Falle family of Maufant

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Falle family of Maufant

By the Rev J A Messervy, translated from the French by Mike Bisson. This article was first published in the 1904 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise

Our intention is not to give here a complete and detailed picture of all the branches of the Falle family, which would exceed the scope of these genealogical articles. We don’t even pretend to follow all the roots which have spread in St Saviour, particularly Maufant. Our task is more modest: it is restricted to the family of the historian Philippe Falle and some related lines.

Without any doubt, other families of the same name have had their importance and merit a special study. But regrettably one is often forced to exercise restraint.

St Saviour family

The Falle family, represented in former times in seven or eight of the island’s parishes, seems to have originated in St Saviour. Already in the Extente of 1274 the name of Robert Fale of St Saviour appears. In that of 1331 we find the names of Jean Fale snr, one of the jurymen of the parish of St Saviour, and of Jean Fale jnr, Richard and Thomas Fale, all four of them listed as being proprietors of a ‘’bouvée’’ of land in this parish.

There are, therefore, several branches established in St Saviour from the 14th century. For the 15th and 16th centuries, here are some details taken from a collection of documents believed to be authentic.

In 1434 Perrin Falle recognised his indebtedness to John Bertram "Procureur and Attorney-General of the parish of St Saviour”, for seven cabots of wheat rente due to the priest and clerics of the said parish, and two cabots to the Trésor “on behalf of his mother”.

Mathy Falle, of Maufant, was living in 1444. In 1452 Mathy Fralle, of Maufant, and Perrine his wife; in 1453, Macy Falle, called Michousin (perhaps the same as Mathy).

In 1462 Nicolas Falle was one of the vingteniers of St Saviour; Lucas Falle replaced him in 1464. In 1482 there is mention of Symon Falle’s ‘’hostell’’ (an old word for house) in St Saviour. On 9 July 1500 Laurens Falle was prévôt’’ of the King’s Fief in St Saviour.

A contract of 17 July 1601 relating to the tithes of empty and cleared land of the parish of St Saviour tells us that in the Vingtaine of Maufant were found, among others, the homes of Laurens Falle; Jean Falle, son of Richard; Edmond Falle, son of Philippe; the land of Jean falle, son of Thomas on ‘’la fosse St Magneley’’ with the land in the valley of the home of the said Falle.

The properties of the Falles of St Saviour were found principally in the Vingtaine de Maufant, and on the King’s fief, as evidenced by the following extracts from l’Appariement des Prévôtés et Charriages du Fief du Roy in St Saviour in 1671:

  • Domyan Falle, son of Jean (chef de prevôté), 25 vergées of land
  • Aaron Falle (chef de prevôté) 21 vergées
  • Thomas Falle (father of the historian), son of Philippe (chef de prevôté), 48 vergées
  • Philippe Falle (grandfather of the Rev Philippe Falle, Rector of St Ouen), son of Jean, 54 vergées, including Clos de la Hougue and de Boullard.
  • Philippe Falle (Seigneur of Ponterrin), son of Edmond, (chef de prevôté), 50 vergées, including the cotil and Clos de Botterel, and the sections of Val Cornet; and his assistant, Lucas Falle (father of the Rev Jean Falle, Rector of St Brelade 1658-92), 15 vergées, including the Clos du Roux
  • Elie Falle, son of Laurens, for his house and the house of Touzel, and 16 vergées of land
  • Richard Falle, 28 vergées; Edouard Falle, his son, on behalf of his wife, the eldest daughter of Clement Gallie, for the house belonging to Matthieu Guillaume, and 11 vergées.
  • Nicolas Falle, 18 vergées, including Clos des Courts Champs and Clos des Longs Champs.


The Falle family gave the island several ecclesiastics, including four Rectors; a Lieut-Governor; two Jurats, Advocates of the Royal Court, etc. It is also counted in the ranks of many officers of the Army and Navy.

