Historic Jersey buildings
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Oakfield Farm (1940)
Earlier and original name
Bannelais or `auprès du Bannelais`  and Bannelais House (19th century)
Oakfield Farm Cottage (attached to the farmhouse).
Rue de La Croiserie, Trinity
Type of property
Farm going back to the 18th century. However, court records show that there was a farmhouse on the site from at least the early 17th century and probably the mid-16th century. Little trace of this remains, as the present farmhouse will have replaced the earlier one in the 18th century. 
Families associated with the property
- Le Breton: This was, from early times, perhaps even the 16th century, a Le Breton property. It then passed, in the early 18th century, through a female line into that of the Trinity Bissons.
- Bisson: Michel Bisson, a cadet of the Bissons of Croiserie, a property about 100 metres immediately to the north of Bannelais, acquired the property by marriage in the early 18th century. He had three daughters, so it passed to the eldest, who married a Payn and then sold it, in 1750, to a close cousin, Jean de Gruchy, fils Philippe, whose mother was Marguerite Bisson, the second daughter of Michel.
- de Gruchy: The de Gruchys lived and farmed here from 1750 until 1922, when history repeated itself, as it passed to the eldest of three daughters, Anna Jane de Gruchy, the wife of John Hamon Becquet, who sold it in 1940. Of interest among the de Gruchy owners was Jean, grandson of the 1750 purchaser, a Jersey sailor who found himself in the Royal Navy, fighting aboard the 74 gun ship-of-the-line, H.M.S. Agamemnon at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805). Alive in 1813, he never again features in Jersey legal documents, so must have died shortly afterwards. His next brother Charles (1786-1867) inherited in his place, married, and had three sons. The eldest, Charles de Gruchy junr. (1816-1885) added builder to his occupation of farmer. He became one of the Island`s leading building contractors, building the former Public Library in the Royal Square, the Jersey College for Girls and the monument in the Parade to General Don. The farm at Bannelais House consisted, at this time, of 12 acres, being about 30 vergées. The second of Charles senr.`s three sons was Jean (1821-1894). He went to North America, prospecting for gold. Doing well, he started for home, but was robbed, so returned to prospecting! Becoming again successful, he returned home and bought in 1870 "The Birches" near St Saviour`s Church. He married, but had no surviving issue. The youngest of Charles senr.`s sons was Philippe (b.1826), who emigrated to Canada and became the head of a most succesful `clan` in that country, where they were joined by their father`s great-niece, Janet de Gruchy, wife of Thomas Le Brun, from whom are descended many eminent lawyers.
No recent transactions for the main house or the cottage
Families associated with the property
- Cadoret: This family owned the farm in 1976 when the black butter making pictures below were taken
Historic Environment Record entry
Historic farm group of 18th and 19th century origins.
Each of the three separate sections of this cohesive farm group retains its historic proportions and character. The five-bay house and the outbuildings both have fine quality stonework. 18th century origins.
The five-bay house is shown on the Richmond Map of 1795. The outbuildings to the east and house to the west date from late 19th century.
Adjoining to the west is a second house at slightly higher level - Oakfield Farm Cottage.
Black butter making at Oakfield Farm, 1976
Notes and references
- ↑ Meaning "Near to the collection point for road sweepings", which used to be sold
- ↑ Apart from some chamfered granite re-used in various places, two items that will not have changed greatly since the 18th century rebuilding of the house are, firstly, the well. This is reached by leaving the farmyard, passing the cowsheds to the south and east of the house, following a path 30 metres down into the adjoining valley. There, no doubt to this day, is the well. For this and other information on Bannelais House, the writer is greatly indebted to his late friend, Miss Yvonne Le Riche, grand-daughter of the Becquets, who was brought up here. She recalled that carrying pails of water uphill to the house was little fun in winter, on an east-facing slope, and scarsely better in midsummer! The other unchanging feature was the "weather-stone". Situated at ground-level, immediately to the right, on entering, of the old front door-- yet within the house--this stone never failed to be very wet when wet weather was on its way and otherwise dry. Another example of a "weather-stone" was seen in the 1980s by the writer of these notes in what is now a kitchen at Les Charrieres, St Martin