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St Ouen's Manor

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
St Owen

In the parish of St Ouen.
On the Isle of Jersey.

Latitude 49.22555° Longitude -2.19881°

St Ouen's Manor has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This site is a building or structure protected by law.


Manor house with associated outbuildings set within outstanding landscaped grounds - the senior manor house and fief in Jersey, held by the de Carteret family since the middle ages. Associated with the fief of St Ouen. The house has a 15th century medieval core with principal phases of alteration and remodelling in the 17th century and late 19th century. Grounds include a medieval chapel and Victorian gatehouse. The most important garden phase is the sophisticated C19 militaristic/medieval-style terraces surrounding the house. Although mock castles were built in England such as Alton Towers (Staffordshire) and Castle Drogo (Devon, by Lutyens), few had such a complexity of large scale faux-militaristic garden fortifications.
Historic interest St Ouen's is the senior manor house and fief in Jersey, and has been held by the de Carteret family since the middle ages. The present family - surnamed Malet de Carteret since 1859 - are the eldest descendants of the de Carterets who held the fief in the 17th century. The de Carterets already had a residence in Jersey in 1135, behind what is now the parish hall. The present site was almost certainly adopted after the political separation of the Channel Islands from Normandy in 1204. The Manor became a German barracks during the Occupation - the soldiers are said to have accidentally burned the interior of a south wing room, which was largely rebuilt after the war.
The site of the manor house is moated, the original ditch being of medieval origin, although the retaining wall has been much rebuilt and altered. The present house is built around a 15th century medieval core of a rectangular hall flanked to the north and south by squat towers. All walls are in ashlar granite with stone window surrounds. The central hall and south tower date from a rebuilding some time after 1450, though the cellar under the hall may be older. The hall had a chamber above reached by a tourelle staircase (the south tower) which itself contained a chamber in its upper level - of which the fireplace partly survives, as does an external doorway accessed by a separate flight of steps. The north tower is a later addition, perhaps from around 1483 when Philippe de Carteret obtained a licence to crenellate the property. Both towers originally had cross-gabled roofs of English type, not otherwise known in Jersey; they were later heightened, probably to create observation platforms at the time of the Civil War. The hall itself has since lost its upper floor and medieval screens passage (although the doorways from the hall to the towers still preserve the position of the passage). The fireplace in the north wall of the hall is basically original, and unusual for Jersey. The service range to the west of the hall is also of medieval origin, as is the manorial chapel, set some distance to the north of the house and once enclosed within a courtyard (demolished in the late Victorian transformation). The east front was remodelled in the early 17th century - around 1620 - with projecting gabled flanking wings added on either side of the main gable of the hall, creating a symmetrical C-shaped elevation with north and south towers in the inner corners. The hall was refaced in ashlar granite and given an ornamental central entrance consisting of a re-set Tudor arch with elaborate cusped decoration. The south wing incorporates the remnants of an older building, whilst the north wing retains oak panelling and a double fireplace. A range of (probably contemporary) service buildings connects this wing with the former chapel courtyard to the north. The re-set archway which forms an entrance porch between this range and the north wing may have been installed at this period. At this time also, the stone tourelle stair was removed from the south tower and replaced by a wooden staircase in the north tower. The wings were themselves refaced in around 1670, and a grand oak staircase was installed within the main hall - with spiral banisters, carved handrails and structural beams with brackets in the form of a human torso. After the death of Sir Charles de Carteret, 2nd baronet, in 1715, the house went into a long decline and by the middle of the 19th century it was in a very poor state. It was not until 1885 that Lieut-Colonel E.C. Malet de Carteret, great-grandfather of the present seigneur, began the great restoration that has left the manor as we see it now. Various oriel and bay windows were inserted, and corner turrets with conical roofs were added to the west and north ranges. Large mullion-and-transom windows joinery replaced earlier sash windows. The north tower was heightened and given its present pyramidal spire. More baronial details were added around the moat and to earlier buttresses and bastions. Internally the house was completely transformed. The interior of the main hall was remodelled, with the upper floor removed and replaced by a gallery, and the great staircase inserted in the 1670s was rearranged. The staircase in the north tower was also renewed, broadly replicating the Jacobean one. Older materials were brought from elsewhere to aid in the reconstruction, including stonework from a house at Léoville, and the oak panelling with geometric and organic motifs in the hall (dated to 1590-1670), said to have come from Brittany. Other features of note include late 19th century stained glass windows by H Bosdet, west of the east front central archway; 19th century decorative stone heads replacing earlier hoppers on the east front; deep stripwork plasterwork on the ceiling in the main hall, and the Oui-tchi - a small opening in the side wall which is splayed internally to allow discrete listening and viewing of visitors prior to them entering the house. The medieval manorial chapel to the north of the house has a rectangular plan with pitched roof, and belfry mounting on its west front (the bell replaces one originally from Milan cathedral but removed by German troops). The chapel's most readily datable feature, the arched east window, appears to be of the early 16th century. The medieval altar stone, possibly 12th century, originally from the demolished chapel of St. George at Vinchelez de Bas Manor. Other outbuildings include 19th century stables and cow shed in granite rubble, and a late 19th century round colombier. A new gatehouse was built on the main road in 1885, with a gabled front and a bay-windowed lodge to one side, and the perimeter walls include a double archway (bearing the misleading date of 1831) that faces Rue du Manoir. There is a second double archway, dated 1661 and with the initials of Philippe de Carteret. The manor house grounds include a natural valley with artificial pond and moat. The walled garden and landscaped gardens are surrounded by a moat and stream flowing down to a wooded valley. The dramatic entrance arch next to Lodge leads to an avenue of majestic trees with huge trunks of ash, beech and oak above green verges. This was the route of main road from St Helier to the west until it was shifted in the mid-C19. The edge of the pond is broken by branches of great ash, 25m tall, surely a champion tree in Jersey, 200 years old and host to a rare form of lichen. There are many beech trees, with magnolias & camellias surrounding the chapel. On the other side of the manor is a fortified wall and beyond a small round fish pond, and a terraced field believed to have been a medieval jousting field. (State of Jersey HER)

A Royal licence to crenellate may have been granted in ?1483 (Click for details of this supposed licence.).
Comments (by Philip Davis)

Gatehouse has been unable to identify a source for the suggestion that Philip Carteret was granted a licence the manor in 1483. The sources giving this date give no citation. This supposed licence does not occur in the usual calendars of primary sources. Philip Carteret certainly had an important role in the defence of the islands at this time and could well be expected to have been rewarded for his service and a licence to crenellate would be the sort of royal recognition which could be expected. The early C19 historians of the islands specifically state that no record exists of any rewards given to Philip de Carteret (i.e. Falle and Durell 1734 p. 58, 296; Inglis 1834 p. 124-5). The peculiar state of the islands may mean the record of this licence is not in the usual places or that the 'licence' was never given.
The house itself was a moated house with a gatehouse and was defensible so regardless of the existence of a licence to crenellate was a fortified house in 1483 and probably had been for a least a century before then.
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This record last updated on Tuesday, April 18, 2017