Inventories of household effects

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Inventories of household effects


1720 Oak desk

This article by Joan Stevens and Jean Arthur was first published in the 1972 Annual Bulletin of La Société Jersiaise

Inventories of household effects, like all primary sources, are of vital importance to the historian, and they give a more accurate picture of the domestic scene of a particular date than can any more formal account. At the same time, like all personal documents, they have their limitations.

Reasons for inventories

The first question one has to ask is "Why was this inventory made?" It is usually for a partage or a sale, after the death of the owner. If it was for the former reason it is likely that all the property will be faithfully listed, but if the heirs had a sale in mind, it is probable that they first allocated some of the things among themselves, one hopes amicably, or that the more valuable items were given or bequeathed by the owner to his close relatives.

And so no two inventories are quite parallel; one may include farm stock and implements, another may list the contents of a town house; one may have excluded personal clothing, and another silver or books, for purely personal reasons, at which one can only hazard a guess. So each inventory must be judged on its merits, while at the same time affording material for a general assessment of domestic life, and invaluable clues for tracing the changing scene through the centuries.

We have been able to work on over a dozen such lists, ranging from 1583 to 1866, and they are well spread over the years, with one major exception. In spite of energetic efforts we have been unable to find an inventory in the early 19th century, which we deeply regret. Of those examined, the most complete, and therefore the most representative, is that of Clement Le Montais, 1775; it included all aspects of household goods, (though with a marked paucity of books) as well as all farm implements, crops and livestock. Space necessarily prevents us from publishing all these inventories (though they have all been transcribed and translated,) and so we have chosen the Le Montais example, and it will be found in the appendix in full, in transcription and translation.


There will be disagreement among our readers about some of the suggested translations, and we can only offer them, having come to these conclusions after working on all the available lists, and arriving at what seems the most likely and the most logical translation, taking the context into consideration, and allowing for considerable latitude in spelling. One must also allow for the fact that a word may change its significance or even its meaning in the course of two centuries. No two people would arrive at exactly the same conclusions, and indeed no two people would choose quite the same terms in describing the contents of a kitchen or a linen cupboard, even in modern times. We have derived much help from Mr Le Maistre's Dictionnaire, in comprehending some of the obscure terms which could not be found in French dictionaries, and we thank him, and also many of our friends whom we have pestered with questions about words they dimly remember being used by their grandmothers.

A few words we have left in the original. A bachin, the brass cauldron used for cooking preserves, and particularly for black butter, which can be found in all imaginable sizes, is so well known locally that the word needs no translation. Similarly, a baheur (bahu, bahut) a leather-covered trunk with elaborate decoration in brass nails. is untranslatable, though there are indications in some lists that the word may have been used to describe any trunk or chest.

The word marche has defeated us. It appears in all the inventories up to the end of the 18th century, and would seem to mean a type of material used for household linen and some underclothes. Mr Le Maistre thinks that it indicates items actually in use, as opposed to those put away in cupboards at the moment when the inventory was made. But the context in which it is always found, as well as other references to items in daily use, does not appear to support this theory.

The Victoria and Albert Museum have suggested that it is a material made by a loom a la marche that is with treadles on the loom, and that "it was thus a simple patterned weave, probably of linen. In view of the uncertainty we have left the word untranslated in all our lists.

Another word which has caused some hesitation is 'serviette'. People whom we have questioned assert that a serviette is a hand towel, and an essui-main a kitchen cloth or drying-up cloth. But it seems to us that the exact meaning has changed over the years. Very few essui-mains are mentioned, whereas very large numbers of serviettes occur in all the lists, and almost always directly after, or in the same sentence with, table cloths. So we have called the latter table napkins, though it may be that the word was used to cover any kind of utility cloth.

The numerous words used to describe barrels and casks are confusing, and the terminology does not appear to be consistent, and may have varied from time to time; therefore one cannot be dogmatic about precise sizes.

