The Hemery Properties in Jersey
The Hemery Properties
The Hemery family have owned several properties in Jersey over the years, but of the three principal properties, one was rebuilt in the 1830s, and two demolished in the 20th Century.
The House in Royal Square.
As mentioned before Jacques Hemery purchased the house in the Royal Square from Temple Chevallier for £150 in 1767. It is thought Clement and Jacques lived in the house together at first, until Jacques moved to Plaisance. Certainly Clement was living there with his family in 1781, as he escaped from a cellar grating when the French troops entered the Royal Square. By 1800 Clement had purchased Colomberie, and the house in the Royal Square was rented out. So it was the Hemery residence for a little over 30 years. The Gazette de l’Ile de Jersey for 21.4.1804 carries an advert offering the house for rent, repeated the next week. The advert read :
To rent. C. Hemery Esquire advises that his house situated on the Square, and presently occupied by Mrs Elizabeth Boully, is for rent, from next St. Michael’s day. Apply to the owner.
By 1835 it had been sold to Philippe Falle. Jacques Hemery was the first secretary of the Chamber of Commerce in 1768, and ironically the Chamber of Commerce now moved into his old house.
Up to June 1835 meetings of the Chamber of Commerce were held at the York Hotel in the Royal Square, members renting 2 front rooms on the first floor from Mrs Le Gros at £40 p.a. On 25.6.1835 a letter was received from Phillipe Falle concerning the house in Royal Square then occupied by Mrs Pallies, offering 3 rooms on the first floor for £60 p.a. for 7 years. A letter dated 7.7.1835 reads ‘3 rooms on the first floor of the house I am about to rebuild in the Royal Square’ The Chamber of Commerce offered £50 and Falle accepted £50 British Money. (info from the minutes of the Chamber of Commerce) Jersey Argus 27.10.1835. ‘On Tuesday next, 3 November, Mr Ph. Falle intends to place the first stone of an elegant building he is about to erect at the bottom of the Royal Square for the Chamber of Commerce. A silver cup with the following inscription is to be placed beneath the said stone :- ‘Dieu protégé le Commerce. Cet edifice a ete erige pour le Chambre de Commerce de cette ile; la premiere pierre a ete posee par Philippe Falle et Betsy Esther Touzel son epouse, le 3 Novembre 1835.’ The cup, we understand, will be filled with the various silver and copper coins of the present reign as usual on such occasions.’ The house became Perrot Brothers Printing Establishment.
The Chamber of Commerce has moved from the Royal Square a couple of years ago to Pier Road.
Colomberie House, St Helier
Built in 1771, formerly owned by Sir Thomas Pipon the Lieutenant Bailiff and purchased 1800 by Clement Hemery. This was the main Hemery residence in Jersey for 110 years. The English architect Sir John Soane designed alterations to Colomberie House, and in the archives of the Sir John Soane’s Museum in his former house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields London there is a letter from Clement Hemery to Sir John Soane dated 10.2.1810, with plans and elevations of the building as it was in 1810, and Soane’s suggested alterations. (Soane Archive 46/4/1A) Although the plans were watered down and not fully executed there was still a considerable change in style, especially to the interior layout. The text of the letter is as follows :
Jersey 10th Feby 1810
I have herewith to commit you a sketch of the front and back of my house which you informed ? Philip Le Breton about six weeks ago when he left the ground plans with you was necessary in order that you might be enabled to modernize it. The alterations I require are these :
To increase the dining parlour v new model the windows
To increase the drawing room and ? to new model the windows. This I am apprehensive will be attended with more difficulty than the altering of the dining parlour owing to the lowness of the beams on that story. I therefore leave it to you to join the two rooms in one by means of folding doors, or to take from one to add to the other if you think the height will admit of it.
To contain a back staircase for servants.
To lay out the ground in the back of the house from which I am removing a coach and outhouses which I propose rebuilding on a piece of land separate from the house.
To have the plan of a new portico in front of the house in lieu of the old one which has been removed.
