Abraham de Gruchy

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Abraham de Gruchy, 1780-1864, merchant


Abraham de Gruchy in about 1840

Abraham de Gruchy was born in St Saviour on 29 September 1780, the son of Philippe de Gruchy and Elizabeth, née Le Geyt. He became a very successful businessman, arguably Jersey's greatest of all time

This history was written by family historian Guy Dixon

The family business

Family tree


Abraham de Gruchy was born in Maufant, St Saviour, in September 1780 into an old Jersey family, but one whose land-holdings had diminished over the centuries. He was the fourth of seven sons born to Philippe de Gruchy and Elizabeth Le Geyt, his wife, four of whom predeceased their parents. His elder brother, Philippe, would inherit the family`s farm, so Abraham, in about 1796, entered the world of commerce. There is no record of his having been apprenticed into the drapery business, but his earliest surviving Letter Book, covering the years 1814 to 1820, shows his complete mastery of the trade, with such an extensive network of suppliers and agents in France, Holland and England, that he must have been long so employed, even if not apprenticed. [1]

This information might also have been obtained had de Gruchy been involved in sorting imported goods carried by his father`s first cousin, Captain Thomas de Gruchy or employed in the offices of one of Jersey`s Southampton merchants, such as that of Thomas Durell junr. [2] That port handled most of the English goods destined for Channel Island retailers. Certainly, he had, at an early date, gained experience of the local shipping business, as he not only handled incoming orders involving bales of cloth, wool, silk and Irish linen but also took large orders for the export of potatoes, as well as for wines and cider. [3] This was, however, expedient as the cargo holds of vessels bringing to the Island goods for de Gruchy, Le Brocq and others with whom he was associated, would need filling for the return journey.

In 1809, he was working as a buyer for an uncle when, on unlawful business in Holland during the autumn, he was interned with other British merchants and traders, surprised there by the sudden invasion of the country by the French. [4] The uncle for whom he worked is now known to have been Jean Le Brocq (1762-1845), of St Peter, whose niece he had married in 1808. Le Brocq was a wine and general merchant, whose business had been long-established in St Peter, having been founded by his family in the late 17th century. [5] It was so described in 1809:

The King Street store, which was at the centre of the business empire, in Victorian times

“Le Brocque`s shop in St Peter`s ... forms a complete magazine or depot, of almost every article in domestic use, from the most expensive wines, to all the inferior, minutiae of daily household consumption ... Those only who are situated at a distance from the Market Towns, can appreciate ... a shop of this multifarious description.” [6] Le Brocq`s premises were at The Yews, some 300 yards to the north of St Peter`s church.

Early premises

De Gruchy married Marie Le Brocq, of The Yews, on 4 June 1808 and on 23 June 1810 bought from Daniel Valpy dit Janvrin (1786-1863), the farmhouse in St Peter now called Andover Lodge. [7] The property, which had been the principal holding of the St Peter`s branch of the Janvrin family, was a substantial 17th century granite house, with a round arch and chamfered door posts and window surrounds. The business was probably conducted at first, from the adjoining outhouses, allowing time, no doubt, for the construction of the extension, to the east of the main house, which is today a separate dwelling painted white, to house the shop. The involvement of the Le Brocq family in de Gruchy`s forthcoming business can be seen in his father-in-law, William Le Brocq, taking on, until February 1811, de Gruchy`s initial repayments.

Early goods sold

Abraham de Gruchy`s business, which commenced two days before the property was bought, [8] resembled at first in its diversity, that of Jean Le Brocq. It was, though, clearly intended to secure a corner of the market not covered by the Le Brocqs, namely woollen and linen goods, including clothing. On 5 March 1814 he was advertising in local newspapers, “French merchandise, including silk, sarsenet for ladies` dresses, gloves, shawls, handkerchiefs, mantles and ribbons”, together with “fine flour from England, sold by the sack”. Groceries, such as cheeses and the above flour, even saplings, as well as wines, were still being sold as late as 1828. [9]

Goods, such as those sold by de Gruchy in the early years, differed a little from those one might expect to buy today at the business bearing his name. On the 5th April 1815, he wrote to Mr Mellish of Guernsey: "Sir, Enclosed is [the] Bill of Lading of Wines, Vinegar and Corks I have on the French Brig La Société, now lying in the Harbour."

On the 15th November 1815, he wrote to Messrs. R. King & Sons (Lead Merchants), of Southampton, for 12 lbs. of [gun]powder @ abt. 20d or 22d; 6 lbs. powder single seal; One hundred best fowling piece flint stones and 1/2 Hundred Shot No 10!

