Chaumiere du Chene

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Jersey houses


Chaumiere du Chene, St Peter


U20LaChaumiereDuChene4.jpg




Sir George Carteret is variously claimed by distinguished Jersey historians to have been born in, or brought up in, or built this house

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H20LaChaumiereDuChene4.jpg

Property name

Chaumiere du Chene

Location

East of Rue des Vignes, St Peter, about a third of a mile north of the junction with Mont des Vignes, in the Vingtaine de Saint Nicolas. The land, which is on both sides of the road, is extremely uneven with hollows and a small valley.

Type of property

17th century country house

Families associated with the property

Datestones

ELM 1650 - The initials on a firelplace stand for Elie Le Montais. CLM R - Believed to refer to Jurat Clement Le Montais and his wife Rachel, nee de Carteret, who married in St Peter on 30 October 1636

Listed building

An important example of an early Jersey house, which retains its historic character and has unusual, fine ornamental stonework. Historical association with Sir George Carteret (circa 1610-1680) and King Charles II. Sir George Carteret lived here (it is thought he built the house although McCormack places a much earlier date). Sir George was a devout Royalist, Bailiff and Lieut-Governor of Jersey during the Civil War. There are references to Charles II staying at the house when he was Prince of Wales.[1]

The house displays Jersey’s vernacular tradition in the use of local materials and details. Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795. Two-storey, four-bay [2].

Old Jersey Houses

The property features in both volumes, concentrating on the connection with Sir George Carteret.

The article in the first volume starts: "This house has some definite connection with Sir George Carteret", but fails to produce any evidence that this is true.

"As it is known that this property, and much surrounding land, belonged to the Le Montais family for a very long time, the stone CLM R clearly refers to Clement le Montais, who died in 1650, and who married Sir George's sister Rachel in 1636. When his funeral took place at St Peter he was given much ceremony, and many salutes of gunfire; this Chevalier attributes to his relationship to Sir George.
"The present owner and tenant recall that there is a granite fireplace in the main bedroom, now covered up, but with the date which they think is 1651. If so it seems reasonable to assume that the house was built then by sir George, and that he sold it to his nephew who lived nearby in 1666. [3]
"The present owner, Mr C Hamon, says there was a far older house in the valley, near the new hill. He also recalls that there was some kind of a wall niche in the scullery on the north of the house, but it has been removed. He thinks it may have been a benetier, but, if so, the position would be unusual."

In the second volume the author says that there are indications that there may have been a 17th-centuiry tourelle staircase.

History of ownership

De Carteret

This may be the house where Sir George de Carteret lived during his childhood. He owned a large tract of land in the area, but it is not entirely clear whether he lived at La Chaumiere du Chene or The Elms, further south on Mont des Vignes, now demolished, which remained in the hands of Le Montais family until 1890. Historian George Balleine believed that Sir George was born at one or other of these properties.

Joan Stevens also wrote, referring to the Elms:"This may be the house where Sir George Carteret spent his childhood, though a nearby house to the north, La Chaumière du Chêne, is also possible and almost certainly belonged to him at one time".

Both properties passed from the de Carteret family to Jurat Clement Le Montais, who died in 1650, and who had married Sir George's sister Rachel in 1636. Payne's Armorial of Jersey says that Clement's son Elie "purchased from his uncle Sir George Carteret, Bart, an estate at Mont des Vignes in the parish of St Peter on 10 October 1666, which has ever since continued in the possession of his descendants".

Le Montais

Balleine in All for the King mentions a house sold by Sir George to his sister Rachel, widow of Jurat Clement Le Montais, on Mont des Vignes, and this could have been La Chaumière du Chêne in view of its initialled stone CLM with R underneath, even though Balleine suggests neighbouring properties. Clement Le Montais (1600-1650) married Rachel De Carteret in 1636.

The front door arch was inspired by two decorated arches at St Ouen's Manor, which are not seen elsewhere, giving credence to the de Carteret link.

There was an older house on the property, in the valley to the east of and below the main house, but it fell into ruins in the 20th century. Roger De Carteret wrote that this house was of sufficient substance to have a share in the “commune” at Beaumont and that he had heard it suggested that this could even have been Sir George's boyhood home. He noted that on a list of the Beaumont tenants dated 1798, there are two separate entries for "Jean le Montays Gent", and one for “Mr Edouard le Montays pour deux maisons", possibly la Chaumiere du Chene and the second house.

Renouf

Henry Renouf purchased La Chaumière du Chêne around 1817-18 (he bought two houses, one from Jean Le Couteur and one from Philippe Blampied), together with some adjacent land in 1820 from Philippe Vincent, son of Philippe, (adjacent on the north and west sides to the land of Philippe Le Brun and on the south to the land of Jean Le Brocquet and the heirs of the late Jean Le Montais) and in 1825 some more land from the children of the late Jean Le Montays. He is the owner on the 1848 Godfray Map. On the 1851 census he is described as a “landed proprietor of 11 acres”.

Henry Renouf was farming there until the late 1850s, after retiring from the merchant navy before 1841, returning to the sea for a few months in 1844. There are a couple of outbuildings that were built around that time. The Renoufs would have grown apples to make cider (Henry is described as a "grower" on his son's marriage certificate in 1852).

By the 1861 census Henry had moved to end his days in Georgetown and in the mid-1870s Charles John Renouf, his eldest son, took over the farm, having inherited it, and was running it at the time of the 1881 census, with his wife, his son Ernest and two servants from France. It was around this time that he became bankrupt and proceedings were conducted in the Royal Court. Later in 1881 his wife Mary Ann Blampied died and the following year his son sold the property to Thomas Le Boutillier on his behalf, as he no longer had legal capacity.

Notes and references

  1. There are claims that Charles II stayed in numerous Jersey country houses during one or other of his visits to Jersey, but none of these have been substantiated
  2. It is clear from the photographs that the house has six bays
  3. This assumption is at odds with the earlier reference to a stone representing Clement Le Montais, who died in 1650. The fireplace stone was later revealed to be inscribed 1650, which suggests that it was erected by Elie Le Montais on moving into the house after the death of his father. There seems to be a concerted effort on the part of various historians who have studied the history of this house to link it to Sir George Carteret, but none of them appears to have produced any evidence that he lived there, much less that he had the house built. The varying suggestions that Sir George was 'born in the house' (in 1610); 'brought up there' and had the house built are clearly contradictory - Editor
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