It is noticeable that some words are given in English, though the spelling may be a trifle original. This is clearly when an item was introduced from England, and its name was accepted with no attempt at translation. Examples are; tankard, decanter, cupboard, tray, Jack (leather bottle) perambulator, blanket, horse (clothes horse) dressing table and washstand. Mahogany and acajou are equally used, though in earlier lists it is the former term which appears.

The most important aspect of this study is an appreciation of the gradual changes, the introduction of new ideas or materials, and the evolution from a very sparsely furnished house, cold, inconvenient and uncomfortable by our standards, to the elegant home of about 1800. The second half of the 18th century is shown to be a time of considerable comfort and polish, with houses in which we of this age could live quite comfortably and happily, but for the one aspect without which modern life crumbles, plumbing. The complete absence of any facilities for washing in the bedrooms, even in 1792, is the most puzzling thing of all, and it seems to suggest that even the small triangular washstands, some of which survive in local families, were Regency rather than Georgian.


The following are the inventories on which we have based our conclusions, with a few notes which appear relevant. They will be referred to by their date, the aspect most important to this particular survey.

  • 1583. Furniture belonging to St Helier's Rectory. The Rector was Pierre Dangey. Apart from a few cooking utensils, mostly of pewter, he only had a bed with shabby (fort usée) hangings, a chest without a lock, a mattress, and a table, on which to celebrate Holy Communion, with a cloth to cover it.
  • 1668. Jean Messervy. Jean Messervy married Sara Le Sueur, and their marriage stone of 1656, with Messervy arms, is at the Museum. His house was on the site of Linden Hall, Mont au Pretre. He was the brother of Maximilien, a notorious rascal, and was the great grandfather of Daniel Messervy, the diarist.
  • 1676. Philippe Marett. (1628-1676) This inventory was published in Annual Bulletin 1896. The house concerned is Avranches, St Lawrence, but not, of course, the present one which was built in 1819. He was a Jurat, and died unmarried, hence the sale of the property.
  • 1680. Philippe Messervy (nephew of above) (1640-1679). He was the son of Maximilien Messervy and Collette La Cloche and, as he was unmarried, his two sisters, Sara and Rachel, were his heirs. The house is unidentified.
  • 1686. Rachel La Cloche (1619-1686) widow of Helier de Carteret, of La Hougue, St Peter, the house being the forerunner of the present one. Rachel's eldest son was Philippe de Carteret, the first Governor of New Jersey, and her second son married Marie de Carteret, Dame de la Trinite.
  • 1696. Charles de Carteret, son of the above. (1646-1696) He was married twice and the sale of his effects was complicated by the existence of the children of both marriages. The house concerned was Trinity Manor. It is clear from the papers accompanying this inventory that the contents of the Manor were in a very poor condition, and had in any case been divided between two sisters, Marie and Anne, and one of the papers says, in translation: "Everyone knows that for a long time, that is to say since the wars between the King and Parliament in England, there have been no repairs to any furniture at Trinity Manor, apart from essential replacements. When Marie Girard died, everything was divided between her two daughters and only half the old furniture remained at the Manor. Charles de Carteret left everything so poor, so shabby and so much in rags that friends of the house were quite embarrassed."
  • 1704. Anne Seale. (1641-1704) Anne Seale was the wife of Francois de Carteret of St Ouen, and inherited La Maison du Coin, La Haule, from her father. The inventory was made in the interest of her grandson, Philippe de Carteret, a posthumous child and still a minor.
  • 1757. Philippe de Ste Croix. (1717 -1757) Philippe, the son of Edouard de Ste Croix and Anne Langlois,was born at La Vallette in the Ruelle Vaucluse, off Mont Cochon; he died in St Lawrence, but the house concerned has not been identified.
  • 1763. Thomas Pipon (1707 -1763) Thomas' eldest son, also Thomas, went to live in England, and the second son Jacques inherited the house, which, much altered, is now called Elliston House, on the Boulevard at St Aubin. The family were prosperous merchants and ship owners. His father, again Thomas, was Constable of St Brelade from 1708-13, and a stone with his initials and those of his wife, Susanne Pipon of Noirmont, was set in a low wall near the house, but it has now disappeared under a covering of cement plaster. Surprisingly there is a monument to him (the father) in Bath Abbey, recording his death there in 1735, at the age of 57. This inventory is very full for the household effects, but does not include farm equipment.
  • 1775. Clement Le Montais (1738-1775) The house concerned is La Chaumiere du Chene, St Peter. Clement Le Montais died unmarried, and the property, which was being cared for by his aunt, Anne Le Montais, passed to his brother Francois, who also died unmarried seven years later, when it passed to a cousin, Edouard.
  • 1792. Philippe Marett (1744-1791) Philippe Marett married twice, firstly Marie Mauger, and secondly Jeanne de Carteret Remon, and there were children by both marriages. He was Seigneur des Arbres and Le Fief qui fut a l'Eveque d'Avranches, and the house concerned was Avranches, but again, not the present one. This is a very full inventory, but excludes any mention of silver or jewellery, which must presumably have been bequeathed or given separately. A house as well stocked as this would not have been without silver.
  • 1819. Philippe Dumaresq (c1781-1819) Philippe Dumaresq was a Captain in the Royal Navy, and the second son of Sir John Dumaresq. This is not a true inventory, but a record of sale of only silver, books and clothing. It is included as it is the only record we have been able to find of this date.
  • 1865. Moise Orange. (d. 1867) This inventory immediately shows the great changes as we move into the more cosy and fully furnished Victorian era. The house concerned is Les Ruettes, St John.
  • 1866. J J Collas (1822-1871) This is a list of sale of part of the contents of Cleremont House, now (much altered) the Mont Millais Hotel. John Jervoise Collas had inherited it from his father, Lt John Collas RN, who built it. The list is written in English, and the amounts are apparently in pounds sterling.
  • 1867. Francois Guillaume Collas (1808-1867) This list is of the part contents of St Martin's House, made at the death of Francois, when it was inherited by his first cousin J J Collas, (above). Clearly the house was being let, only partly furnished.

