The Hue stone at Perry Farm
The excellent practice of recording dates in the masonry of buildings under construction was not adopted in Jersey, even sparingly, until the middle of the 16th century and seems to have originated in Mont Orgueil Castle, where the oldest examples were cut in the Arms of Henry Cornish, 1547; in the tablet over the Mount Gate, 1551 ; and in the Arms of Queen Elizabeth, 1593.
In Elizabeth Castle the oldest date (1594), is to be seen on the chimney of the Captain's House in the Keep.
We have found only one 16th century date in the countryside - cut in a stone now lying derelict alongside a ruined outbuilding at La Blanche Pierre Farm in the parish of the Holy Trinity.
During the next two centuries when numerous substantial farmhouses were being built, it became customary to insert in some conspicuous place, stones bearing the date, initials, and arms (if any) of the owner of the property - the most pleasing development of the custom being the intertwined hearts, with initials and dates, which decorate so many of these old buildings.
The recent gift to our society of the portrait of the Rev Corbet Hue, Dean of Jersey from 1823 to 1837, reminded me that I had sketched a Hue stone at Perry Farm, St Mary, in I93I, a stone which bears a unique example of the type of decoration usually carried by these stones.
The Dean was a native of Saint Helier and belonged to a junior branch of the Hue family who were originaires of Saint Mary's parish and, according to the pedigree published by the Rev J Messervy in our Bulletin for 1902, had been domiciled there since the 14th century.
The stone which bears the date 1749 and the initials 'CH' (Charles Hue) and 'EDP' (Elizabeth du Pre), is remarkable for the curious shield that occupies its centre. This shield, at first sight, appears to be of heraldic significance; but a closer examination shows that it bears only a jumble of meaningless symbols which defy heraldic interpretation. Senator Philip Le Feuvre, the owner of Perry Farm, had the kindness to supply the following information:
- "The farm derives its name from an avenue of pear trees from which perry used to be made; but when my father bought the property in 1912 only one of these trees was still living.
My father let the sun into the front of the house by removing the south wall of the courtyard which, especially during the winter, used to make the place so gloomy, and he re-erected at the east end of the avenue, the great archway of the courtyard, where it now forms such an imposing terminal to the rows of lime trees he had planted."
The Hue Stone, which is about one yard in length, is built into the east wing of the House and faces the courtyard.