Parish church Grouville

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Grouville Parish Church

Grouville Church02.jpg

A 19th century photograph by Ernest Baudoux

Grouville Church is one of the 12 ancient parish churches of Jersey; it is sited on the east of the island in the parish of Grouville.


Grouville Church is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours under the name "St Martin de Grouville", thus distinguishing it from St Martin's Church, where the dedication is to "St Martin le Vieux"; this indicates that Grouville was founded some time after St Martin's. St Martin de Tours' story is shown in the east window of the Lady chapel

The church was established as a parish church in about 1035 when it was mentioned in a charter of Robert, Duke of Normandy, a charter later confirmed by his son, William the Conqueror. Its daughter chapel is St Peter La Rocque, a Victorian chapel of ease, built for the fishermen of La Rocque.

On 23 July 1149 Godefroi de Buisson made a grant of St Martin de Grouville, together with its tithes and alms, to the Abbey of the Holy Trinity ay Lessay. This grant was confirmed, on successive dates, by the Bishops of Coutance and later by Charter of Henry II, in 1180. This jurisdiction went on until 1568.

The traditional year of the consecration of the church is 1322, but this probably applies to the completion of the Chancel and tower. The church has a nave and chancel with two transepts to the north and south. Its tower has a quadrilateral spire with a string course near the top and long dormer slits. The tower was rendered in 1788 and the clock added in 1959. The church was reroofed in slate in 1838 and again in 2003. The floor was brought to a single level in 1838.

Various additions were made to the original building over the centuries. In the 13th Century a stone spire was added, in the 14th the South Chapel was built (followed in the next century by the North Chapel). This was the period when the first known Rector, Pierre Falaise, is mentioned.

Although the original stained glass was destroyed in the Reformation, the delicate stone tracery into which the glass fitted can still be seen.

The Rector of Grouville at the time of the Reformation was Thomas de Soulemont, who spent much of his time at Court in England, as French Secretary to Henry VIII and Private Secretary to Thomas Cromwell. As French Secretary he would have met ambassadors from the Continent, seeking to maintain good diplomatic relations at this difficult time. As with all Civil Servants, his position also involved a good deal of paperwork, some of which has survived, and shows his flowery signature.


14th Century

  • Pierre Faleyse 1309
  • Thomas de Mouley 1315
  • Nicolas Fabre 1342
  • Jean Chevalier 1342
  • Johan Russel 1343
  • Thomas de Oldham 1348
  • Johan Olyver 1353

15th Century

  • Andre Crespel 1436
  • Jean Dobel 1490-1505

16th Century

  • Anthoine Mallet 1505-1532
  • Thomas de Soulemont 1533-1541
  • Jacques Chevalier 1548-1577
  • Mathieu de la Faye 1577-1580, 1585-1587
  • Marin Chretien dit Bonespoir 1580-1583
  • Edouard Herault 1583-1585
  • Thomas Oliver 1587-1596
  • Jean Pinel 1598-1621

17th Century

  • Elie de la Place 1623-1645, 1652-1660
  • Pierre Payne 1646-1647
  • Daniel Brevint 1648-1652
  • Fran├žois Le Couteur 1660-1672
  • Josue Pallot 1672-1693
  • Jean Lempriere 1693-1733

18th Century

  • Charles de la Garde 1733-1784
  • Jean du Parq 1784-1787
  • Philippe de la Garde 1787-1789
  • Fran├žois Le Couteur 1789-1808

19th Century

20th Century

  • John Hooper Valpy 1922-1952
  • Roger Stevens Dabbs 1953-1974
  • Lawrence Winston Hibbs 1975-1983
  • Alastair Terence Godfray Macpherson Hampton 1983-1994
  • Francis Mason 1994-2004

21st Century

  • Mike Lange-Smith 2005-

Heritage entry

The Jersey Heritage Historic Environment Record website has this description of the church:

'11th/ 12th century in origin with later alterations, enlargements and restorations from the 14th-20th century. The earliest known recorded reference to Grouville Church is in 1149; by tradition, the church was consecrated on 25 August 1322.
'The church has a long and complex structural history with visible fabric of several different dates reflecting the periods of rebuild and modification, its development intertwined with the ecclesiastical, political and social advancements and upheavals through the centuries. Current knowledge identifies the oldest part of the standing structure as the nave, with the stone spire added in the 12th century. It is believed that additions were made with the building of the south chapel in the 14th century and the north chapel in the mid-15th century.
'The church is a major feature in the landscape. Its immediate setting includes a churchyard enclosed by walls and gates, containing a rich variety of tombstones and monuments - many of historic or artistic interest - including one dedicated to Grenadiers killed during the Battle of Jersey in 1781. The church has a range of interesting furnishings and fittings including an unusual double-basin font. Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795.'

Further articles

Picture gallery

Click on any image to see larger version

Church windows

Information about the windows in the church, most of them highly decorative, is very difficult to come by. This set of pictures has been assembled from a range of websites. Click on any image to see a larger version

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