It may be noticed that of the people quoted above the two women lived to the ages of 67 and 73 respectively, but ten of the men died before they were sixty and seven of them under fifty.

1760 mahogany desk


The most interesting fact about actual articles of furniture is the gradual change in the woods used. In the early lists there is only oak and deal, with a mention of cypress wood in 1668 and again in 1675, and one of beech in 1696. By 1763 the prosperous Thomas Pipon was importing the exciting new wood from the New World, mahogany, that was to sweep over Europe and supplant the old indigenous woods. He had mahogany, as well as walnut, in his parloir (drawing room) and the best bedroom, and the older oak pieces were relegated to second floor bedrooms.

It is the same in 1775, with the chance addition of some white hazel chairs. By 1866 rosewood had appeared, but almost everything else was mahogany. Une paire de tirettes and later une paire de tiroirs indicated a chest of drawers, the word pair inferring any number in the plural. In the early lists there are few items except tables, chairs, benches (bancelles) stools, baheurs, and a few instances of deze or dextre a form of desk, perhaps a portable one which stood on a table. Later this gave way to scrutore or scrutoire and then escritoire. In 1763 there was some form of desk in most rooms.

The example illustrated is almost certainly the scrutore de chene in the Marett inventory of 1792, and was sold for £20 5s (livres tournois.) It was bought by the tuteur on behalf of the eldest son, and thus remained at Avranches. It is considered to be locally made, around 1710-1720, and in a well devised secret drawer it contained a collection of personal papers, the latest of which was dated 1727. They were the papers of Pierre Mauger, whose daughter and heiress was the first wife of Francois Marett. Though in rather poor condition, it is an excellent example of the work of a competent local craftsman, copying the latest fashion for a business man's desk, with a multiplicity of hidden shelves and drawers.

At Trinity Manor in 1696 there was a desk "with brushes and implements which the late Marie de Carteret used to paint and draw, with all the miniature portraits". She also painted three chests, or baheurs, for her three daughters.

