Roche Bois

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Historic Jersey buildings

Roche Bois, St Brelade


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Property name

Roche Bois

Other names

  • Rochebois
  • Maison du Val Essart


Mont es Tours, St Aubin

Type of property

19th century house with earlier 17th century house


No recent transactions

Families associated with the property

  • Hocquard: Captain Francis Hocquard (1773?-1852) built the 19th century extension onto the 17th century house. He was the "F(rancis) Hocquard" who was the owner named on the 1849 Godfray map. Francis Antonio Hocquard of Montevideo and Paris sold it in 1870
  • Carrel: Retired St Aubin merchant and shipowner, John Carrel (1823- ), bought the house in 1870 but sold it a few years later, having become bankrupt, presumably as a result of the Jersey bank crashes in 1873
  • de Gruchy: Jurat Guy de Gruchy lived in this house as a child, from 1875 when his father, William Laurence de Gruchy bought it from W G Aubin, the tenant après décret of Jean Carrel Esq. [1] Carrel had bought it in 1870 from the procureurs of Francis Antonio Hocquard. His parents' bedroom was in the 19th century part of the property, but Guy de Gruchy and his sister each had bedrooms in the 17th century 'old house'. On the side of his bedroom's dormer window are etched and inked his monogram "GFB de G".

Jurat William Laurence de Gruchy was living here in 1884 when he took out a life insurance policy with the West of England Fire and Life Insurance Company for the benefit of Augusta Chambers de Gruchy, his wife, and in subsequent years he took out four more policies with different companies. It was when living here that he wrote his L`Ancienne Coutume de Normandie, which was published in 1881. Following the 1886 Jersey bank crashes, W L de Gruchy handed over the property to his creditors, but it transpired that there was no need for its sale. His son Guy was able, on 22 July 1892, to buy it back at a nominal price. He in turn left it to his daughter Elizabeth Noemi, who married Lieut.-Colonel H. N. Bellamy. It was requisitioned by the Germans on 29 September 1941, but was returned to the family after the war, becoming then the home of Noemi de Gruchy and of her husband

  • Mauger: In 1901 widower James Marcus Mauger (1810- ) was living here, as the tenant of W L de Gruchy`s creditors, with his daughters Ellen (1840- ), Anna (1842- ) and Alice (1844- ) and son Horace (1859- ), a bank cashier [2]


  • 1634 and 1648, no initials

Historic Environment Record entry

Listed building

A fine 1830s villa, with earlier 17th century house, in a scenic setting overlooking St Aubin's Bay, retaining original features of architectural and historic interest.

Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795.

Regency house adjoining earlier four-bay 17th century house to west, with two-bay extension. Detached further west is late 19th century stable/coach house.

Classical-style garden temple, and entrance gateway to east.

Old Jersey Houses

The entry in Vol. Two locates the house in Mont du Boulevard, but although there seems to be some disagreement about where this road ends and Mont es Tours starts, it seems clear that the house is on the latter road, as shown in HER.

The entry refers to the earlier property, Maison du Val Essart, built in about 1630.

The old part has a round arch measuring 7ft 3in by 4ft, higher than normal but apparently unaltered.

Two ground floor windows have their original accolade lintels, but all those on the first floor have been heightened.

The main bedroom has its end wall panelled in the typical early 18th century manner. [3]

The new house, built by Hocquard, has mahogany doors and an imposing curved staircase which intrudes into two rooms, forming a curved buttress within them. [4]

Notes and references

  1. This description of rank was, in Jersey, a legal term, reserved solely for the seigneurs of certain fiefs, advocates, and naval and military officers holding at least lieutenancies in the Navy and captaincies in the army and/or militia. Carrel was a Captain in the Royal Jersey Militia Artillery. In most parts of Great Britain, the rank was often a mere flattery or a reflection of perceived `family,` which amounts to the same thing. The British misuse was thankfully seldom seen in Jersey
  2. The family name was inexplicably spelt Major in the census. It was not a question of the enumerator, Frank Salmon Godfray, born in St Peter, not being familiar with the spelling of the Jersey family name, because he correctly entered the Mauger family living next door at Waverley Farm. James Marcus Mauger had presumably anglicised his name
  3. The earlier house had a larder backing onto, and adjoining, Le Mont Arthur to the east. Behind panelling of a later date within the larder, there was discovered in the 1960s by Elizabeth Noèmi de Gruchy and her husband, blue ceramic tiling. An expert they consulted, described these as being Dutch and dating from the 17th century. Some were retained and others may remain in situ
  4. The de Gruchys had a sitting-room upstairs, in order to benefit from views over St Aubin`s Bay. There was a miniature grotto over a spring, merely 10 yards [metres] from the front door, in which newts were regularly to be seen. There was also a Victorian badminton court, facing the old house, and terraced walks throughout the woods. At the top of the côtil, was a wooden summer-house, close to the doorway (now blocked), that led onto Le Mont ès Tours. From the summer-house could be seen, on clear summer days, the spire of Coutances Cathedral

1890s family photographs

Pictures taken by Guy de Gruchy when he lived at Roche Bois

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