If Walls Could Talk: The 17th Century farmhouse whose owner was run over by his own dung cart

  • As part of our new series, If Walls Could Talk, Lily Carter takes a look at the hidden history behind a 17th-century farmhouse

The Old Farm House, formerly Pont du Val Farm, dates back to the 17th Century - making it one of the oldest homes in the area.

It can be seen on the 1795 Richmond Map, where it was one of the few properties in the area.

Today it is owned by the Curzons family.

Stuart Nicolle, a senior archivist at Jersey Heritage, has spent the past few months mapping out the home’s history.

In the 19th century, Jean Vautier lived at the property with his wife Elizabeth and their children.

Jean’s life came to an unfortunate end when he was driving a dung-laden cart drawn by two horses and the harness of the cart snapped, crashing into him.

He was later found collapsed in the road, where two surgeons treated him, but the accident left him paralysed, and he died two days later.

The British press and Jersey Times reported: “On Tuesday last, as Mr John Vautier, of St Brelade, was driving a dung-laden cart, drawn by two horses, towards one of his fields, descending the slope from the main road to the bay, some part of the harness snapped in such a manner that the cart swayed away from the horses, and struck violently against Mr Vautier, who had drawn himself up the embankment of the roadway.

“Some few minutes afterwards, Mr Vautier was found on his knees on the spot where he had been struck and was conveyed to his home, where he was immediately attended by two surgeons, who found that all the upper part of his body had been paralysed by an injury inflicted upon his loins.

“Mr Vautier lingered until 5 o’clock on Thursday morning when death put a period to his sufferings.”

Francois Horman later bought the house from the children of Jean Vautier, represented by tuteur John Coutanche in 1856.

Born in 1826, Francois was one of 14 children and was baptised at St Brelade’s Church.

He had four children with his first wife Jane who died in 1868 at just 35 years old.

Francois later remarried Amelia Ballaine and they had three children together.

Advertisements appeared in the Evening Post in 1899 announcing Francois’ retirement from farming, letting out his land and selling a number of his livestock.

in 1899 The Evening Post announced he was giving up farming, letting his land and was selling his livestock and 40 tons of good manure. Credit: Jersey Archive

The house then passed into the hands of the Jandron family who lived there for most of the 20th Century.

Arthur and Alice Jandron, both natives of St Peter were married at the Parish Church on 11 April 1923. Both children of farmers, the couple continued the family trade.

Living with them in the house during the occupation were their six children Phyllis, Francis, Olive, Albert, Marjorie and Arthur, many of whom would’ve helped out on the farm.

The children were registered as attending La Moye School.

During the occupation, Arthur put in a compensation claim of £7, 17 shillings and 1 penny after the Germans built a road through one of his fields.

He detailed that he had lost 35 perches of rye in La Petite Mielle, a small field near his home address.

The abreuvoir would have been built in the nineteenth century and is now a listed structure. Credit: Société Jersiaise

Just opposite the house is also a nod to the area's rural past with an abreuvoir at the corner of Rue des Sauvalleries.

You could well imagine the Hormans taking their horses down the slope of the abreuvoir in order for them to drink their fill before heading towards the fields or else John Vautier’s before that fateful journey in January 1854.

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