The Normans of St Lawrence

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This is an extract from an article on St Lawrence families written by historian Henry Coutanche, whose own ancestors feature

Three distinct Norman families can be recorded in St Lawrence, all with connections in Coin Hatain.

The property in Rue des Servais known as Perry Farm was, in the 18th century, the home for a short period of a family Norman, originating in St John or Trinity. They were presumably the heirs of Nicholas Hampton, described in the 1749 Extente paying 6 cabots to the Crown for this property.

Vicart Farm, a small property overlooking a most attractive part of the Chemin des Moulins (Waterworks Valley), was inherited by a family of Norman, or Le Normand, when Edouard married Elizabeth Hamon, a descendant of the Hamons of Les Chasses, part of one of whose avenues Vicart Farm shares.

The Homestead

The chief Norman family, however, claims some antiquity in the parish. The earliest property that one can associate them with is The Homestead in the Vingtaine du Coin Tourgis on the other side of the parish, near the St Peter's border in the Rue de la Fontaine St Martin. This property was one of the 17 in the parish on the royal fief.

In the 1718 Apperiement de St Laurent and in the 1749 Extente the name Daniel Norman is recorded as a 'chef de chariage' not necessarily the same man, but denoting a family of some substance. The 'apperiement' was held irregularly to select as 'chefs de charette' the more substantial landholders on the royal, and other fiefs to perform the duties as required by custom.

Further researches will be necessary to provide an accurate tree for the period prior to 1750, but Descendants of Daniel Norman and Anne Le Cornu shows the relationship between the junior branch which moved to Greenhill in 1849 and the main line which remained for some further time in Coin Tourgis, farming and holding minor positions in the municipality.

As can be seen the family suffered, like so many others, its fair quota of children who died before reaching adulthood. Amongst this group is Alfred Philip (1848-1915) and his wife, Ann Coutanche. Ann was a sister of the John Coutanche of St Lawrence Villa who married Ann Norman of Greenhills, and who was the present writer's own grandfather.

This couple lost their only child at the age of 13. They had jointly bought a property at Westmount, which went to the survivor, Ann, whose heir was her own brother. She was always known as 'la tante Norman', a formality little used these days.

Alfred Philip had also bought another property, Grassdale, which he left by will to his brother Walter, who had served two terms as Centenier for his native parish.

This was the generation when the family began to spread well beyond the parish boundaries, partly because there were so many sons. The second son, John William, was for 20 years a well respected clerk in the office of the Solicitor Philippe Ahier, before his untimely death. He had only just purchased his new home at 20 Wellesley Terrace, in Robin Place.

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