The second illustration shows a mahogany desk, which is more than likely to be one of those itemised in the Pipon inventory (1763), for a descendant, Nancy Pipon, bequeathed a desk to Sir John Le Couteur, and this fine piece, which is still at his home, Belle Vue, is thought to be the one concerned.

The earliest chairs have wooden seats, and are followed by those seated in leather or rush, and as time goes on an occasional armchair (acoudoir), also appears, later called a fauteuil. Cane seated chairs also appear, but any form of sofa is much later, perhaps the earliest mention noticed being the 'sophas' in Prince's Tower in 1819, in the diary of Philippe Marett. The large number of chairs in the Pipon house (1763) suggests a considerable amount of entertaining.

Mirrors appear from the beginning, gradually becoming more and more common. The close-stool (clostouile in 1675) appears, but not always. A common item is, naturally, a spinning wheel, and varying amounts of wool are quoted, by the pound, combed and uncombed, usually contained in a pillow-case. Various cupboards come as armoire, harmoire, ormoire or coubort, and the local term presse does not appear in early lists.

Naturally there are many tables of various woods and shapes, and some with leaves. Many of the bedrooms had a mahogany table a the suggesting breakfast in bed for the lady of the house, or that in a house with no dining room, she may have entertained friends to tea in the bedroom, for there are also more chairs than one would expect in a bedroom. The term gueridon (the spelling varies considerably) appears throughout these lists. It indicates what we now call an occasional table, and is usually the type on a central pillar branching into three feet, and is essentially 18th century. However we find the word guiridon in the 1675 inventory, and this was probably what the name really indicates, being a small table or stand on which a light was placed. It next appears in the 1703 list, still far too early for the design now referred to as a gueridon.

In the earlier lists the bedrooms contained a surprising miscellany of articles, often including guns, saddles and harness. The most important piece of furniture was the bed. There were sometimes two four-posters in a room, and often it is clear that there were other small simpler beds as well, perhaps for the children. In 1704 there was a mention of a bed (chalet ou chaine) in the passage where the manservant slept. With the bed went its hangings, underlay, feather bed, bolster, pillows and bedspread. Contrary to belief, the hangings were not always red, but blue, green, yellow, brown and white have all been mentioned, though red is the commonest.

The material is sometimes damask, sometimes serge, or linen, but most often it is camelot, usually described as being inferior cotton material. The bedspreads were often quilted and embroidered. There is a notable lack of what we call soft furnishings in these houses; no curtains (rideaux de fenetre as opposed to rideaux de lit) appear until 1763, when the Pipon house had one pair in the parloir, and one pair in the best bedroom, but the Maretts in 1792 had none. By 1866 window blinds were quoted, with valence and, for a town house, curtains, gilt cornice and fringe.

Carpets, too, were almost non-existent, though Rachel La Cloche in 1686 had un petit tapis raye de drouguet, that is a small striped carpet of strong wool material. By 1866 carpets were mentioned for most rooms, and also linoleum (toile eire) appeared. Frequent mentions, at all dates, of une table avec sa carree we conclude refers to a table with a cloth belonging to it, and in one instance the item was une table avec son tapis. An item in 1675 is more confusing, une table avec sa carree avec un tapis desus, followed in 1668 by un tapis pour une table. In 1867 there appeared a square mahogany table and cloth, and a dining table and its cover. So the cloth seems to have been inseparable from its table.


Some jewels are mentioned, watches, gold, silver and pinch-beck. Also rings, brooches and ear-rings, and, at Trinity Manor, two pearl necklaces, one with a clasp in rose form in diamonds. Charles de Carteret gave these to his (second) wife and his daughter-in-law on their wedding day, the ladies in question being sisters.

