Le Bel Royal

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Jersey houses


Le Bel Royal, St Lawrence


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Property name

Le Bel Royal [1]

Location

Bel Royal, St Lawrence [2]

Type of property

Detached house sharing courtyard with other properties


Families associated with the property

The age of Le Bel Royal, and the identity of those who originally lived there, has not been determined but, in the 1841 Census for St Lawrence, John Malzard is recorded as residing at Le Bel Royal with his step-father, Aaron de Ste Croix, his mother Mary de Ste Croix, nee Mauger, widow of William John Malzard, his half sister Mary and half brother Charles and two others - Elizabeth Remon and Charles Hubert.

In the 1851 Census for St Lawrence Aaron de Ste Croix was still residing at St Aubins Road and was a landed proprietor farming 25 acres and employing two men. His wife Mary, sons Aaron and Charles and daughter Mary were living at home. Eliza Perrie was a visitor on Census night. In addition there were four servants at Le Bel Royal - two farm labourers (Francis Norman and Adolphus Lorrier); a cook (Elizabeth Le Page) and a dairy maid (Rachael Bisson).

In the 1861 Census for St Lawrence Aaron de Ste Croix was still residing at Le Bel Royal, employing four labourers. His wife Mary, son Aaron and daughter Mary were residing at home. Elizabeth Mauger was a visitor on Census night. In addition Aaron had four house servants - Pierre Coulombier, Jacque Carly, Marie Louise Boisard and Marie Prevost.

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

An important group of houses from the 17th and 18th century, retaining historic character and features. An important site of significant historical interest including houses dating to the 17th and 18th century, with 19th century farm outbuildings.

The property is long claimed to have an association with King Charles II when he reviewed the Jersey Militia and knighted Sir Philippe de Carteret nearby on St Aubin's sands in 1646 - the house at that time being right on the sand dunes and virtually the only property in the vicinity.

Le Bel Royal is thought to date to the early 18th century with 19th century alterations, although the origins may be slightly older, as the style of the unchamfered windows with base stones, set upright, continue between 1650-1750, and the small-scale masonry construction of the rear wall, and offset rear door often suggests an earlier date. Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795.

The site includes a pair of houses set around a shared front courtyard, with converted outbuildings to the west and north (Le Pressoir, Le Batisse and 1-4 Stable Yard) and to the south (Maison Figuier). Le Bel Royal is a south-facing two-storey, five-bay house with east wing.

Adjoining the west gable of Le Bel Royal is Le Pressoir, a converted two-storey, five-bay outbuilding with pitched tiled roof and rubble stone walls. Single storey converted outbuilding adjacent to south, now Le Batisse.

Extending to the north is an arched carriage entrance in dressed granite with wheel kickstones. The carved keystone was formerly at nearby Mainlands and is not relevant to the history of this property.

The interior of Le Bel Royal has been altered but retains its interior plan form and some features, including the original stone corbelled fireplaces in the west and east ground floor rooms, and in the west and east first floor bedrooms; the pine beams and beaded joists throughout; the surviving early-pattern five-panel doors and window shutters; and the pegged roof trusses. The house has lost its historic staircase, and the hallway paving and wall panelling is modern.

Old Jersey Houses

The author lends some credence to the association of these Bel Royal properties with King Charles II by saying that it is 'not proven, but not impossible'. This is hardly a basis for a reliable connection with the famous 17th century refugee in Jersey. Claims that he stayed in either house are well wide of the mark. Le Bel Royal had not been built, and Maison Charles is more likely to have been named after Charles Le Roux, who had property in this area. Although it is clearly possible that the future Charles II was entertained here after reviewing troops on the nearby beach, claims that he spent the night here, or stayed throughout his visit to the island, are based on rumour, not on any historical records.

Notes and references

  1. Le Bel Royal is one of two houses in a courtyard to the north side of the crossroads at Bel Royal on Jersey's south coast, in the parish of St Lawrence. The other house is called Maison Charles, and this has given rise to the belief that Charles II visited, or even stayed here during his time in Jersey. However, it is generally accepted that there is no truth in this belief and that Le Bel Royal was the courtyard (=bel) where the King's cannon were stored.
  2. Although the construction of a sea wall and land reclamation behind it means that the house is now some way from the sea, it was originally on the edge of sand dunes and the highest tides would have reached the garden walls.


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