You have above the changes I have chiefly in view ? which I shall thank you to point out such others as may strike you after having examined the plan, and should you require further explanations you will please write to me for them. As the season of the year for beginning this job is now advancing, I will be obliged to you to let me have your plan as soon as possible, forwarding it to me directed as at foot.
I am sir
Your most obedient serv.
Care of Charles Ward Esqr
Colomberie had ‘barley sugar’ balusters on the stairs, which are rare in Jersey houses.
The papers include an elevation of the house as it was in 1810 and a ground plan.
In August and September 1841 alterations were made to Colomberie House.
There is a painting by Cope showing Clement Hemery in the Library at Colomberie.
In December 1863 the Submarine Telegraph Company laid the cable in Colomberie Street, but on September 22nd 1865 the cable was damaged by the workmen employed by Miss Hemery as they were laying a gas main. It took 8 days to find the fault, at first thought to be submarine, which disrupted communication between Jersey and France.
The will of Ann Hemery, widow of Clement, who died in 1865, gives us a glimpse into Colomberie House :
‘The 2 marble tables in the drawing room I give to my son Clement, with the looking glass standing between them. The portraits of the late uncle James Hemery by Opie, and those of my father and mother by Howard, I desire to be considered heirlooms and always to remain in the senior branch of the family. My likeness and that of my dear husband now in the drawing room I give to Ann and Julia to dispose of after their death.’
As well as a library, there were globes, at least one of which would have been of the earth. There were also greenhouses on the site.
The will of Clement Hemery (who died in 1877) also mentions objects at Colomberie.
It remained a family home until 1911 when Julia Hemery, the last member of the immediate Hemery family in Jersey, died.
After that it was owned by the Blampied family, who leased it for use as a school. At one time it was home to the Collegiate School for Girls. The school closed on 14.12.1984.
It was bought by the firm of Coopers Lybrand Deloitte who had offices next door. It needed much repair, but they neglected it and it was earmarked for demolition. Save Jersey’s Heritage and architectural historians Dr Warwick Rodwell and Ptolemy Dean campaigned to save it, and former pupils of the school joined a protest march.
The law suit Coopers Lybrand Deloitte v. Island Development Committee 26.2.1992 was part of the legal challenge to the campaign to stop demolition. Even the Planning Committee tried to reverse the previous decision but were taken to court, and sadly lost. Colomberie House was demolished in 1998, with some elements saved and stored. It was a loss to St Helier and the architectural history of Jersey. The new building, owned by Abacus, is called La Motte Chambers.
Plaisance was built sometime before 1819, as Jacques Hemery is recorded as living there, and he died in that year. His son in law, John William Dupre, the Attorney General, was living there from the 1830s to the 1850s.
The 1851 Jersey census records at Plaisance : John W Dupre, widow aged 60 profession attorney general, his sister Eliza, his niece Mrs Weston, 2 grand nieces and 4 servants. He also owned a house called Meadowbank.
Clement and Portia Hemery moved in in about 1856, he living there until 1877. Then it was sold to a member of the Falle family. Plaisance was situated near Colomberie, the other principal Hemery residence, on the eastern side of St. Helier.
After Joshua George Falle bought the property, T B Davis (Thomas Benjamin Davis 1867 – 1942) a choirboy at the nearby St. Luke’s Church, was punished for stealing chestnuts in the grounds of Plaisance, a common enough occurrence perhaps, except that he vowed to buy the house and demolish it when he became rich. Unfortunately for Plaisance he did become rich in South Africa and was able to do what he had vowed. His son Howard had died in the First World War and T B Davis demolished Plaisance in 1937 and gave it to the town as a park, which he named after his son, Howard Davis. I have heard that when he returned to Jersey to see if his instructions had been carried out, he found the cellars had been left. He ordered that these too be destroyed. Only the Billiard Room, separate from the main house, was left, along with the boundary wall, railings and walled garden. The park was opened in 1939.
The gates and Davis appeared on a stamp in 1985.
Hemery Row is part of La Motte Street in St Helier, numbers 37 – 49.
