Old Court House, St Aubin

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Old Court House, St Aubin

The Old Court House on the Bulwarks at St Aubin may not be Jersey's oldest hotel, but it may lay claim to to being the establishment housed in the oldest building


The Old Court House Hotel

Although parts of the property are among the oldest in St Aubin, it is not clear exactly how long it has been a hotel, inn and restaurant. The hotel's own website gives no clue, other than to confirm that it is 'steeped in history' and was acquired by the Sharpe family in 1972.

Two properties

There are two parts to the property. The front section which opens out on to the Bulwarks, was originally known as Osborne House. Behind it stood the original Court House, and rooms known as a courtroom and judge's chamber are now incorporated into the hotel's restaurant.

Quite which court was held here is uncertain. A theory that it was the island's court before the Royal Court was established in St Helier has no basis in fact, because the St Helier court was operating long before St Aubin began to develop as a town.

Two explanations

There are two possible explanations for the name. One is that the Manorial Court of Noirmont was held there, but there are no records to prove it and it is also pure supposition. Probably a more likely explanation is that an Admiralty Court was held there to allocate prize money for the large number of captured vessels brought into the port by privateers in the 17th century.

There are reports of these proceedings by diarist Jean Chevalier but he does not explain exactly where they were held. His references to the cargos of captured vessels being held in the 'cellars of St Aubin', lends credence to the view that the Admiralty Court sat in a building that today houses a popular hotel, restaurant and bars, and has architectural features dating back to 1450.

There is even supposed to be a 14th century fireplace. Joan Stevens' Old Jersey Houses refers to this and, while dismissing most of the elements of the fireplace as being of a much later date, the author concedes that the two corbels and other supporting stones for the lintel are of very old Caen granite, and may have been the stones which 'disappeared' from Mont Orgueil Castle in about 1530.

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