Richardsons of La Ferme, St Martin

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Richardsons of La Ferme, St Martin



This article by Joan Stevens and Jean Arthur was first published in the 1982 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise

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It is not often that one finds personal letters dating from the 17th century, but such has been our good fortune in the course of cataloguing a collection of family papers belonging to Mr D P Richardson.

It is a particularly rich and fruitful collection from several points of view and we are most grateful to the Richardson family for allowing us to study them.

Ouie de paroisse

The earliest document is dated 1492 and is a ouie de paroisse concerning a plot of 30 perch of land in Grouville, near Gorey, where subsequently a house was built. Another ouie is dated 1540 and is for the sale of a house in St Martin; yet another, of 1553, was passed in Trinity cemetery. There is also one of the rare documents of 1551 giving the sale of obits by the Royal Commissioners, in this case in St Ouen.

One touching document of 1594 is about Drouet Ie Roy, whose wife, Ysabel, "est allee de vie en trepas”, that is to say she had died, and he is claiming her inheritance on behalf of their children.

A group of documents in the 17th century is connected with land at Ville es Renauds, and the families involved are mainly Mars, Bertram, Regnault, Nicolle and Gaudin. Many of these papers belonged to the Gaudin family and have come through the marriage of Nicolas Ralph Richardson (1819-1876) to Esther Gaudin. The Gaudins came from La Queruée and their main homes were Le Haut du Rue and Green Farm, now called La Clochette.

La Ferme

The Richardson home was La Ferme, near the Trinity boundary. According to Payne, Ralph Richardson settled in Jersey in 1507 and leased 73 vergées of land from Le Vuyellart. La Ferme later had rather more land than this, but field Martin no 13 is called Le Clos du Veillard, which seems more than a coincidence, but unfortunately Payne does not give any supporting authority for his statement.

But there is little doubt tht the Richardson family held La Ferme for close on 400 years. It is a very fine property indeed. A dated stone may be seen in the facade of the house with 18 NRS 17, for Nicolas Richardson, and in all probability the date of erection of the house. On the back is a complex stone with the initials of Philippe Richardson and the date 1663, followed by a monogram for Abigail Dumaresq, his mother, and then NRR 1839 for Nicolas Ralph Richardson, son of the Nicolas who built the house.

Tenants' obligations

An interesting document dated 1806 is a Lettre passed between Philippe Raoul Lernpriere, Seigneur of Rozel and his 15 chefs tenants and francs tenants. The chefs tenants, 13 in number, had to fulfill the following duties; to give a day (corvée) before Christmas and another after, for spreading manure; to clear the stables of manure; to give a day before Christmas and another after for ploughing (aerer) one vergée of land; to cart wine and logs within the fief; to clean (nestier) the stackyard and stack the champart corn; to bring meat from the market; to work at the water mill; to provide help for (servir) the masons and thatchers; to cart the grinding stones for the said mill; to clean the leat, except an arm's length on each side of the conduit (goulet); to keep the ferrets earthed for three days if they cannot be found, working with one of the Seigneur's men; to gather fern at La Lande and stack it on the fief, as is laid down in the Extente of the said fief, renewed and confirmed in 1758.

The francs tenants, Edouard Noel, Philippe Nicolle and Clement Richardson snr, did not have to fulfill all these services. The Seigneur then released all the tenants of these dues, the chefs tenants paying £666 13s 4d per tenement, and the francs tenants paying £200 each, in order money. However, they still had to perform the duty of Prevot, each one in turn, and they still had to cart the champart corn and bring wheat and other seigneurial dues which they owed, as in olden times, and pay la ferme and do any duty not expressly excluded by the affranchisement.

Most of the above dues were quite common, but we have not elsewhere found the duty to bring meat from the market nor to watch the ferrets. The water mill in question is La Perrelle.

There is also an undated but most detailed specification for building stables and outhouses at La Ferme, and such a document is rare. It is signed by William Gaudin as Curateur, and probably dates around 1870, at which period the farm was let.

