Payn family of St Lawrence

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Payn family

of St Lawrence


Le Colombier Manor, built by the Payn family. The colombier, after which it is named, can be seen on the right of this late 19th century photograph

This article by the Rev J A Messervy was published six years after his death, in 1927, in the Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise. It has been translated from the original French by Mike Bisson

This family anciently held one of the most honourable ranks in Jersey, among those who composed what has become known as the 'ruling class'.

13th century

Raoul Paien, or Payn, is mentioned in the Lettres Closes of 12 July 1227. [1] He seems to have held an official position. One has the right to ask if he was not the grandfather of another Raoul Payn, of St Lawrence, and of Laurens Payn, both Jurats during an Assise held in about 1267 by Guillaume de Barentin, Bailiff [2]

The same, with Henry Payn, figured in the Extente of 1274 as Jurats. Further, Laurens Payn and his parishioners, of the parish of St Lawrence, held eight quarters of wheat rente, and the heirs of Raoul Payn 3½ vergees of land at St Clement.

Less than 20 years later, in 1293, Sire Guillaume Payn, priest, became Rector of St Peter. In 1304, one of the Jurats was called Jourdain Payn. [3] This forename Jourdain was a precious benchmark in the history of the Payn family's St Lawrence branch because, curious to say, it does not appear to be found in the other parishes, and it remains attached to a fief in St Lawrence.

The Assize Roll of 1309 gives us abundant and interesting information on the members of the Payn family in general, already represented in several of the island's parishes. Here are some examples: On page 263 we read that Raoul Godel held, in Trinity, a fief that was previously held by Radulphus Payn and that Guillaume Payn had previously owned 7½ acres of land which owed 8 sols 6 deniers of relief.

The above fief, held by Ralph Godel, was already called fief es Godeaux in 1274, a name which remains. Raoul Payn must have owned the fief well before 1274 and the obvious question is whether this was the Raoul Payn of 1227?

Continuing our list of 1309: Thomas Payn was Lieut-Bailiff; Guillaume Payn answered for the Abbot of Cherbourg; Guillaume Payn (the same, or another?) was oneof the electors of Trinity; Guillaume Payn, priest, Rector of St Peter, owned land at St Peter; Guillaume Payn, Chaplain, accused by Ralph Lempriere of having been summoned to appear before the Judges in Paris; another Guillaume Payn, the litigant, perhaps an Advocate. We could mention others, nevertheless we don't want to close our list without having drawn attention to an interesting family agreement on the subject of a house, in St Helier, another in St Saviour and a certain sum of Rente, concluded between Guillaume Payn (still a minor) son of Thomas, his mother, Marion, widow of Thomas, remarried to Guillaume de Chalegrave, on one side, and Thomas Lempriere, minor son of Ralph Lempriere, and others, on the other side.

Lempriere and Payn alliances

In studying the text carefully one tends to believe that the two families (Lempriere and Payn) were allied by marriage and one sees that Drouet de Barentin was guardian of Guillaume Payn, son of Thomas. The final clause of this agreement is suggestive of the rest. In case Guillaume Payn died without direct heirs, his possessions would pass to Drouet de Barentin or his heirs. Does that mean that Marion, mother of Guillaume, was a de Barentin? [4]

These alliances which happened before 1309 explain that the grandson of Drouet de Barentin of 1309 - Philippe de Barentin - would sell his inheritance in 1367 to Guillaume Payn and Raoul Lempriere jointly, [5] a transaction which gave rise to a long and bitter action which we will come to later.

We leave the Payn family in general now to occupy ourselves more particularly with the St Lawrence branch. In 1324 and 1331 Jourdain Payn was at the same time one of the Seigneure who owed suit to the Assise d'Heritage and a Jurat. He held the following fiefs: La Godeliere, St Helier, which owed 30 sols tournois for demi-relief; half of fief Paien or Payn [6] containing the fief d'Orglandes at St Ouen, of which Drouet de Laic was tenant of the other half, fief Au Ner, at St Lawrence and the franc fief of St Lawrence, which was known as 'the fief which belonged to Jourdain Payn', or more simply, fief Jourdain Payn.

The Report of the Commissioners of 1515 stated: In the parish of St Lawrence are contained and exist seven franc fiefs with the Fief du Roi, and 'it is to be known that the fief des Pains, of which Jourdain Pain, was Seigneur, and Michel Payn' etc. And all that was not part of these seven fiefs was the Fief du Roi.

Michel Payn was, as we will see, a direct descendant of Jourdain Payn.

14th century

In the first half of the 14th century, Jourdain Payn, son of the Jurat of 1331, married the sister of Philippe de Barentin [7] who in 1367 sold all his inheritance to Guillaume Payn and Raoul Lempriere.

