Blampied Farm

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Jersey houses

St Lawrence:

Blampied Farm


IBP♥♥SL 1808

The Blampied family owned land in the area of what is now called Blampied farm in around 1600. Property transactions show the inheritance following the death of Marin Blampied in 1607, his eldest son Nicolas’ death in 1609 and inheritances by Nicolas’ eldest son Drouet and grandson Thomas.[1]

In December 1693 Philippe Blampied, son of Thomas, was imprisoned because of non payment of loans, dating from 1682 and 1687, from Jean Le Sebirel. To solve his problems Philippe sold a rente, secured on the farm, to the poor of the parish of St Lawrence (La Charité).This enable Philippe to get out of prison but left his heirs with an annual charge until final reimbursement some two centuries later.

  • 1866: Philippe Blampied, son of Jean, leased to Henry Vatcher, originally from Dorchester, a cotil with a right of way across the farm. Mr Vatcher had discovered that the Handois rock gave a toughness to china clay and started to quarry the valley, transporting the clay north across Blampied farm rather than south down the valley, due to the better gradient for the carts to travel down to St Helier.
  • 1872: Blampied Farm was sold to the Vatchers and the family retired to the south of the parish. When the export of china clay became uneconomic, all the Vatcher properties were acquired in 1929 by the Waterworks Company. Shortly afterwards the quarry and valley were flooded and became Handois reservoir and Blampied farm was abandoned. Later, the property was occupied by an employee of the company but he preferred China Quarry Farm and again it became just a store. The Waterworks Company would not let the house be occupied claiming there was a risk of contaminating the water and there was an attempt to demolish the farm, thwarted by the planning department.

The current farmhouse dates from about 1806. A datestone of that period may commemorate the completion by Jean Blampied and his wife Susanne, both of St Lawrence. They married on 5 May 1784.

Last Blampied farmer

The last Blampied farmer was Philippe Blampied who died in 1898 aged 96. He mostly had daughters and the sons did not carry on at that farm: the eldest son Jean Blampied (1831-1918) took on another farm in the parish called Trois Bois. Philippe appears to have sold the farm in stages between 1867 and 1872 to Henry Vatcher, who had just started quarrying on the adjacent land sold by Le Brun in 1866.

The last known occupant of the farm, during and shortly after the Second World War, was Arthur Rabet, the Water Bailiff, the china clay quarry by that time having been turned into the Handois Reservoir.

Arthur’s son has told a number of stories about his childhood there. He told of how he and the family used to hide food around the house when the Germans would make their checks towards the end of the Occupation. He also had to line up at gunpoint in the kitchen with his family as Arthur had challenged one soldier whom he had caught stealing eggs.

They kept pigs underground: Arthur had a raised vegetable garden and the pig sty was underneath, accessed from a passage in the end stable. Some escaped Russian PoWS lived in the barn for a while. There are several references to Arthur and his wartime experience on the farm in the book Hitler’s British Isles by Duncan Barrett.

Renovation of the disused farm was approved in 2005.

Historic Environment Record

Rural house retaining some original exterior and interior features, and integrity as a farm group with other earlier structures on the site. Evidence of Blampied family at farm since 1602. Shown on the Richmond Map of 1795. Reference to house dated 1806.

Quarrying around the farm and access route through it in the 19th century. Farm purchased by Jersey New Waterworks company in 1929 for the reservoir and farm abandoned. Property reported as being derelict in 1978 and in 1992 when its demolition was halted. Restored early 2000s.

Five-bay, two-storey house with two-bay former bakehouse to the east. 21st century extension on the north side. Second building to the south, old barn? Third building to the south rebuilt on ruins of an old farm building.

  • House: Front elevation: slate roof with dormers. Stone chimneys with thatch stones, renewed. Ashlar with chequered pattern. Datestone IBP SL 1806. Red stones at base.
  • Side elevation: Gable end wall. Random rubble with dressed stone quoins. Two small openings at attic with ledges above.
  • Barn: pantile roof, chimney renewed. Original envelope preserved.
  • North elevation: Random rubble. Small window with uprights on ground floor. Brick quoins and window surrounds on first floor. Stone steps are replacement of original.
  • East elevation: Gable end. Pierre perdu render, evidence of earlier roofline. Two small windows with uprights, two small attic openings, now blocked up.
  • South elevation: Random rubble. Lean-to pigsty on ground floor. Two first floor windows with uprights and quoin.
  • Old farm building: Rebuilt on ruined base of original. Pantile roof and chimney. New lean-to extension on north side. Random rubble walls with dressed stone quoins. Line of rebuild evident.
  • South elevation: three windows with stone surrounds, uprights and one quoin. Pigsties.

Interior interest is specified as follows: house is single pile, two rooms wide with central passage. Bakehouse on the side, the bake oven now removed. Ground floor corbelled fireplace on east wall. Timber lintel. Location of chimney breast evident on west wall. Original back door with accolade lintel, presumably reused from an earlier building. First floor: 19th century fireplace surrounds, grates are new. Barn has granite fireplace on the west wall with uprights at the base, corbels and joggled lintel, the centre stone being a replacement. Hood above, rendered and visible in double height space.

Notes and references

  1. J Arthur papers The library of La Société Jersiaise
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