Champs Clairs

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Historic Jersey buildings


Champs Clairs, Trinity


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Property name

Champs Clairs

Location

Rue es Canons, Trinity

Type of property

18th century farm with 19th century alterations

Valuations

There has been no recent sale of the main house

Families associated with the property

Datestones

  • FGC ELB 1774 and 1776 - For François Gruchy and Elizabeth Le Bas, who married in St Helier on 5 April 1767
  • CGC MLBT 1814 - For Charles Gruchy [2] and Marie Larbalestier, who married in Trinity on 3 August 1810. Repeated 1826 and CGC 1817 (on gatepost)

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

18th/19th century Jersey farm with mid-19th century phase of aggrandisement. Many original features including fine porch and doorway, timber doors and windows, and outbuildings survive. Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795. Family occupation of the site probably dates back to 15th century.

No south drive shown on Richmond map of 1795. Drive and gate posts from circa 1817. The plastered frontage of the house has a date of 1846 on it. Entrance and fine porch placed at left hand side and not the centre, similar to nearby Brabant Farm on Rue de Brabant. Front originally rendered in same manner as Brabant Farm.

There is a lavoir.

Farmhouse with flanking wings and range of outbuildings to rear.

Old Jersey Houses

Volume 2 entry gives the address as Rue des Haies, but the postal address is the closer Rue es Canons.

"There is a profusion of initialled stones here, all proof of the very long Gruchy tenure of the property; this goes back at least seven generations, and possibly back to the 15th century, if the family reused the same site to build upon."

Biography

One of the Gruchy family owners of the property was the prominent 19th century States Member Charles Gruchy. This brief biography is taken from the Trinity Tatler parish magazine

One of Trinity’s most famous sons of the 19th century was Charles Gruchy who was born in 1818. He joined the North Regiment of the Jersey Militia in 1843, eventually retiring in 1867 with the rank of major to join the reserves. He also served as Centenier in the Parish.

On 17 January 1863, he first entered the States when he was sworn in as Deputy of Trinity, having beaten Jean Daniel Cabot in the election. He was subsequently elected Constable of the Parish and sworn in on 12 March 1864. A few years later, in June 1868, he was sworn in as Jurat.

Jurats then sat both in Court and in the States and he continued to serve in that capacity for 32 years.

During his time in the States, Jurat Gruchy was president of a number of committees and in 1877 he was appointed president of the Public Archives Committee. The committee had responsibility for the construction of the current States Building.

It was originally designed to house the Assembly's records on the ground floor (hence the Public Archives Committee undertook the work), but the committee also took up the proposal that the first floor of the building could be used for a 'New States Room'.

It was not until 1887 that the current States Chamber was completed and used for the first time. In the intervening decade, Jurat Gruchy had been called upon more than once to deal with the concerns of States Members about what was happening and to reassure that all was well with the planned development.

The chamber was first used on 21 June 1887, the day of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. Charles Gruchy died on 12 September 1900 at the age of 82 at his home, Champs Clairs, after a period of illness which had prevented him from undertaking his Court work. At the time of his death, he was the most senior Jurat.

The flag above the Royal Court flew at half-mast for two days following his death. A number of obituaries appeared in the local press. They stated that he ‘was not a great speaker, but he always gave evidence of sound judgement on all questions upon which he was called to vote. He was a Jerseyman of the old type who loved his institutions and constitution of the Island very much, and on all political questions gave evidence of deeply rooted Conservatism.’

They added that, ‘in all departments of public work he gave evidence of thorough conscientiousness, and devoted much attention to the various committees of which he formed an important part.’

Notes and references

  1. Charles and Mary both knocked a few years off their age for the census and were recorded as only 30 years old. Charles was the grandson of Charles and Marie, nee Larbalestier, shown on the 1814 datestone. He was the sixth generation of his family to own Champs Clairs, and passed it to his son
  2. Nephew of Francois, not his son as shown in Old Jersey Houses. Francois and Elizabeth, above, had no children
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