In 1798 Jean Brohier sold to Jacques Hemery ‘La Maison Colombier’ and buildings and land known as ‘Le Manoir de Tehi’ in the Parish of St Helier, Fief of Buisson. (not Colomberie House, but an older property) The price was 31 quartiers of wheat. The purchaser was given possession of the property on 25.12.1798. This land became Hemery Row. Additional fields were purchased from Thomas Pipon 10.1.1801, and Charles William Le Geyt 24.3.1798.
Jacques built a row of 7 houses. They are granite built, and one has this stonework exposed. They had small gardens out front behind iron railings, and tiled roofs. The windows have internal shutters. A pair of doors separated the front door and downstairs room from the rear quarters, the stairs being not fully visible from the front door, which has a circular frame over it. A lean to building served as a wash house, and there were stables and a coach house.
Only five houses remain, numbers 37, 39, 41, 43, and 45 La Motte Street. 47 became part of a garage and some of the walls of 49 survive.
In 1809 Stead’s Guide to Jersey called them ‘excellent houses’
‘The viewer must be struck by the generous proportions of the house, thus giving wide halls and staircases, large rooms and an air of spaciousness’ George W. Croad ‘A Jersey Album’
Jacques Hemery made over the houses to his brother Clements children by deeds of gift dated 16.7.1808.
Six daughters of his brother Clement received a house, Margaret, Susan, Elizabeth, Jane, Mary and Sarah. Jacques their brother received no.49, the largest property. They had to pay him £40 per annum. Jacques’ seventh niece Anne had married Jean Robin and gone to live in Ireland, so did not need a house.
W Gregory established a large livery stable and carriage bazaar. He lived at 42 and 45 La Motte Street. From 1861 he is at 7, Hemery Row. (49 La Motte Street) He considerably altered the property, and built large stables at the back, with haylofts, stores and workshops. He also owned 47 La Motte Street and it was turned into flats around the 1920s.
A plaque on Hemery Row was unveiled by David Hemery on 11.7.1977, the Hon. Mrs C Leapman was also present. Her great grandfather was Charles Hemery.
7 Pier Road St Helier.
This was demolished for museum extensions, being next to the Societe Jersiaise Museum. Most rooms were panelled with elaborate and beautifully wrought overmantels. A few windows had retained their sashes with the heavy Georgian glazing bars, and the outstanding feature was the great central staircase (dismantled and stored) but it was so large that the rooms it served were inconveniently small. The building was built in 1750 for Nicolas Fiott, and his son Edouard sold it to Elie Durell for 105 quarters of wheat rente in 1792. Durell still owned it in 1797. In 1828 it belonged to Clement Hemery who had married Anne Susan Durell, daughter of Elie in 1808. In 1835 the owner was William Cuming, who bought it from her. In 1849 Cuming also appears as the owner, owing 95 quarters of wheat rente, 53 due to Clement Hemery. (property rents in Jersey were calculated in wheat in those days) In 1858 the Cumings appear in almanacs as wine merchants at 7 Pier Road. There was bankruptcy later on and the property reverted to Clement Hemery who sold it in 1875 to Joshua George Falle.
In 1808 Clement Hemery received a house and fields between Ann Street and St Saviours Road, paying his uncle Jacques a revenue.
A document dated 27.6.1835 between Clement Hemery son of Clement and Thomas Messervy, son of Jean, son of Thomas, records the lease to Thomas of land in Simon Street St. Helier for 13 quartiers of wheat paid annually.
Jacques owned 2 houses in Hill Street. He purchased them in 1774 and 1775, from Elizabeth and Jeanne Le Hardy, 16.7.1774, from Jacques Amice Lempriere 4.1.1774, and Elizabeth Durell, wife of James Hilgrove 20.1.1775. They were bordered by the Mont de la Ville (Fort Regent), Hill Street, and Regent Road. By 1804 one was owned by his brother Clement, who advertised it for rent. The advert read :
To rent. Cl. Hemery esquire advises that his house next to that of Thomas Anley esquire and occupied by Capt. Cl. Falle is for rent from next St Michael’s day.
Jacques’ house passed to his nephew Pierre Hemery also on 16.7.1808, again for payments during Jacques lifetime. Then it passed to Clement and his son Clement.