We mention among the ecclesiastics bearing the name Falle the following:

  • Sire Thomas Falle and Sire Germain Falle, priests; the latter, buried at St Saviour in 1548, in called in the register of burials, Dom Germain Falle. In 1565 John Falle, son of Simon, was qualified as the next heir of Sire Thomas and Sire Germain.
  • Sire Lucas Falle, priest, of St Saviour; he studied at Coutances in 1508 and became one of the chaplains of Chapelle de la Hougue Bie, founded by Sire Richard Mabon. In a contract of 1533, Sire Richard Mabon gave and ceded, by charity to Maitre Jacques Amy and Sire Lucas Falle, priests, the said chapel, in return for certain obligations set out in the contract.
In 1543, after the death of Sire Richard Mabon, the chaplains presented the contract "of a charitable gift and renunciation which the said Mabon had given them in connection with La Hougue and its dependencies" in which he mentioned land and rentes belonging to this foundation. They were granted ownership on 25 December 1543.
Sire Lucas Falle died about 1549, and during the course of the same year his succession was claimed by Lucas Falle, his nephew, and Thomas Falle, his younger brother.
This Lucas Falle, principal heir of Sire Lucas, was, in 1546, owner of a house situated between the Royal Court and St Helier’s Parish Church.
  • The Rev Jean Falle (grand nephew of Sire Lucas), Rector of St Brelade, 1658-92. He was installed as Rector in this parish by M de la Place, Rector of St Mary, the Bailiff, Michel Lempriere and six Rectors. At the Restoration of Charles II, Jean Falle was, it appears, retained as Rector of St Brelade. An act of 14 March 1690 informs us that Jean Falle was “knocked out by two soldiers”. He died shortly after in 1692.
  • The Rev Philippe Falle, MA, historian of Jersey, of whom more follows later.
  • The Rev Philippe Falle, contempoorary of the former, Rector of St Ouen, 1719-57. In 1716 he lived at Yeatminster, Dorset, from where he appointed Elie Baudains (his parent) as his procureur.
  • The Rev Pierre Falle, Garrison Chaplain in Jersey in 1799. He was in London in 1807.
  • The Rev Edouard Falle, MA, Rector of St Brelade 1829-1881; he died on 18 December 1899 at the age of 96 and 10 months.

We also mention a first cousin of the latter, Philippe Falle, pastor of the French Reformed Church at Calmont (Haute Garonne), then at a Rochelle. He married one of the daughters of Pastor Cesar Chabrand, president of the Consistory of Toulouse, and Officier de la Légion d’Honneur. Their son, Philippe Falle, longtime pastor of the Reformed Church at Fontainebleau, received the award of Officier d’Academie. Resigning for health reasons, he continued to live at Fontainebleau.

Historian’s family

But we return to the family which is the main object of this study, that of the historian. We find here a striking example of what one could call alternation of baptismal names. Philippe Falle, the historian, was the elder son of Thomas Falle, son of Philippe, son of Thomas, son of Philippe, son of Thomas, son of Philippe. It was quite common in Jersey in times past to give the elder son the baptismal name of his paternal grandfather.

This custom, it is scarcely necessary to say, was not exclusively found in Jersey. In the Haut-Queyras (French High Alps), for example, the elder son always had to have the name of his paternal grandfather, in order not to insult his memory; the second son received that of his maternal grandfather. The same rule existed for daughters, who had to have the forenames of their grandmothers.

The ancestors of the historian had fulfilled municipal roles in St Saviour for several generations, and that of centenier was virtually hereditary in his family. They had at heart the good of their country and gave tangible proof of it.

For example, Thomas Falle, son of Philippe, gave in 1558 “in all charity” a quarter of wheat rente to be employed annually to pay the dues which the parishioners of St Saviour were liable to pay to the King every year. This quarter was “assigned to Guillaume Johnson, living in the west and close to St Martin’s Church”. The surplus, if there was any, was to be used to improve the roads between the house of the said Thomas and Grouville Windmill.