Of the silver items, spoons are the commonest; the cuilliere a soupe in 1763 was probably a shallow table spoon, rather than the modern acceptance of the term. In 1675 Philippe Marett had six silver forks, and a few years later there were but five at Trinity Manor, and perhaps they were the same ones, as it was Charles de Carteret of Trinity who bought the forks at the Marett sale. The total amount of silver at the Manor was assessed at 4lb at the most. By 1703 a list gives five knives and six forks, at Maison du Coin, though it does not specify that they were silver. They might have been steel, with handles of ebony, ivory or silver; a pair that are reputed to have belonged to Charles II, which have survived in the Island, have silver handles.

The 1757 list, of a rather poorer house, had no forks at all, but the Pipons a few years later had three cases of knives and forks, two sets with ivory handles and one set for dessert. The 1792 list, which showed no silver at all, had three sets of knives and forks. All this suggests that the forks were paired with the knives rather than with the spoons, hence the scarcity of silver forks, even at a later date.

When Philippe Dumaresq's effects were sold in 1819, his silver included the rather unusual item of asparagus tongs, as well as a silver skewer, wine labels and wine strainer, but only four forks, one of which was said to be'very old 1706' - and this compared with well over a hundred spoons. On board (he served in HMS Victory) he took two table and three tea spoons, but not one fork. Again, in 1866, the Moise Orange list contained a great many silver spoons but no forks at all.

There are mentions of other silver items, too. Thimble, scissor case, punch ladies, pins and needles; caps, purses and gloves embroidered in silver and gold, gold lace, gold and silver buttons and a gold cord, a silver cup in which 'my late husband kept his tobacco' and numerous other items. In 1686 there was a silver gilt salt cellar in three separate parts, and many other mentions of silver goblets, cups and mugs, and salt cellars, one with 'shovels'. One assumes that a coupe indicated a cup on a stem and a tasse a cup with no stem.

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Pewter and copper were quite common. The former had disappeared completely from the lists of 1866-68, but was most important during the earlier years, providing large numbers of plates and dishes, measures, jugs, candlesticks and a barber's bowl, and chamber pots. An item of a plat de nuit and plat de lit may indicate a bedpan. In 1696 there were 34 dishes and 8 dozen pewter plates at Trinity, and Anne Seale in 1703 had 22 dishes and 5 dozen plates in pewter. Her list included an item une lampe de cuivre perhaps the crasset type. Candle snuffers were numerous and could be copper, steel or tin. Copper provided large numbers of the kitchen utensils, candlesticks, fire-irons and fenders, coffee pots and pepper pots, and, in 1763, the decoration to a grate, probably of the fire basket style. In 1866 in a town house there was a paraffin lamp and a gas pendant, but naturally still only lanterns and candles in the country.


By 1792 china (fayence, terre blanche, terrierie, porcelaine) in all its forms was taking the place of pewter, as the latter had replaced wood, for as late as 1775 we find an item of wooden plates. In 1675 there were but five pottery dishes and no real china, but by 1763 the Pipons did not even worry to itemise the large quantity of china in the house. By 1775 porcelaine teasets were described, with cups, saucers and sugar bowls, but the tea pots, though numerous, were usually pewter, copper or pottery. No instance of a silver tea pot has actually occurred in these lists, though they were known.

By this period specialised containers had appeared, such as oil and vinegar bottles, mustard pots, pickle jars, custard glasses, salad bowls, soup tureens, and also glasses designated for claret and champagne. There were decanters, too, the English word being used. A fontaine and a fontaine a laver les mains appear, and in the former case it was in the dining room; such a room in itself was a rarity at that date (1763), meals being taken in the kitchen in most houses. The frequent presence of Bible and Prayer Book in the kitchen is further evidence of this.


Pictures seem to have been treated in a somewhat cavalier fashion, and until the Victorian era they were not numerous. In 1675 Avranches contained a map of the Island, Speed's perhaps, and a portrait 'of the deceased', very probably the one of Philippe Marett now belonging to the States. We have already mentioned that Marie de Carteret of Trinity painted miniatures, and the 1703 list has 'thirteen little portraits in their frames'. In 1757 the de Ste Croix had neuf tableaux des prospects des isles de Jersey at Guernsey. It is intriguing to imagine what pictures they could have been at that date, - perhaps those of J H Bastide?