Letters from Jamaica

But the most interesting and valuable of these documents is a group of letters written from Jamaica in 1668, 1670, 1677 and 1683.

The first, of 1668, is from Richard, son of Nicolas and Abigail, to his brother Nicolas; it is in English and he may have employed someone to write for him, though it is surprising that he chose to write to his brother in English. Some of the items he is asking to have sent out cannot be identified, but it is most interesting that he is asking for craftsmen to be sent to Jamaica, particularly those to build a mill, and he suggests the purchase of a vessel, if willing partners can be found to take shares in it.

The second letter, written in French, is dated 1670 and is from the same Richard to his mother Abigail, chiding her for never writing or sending him a message. He boasts that he can any day mount his horse or proceed with his carriage, as smart as any in Jersey. We learn from this letter that his wife's name is Sarah.

We know from a Procuration passed in Jersey (Livre des Procurations, 1/279) that in 1671 he was 'lately deceased', and that he lived at Yallah, written as Yallon. This is on the south coast of the island of Jamaica, east of Port Royal, from where his nephew Nicolas wrote a few years later. One of his executors was Mary Richardson, his wife, and one was Edward Stanton, whose daughter Frances, married Nicolas, his nephew.

The executors appointed David Bandinel, Isaak Heraut, Etienne Antoniy (Anthoine) the husband of his sister Elizabeth, and Abraham Richardson his nephew, as his procureurs in Jersey, to organise for them any property in the island that he inherited from his father. His children, Thomas, and a daughter, were minors at the time and his widow later re-married.

The third letter, dated 1677, in English, is from Clement, the younger son of Nicolas and Abigail, to his elder brother Philippe. This again contains a plea for news from home, which never seemed to be forthcoming, and also a request for an introduction to Sir Henry Morgan from Jersey's Governor, Sir Thomas Morgan. He announces his hope to visit Jersey the next year.

The fourth letter, this time in French, is from Nicolas to his uncle Philippe and is dated 1683. He also intends to visit Jersey, and to engage workmen, taking them on for a four-year term of service, with eight ecus for each man to be paid at the end of the time.

A further procuration, dated 1738, was passed in Jersey appointing attorneys to act for Abraham Richardson (fils Abraham fils Nicolas fils Nicolas) and he was then living 'in the parish of St Catherine in the island of Jamaica', a name calculated to appeal to a St Martinais. There is a Catherine's Peak north of Yallah. He chose 'my dear wife Jane Richardson of the island of Jersey' to be his attorney, which suggests that she (née Jeanne La Cloche) was living in Jersey then.

From these letters we gain the impression of a family who emigrated, and through their own resources and hard work, became prosperous in Jamaica, but who retained a deep affection for their relatives in Jersey, and a keeness to employ Jerseymen and keep up trade with their native island.

Family tree

  • 1 Nicolas Richardson ( -1663) m Abigail Dumaresq
    • 2 Philippe Richardson
    • 2 Nicolas Richardson (1633- ) m Sarah du Parcq
      • 3 Nicolas Richardson (1665- ) m Frances Stanton
      • 3 Abraham Richardson (1673- ) m Elizabeth de Carteret
        • 4 Abraham Richardson (1701- ) m Jeanne La Cloche
      • 3 Clement Richardson m Jacquine Reserson
        • 4 Clement Richardson ( -1795)
        • 4 Nicolas Richardson m Jeanne Falle
    • 2 Richard Richardson (1635- ) m Mary
      • 3 Thomas Richardson
      • 3 Daughter Richardson
      • 3 Abigail Richardson
    • 2 John Richrdson
    • 2 Clement Richardson m Sarah
    • 2 Elizabeth Richardson m Estienne Anthoine

