lawrence

Type of property

17th century farmhouse and outbuildings

Valuations

Les Vaux Cottage, presumably converted from one of the property's outbuildings, sold for £850,000 in 2010

Families associated with the property

Census - John Gibaut was the owner in 1851 and lived here with his wife Nancy and children Abraham, John, Elie, Edward and Philip. John's younger brother Abraham (1833- ) was also in the houshold, and listed as a farmer. By 1861 he was the head of houshold and still farming at the property. In 1881 Abraham and his wife Elizabeth (1847- ) (see datestone below) was living at Les Vaux with children, Abraham, Elizabeth, Emma, Maria and Emily, and farming ten acres. A second family, the Laffoleys, were also shown as farming at Les Vaux in 1881. Charles (1829- ) and his wife Elizabeth (1829- ) were resident with children Charles, Philip, Alice and Louisa, farming 15 acres

Datestones

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

A good example of a 17th century house, with later west wing, retaining historic character and features of interest. The associated farm buildings create a cohesive group, which contributes to the rural setting. Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795.

17th century house (John McCormack suggests possible circa 1600 origins) with 18th century and later additions and alterations. Outbuildings converted 20th century.

A well-documented and extensive garden laid out by Lady Binney in the 1970s, adapting the topography to create a sheltered garden of contrasting areas with expert use of a wide range of plants. A mid-20th century garden laid out in a sequence of areas of contrasting character.

Garden

1976 Country Life article as follows:

"Lady Binney has made a new garden since 1970 and kept a complete record of what she was about. She and Sir George left Horham Hall, Essex and bought the farmhouse in 1969. The house was altered and Lady Binney started on the garden. At Horham she had been advised by Humphrey Waterfield, an artist and garden designer who advised on the necessity to use plants to create specific effects, to make certain that each had a positive role to plan in a scheme already existing in the imagination.
"The house stands at the head of a small valley above Waterworks Valley. The valley is well wooded with a small stream. Here rhododendrons camellias and other shade-loving shrubs and perennials were used. The south-facing side was just right for eucalyptus. Magnolias, pieris, and other shrubs were planted in the grass, the pool enlarged and the streamside stocked with aquatics and other moisture loving plants.
"More challenging was the area south of the house, enclosed to the south and west by a slope, skirted by the drive above. Lady Binney drew inspiration from the Villa Barbaro Maser by Palladio in the Veneto, where he cut a terrace into the slope, backing it by a semi-circular screen, half-enclosing a circular pool and fountain. The semi-circular shape was borrowed to shape a small amphitheatre cut into the hillside, executed under the instruction of architect Walter Ison in 1970, shaping an area circa 140ft by 70ft. A dense hedge screened the drive above.
"A courtyard was created at the house end with a garden room on one side and clairvoyees on the opposite side. The area is based on a level lawn with steep terraces above and stone urns and statues. The planting follows a colour progression mainly in pastel shades, on the east side grey and silver with a little pink and red, on the west yellows and greens, and linking them around the curve lavender, blue, pink and white.
"This little Jersey amphitheatre is an outstanding success, not just because of the selection of plants but for the way in which they are used. It is something impossible to describe in words."

Since that article was written the garden has been extended by the present owners, Marcus Binney and his wife Anne. The property now covers some 20 vergees of gardens and woodland. The valley is planted with many Camellias and native and exotic trees including Magnolias, Cercis, Taxodium distichum, Parrotia persica, Eucalyptus and Cornus Kousa. Above and beyond the terrace which has a fountain with a sculpture of a Boy on a Dolphin, is Lady Binney's tiered garden featuring gold and silver borders.

Old Jersey Houses

This 17th century property, which was owned by the Gibaut family for a long time, merits only a passing mention in Joan Stevens' Old Jersey Houses. She records that in 1849 it was owned by Mr E Gibaut, and in the second volume she notes that seven years earlier it had cost £32 to reroof the house.

Notes and references

  1. It is not clear when the name of this property, traditionally Les Vaux, was changed to Domaine des Vaux. It appears as Les Vaux in 19th century census returns, and also in Old Jersey Houses, published in the 1960s
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