This freedom from dues was confirmed a century later in 1659. The quarter of wheat rente was then owed by the heirs of Edouard Messervy, son of Edouard, on the Clos de Pouyvtet, situated on the King’s Fief in St Saviour.

The same Thomas Falle left 30 livres for the repair of St Saviour’s Church.

Extract from Rolls

His elder son John Falle served in 1559-60 as Stipulant-Greffier, as we can show from the following extract from the Roles d’Extraordinaire.

”24 February 1559: Ensuivet certains records et faicts de Justice lesquelz ont este arestes et mins p escript de John Falle filz thoas et aultres p le Comandemet de Justice au pavat que Nicoll gosselin fust a ce faire appelle de p la Justice et premier”.

Shortly after 21 January 1573 he was sworn in as Advocate of the Royal Court.

Thomas Falle, nephew of the Advocate and great-grandfather of the historian, was Centenier of St Saviour for many years. He obtained his discharge from these functions at the age of about 80. Here is the complete Act of the Court on this subject.

Consideré la debilité et Aage de Thomas Falle Aagé de viron quatre vingts ans ou dauantage. Centenier de la Poe de St Sauluer, lesquelles choses considerées. Et la requeste du Conestable qu quelqun fust choisy a preésent pour suppleer ladte place de Centenier a esté trouué expedient pour la Cour q1uune ellection soit faitte dimanche pchain en ladte poe selon la forme accoustumee pour en faire rapport en Cour.”

He died a few weeks later.

In 1636 the same Thomas Falle and Elisabeth Le Boutillier, his wife, gave a silver cup to St Saviour’s Church for the use of Sainte-Cene. This gift is mentioned in the ‘’Memoire de l’Argenterie’’ of the Church of St Saviour, 1776, as well as other gifts made by the historian. Philippe Falle, elder son of the above Thomas Falle, was also a centenier of his parish from 1647-51. Here is an extract from the Rolls concerning him:

”January 1647 – Philippe Falle, son of Thomas, is fined for having worn his hat irreverently in the Court chamber, at the instance of the Attorney-General.”

Loan to King

It is without doubt he of whom the chronicler Jean Chevalier spoke when he said that Philippe Falle of St Saviour had lent a thousand livres to the King.

Thomas Falle, son of the preceding, was sworn in Centenier of St Saviour on 15 July 1658, under the Protectorate of Cromwell, but does not appear to have kept this position after the Restoration of Charles II.

He died at the age of 43 and was buried in St Saviour’s Church on 29 September 1673. On his deathbed he appointed David Bandinel, Greffier of the Royal Court and later Jurat, as guardian of his children.

The eldest of these children was Philippe Falle, who became the historian of Jersey and the founder of the Library.

We do not give here a detailed biography of Philippe Falle but ask the reader to to consult a document published in the 12th Bulletin of la Société Jersiaise on page 192 of which Mr Falle himself was the author. One can also profitably read the preface which the Rev Edouard Le V dit Durell wrote for the third edition (1837) of Falle’s History.

Otherwise we have precious few unpublished details on this subject. One knows nothing of his childhood, except that he left his father’s house whilel very young to study in England.

On 8 June 1676 he obtained the degree of Master of Arts at Alban Hall, Oxford University. We learn this from him in a note in his own hand on the first page of a book which belonged to him. This volume, which is in the Public Library in Jersey, is entitled ‘’A Catalogue of all Graduats in Divinity, Law and Physick, etc, etc’’ London 1689.

He became Rector of Trinity in 1681, replacing, we believe, Josué de la Place, and on 10 September 1690 he was installed as Rector of St Saviour, where he succeeded Thomas Poingdestre.

Litigious man

The Rev Edouard Durell says with reason in his preface that Mr Falle was somewhat litigious, either by temperament or by necessity; in fact, on several occasions he had differences with members of his congregation which were taken before the Royal Court.

