The Grange again

The earlier history of the Grange, according to the Library's 19th-century Lukis MSS, transcribed by Edith Carey. Edith Carey's additions are in brackets.

St James’ Church occupies a part of a field belonging to Mr Benjamin Le Mesurier, which had a gangway up to its surface consisting [of] furze stacks.

Some years before the building of St James’ Church, the States purchased the Falaize and ground which belonged to the Le Marchant family, and a portion in the upper part belonging to the Le Febvres. The prison wall was continued as far as the house of Sir William Collings and his brother, [who], having purchased the old store at the Coffinot [which was the property of Monsieur Charles Mollet of Woodlands], built the present dwelling¹ belonging to Bonamy Collings, his son.

The Rue du Coffinot, which led to Berthelot Street, was in short the only avenue from this part in to the town, for all New Town was a mass of pleasure grounds and gardens, stretching from the Coffinot to the road which now bears the name of De Havilland Street;² [so called] in consequence of the partnership existing between Peter de Havilland and Mr John Allez—whence the continuation of this street took the name of Allez Street. Near the Coffinot there was a large door leading to the gardens in that direction, and by numerous alleys, between st[eel?] railings, you could find your way to the steps called 'Mont Gibel' or the Platon, or to the Port Vase, near the present George Place, (which was built by Sir Peter de Havilland and named after his relative Colonel Sir George Smith). 'La Bataille' was a small portion of the street, now known as St John’s Street, where the house of Mr John Bonamy now formed the corner. [Battle Lane Pump is in the rear of this house.] In the front of La Bataille a small house existed, between the store of Mr J. Bonamy and the limites of the College Field (on which Elizabeth College now stands.) This narrow lane was impassable for carts, and it led down into the hollow of the valley of the Grange estate, and continued past the gardens of William Brock (formerly De Beauvoir property), then rose and joined the lane 'des Frères' which led to the 'Cimitière des Frères'. This lane just described from La Bataille was called 'La Ruette Meutrière', [probably] connected with the historical events of the 'Bataille', whatever these were.

From the Coffinot, westward, up Grange Road, there was a high-banked footway, which had 4 or 6 stone steps, which had to be mounted in order to go between the high elms on each side of the pathway. This footway, raised above the narrow road, continued as far as Norton’s House and St John’s Street. It was found to be dangerous and was considerably reduced by Elias Guerin and his coadjutor, then Constables of the parish, and an iron railing substituted for the elms which bordered the path. Some years afterwards, when the ground behind was sold to Mr Wakley and others, the whole of this path was reduced to the present level of the road. The marks of the above mentioned iron rail may be seen in the stones. At the end of Havilland Street there was a continuation of this high footway, which had there 2 stone steps to mount, and it continued the whole way up, as far as the Carrefour du Paradis near Mr Paul Dobrée’s [J. Carey’s]. The Grange Road itself was only wide enough to permit one cart to pass through at a time, for a high hedge existed from La Bataille, where Mr J. Bonamy built his store within about eight feet of the hedge. As my father, John Lukis, was the next proprietor to build his dwelling [in this neighbourhood], he gave from 8 to 12 feet of ground to the public and brought down the hedge and reduced the high footpath opposite the Grange [estate]. This produced a system of opposition from the other proprietors and the Royal Court was called in and a [Vue de Justice took] place. They highly approved of the new alignment commenced by my father, and ordered that Mr Carey’s garden wall west of his house [the Grange] be bought down and rebuilt eight feet further back into his garden, which line is now preserved as far as 'Paradis.' Thus was Grange Road enlarged and changed, and it was again widened up to the house belonging to Peter Stephens, 'Les Quatre Saisons'. Again was the high footpath lowered and the trees and hedge of Paradis condemned and rebuilt [set back] in accordance with the new alignment commenced by Mr Bonamy and my father. Opposite the present dwelling of Mr Vionnée of Paradis the horse and cart road was like any common country road, deep and muddy, bordered by the high elm trees of Paradis estate, which gave it a wild uncultivated appearance. The road was constantly wet with the drainage of the whole length, from the Couperderie and Choisi. Near Brockhurst Mr Robins the Barrack Officer was knocked down into the deep road, maltreated and robbed by 2 soldiers of the garrison, who were caught and were both executed on the Banks.

'Les Quatre Saisons,' built by Monsieur Pierre Etienne, in which Charles Le Marchant and family dwelt for a long time, as likewise Dr Brock, was a dwelling house facing East, behind it were the high walls and hedges of La Robinerie [now 'Detroit'],³ and the Couperderie, which extended to the road of St Thomas’ Village. From 'Paradis,' the whole of the North side of this road was greatly improved by the various dwelling houses which were erected, while the road was widened all the way up to the Grandes Gravées and Choisy House. 'Choisy' was built by Mr Nicholas Robinson, Linen Draper of Fountain Street, who afterwards sold it to Mr Julius Carey, who subsequently sold the property on his retirement from Guernsey to Dijon, where he ended his days. The property now belongs to the Baynes family.

[Petites Fontaines and the Vaupanes now called Valnord.]