The Pipons in 1763 had portraits of Thomas Pipon, father and son and also deux landskips and fifteen glazed pictures not otherwise described, and also a vague item of a quantité of portraits. In 1792 the best drawing room at Avranches contained an engraving of General Conway and 17 other engravings and the sale list also mentions two lots of portraits sold for £3 18s (livres tournois). By 1867 St Martins House had seven paintings and prints in the lower parlour, two maps in the small parlour, various engravings and nineteen 'likenesses' in the drawing room as well as a map and two prints, and 26 pictures in the best bedroom. Few ornaments appear in the early lists, - one garniture de cuivre and an occasional plaster figure - until the Victorian era. But one surprising item is five cases with flowers under glass in 1763, a type of ornament one associates with a far later age.


The books are most interesting, and really deserve an article in their own right. In some houses they were few, and such as there were, almost all of a religious nature. But others, notably Anne Seale in 1703, Thomas Pipon in 1763 and Francois Marett in 1792, had considerable libraries and give evidence of great learning, intimacy with the classics (mostly Latin, but a little Greek) and complete tri-lingualism, or indeed an ability to speak four languages, as doubtless all these men also spoke Jersey-French. Of the English books, in 1668 there was an English Bible and other religious works, a life of Henry VII, a book of Statutes, a book of philosophy, and un petit volume anglais apprenant a bien vivre.

Philippe Marett in 1675 had no English books, but his small collection included Les Oeuvres de M Voiture (1598-1648) which also appears in other lists. Philippe de Carteret, grandson and ward of Anne Seale, who died in 1712 at the age of 17, had, or had inherited, an astonishing library. Of English material it included Baker's Chronicles, The State of England 1691, Milton, Heylin Cosmography in folio, The Wonders of the Peaks in Derbyshire, Pilgrim's Progress and A little handful of Cordial Comfort, amongst others, mostly religious and philosophical. The rest is mainly classical Latin, and there is only one item of local origin, a manuscript of Les Chroniques.

The Pipon list of 1763 is somewhat similar. However, it immediately proclaims itself as being up to date by the item of four volumes of The Tatler. There are also Clarendon's History of the Great Rebellion in 6 volumes, Swift in four volumes and Milton, and The History of Jersey, presumably Falle's. The rest show an interest in dictionaries and geography, with, again, a strong representation of theological works. The book list of 1792 is longer, and again somewhat the same. This time it is the Spectator which is provided for light reading. Again Milton figures, but never Shakespeare. Thompson's Seasons was popular and in this library there were many books on travel, and signs of interest in astronomy and gardening, and a book called The Young Secretary's Guide. There are also music books, and the house owned a flute and a violin. The sale of these books totalled £313, over a quarter of the whole contents of the house. A curious footnote shows that a sum of £22 (about 75% of the whole) was given to the poor as Deniers a Dieu - God's pence. The poor might be glad to have .75% of some recent London sales.


The contents of the linen cupboard are always most meticulously listed. In most cases they show a goodly store of sheets, pillow cases, table cloths and table napkins. For instance at Trinity in 1696 there were 25 pairs of sheets and 18 pairs of pillow cases. The material is usually some form of linen, and often embroidered, frequently in colour, and sometimes initialled. Words used are damas, toile, lin, Hollande, and Marche. The 1757 inventory is the only one to mention a bolster case (cinq poches a traversier marque E) and also a lace cloth to put on a chest of drawers, although in other respects this particular inventory seems less luxurious than others. In 1866 the list is still very much the same, though nappe has replaced doublier for a table cloth and there is a distinction between serviettes and serviettes de table.


If space permitted it would have been advantageous to add a glossary of terms used in these inventories, for they are legion. And nowhere more so than in the kitchen. Words for various forms of cooking pan are; - pot, chaudron, chauderon, chaudiere, casserole, marmitte, poelle, stewpan and sauspan, and a lachefrite to catch the fat dropping from a joint on a spit. Then there are cuve, cuveau, bassin, crocq tourtiere (pie dish) and escuelle among the various containers.