See Descendants of Ralph Richardson - 3 for an extended tree


To brother

Mons Nicholas Richardson, Jersey
Jamaica July primo 1668
Deare Brother
I wrat yoe p(er) Mr Max Bushe and by him desuired you to doe me
ye ffauor to axcept a letter of Attorney I sent by him to cale
my Brother to account for what may bee my due from my ffather
Estate which I houpe yoe have Received itt for my Brother
Abraham writt me from Plemouth that he had Received
them and sent them to Jersey; and doe Jntreate you to gitt itt
from my Brother houping hee will not withstand itt but
Deliver you what is my Due without trouble which I shoule
bee glad to here. I wase in gratt houpes to see you this yeare
butt coule not dispache my Busenese in these p(ar)ts butt houpe
nex somer to bee with you if it plese god to spare my layfe Deare
Brother Jame inn seatlinge A Suger plantation which
Requayer many hands to manaige itt soe that may detain
him (?) when you have concluded with my Brother that what rent
comes to bee my due yo? willingage itt for a some of money
and with ye said money with some ffriends that may be willing
to trade in this island to Bay Asmale Vasell of 40 or 50 tuns
and in ye same to lodge what saruants who cane care (?come)
and to gitt what trades men yo cane as carpentter masons
Smithes whille maker loners Taylers Showemakers and suche
Layke with some wine and Brandy and Lining Clath
as canes and Rones and Canting and some Siobines I kenow
if my Brother Abraham is Able hee would come p(artner) and
bee able to bee Master; pray brother if yo" gitt a parte
of a vessell (?)
or any other come from Jerzy doe me the fauor to send me
4 or 5 Carpentte that vnderstand the building o Watter mille
and wine mille and fouling mille for I shall want
suche for to Build me A Suger Mill and if yo" cane not gitt
suche good wourkemen for there pasidge agre with them to
give them Besides there passidge something peer) yeare

My Brother Clement wasse with me yeterday and his wayfe
whome desaier to bee Remebered to you hee is in a uery houpfull
way and hee Jntends to send yor akutt of Attorney peer) the
first .... ?
Pray present my seruise to my good sister Anteuinne I should be
glad to here from you and to
vnderstand how many Children itts plesed god to Blase you with; my
wayfe present her seruice to your
good Beadfelow; itt plesed god to send us 3 children 2 garlles
and 1 Boy one of the garle lived but 6 weekes which was
of my mother name; pray present my Dutty to my mother and
my love
to aile our ffriends soe wishing you halth and propperite I rast
your Affeketioned Brother soe dated
Ric Richardson

To mother

A Sa Bien ayme
mere Abigaielle
St Martin
de la Jamico Ie 4 de
Octobre 1670
Cherre et Bien amye Merre
Cese deux ou troies mots sont pour vous
donner a connoiestre nostre sante qui este bonne grace
adieu esperant ynsi de vous et de tou Ie Reste
de mes Bon amy en generall Comme aux si de
tous mes frere et seurs priante Ie bon dieu
vous mientennir en santte cese ceu que desire
vostre affectione a Jamaies Chere mere Je vous
avoies ecrite oparavant par plusiure fois
nayant Jamaies entandu une mots de vous
nouvelle mon frare phill. yle a printe la paine
descrire a mon frare Richard mais pas un mot
de moy cen qui me faictte Croere que vous
ne vous soucie par boucoupe de moy maies ca
nanpechera pase que Je ne fase bien Chare mere
Je metone mon frare phill. ne veux pointe
venire a aucun conte quecque mon frare
Abraham Jauroies bien en vie de Ie voiere en
en Ce lieue pour cen qui este de rna Condition
ell ast grase a dieu bone yline (?) Je me suis
maries hors dauecque mes perant mais pauceque
mes amis ..... sant aux cune disegrace
de I'isle Je puis tous les Jeours montere mon Chevall
auceque bon equipage aux si bien que un des
melieure de votre isle dieu nabandonera J amais
Celuy qui se fie en luy Chare mere vostre fille
ma Chere fame vous baese laiex maien et
desire de vous voiere sille estoit posible
Elle a isin este Crite son nome pour taimoinage da fection
Sarah Richardson
Vostre huble et affectione Sarvitore et fils
Clement Richardson.