When the neighbourhood of 'Choisi' was improved and the present Queen’s Road marked out, Mr Carey was permitted to place his boundary line and iron railing outside the row of elm trees; for these trees formed the line of the road outside of Choisi boundary. This was on condition that the wide space in front of Choisy House should be left open for the use of the public. This strip of land had been purchased by Mr Carey from Le Sieur Pierre Allez, who possessed the land east of Queen’s Road. The Courtils of the Grandes Gravées, which belonged to Mr Carey, were sold to Sir William Collings and then resold to Edward Collings, Major de Havilland, P. Lihou, and others, on building leases. The 3 houses called Eaton Place were built by Sir William Collings on my plan, though intended for two villas only, which Sir William Collings changed and constructed 3 dwelling houses, which still belong to members of his family.

Melrose House, which adjoins these houses, was originally intended for dwelling house for Mr Thomas Mansell Senr of Contrée Mansell, (at the same time as the Rocquettes House was built by Capt. N. Maingy, who resided there until his death). Mr Mansell subsequently sold Les Gravées to Government, and Mr Corbin the Barrackmaster, John Wilson, Barrack Carpenter, and others, occupied it. Stables were built on the western side for the Guernsey Cavalry and the Troop then under Captain James Ozanne.4 Nic. Moullin of the Ponchées, George Radford and others were then mounted officers of the Guernsey Troop. The field and yard in front of the Horse Stables were frequently used as a place of assembly and for drills by the North Regiment, then under the command of Col. A. Priaulx, Lt. Col. Nicolas Maingy (Carroll, sic.) up to a recent period, when the property was sold and purchased by Mr Daniel Tupper, who almost rebuilt the former house and constructed many changes, until he sold the whole to Mr John Le Marchant, and last year to Mr Alexander McCrea.

Lisle Terrace, St Stephen’s Church, and the widening of the road below Ivy Gates—villas and other dwelling houses sprang up, and the Rohais road was made in a straight line from the Carrefour des Trois Rues, which rendered this road at once an ornamental, as well as the principal entrance to the Town Parish from the West. The Mill Stream below the estate of J. Utermarck, was bridged over by a large stone, where it passed through the Frogmore property; for it was an entirely open stream before, where the ‘Banque’ des Rohais afforded a passing dry-shod for pedestrians, but the horse-road was left open, with a stream about 5 or 6 feet wide running through it. Here a Monsieur Falla, while returning home from the house where now General Bainbrigge resides5 (which was formerly a public house kept by a Mrs Kirby) was found drowned. It is suppose that his horse wished to drink at the stream, and that, falling off, he was stunned, and was picked up lying dead in the stream the next morning.

Opposite the gate of 'Swissville' there was a narrow road, the Ruette du Champ du Puits, which led to the Camp Nicolle. On being enlarged by Sir William and myself it obtained the name of Collings Road. The row of trees on the northern side of Camp Nicolle were transplanted from the little wood which borders the wall of General Bainbrigge’s meadow, where the larger elms are still standing.

 From Peter Mollet's Notebook, MS in the Library:

The Villa—Grange Road 1802. Mr George Fenien sells to Mr John Maingy son of Nicolas and to Ann Lauga his wife, 1 vergee of land for 6 quarters of wheat rent, situated in the last part of this estate called 'La Vaudinerie' facing La Couperderie, belonging to the heir of Mr Elisha Tupper.

1790-1791: sales of land in the Grange, relevant to the sale below, from the Notebook.

1796: Nicolas Le Retilley sold a plot in the Grange to Jean de Lancey of New York, which bordered Jean Blanche's garden, the garden belonging to the heirs of the late Marie Dobrée, Jean Lukis' garden, and Robert Walters' garden and stable-yard. See also an 1833 contract between Caroline Carey, John Delancey's wife, and the executors of the will of Sampson Pierce, in the Library.

¹ Bonamy House.

² See Hocart, R., 'The Building of New Town', Report and Transactions of the Société Guernesiaise, XXIII (2), 1992, p. 342, which includes very useful maps of this area during this period of development and lists of landowners and occupiers, and the reminiscences of Colonel C. J. Durand, 'Early Victorian Guernsey', Report and Transactions of the Société Guernesiaise, XIII (1938), pp. 186 ff.

³ See Ladies' College Magazine, Trinity Term 1922, in the Library. 'Detroit,' now the Ladies' College, was originally called La Robinerie, and consisted of a cottage surrounded by fields, bounded on the east by 'Les Quatre Saisons,' as the house—now occupied by Mr and Mrs Seymour Le Marchant—was then called—its grounds originally extending much farther west than they do now. The western boundary of La Robinerie were the fields of 'La Couperderie,' an estate bounded on one side by the road of 'Le Village St Thomas' (now known as Victoria Road), and extending to the present western boundaries of the college grounds. Early in the 19th century the present house was built by Mr William de Jersey of St Hélène, and named 'Detroit' in remembrance of the Canadian campaign of Sir Isaac Brock, whose brother Savery Brock had married Mr de Jersey's daughter. Their daughter, Rosa Brock, in her turn married, as her second husband, General Huyshe, and it was she who sold 'Detroit' to the college.

4 From the Gazette de L'Ile de Guernesey, Saturday 15 August 1795: Persons desirous of purchasing horse dung, at the cavalry stables, Les Gravées, will assemble on the premises, this day 24th instant at 11 o'clock.

5 Rohais Manor.