Sire Pierre Payn, eldest son of Jourdain, by right of succession, wanted to take these inheritances from them, and there followed a long and bitter action, which Sire Payn did not live to see the end. [8]

The fief Jourdain Payn, with its designated property until the middle of the 17th century, under the name Manoir et Menage de Raulin Payn, le viel, remained in the senior line of the family until about 1550. It all then passed to George Badier, heir of Sire Ralph Payn, his uncle. The fief, which Michel Payn owned in 1515, and his eldest son John Payn [9] after him, was returned to George Badier by agreement of the family; he, in an Act of Catel of 14 May 1583, is called 'Seigneur of the fief Jourdain Payn'.

George Badier, son and heir of Aubine Payn, lived until an advanced age. According to a Vue de Justice held in St Lawrence in September 1604, at the Manor of St Germain, perhaps on the subject of the colombier of this manor, several of the oldest residents were named as witnesses. After Boniface Le Boutillier, aged 88, is named George Badier, aged 86. He was born, [10] therefore, in 1518 and died four years later, in 1604.

In a contract of 1610 there is a question of the 'cache' of Philippe Benest, near the house of Marie Hamon, widow of Helier Le Brocq, close to the Church of St Lawrence, on the fief Jourdain Payn, belonging to Edouard Badier. [11] This shows that the parish church was on the fief Jourdain Payn.

A contract of 13 April 1616 tells us that Jean Gibault, son of Jean, recognised owing to Edouard Badier, Seigneur of the fief Jourdain Payn, the prévôté and other seigneural services, the said Edouard holding, because of the death of his father George Badier, the ancient house and homestead called Manoir de RaulinPaynle viel. [12]


Four generations of Badiers remained in possession of the Manor and accompanying fiefs and land. It was under the last, George Badier, that the colombier was built, or perhaps rebuilt. Above the lower door giving access to the colombier is a carved stone carrying the initials and date GB 1669. George Badier died of old age six years after his marriage, leaving a five-year-old daughter, Catherine, who was the heir of the senior lineage of Payns and Badiers.

The second marriage of Catherine Badier on 16 Decembr 1701 returned her inheritance to a junior branch of the Payns of St Lawrence, where they have remained for five generations. The last eldest of the name, Francis Abbott Payn, born in 1813, died in 1885, only left two daughters, of whom the elder, Mrs G F Lodge, was mother of Mrs Wright, today Lady of the Manor and of fief Jourdain Payn. Francis Abbott Payn had two younger brothers, Philippe Jourdain Payn and William Payn, who settled in South Africa, where there are numerous descendants.

The older buildings at Manoir du Colombier, which were part of an earlier manor house

The Manoir du Colombier, ancient home of the Payns, is composed of two distinct sets of buildings. The first is the actual family home, probably rebuilt in relatively modern times, and certainly raised a floor and modernised at the time of the second marriage of Philippe Payn, in 1776, to Anne Marett, of La Haule. Above the main door is an engraved stone with the initials and date PP 1776 AMR.

The second, to the right of the manor and a little to the back, is a long building of a more ancient construction, which seems to have been the original Manoir du Payn le viel. It must have been built at the beginning of the 15th century. Today it is the home of the farmer who cultivates the land belonging to Mrs Wright.

As to the colombier, which is on the right of the manor, and which we believe to have been built in 1669 by George Badier, it has valiantly suffered the assaults of time, because on two occasions, Mrs Wright tells us, the owners of the manor have had to intervene and undertake the task - which one says is impossible - of repairing years of irreparable damage. Storms and torrential rain, irrespective of past events, have succeeded in partly demolishing this solid structure.

But helped by the skills of modern builders and colombier is again standing and the rainstorms which have been able to disintegrate walls constructed in the old-fashioned way will not so easily damage the walls solidly constructed in the fashion of today.

Notes and references

  1. La Société Jersiaise publication
  2. Cartulaire des Iles 73,130
  3. Cart 68,119
  4. A Marion de Barentin is mentioned on page 254 of the Assize Roll of 1309; criminals had thrown stones at her door in the night
  5. Raoul Lempriere and Guillaume Payn became brothers-in-law having married the daughters and heirs of Geoffroy Brasdefer, Bailiff
  6. There were, anciently, fiefs carrying the name Payn in St Helier, St Martin, St Ouen and elsewhere
  7. Seigneur of Rosel and other fiefs
  8. De La Croix Vol 1
  9. Viscount
  10. Messervy uses the delightful phrase vu le jour - 'he saw the day'
  11. Reg 3, 89
  12. RC 5, 149
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