A history of the de Gruchy family

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A history of the de Gruchy family

This page is based on the history of the family contained in the 19th century armorial, updated and corrected by Guy Dixon

De Gruchy family page

Payne's Armorial of Jersey

In common with most families of mediaeval importance, the variations of spelling in the name of this one are numerous. Its name has been written, at different epochs, De Groschie, De Grochie, De Grouchy, De Gruchy, and Gruchy. Among the various contracts or legal deeds in the possession of the family is one dated 1362, [1] in which the name is spelt De Grouchie; another, dated 1420, where it appears as De Grouchy; and in one of 1695, as De Gruchy. The patronymic is of such early occurrence in Norman annals that, to use the words of the Reveu Generale Biographique, [2] "the origin of the family is lost in the night of time".

Among the followers of William the Conqueror to England was a [de] Grouchy [3], while another member of the family fought in the Holy Land in the first Crusade [4] Among the soldiers in that of 1291 was Henri De Grouchy, whose arms are blazoned among those which decorate the ceiling of one of the chambers of the Palace of Versailles. [5] The French branch received a confirmation of nobility at Rouen, 7 January, 1497, [1479]. The present General Count De Grouchy, son of the celebrated Marshal of that name, and Commandant of Division at Strasburg, writing on the subject in 1855, says, " I have heard from my father that two branches of our family were obliged to expatriate themselves after the conquest of Normandy by Philip-Augustus. One settled in Jersey, and engaged in commerce there, while the other sought refuge in England, where its descendants remained until they emigrated to America, in consequence of their religious opinions, which were opposed to the Puritan principles of Cromwell. This branch [see Medieval English de Grouchys] is now, I think, extinct, for I met its last member at Philadelphia in 1817, and who bore the same arms as myself ; he was 60 years of age, and, although married, had no issue".

The Jersey branch has various traditions respecting its exodus from the Cotentin, where several places still bear its name, as shown by the maps of that district. It settled in the parish of S. Trinity in that island in the latter part of the 12th, or commencement of the 13th century, where it acquired considerable landed property, and gave its name to the Fiefs De Grochy and De Gruchetterie. This last is now possessed by the Seigneur of Rozel, who holds the court of the fief in the house pointed out as the original residence of the family. [6]

Several of its insular members have been in orders. Sire John Grouchy was Rector of St Mary in 1557 ; in 1607 the Rev Olivier Groschie was Rector of S. Clement. The Rev Daniel Grouchie, who married Catherine De Carteret, sister of the Seigneur of Trinity, was Rector successively of St Peter and St Mary. The Rev. Philip de Gruchy was Rector of St Lawrence in 1730, and one of the last Roman Catholic Rectors, [7], was also of this family. For a complete list of de Gruchys who held clerical and civic positions, see The de Gruchy Family a history by the Rev J A Messervy and also the Family Page.

Many branches derived from the same source have, from a very remote period, relinquished the prefix de. Its members are very numerous: in one vingtaine in the parish of Trinity there are no fewer than 16 individuals named Philip De Gruchy, besides many others in various parts of the island. Although the Jersey family has increased to such an extent, the French branches have been less fortunate, and are soon likely to become extinct, as its present members have no male issue. [8]

Notes and references

  1. The original collection of deeds, formerly at La Chasse, has now been located, and the earliest deed studied. The correct date is 1397
  2. E. Pascallet, editor
  3. The Jersey antiquary, William Laurence de Gruchy, studied carefully the Roll at Battle Abbey, Hastings, but found no surname that could possibly have been read as de Grouchy. He did, however, discover the basis for the error. In about 1100, Robert de Grouchy was a witness with Jean d`Eu, Guillaume de Quettehou, and others, of a charter, by which Guillaume de Varennes, "Comte de Sussex en Angleterre" confirmed his predecessors' grant of alms to the Church of La Trinité de L`Essay, near St Lo, in Normandy. The deed was passed in London: Dugdale, Monasticum Anglicanum. Ogilvy, in Les Conquerants d`Angleterre appears to have assumed that Robert de Grouchy was one of those following the Comte d`Eu, in 1066. He is, however, likely to have been a native of that part of the Cotentin in which Lessay is situated
  4. There were two members of the family, who fought from 1096 to 1100 in the First Crusade, under the leadership of Robert Courteheuse, Duke of Normandy. They were present in 1099 at the Fall of Jerusalem. They were the knights Guillaume and Nicolas de Grouchy: Dumoulin, Histoire de Normandie..
  5. They are among those which decorate the walls of the 4th Salle, Chambres des Croisades at the Palace of Versailles
  6. This is La Chasse, called before 1847 La Maison ès Matthieus, after the owners` preference for this Christian name. It is near the present-day zoo, in the Vingtaine of Rozel
  7. He was a priest and Roman Catholic Vicar, not a Rector, this being Matthieu de Gruchy, formerly Vicar of Beauvais-sur-Mer, France, who was living in the 1790s, in exile, at the edge of Trinity
  8. This did not happen. The family continues in France
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