Filleul scrapbook

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This article by J F Arthur was first published in the 1976 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise

This Filleul scrap-book has recently been purchased by La Société Jersiaise. It was compiled by the Rev Samuel Edward Valpy Filleul, who also compiled the larger album entitled ‘’Island of Jersey’’ in the Museum Library.

Family book

It is truly a family book containing documents, photographs, maps, sketches, letters and newspaper cuttings, all of which contribute to a story of great variety. The following notes which are all drawn from the scrap-book do not tell the whole story; there is much more for members to read for themselves.

The Filleuls trace their descent from Durand Filleul who was Maire de Rouen in 1268. Durand, his son Vincent, and grandson Enguerrand are all buried in the Church of La Sainte Trinite du Mont, near Rouen.

The two sons of Enguerrand, Jean and Amauri, were said to be "iIlustres pour noblesse et vertu". They founded and endowed ‘’un monastere, regie St Augustin’’, for the girls of Rouen who became known as ‘’Filles-Dieu’’. Jean was twice Maire de Rouen, in 1332 and 1341. Amauri was also Maire in 1353 but the interesting thing about him is the note which reads, "il fut envoye en Angleterre avec Jean Mustel, pour la deliverence du Roi Jean, ils y sont morts".

Amauri Filleul was Seigneur de Freneuse, as were a number of other members of the family between 1350 and 1570. We are told that "Jacques Filleul, Seigneur de ses preuves de noblesse à Rauen en 1463". A letter, dated 1902, tells us that there are no longer any Filleuls at the Chateau or Manoir de Freneuse. It has become a simple farmhouse.

There is a break in the genealogy at this point, but it seems certain that the founder of the Filleul family in Jersey was Thomas Filleul, fils Jean, a native of Pirou near Coutances who, in 1435, sold all his inheritance in Normandy to his younger brother Jean, whose descendants still lived at Pirou at the time of Payne's Armorial.

Thomas probably settled in the south-east of Jersey for we find his great-grandson Jean, living at Samares, and this Jean's son, franczoisjffranceoys, buying land in the "fief de hommet geysans au hutterel" in 1573 and at "fieu de crapdoibt, mare de Samares" in 1593.

This Francois' brother, Thomas, married someone called Jeanne. From them descends the branch of Grouville Filleuls.

Francois had a son Jean, and grandson Philippe. This Philippe being the first in a line of at least ten Philippes in successive generations, down to Philip who was killed in the RAF in the Second World War. He left two sons; we do not know their names, but one of them must surely also be Philip. Amongst these Philippes there were two Centeniers and two Constables of St Clement.

Seigneural Court dispute

Philippe Filleul, 1690-1740, who was both Centenier and Constable, fought in the Seigneurial Court of Samares in 1735 as follows :

He was fined for failing in the' service' of hay-making and carting. He maintained that the ' tenants' were not liable to make the hay on La Valonnerie which is not on the Fief de Samares; that they were not liable for hay-making anyway when the Seigneur was not in residence; that those in charge of the Seigneurie lands grazed the stock on land which was not part of the fief and made hay on nearly all the fief land, deliberately increasing the 'service' required of the 'tenants'; that four of the principal , tenants' (Jean Dumaresq gent., Elie Dumaresq gent., and Jean Baudains having between them four holdings) had been allowed to buy their land free of' services' which also increased the burden on the minor' tenants'.

Philippe, son of the above, made a similar protest at harvest time in 1773. He was one of a group of six' tenants' who were fined £17 13s 4d by the Seigneuria1 Court for failing to make the Seigneur's hay on 31 July and succeeding days which were during “La Maree d'Ete et ... La Moisson "; also, for failing to cart the hay during August. They took their case to the Royal Court, which, in the presence of the Seigneur, ruled that they were not liable to make hay during the vraic harvest time but that they were liable to cart it during August. Each side had to pay half the costs.

In 1793 was born the Rev Philip Filleul, MA, who was Rector of four parishes in Jersey; St Brelade, St Peter, St Saviour, and finally St Helier, where he was also Vice-Dean. He married in 1823 at Reading, Catherine Elizabeth Blanche Valpy, the daughter of Dr Richard Valpy, Headmaster of Reading School.

Their eldest son Philip Valpy Mourant Filleul, was for several years Warden of Christ's College, Tasmania. When he and his wife, Marianne Girdlestone, reached Melbourne on the way out, they found the port crammed with ships but there was not a single sailor anywhere.

Everyone had hurried inland to the Gold Rush at Ballarat! They had a somewhat difficult and hazardous time finding a ship to Tasmania. On their return to England he was for many years Rector of Biddisham, Somerset. His two brothers were early settlers in Papakaio, Otago, New Zealand.

In succeeding generations there were several more reverend gentlemen and some who went into the navy and the army.

There has been considerable research into the English family of Fylyol/Fyol dating from 1006 at Keldon/Kelvedon/Klevedon, Essex, and also of Filliol/Filiol near Hythe, Bere Regis, Wimborne and Frome. However, there would seem to be no connection with these families. Indeed, as the name Filleul means 'godson' it may have been given several times quite independently.

Thanks are due to Charles Stevens for the drawing of the Filleul family tree, which has been compiled from the scrap-book. This, and the information quoted above, have not been checked against outside sources.

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