Buildings & Houses

Victor Hugo and Guernsey: Lost things: La Marcherie

7th November 2018
Once a magnificent farm house with 15 bedrooms, made of the best blue granite, said to be haunted, the old house of the La Marche family in St Martin's saw highs and lows. Its story ended with demolition by the Occupying Forces in 1944, and the memory of the house itself and a reputed connection with Victor Hugo became shrouded in mystery. It is quite possible that Victor Hugo admired the house - he certainly would have admired its wonderful situation, and is quoted as saying (in the advertisement above from a 1915 tourist brochure), 'Live at Icart, live forever!,' but there is no evidence he ever set foot in it. His family, however, were indeed intimately connected with it.

St Peter's Mill

10th February 2017
'Guernsey's unvisited valley, where a water mill is working.'  From Victor Coysh's scrapbook, and probably written by him, 1931. The wheel was demolished during the Occupation, but has since been restored by the National Trust of Guernsey.

Jacquine de Saumarez petitions the Privy Council, 1715

9th October 2015
A printed account of the defendants' response to an appeal to the Privy Council, March 1715, concerning the retrait lignager of a house at the Tourgand. From Petitions and trials, in the Library. For Mr. James de Havilland, Mrs. Rachel Briard, Represented by Mr. Henry de Saumarez, her Son, Defendants. Versus. Mrs. Jacquina de Saumarez, Appellant.

Forts, 1850

8th October 2015
From the Gazette de Guernesey, 16 February 1850. 'We thought it would be useful to list here, for the benefit of our readers, those forts and fortresses, built by the States for the defence of this Island in time of war, which have been handed over to the Government, as very few people are aware of them all.' The photograph is of Fort Hommet, by S  M Henry, in the Library Collection. For further details on the individual sites see the Billet d'Etat for March 1908 in the Library Collection.

Century-old island business closing

5th August 2015
Businesses come and go in the world of high-speed commerce, but the 'Closing Down Sale' notice in the window of a long-established island concern always involves a little nostalgia, a little sadness, for someone. So it is with the shoe business of A W Collenette and Son, one of the Town shops which islanders have come to take for granted. From the Guernsey Press, c. 1969. [Scrapbook No 24, Staff F, p. 153.]

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