The Grove

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Historic Jersey buildings


The Grove, St Lawrence


J22TheGrove1976.jpg


1976 Jersey Evening Post photograph taken when the property became the first Jersey house to sell for over £1 million

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The house in the 2020s, much enlarged

Property name

The Grove

Location

Mont Cambrai, St Lawrence

Type of property

Large country 'mansion', much extended [1] in the late 20th century.

Valuations

  • In the 1970s (probably 1978) The Grove was believed to be the first island property sold for over £1 million
  • In 2018, The Grove, 'consisting of three houses with the outbuildings, offices, swimming pools, courtyards, avenues and issues appurtenant thereto, including a certain small triangular shaped piece of land found to the North of the main avenue entrance, the woodland, lawned and planted areas dependent thereto' was sold for £17.5 million

Families associated with the property

  • Patriarche: The Grove was formerly a typical Jersey property, in every sense of the word, situated on land owned by the Patriarche family.

The first half of the 19th century saw the construction in Jersey of many Georgian-style houses. This was, for the most part, not related to post-Napoleonic War English settlers, many of whom were only in the Island because they could not afford the cost of living in England, as successive governments raised taxes, striving to unshackle the economy, which had been so adversely affected by the cost of war.

At this time, Jersey`s Canadian and Newfoundland fisheries were expanding. The local economy benefitted, and fortunes were being made in every sphere of life. Successful merchants and retailers, affluent farmers, who discovered that money in their pocket was suddenly worth twice its previous value, rushed to improve or rebuild their homes. The mid-19th century was Jersey`s golden era. Against this backdrop, there arose competition to build larger and better, a feature of this present less golden era. William Philippe Patriarche planned in 1839 a large three-storey house, but his family had long been country gentlemen and not men of commerce. He overspent and was obliged to sell.

  • de Gruchy: Patriarche therefore found in January 1841, a buyer, James Bridgeham, for his uncompleted project, but on 25 September Bridgeham sold it to Abraham de Gruchy, to whom, it is said, he or Patriarche had earlier turned, for a mortgage.

Abraham de Gruchy`s will refers to The Grove as the "house I built", from which it can be inferred that he had the work completed. This may have been achieved by the end of the year. He spared no expense in decorating and furnishing the house. He was, after all, among other things, an upholsterer. Much of the wood used by his firm was brought in from France, as was also the exceptional chandelier in the dining room. Years later, after some time in storage, it was installed in another dining room, this time at Noirmont Manor, having been retained by the family.

The house, built to Patriarche`s original plan, was always, with its three storeys, too big. In St Lawrence, only two properties were assessed in 1858 as being of a higher rateable value. These were Mainland, owned by Moses Gibaut and Avranches_Manor, owned by Francis Marett. De Gruchy, his wife and three younger sons when living there, particularly admired the rural setting and views over St Aubin`s Bay.

Philip de Gruchy, son of Abraham, had a telescope upstairs, mounted on a stand, through which he could see the Noirmont signal mast and incoming shipping. A path led from the garden, down to Rue de Haut, which was within 300 metres of the beach at Bel Royal.

A picture taken during the Occupation when the house was taken over by the Germans

The Grove was an inconvenient house and, as a result, was let to a succession of tenants. One of these, whose lease was dated March 25th 1854, was the Right Honorable William Henry Tennison Pery, Earl of Limerick. Philip de Gruchy, who, in 1864, inherited the house and its land, chose to live, instead, at Little Grove [2], in Rue de Haut, where his coat of arms still adorns the arch above the pedestrian gate. The Grove remained let until his death in 1889, after which his heir, the London-based former Jurat Laurence de Gruchy sold it. [3]

  • Gaudin: The purchaser was Francis Neel Gaudin (1859-1914), the nephew of Jean Gaudin and his wife, Elizabeth de Gruchy, a second cousin of Philip de Gruchy. Dr Gaudin, who was a psychiatrist, thought the house and grounds ideal for a 'lunatic asylum`. The asylum was in running order by the time of the 1891 census. Gaudin, described as 'Medical Superintendant of Lunatic Asylum', aged 32, his 31 year-old wife, and son, aged 8, lived there, with Minnie Julius, 'Matron, Lunatic Institution', and her [Ladies`] Companion.

There were already three patients, supported by a secretary, nurse, three domestic servants, a valet, cook, gardener and coachman. Things soon looked up. In 1901, Dr Gaudin, 'Proprietor of Licensed Lunatic Asylum'", his wife and visiting East India Merchant, with four assistants, four attendants, one nurse, a cook and four servants, were caring for eleven in-patient boarders, only two of whom were Channel Islanders. This seems to have been the house`s heyday, as by 1911, Dr and Mrs Gaudin were retired, but remaining at The Grove. Living with them was his widowed mother, aged 83, Mrs Ann Gaudin, nee Neel, a sister of former Jurat Elie Neel, of Sion Hall, St Saviour, and two domestic servants. Dr Gaudin died in 1914.

  • Benest: In 1941 the occupants of the house were Charles Wesley Benest (1877- ), his wife Annie Alexander, née Pallot (1883- ) and their son Hedley Wesley Benest (1912- ). Another household at the same time comprised Kempton Cannon Shepherd (1897- ), his wife Maud Mabel, nee Newcombe (1904- ) and their sons Michael Kenneth (1926- ) and Anthony (1932- ).
  • Lady Trent: In 1960, Lady Trent was living at The Grove. It was afterwards sold to a retired naval officer, whose decision it was to remove the top floor from each wing, bringing them into conformity with the centre of the house, which remained unchanged, as did the `footprint` of the side wings and their two storeys.

History

The Grove was started in 1839 by William Philippe Patriarche, son of Philippe. He ran into considerable debt, necessitating the property`s sale. On 2 January 1841 it was acquired by James Bridgeham for 180 quartiers 4 cabots of wheat rente and £957 13s 7d. Mr Bridgeham's ownership was very brief, as he also was unable to complete the house. On 25 September the same year he leased the property in perpetuity to Abraham de Gruchy. The latter promptly cleared the debt and completed the house, using the Exeter-based architect, John Hayward. [4]

The occupying German forces raided the property in 1940 and 1941, issuing receipts for household items taken to the Town Hall in September 1940, furniture taken to the Stafford Hotel, Kensington Place; Cardington Lodge, St Aubin; and Beau Sejour, Rouge Bouillon, in May 1941, and pictures taken to the Pomme D'Or Hotel later the same year.

Historic Environment Record entry

Not included. The entry for The Grove, St Lawrence, is for a neighbouring farm

Old Jersey Houses

Not included

Notes and references

  1. This was not the case. It was, in fact, diminished. In the 1960s the third storey was removed, lowering the roof. The centre of the house remained the same with the wings on either side conforming in height and dimension. What has been extended, are the Greco-Roman features to the west of the garden
  2. Which earlier bore the unusual franglais name Le Petit Grove
  3. The black and white picture, shown on this page, and another, showing the interior of the house, are believed to date from about 1889. Some of the furniture from The Grove found its way to the home of Philip Henry de Gruchy and his wife, and was later inherited by their daughter, Miss Vera de Gruchy of Bexhill, Sussex
  4. Note by Jurat W L de Gruchy on the first page of John Hayward's Four Jersey Churches (1864)
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