To brother

Jamaica July 17th 1677
To Mr Philippe Richardson
living in the Island of Jersey
in St Martin parish
These humbly present Captt Oke
St Thomas honourd Brother
Sr These shall serue to accoient you of our prsant
condition Sr I am and my wife latterly recovered of a
verry great fit of sickness which I tought woled
have mad an end of use it lasted 10 weeks but
now tank god wee ar Indiferantly well Recovered
and Sr I have noe friends here so dere unto me as
my one Brothers and Sistres only my Brother Richard
chilsdrens which ar in a verry good waye and there
father have lefet them a nofe to leve verry well
and god have blesed me with a good esteat in this
Island which if god is pleased to take me from
these worled to whom shall I leue it by my ffriends
and you are allso silant or so Ingratfull to me
beng your brother That you will not vachaf me
with a feu lins from you which beleue mein-
to me euery time I tinke of it a scond fit of
sikenese, pray to honour me with a line from
you that I my know how you all doe and werit
me what is come of my Brother John and how
all au ffriends doe in generall. Sr I formerly werit
you that my Lord Vaughan Earle of Carbory Sone
was our Governor, and a Great ffriend of yours
Sir Thomas Morgan and that a line from Sr Thomas
to these our Gouernor in fauor of me woled be
very acceptable and all So to Sr Henery Morgan
our Lt Generall They ar all Redey my good ffriends
yt it woled ad mor to there fauors which ar very
acceptable and withall profitable unto me your
Brother and to you of noe Great dificulty to
optine as I am Informed these goe by one Capt
Oke of Southapton ..... capt of shipes and Intand
for these Island a gine pray Remanbre me by him
for Intand god willing home with him the next
voyage and wold haue sooner had I hered from you. The man is well knowne
he hauing but one eaie; my deuty to my deare mother which heartily
desires to see Thus from Sr
You louing Brother and Saruant
Clt Richardson

(Sir Henry Morgan (1635-1688) was a celebrated buccaneer, knighted by Charles II. Died in Jamaica)

To uncles

To Mr Philipp Richardson
Living in Jersey
Jamaica Port Royal Mars Ie 28 eme 1683
Honore oneles

Ces deux ou trois Lignes sont pour faire
Conoistre de ma bonne seante la quelle est tres
bone dieu mercy dieu mercy desirant quil en soit ainsy de vous
oncles il vos plaira de faire mes recommandations
a ma grandmere et a matante
et a madam de la haule et atoute la maisonee mon oncles Clement et
ma tante sont en bonne seante de sirant le mesme
Devous et vous presente leur Recommandantions
et matante fame de mon oncle Richard et sa fille
sont en bonne seante et vous presente leurs
Recommandations et matante excepte mon cousin
Thomas Tous les Jours et elle est remaries
et le nom de son mary est Thomas Ryues
oncles Cecy est pour vous faire acconoistre
que mon oncles Clement a achatte le 16 ieme
Dans un nauires de 330 Tonneaux et 18 p(aire)s de
Canon et le nauire ariuera alondres Jiray
en Jearze pour engager des seruiters auec
vostre aide sy il vous plaist Et sitost que
le nauire aura descharge ses marchandises il viendra
en Jearze pour prandres les seruiters et autre
chose nessecere pour transporter Le nom du Capt
est Edward Brookes et son freres est maistre
est le nom du nauires est le Port Royal marchant
oncles sill y en a quil veulle leur engager le
seruices est par 4 ans car il y a une acte
faite que aucun ne sairoit demeurez dan lile
sans seruir ..... a point damis pour les securer de troubbles au maladie quil ne pourois se
maintenir .... est que il faut seruir 4 ans et au bout des 4 ans ils Recev(eront)
8 ecus pour .... que lacte aloue es seruiters oneles nous esperons de (?partir)
Dans ung mois pour londres nayant autre chose pour Ie present demeurant vostre tres
humbles et affectione seruiteur et neveu
Nicollas Richardson.

Note: The letter is torn down one side and some words are illegible. We cannot see who 'ma tante de la Haulle' is. Susanne Dumaresq, Dame de la Haule, died in 1682 (which he may not have known) and her daughter-in-law was Margaret La Cloche. There is a marriage between Richardson and La Cloche, but too late to fit this.

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