For example, on 17 January 1685, as a result of difficulties he had with Elie Dumaresq, Seigneur of Augres, Jurat and one of his principal parishioners, he was fined “for having wished to rule on points of honour and preference which were not within his competence”.

On 6 June the same year he sustained a case for libel against Renaut Coutanche, also one of the notables of Trinity. In 1692 a dispute he had with Jurat Jean La Cloche was decided in favour of the historian with “praise on the part of the Royal Court”.

We remember also that when Charles de Carteret, Seigneur of Trinity, contested with the Dean and Rectors the right to nominate the Regents of St Mannelier and St Anastase, it was Mr Falle who, aided by the Rector of St Clement, started proceedings to obtain from the Privy Council an annulment of the judgment of the Royal Court given in favour of Mr de Carteret.

One knows that Mr Falle was, in 1692, part of the Deputation sent by the States to England to plead the cause of the defence of the island before His Majesty. He returned to Jersey to report on his mandate but soon left again for England, and from then onwards he seems always to have lived outside the island.

In fact, in 1699, when Nicolas Journeaux was Surveillant of St Saviour, one observes that Philippe Falle, Rector, had been absent from the island for several years and was “at present in Holland or Germany with the King as one of His Majesty’s chaplains”.

King's Chaplains

An Act of the States of 1700 informs us that Mr Falle and Edouard Dauvergne (Rector of St Brelade) were then in Holland as King’s Chaplains. On 15 June 1703 Jacques Tapin de Barhais (a French refugee) who was also Regent of St Mannelier, officiated at St Saviour as “deputy minister” of Mr Falle. In 1704 one observes that Philippe Falle, Rector, had returned to London.

Mr Falle had to resign as Rector of St Saviour about 1709 because on 7 September 1709 the induction of Jean Roques as Rector of that parish took place.

Mr Falle was then definitely permanently in England, where he became Rector of Shenley in 1709 and Prebendary of Durham. His interests in Jersey were confided in Edouard Estur, his brother in law, mentioned as his representative in 1716.

But although absent, Mr Falle continued to give tangible proof of his attachment to the island of his birth, such as the two editions of his ‘’History of Jersey’’ and the foundation of our Public Library. The first steps relating to this were as early as 1729, we believe, but its actual establishment took place in 1737, in the reign of George II.

A letter of the Rev Dr Daniel Dumaresq, addressed to the States in 1800, informs us that the projects of Mr Falle relating to the foundation of the library encountered difficulties: Mr Dumaresq speaks of a visit he made in 1735 or 36 to Mr Falle, at Shenley, when he, discouraged bny these obstacles, thought of giving up the enterprise.

One can suppose that the youthful ardour of his visitor – Mr Dumaresq was only 23 or 24 –encouraged Mr Falle and gave him a new impetus. Howeve3r it came about, some 12 months after this meeting the foundation of the Library was accomplished.

Philippe Falle died at Shenley on 7 May 1742 at the age of 86, without having been married. He appointed as the executors of his will Jean Aubin and Judith Aubin, his nephew and niece. It consisted undoubtedly of his moveable property because one knows that the law of Jersey did not permit the disposal by will of property. Elsewhere Edouard Estur is mentioned, in 1743, as principal heir , through his mother, of Philippe Falle, his uncle. This Edouard Estur, son of a sister of the historian, was sworn in as Constable of St Saviour on 28 June 1755, replacing Philippe Bandinel, Seigneur of Mélèches.

Family home

It is perhaps convenient to give some details of the family home of the historian, which was demolished quite recently, during the winter of 1902-93. It stood on the left of the road from St Mannelier to La Chasse, a little north of the location of the modern house Livonia Lodge. The position is indicated on the mapr of Hugh Godfray (1849).

