St John's Manor

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St John:

St John's Manor


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One of Jersey's most striking properties, having little in common with the other manor houses, this house is known to islanders simply as St John's Manor, but to satisfy the purists who demand that a manor must be named after the fief on which it stands, it should more properly be called Le Manoir de St Jean la Hougue Boëte


The manor in about 1860, as depicted in Payne's Armorial. One wing of the manor was destroyed by fire after this drawing was made
Photograph by Ernest Baudoux

From Payne's Armorial of Jersey

The Manor House, which is approached through a long and stately avenue of firs, is built in the Italian style, with the arms of its present and former owners ornamenting the facade, and is pleasantly situated in the midst of the pleasure grounds, which are, in style and extent, unequalled in Jersey. At one time it is supposed to have been ornamented on the north with a large piece of water; for the water-gate still exists, and tradition speaks of the time when the transit to the parish church was made in a boat.

The estate probably derives its name, La Hougue Boete, from a family named Boet or Boiste, which held property in the parish anterior to 1331, as appears by the Extente of that year, and in which the name is feminised to Boistel. In support of this supposition it may be remarked that at a short distance from the house, stands a hougue or tumulus, that still belongs to the estate, although the surrounding land has long been alienated, and which is still called in the vernacular La Tete du Fief. The manor has descended successively through the families of De Barentine, Lempriere, Journeaulx, Le Febvre, De Carteret of Trinity, and Le Maistre, to its present possessor.

Joan Stevens

In the first volume of her Old Jersey houses, Joan Stevens writes that this property should not really be called St John's Manor, because there is no Fief of that name. It should, correctly, be called Le Manoir de St Jean la Hougue Boëte. [1]

The 'hougue' is a small tumulus to the north named after the family of Boëte, who owned the land in Norman times.

Mrs Stevens wrote about the owners of the manor and the changes they have made to the building: The house has been so much altered that little of the ancient building remains, and the present impressive appearance is scarcely recognisable as the house shown in Payne's Armorial.

"It has changed hands many times, with its fief, passing through de Barentin, Lempriere, Journeaux, Le Feuvre, de Carteret, Le Maistre and Le Couteur families, as well as further changes of ownerhip in the 20th century. From the time of Drouet Lempriere, who took it over from Philip de Barentin, who had owned so much island property, in 1382, until recent times, it passed by inheritance, though often through the female line, and once in a most tortuous manner. In about 1570 Clement Journeaux married La Dame de la Hougue Boëte, Thomasse Lempriere, and had an only daughter Heliere, who married Helier Hamptonne. He appeared for his wife at the Assize d'Heritage in 1593, answering for this fief. They had no children, and the fief was sold by Heliere's half brother, Abraham, the son of Clement by his second marriage to Isabelle Dumaresq. He sold it to Germain Le Feuvre, who had married Collette Journeaux, his cousin, a complex family arrangement which was probably mutually satisfactory, as Abraham had no children.
"The tombstone of Jean Le Feuvre, son of Germain and Collette, is outside St John's Church, and records his death in 1651, and shows his mother's arms, the Journeaux prawn, perhaps acknowledging that he had inherited the fief and manor through the maternal line. His eldest daughter married Josue de Carteret, of Trinity a man with a colourful but dubious record, and he had some difficulty in getting a parson to marry them as Jeanne, the heiress, was under age. He died in 1664 and was succeeded as seigneur by another Josue, a Jurat, who died in 1668, probably his son. He in turn was succeeded by either a son or brother, Abraham, who died in 1681 and whose tombstone is in St John's Church, near the north door.

The manor passed to the Le Maistre family by the marriage of Anne de Carteret to Jean Le Maistre. Her grandson Edouard had two daughters only, the elder of whom, Florence, married George Syvret in about 1765, so the Le Maistre tenure of the manor soon ended. The Syvrets had an only daughter, Elizabeth, who married Francois Jean Le Couteur, and their twin sons both married daughters of Sir Edmund Carrington.

For sale

Today this imposing manor with its own consecrated chapel stands in 10 acres of carefully tended gardens, 40 acres of farmland and surrounding woodlands. The present owner has carried out extensive landscaping to best show the main features; the lake, the Japanese garden, stream and walkways.

But in 2018 it was offered for sale.

The manor has been the home of Canadian-born international businessman and diplomat for Rwanda, John W Dick, for 40 years.

During that time it has regularly been opened to the public. Mr Dick said that opening the manor to the public had been a highlight of their time in Jersey.

‘We have hosted many people here, from presidents of nations to diplomats and senior business people’ he said. ‘Jersey is a special place in the world. I can tell you there is no place that we have found that we would rather be than right here. To be able to share St John’s Manor with the people of Jersey – the best people of Jersey – is something we will remember forever.’

The manor, with a guide price of £22 million, which, if achieved, would probably make it Jersey's second most expensive home, is described in the marketing material as being ‘among the finest and most prestigious country estates in the Channel Islands’.

Fronted by impressive gates and reached by a sweeping drive off Rue de la Mare Ballam, the property, in the heart of St John, is set in extensive grounds, which were landscaped by the previous owners after damage caused in the great Storm of 1987. Features include three lakes, a private chapel, a Japanese garden, a maze and a falconry.

The seven-bedroom manor house includes several fine reception rooms, a study and offices. In addition there are two guest lodges – one offering a sitting room, kitchen/dining room, double bedroom and bathroom, while the other comprises two double bedrooms, reception rooms and more offices.

Seigneurs

Roll of the Seigneurs of St John's Manor, La Hougue Boete

  • Philip de Barentine (1360)
  • Raoul Lempriere and Guille Payn (jointly in 1367)
  • Drouet Lempriere (1387)
  • John Lempriere (1434)
  • Thomas Lempriere (1460)
  • Thomas Lempriere (1500)
  • Thomas Lempriere (1550) m Collette Larbalestier d of Michael
  • Thomasse Lempriere (1571) m Clement Journealux
  • Abraham Journeaulx sold manor to John Le Febvre, s of Germain, his first cousin
  • Collette Journeaulx m Germain Le Febvre
  • John Le Febvre m Jane Payn
  • Jane Le Febvre m Joshua de Carteret of Trinity
  • Abraham de Carteret (1650- ) m Ann de Carteret
  • Edward de Carteret m Esther Le Couteur d of Clement
  • Ann de Carteret (sister of Edward) m John Le Maistre
  • Edward Le Maistre (died before his son inherited from Ann) m Mary de Rue
  • Edward Le Maistre m Florence Patriarche
  • Florence Le Maistre (1746- ) m George Syvret
  • Elizabeth Syvret m Francis-John Le Couteur
  • Edward-George Le Couteur (inherited from his great-grandfather Edward Le Maistre)

Notes and references

  1. OJH I, 166
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