The Rileys of Trinity Manor

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Athelstan and Christopher Riley

Three generations

Three generations of the Riley family lived at Trinity Manor and held the title Seigneur de la Trinité.

They were Athelstan Riley, who acquired the manor in a state of considerable disrepair in the first decade of the 20th century and set about transforming it from a rather poor imitation of an English country mansion into his magnificent interpretation of a French chateau; his second son Christopher; and Christopher's son John.

The Rileys were a Yorkshire family and the family fortune which enabled Athelston to embark on such an ambitious project in transforming Trinity Manor was built by his grandfather who had been a director of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company and owned a fleet of ships trading across the Atlantic.

Athelstan Riley

John Athelstan Laurie Riley was educated at Eton and Oxford. The son of a prosperous London lawyer, his interests were in theology and architecture. He travelled extensively and had a specific desire to unite the Greek, Russian and Armenian Orthodox churches.

He had a grand London residence built at 2 Kensington Court, which was later converted into a hotel. He married Andalusia Molesworth, daughter of Viscount Molesworth and grand-daughter of Captain George Bagot Gosset of Jersey.

The Molesworths were a Dublin family and Samuel (1829-1906), the impoverished 8th Viscount, married Georgina Charlotte Cecil Gossett (1833-1879), daughter of Captain George, who married Charlotte Douglas and had seven daughters.

Athelstan and Andalucia had five sons and a daughter and spent time at a holiday home in Cornwall early in the 20th century. Athelstan considered moving to Cyprus or Alderney, and also looked into the possibility of purchasing Sark, before discovering in 1904 that Trinity Manor was for sale. He brought his family to live in Jersey in 1908.

He applied to the Privy Council for confirmation of his feudal rights and privileges as Seigneur of Trinity and then set about transforming his new home, where he lived with his children and grandchildren until his death in Bon Air Nursing Home shortly after the end of the German Occupation.

John Riley

Christopher Riley

His first son Laurence died young and he was succeeded by his second son Christopher, who served in both world wars and rose to be Lieut-Colonel in the Coldstream Guards.

Christopher's first wife Bridget Hanbury, the mother of his two children, was killed in a riding accident in Grands Vaux in 1928. He then married Yvonne Robin (nee Lempriere) the Dame of Rosel, whose first husband had died in World War 1. She continued to live in her manor house and Christopher Riley lived in his, until his death in 1958.

John Riley

His son John Roland Christopher Riley, born at Trinity Manor in 1925, followed his father into the Coldstream Guards and rose to the rank of Major before returning wounded to England in March 1945. He returned to Jersey after the Liberation to find that the Germans had occupied the family home.

He lived there until the 1990s when, realising that his daughters were unlikely to want to live there, he sold the manor.

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