The house carried the initials TF (Thomas Falle) but without date; so it is difficult to say if these letters indicate the father or great-grandfather of the historian. On a more modern structure adjoining the old, but closer to the road, can be read the initials RET – MLB (Richard Estur and Mare Labey, his wife) and the date 1766. This Richard Estur was grand-nephew of Philippe Falle.

As to the land he owned, an Act of 1716-17 tells us that the land of Edouard Estur and that of Philippe Falle ( of whom he was procureur) was situated in St Saviour, on the following fiefs: King’s Fief, Fief de la lHouguette, Fief au Guenetier or ès Dirvaux; it included also Clos de la Couture on the King’s Fief in Grouville.

The historian was also owner of the house and garden of Quenault, which his procureur Edouard Estur leased to Francois Gallichan in about 1720.

We now have a few words about a namesake of the historian, Colonel Philippe Falle, or Fall (as he often wrote his name), Lieut-Governor of Jersey. He was also descended from the Falles of Maufant, but his grandfather settled in St Helier towards the end of the 17th century.

Son of Clement Falle and Jeanne Le Geyt, his wife, Philippe Fall was presented at baptism on 3 November 1736 by Philippe Le Geyt, Lieut-Bailiff, his grandfather, and Philippe Le Geyt jnr, his uncle, godfathers, and Jeanne Dumaresq, grandmother and wife of the Lieut-Bailiff, godmother.

He enrolled at an early age in the English army and in 1767, according to the Army List, he was Captain on “half pay” of the 95th Infantry Regiment. About this time he returned to Jersey where he was heavily involved in politics and was one of the leaders of the party opposed to Lieut-Bailiff Charles Lempriere. In 1770 he was Adjutant-General of the Militia, and two years later he was sworn in as one of the Receivers-General, functions which he retained until 1786.


On 6 July 1782 Major Philippe Fall was sworn in as Lieut-Governor of Jersey. The functions of Lieut-Governor, always delicate and difficult, were particularly so then, the island being under constant threat of invasion. Some years later, the arrival of a large number of emigrant French complicated these difficulties further.

Mr Fall governed Jersey for about 13 years. In 1793 he was maintained in all his functions in Jersey with the exception of the military command, given to Colonel J H Craig. From this division of functions resulted natural strains, and as soon as the States had paid tribute to Lieut-Governor Fall, he did not delay his retirement.

He died about 1811, probably in England. His nephew Philippe Carteret Fall, who was Mayor of Southampton in 1829, was his only heir.

The arms of Falle are so described on page 281 of the Armorial of Jersey:

Argent on a chevron, between three martlets, sable, as many fleurs-de-lys of the field.

We recall in concluding that the Falle family possessed, among other fiefs, that of Ponterrin, bought, we believe, by Philippe Falle (son of Edmond), from Jean Bailhache, son of Jean, having obtained the right in 16141 from Juean Payn, son of Jean, son of Antoine.

An Order in Council of 9 September 1670 gave Philippe Falle the redemption of the Fief of Ponterrin with the principal house of the said Philippe Falle; the whole having to pass undivided to the eldest son, indivisible without permission of the Crown.

The eldest daughter and principal heir of Philippe Falle, son of Edmond, was married to Nicolas Dumaresq, son of Richard, Ponterrin and its dependencies passing to the Dumaresq family.


On 16 April 1814 Philippe de Faye acquired from Charles Le Hardy (heir of Francoise Dumaresq, his mother) for 126 quarters 6 cabots of wheat rente, the houses and land called Ponterrin, situated in St Saviour on the King’s Fief, but the contract was challenged in 1818 as contrary to the redemption accorded in 1670 to Philippe Falle. The difficulties were doubtless smoothed over because Philippe de Faye remained in possession.

The principal house of Ponterrin carries the following inscription: :PF 1643; it was doubtless constructed by Philippe Falle, son of Edmond. At the end of the garden, nevertheless, is a still older house, without date, and which merits the attention of archeologists. It appears to have been the family home of Philippe Falle, Seigneur of Ponterrin.

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