Victoria Village

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What's your street's story? -

Victoria Village


A18VictoriaVillage2.jpg

It must be admitted that this is scarcely the most photogenic village area in any of Jersey's 12 parishes


This article is based on a 2018 presentation by senior archivist Stuart Nicolle in Jersey Archive's What's your street's story? series


Victoria Village is a small area of Trinity that was, for much of its history, a mostly agricultural settlement. On the Richmond Map of 1795 it was dominated by orchards, with a small number of farmhouses evident.

The 1849 Godfray Map shows hardly any change with only a few properties in the area, and fields still dominating. It was not until the second half of the 20th century that development began with residential properties being built in Clos Vert, Victoria Village Estate, Victoria Village Close and Jardin du Puits, on former farmland.

But although mainly a quite rural area, Victoria Village has been the scene of some extraordinary and tragic events.

Attempted murder

In September 1894 the peace of the area was shattered. Francois Mourant and Elizabeth Jane Le Brun Perchard had married the previous year at St Saviour's Church and moved to Victoria Village, renting a property owned by Thomas Drelaud.

On the morning of 17 September Elizabeth asked Francois if he wanted to go sandeeling and when he said 'no' she went with her mother, instead. She returned in the evening and, seeing that he was in, called out to him a number of times.

Not receiving any response, she walked into his room and was met by a double-barrel muzzle loader being fired point blank. The shot ripped through her face and she fell to the floor. Francois escaped through the window.

Elizabeth had 40 to 60 shrapnel wounds to her face and body, but amazingly she survived. She was transferred to the hospital in a critical condition. Her left eye was removed, her right was damaged and she suffered grievous injury and pain. She recovered sufficiently to testify at her husband's trial.

The Honorary Police searched for Mourant in the night but it was the following morning when he was found in the pub of George Drelaud, Thomas' son, called the Victoria Inn.

After the trial the majority of the jurors found him guilty of the charge of attempted murder. He was sentenced to seven years penal servitude. In his summing-up the Bailiff seemed bemused as to what Mourant's motivations were for the attack, but he expressed the hope that when he returned to the island he would be a changed man.

Victoria Village

Death of farmer's son

Another shocking incident took place in 1901. On 12 May John Wallace Cabot, a 31-year-old farmer's son, was found dead in a field called La Demoiselle. At the inquest various witnesses were called to give evidence about Cabot's movements the previous night.

He had been seen to buy alcohol from the shops of Miss Le Quesne and Miss Rondel in the area. Ernest Le Bechec testified that he had heard the deceased at 10 pm but had not seen him. Miss Le Quesne said that Le Bechec had bought a bottle of brandy from her. He was called back to the stand and admitted that he had bought the alcohol, but denied drinking it with Cabot.

The post-mortem examination revealed that a fractured skull was the cause of death and the Viscount said that it must have involved a great deal of violence. The evidence was then re-examined.

Ernest Le Bechec came under the spotlight again and it emerged that he had been one of a group who had been drinking with Cabot that night. They got into an argument after Cabot commented on Le Bechec receiving welfare from the parish, which led to him pushing him down.

The jury at Le Bechec's trial was divided, but he was convicted of assault with extenuating circumstances and sentenced to three months hard labour.

When it came to the time for the renewal of Miss Le Quesne's alcohol licence she was rejected by the Licensing Assembly. Advocate Alavoine, who was representing her, said that she had kept a house for 21 years and he did not know of any complaints being received against her.

The Bailiff referred to the Le Bechec case and said that she had sold the bottle of alcohol to minors and had allowed them to drink it practically on her doorstep, and the consequence was the tragedy which occurred. The application was unanimously rejected by the Assembly.

Le Quesne family

The property that Miss Le Quesne ran her business from and lived at, Transvaal House, no longer exists. It was on the corner of Rue de la Boucterie and Rue de la Guilleaumerie. The Le Quesne family owned the property for many years. Contracts record that Charles Le Quesne inherited it from his parents, Philippe and Mary, nee Gallichan.

In March 1968 Transvaal House was sold out of the family by Clifford George Ollivier. He was the oldest son of Robert George Ollivier and Emelia Marett, nee Le Quesne.

Businessman Kenneth Barnes, who bought it, wanted to develop the area for housing. He discussed the best way of demolishing the dilapidated property with parish authorities and it was decided that the best solution would be to burn it down.

The Constable of Trinity, Edgar Mourant, had the honour ofthrowing the match into the building to ignite the flames, and he, together with the Fire Brigade, watched as the fire raged for over two hours.

Roderick Dobson

A prominent resident of the village in later years was naturalist Roderick Dobson. Born in Derbyshire in 1907 he went to Sri Lanka in 1927 to take up tea planting, and while there he made a collection of eggs of the island's birds, which he presented to the National Museum of Ceylon in 1933.

The following year, after his marriage to Winifred King, in Australia, the couple moved to Europe, settling in Jersey. He bought La Ruette and some fields in Victoria Village in July 1934 and became a grower. He and his wife were registered as living there during the Occupation.

He wrote the book Birds of the Channel Islands, published in 1950, which became the standard text on the subject. Later on he concentrated on natural history film making. The BBC broadcast four of his films.

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