Historic Jersey buildings
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Maison des Montais
Rue Coentyn, St Ouen
Type of property
Families associated with the property
- NLR EDLP 1715 - For Nicolas Le Ruez and Elizabeth de la Perrelle.
Historic Environment Record entry
Historic farm group including an important early house, retaining historic character and features from various periods including a rare lavabo / benitier and tourelle; with later farm buildings. Historic farm group (previously La Maison des Montais) including an important early house, of likely circa 15th century origins, with later alterations.
John McCormack 'Channel Island Houses' references Greystones in the chapter on two-and-three cell houses 1450-1550. Measurements roughly taken from the east gable end to the interior chimney-piece suggest the likely existence of a large stone fireplace. The tourelle is of the small round type seen in some of Jersey's most ancient houses, including The Priory Inn, L'Auberge du Nord, Les Fontaines Tavern and Le Petit Menage.
The lavabo (benitier) is referred to on page 153 (illustration no.47) in Stevens, J. Old Jersey Houses, Vol 1. In this study the author gives a pre-1250 dating, the assumption of such an extremely early date could have been arrived at due to a perceived similarity with possible Romanesque examples found in some ecclesiastical contexts; stylistic comparisons may not be very reliable for the dating of a lavabo used for the washing of hands after eating in a secular-context (cf. we don't assume Norman period dating for our Romanesque-style arches). It is likely, but not certain that this object originally came from the ground floor centre west cross wall, its use would have been to service an open hall where the eating of food would have taken place before the rebuilding of the south elevation, and the likely accompanying rearrangements. Only one other lavabo / benitier has been found in an above ground floor position (at Cap Verd). However with the early style of tourelle, medieval gable walls and the simple style of this lavabo / benitier (assuming it came from this building) one can be confident in assuming a circa 1450 date for the house.
The house was later altered, principally in the 19th century. The 'cottage' is mainly 19th century, incorporating earlier re-used stones including a 1715 marriage stone. The barn has an 1892 inscription.
Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795.
Historic farm group comprising main house with rear tourelle and east service wing, north barn and outbuilding / cottage to the south.
Main house: 2 storey, 6 bay. Front (south) elevation: slate roof with crested ridge-tiles, rendered chimneys and an unusual decorated cast-iron gutter. Squared stone construction; medieval kneeler in situ on the west gable. There is a small stone enclosure wall in line with the west gable (appears early). The gable ends are small-stone construction, with simple four-stone loft vents.
To rear (north) is round tourelle with slate cat-slide roof and 2 small windows. Single-storey east service wing has slate roof, rendered chimney with stone dressings to east gable. Elevations to north and south masked by modern conservatories.
North barn: 2 storey, 6 bay. Front (south) elevation: slate roof. Rusticated, squared stone construction with raised, dressed openings; an arch to west bears the date 1892 with initials which stand for John Ricard Le Montais. Other elevations are of random stone construction.
South outbuilding / cottage: single-storey, 2 bay. Front (south) elevation: clay pantile roof. Random stone construction with rough stone openings and quoins. Marriage-stone bearing 17 NLR. EDLP 15. The interior of the main house retains some features of note. There are no original stone fireplaces visible, but their existence is suspected behind later cladding and panelling. The tourelle has stone stairs (now covered) that lead from the central entrance passage in which there is a cross wall (this wall is now terminated at loft-level) up to a north passage running the length of the house. Rooms lead off this passage to the south (these bedrooms were not surveyed). Within the passage to west is a medieval lavabo (benitier). The roof was surveyed and found to be recent but the inner faces of both gable walls appear to confirm the extreme age of their exteriors. The fireplace in the east service wing has been stripped back to an earlier form and repaired. There is no interior interest to the north barn or south outbuilding / cottage.
Stevens (1977) highlights her suspicions of Greystones at one time being a chapel or monastery. Evidence includes the benetier, an underground passage to Leoville which may have existed and the stories of ghosts of monks.