Items serving the great open hearths appear in all the lists, such as spit (broche) tripod (trepied) bellows (soufflets) and irons, and various fire-irons, and in one case a watering can which may have been kept there to damp down the ash at night. The urne a the is probably a kettle, replaced in 1866 by a ticle, for the first time. The materials for these utensils were pewter, brass, copper, iron, tin, and paslin an obsolete metal something like brass. There are echoes of butter-making, distilling, and salting meat, and scales occur prominently with weights in metal and stone. Pestles and mortars are important too, and various types of sieve and strainer. As has already been said, in most houses meals were taken in the kitchen,and so there were usually several tables and many chairs. One instance of a gardemanger in 1668 is the only indication of a larder.


The farm animals mentioned were cows, oxen, horses, sheep and pigs. The numbers were not great, as they served subsistence farming, particularly where the cows were concerned, with no thought of sale of milk or meat. Somewhat surprisingly the shipping merchant, Thomas Pipon, at St Aubin, had four cows and four horses, which he could scarcely have grazed near the house, with the rock immediately behind it and the sea in front. It is likely that these boulevard houses had land above them. But at Trinity Manor in 1696 there were 18 horses and mules, four draught oxen and over 200 sheep. In 1866 the five cows at Les Ruettes were distinguished by their colours and one was called La St Martinaise.

Farm equipment and crops

Naturally many types of farm vehicles appeared, with ploughs, harrows, hay-ladders, and many parts of carts such as wheels. There were many variants in the size of barrel and cask, mostly containing cider, and occasionally vinegar. Wine and brandy and gin were imported in barrels, particularly through the firm of Jean Martel, of Cognac fame, who originated in St Brelade.

There were items for hay-making, for winnowing, for carpentry and for gardening, including, in 1792, frames for forcing melons. Fairly large quantities of sugar and pepper were mentioned. There were specialised tools, too, such as parsnip forks and vraic forks, and many types of trap and snare for vermin. With a sickle there usually appears the word mitanes presumably a protective glove. Lead and slate and stone were brought from Handois to Trinity Manor, and there is a mention of stone from 'Monmado'. It is surprising to find slate roofing on a country house, such as the old Handois Manor house was, as early as 1696.

Crops mentioned were hay, straw, oats, barley, mixed corn, (blé mouture) beans and wheat, the latter being designated spring wheat (tremais) and winter wheat (isenage). Thomas Pipon mentioned masts and spars, one 57ft long, which were on the beach (sous le sable) at St Aubin. At the sale in 1866, 36 lots of wood, almost certainly from oak trees known to have been cut down, and branches of apple wood, as well as faggots and a heap of manure, were itemised at Les Ruettes, St John.


To sum up, these highly important and fascinating lists lead us through more than two hundred years, and show a considerable degree of comfort in our ancestors' way of life, parti-cularly in the 18th century, but with little change in the farmyard through the whole period. The luxury of the Pipon household, and the sad story of conditions at Trinity Manor, seem to suggest that commerce pays better than inherited property.

Since going to press we have found and examined a later inventory. It is that of Jean Bichard, dated 13 May 13 1835, and the house in question is almost certainly Seaview, St Lawrence.

Nothing in this inventory invalidates what has been said in this article, but there are a few interesting items to notice. It contains the earliest instance we know of a stair carpet (tapie dans les escaliers). The terms 'field bed' and 'dressing table', given in English, would have been new at the time, the former probably influenced by military camp beds.

In the main room the barometer and some of the chairs are said to be French, but one does not know if that identified them in comparison with English or with local manufacture. The word antie for a pillow case has now become ortie. Le Moulin a chevaux may mean a small mill operated by a horse when water power was low in dry weather, but it is more likely to refer to the actual cider crusher, which was operated by horse power.

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