Messrs. Alcock, Watkins & Co. of London were requested on the 30th November 1815 to buy "Two or Three Hundred of fine South Carolina Rice, white, and send it immediately..as there is not a grain in the Island for Xmas...let it be in time for the next Hamptoner coming," the Hamptoner being a Southampton packet. In the event, he wrote cancelling the order, as the Island "is now awash with rice from France" - someone had beaten him to it. Goods advertised as being for sale, by de Gruchy in October 1819, included “a dozen and a half Merino and Southdown sheep”!

New premises

In 1818, he returned from London with a large stock of cloth and cotton goods and the next year, advertised for the first time for tailors, as he had now become a Militia Outfitter. It was in 1818 that he bought from a brother-in-law, Matthieu Horton of La Fosse, a triangular field, the northern part of which was an orchard, called Le Jardin de Seale (Scelle), upon which he built a house and premises, now called "The Sir George Carteret" public bars and restaurant, from which to operate his business; the advantage of these premises being that they adjoined the new main road and had space for future expansion. [10] The earlier property, Andover Lodge, was sold to Nicolas Le Brocq, brother of the above Jean, on 12 December that year. [11]

Early shipping

In the early years, many of the items sold in the shop had been imported by Thomas de Gruchy, owner and master of the 82 ton cutter, Rose, [12] who was a first cousin of de Gruchy`s father, Philippe. [13]

However, in 1818, Abraham de Gruchy`s name first appeared in the Jersey Shipping Register, as one of the owners of the copper-sheathed brig Tom and Mary, of 114 tons. His wife's first cousin, Philippe Le Feuvre junr. of La Hougue, a future Constable of St Peter, was a co-owner, as was another of her kinsmen, Philip Godfray (1788-1849), a merchant and banker in St Aubin and afterwards in St Helier. Godfray, who was also a corn and grist merchant, branched into shipowning with this same vessel. An informal association, formed for shipping and chartering purposes, already existed in 1814 between Godfray and de Gruchy. It is mentioned in a letter of de Gruchy`s dated the 18th December 1814, as "Messrs Godfray, De Gruchy & Le Brocq". In 1815, it was "Messrs Le Brocq, Godfray et Moi" [14]

Part of the success of de Gruchy's business was its willingness to deliver far and wide with horse-drawn carts

House Flags

It is therefore perhaps unsurprising to discover that all three associates later used, when owning their own ships, blue and white house flags. Jean Le Brocq`s nephew William Le Brocq used, from 1822, a white cross on a blue field. De Gruchy used a blue lozenge on a white field, whilst Godfray`s flag was divided vertically, white and blue. Perhaps it assisted when identifying each other`s incoming cargoes. In 1821, de Gruchy's nephew, Philippe Alexandre, (1794-1833), became the Tom and Mary`s master. The 80 ton schooner Rose was the next vessel purchased, on 7 June 1827, which replaced the brig Tom and Mary, which had been sold in 1826. [15]

Supply channels and agents

As no business exists in a vacuum, it is of interest to study de Gruchy`s supply channels. From his 1814-1820 Copy Letter Book, the following appear to have been, in the years 1814-1818, his principal associates in France: His agent at Granville on the Norman coast, was Monsr. Conard Chauvet, who sent to Jersey about half of all the French goods required by de Gruchy. Also in Normandy, was Madme. Bernard, Veuve Gardy at St Lô, from whom came all the ticking to make into mattress and pillow covers. At St Malo, the Breton port, was Monsr. Jouve. In this port de Gruchy also conducted much business with the vintner Monsr. Du Jardin, with Marie Du Menil (perhaps in Breton lace) and Madlle Marie Garnié, whose address was "Sous le Mur". In Normandy again, at Caen, Monsr. Charles St Jore was at one-time the agent for Messrs. Godfray, de Gruchy and Le Brocq. De Gruchy wrote to him on the 18th December 1814 that [translated]: "I gather you have received two chests from Lyon for Messrs. Godfray, de Gruchy and Le Brocq. I have not yet seen Mr Godfray, who has the invoice, but I hope to see him shortly...the two chests from Lyon, I believe he would best like them sent by the carters to Granville, care of the said Chauvet". To send items from Lyon via Caen to Granville was not, perhaps, the most direct route, but Caen evidently served as a distribution centre. Monsr. St Jore was also clearly a family friend of de Gruchy`s. In the same city, de Gruchy did regular business with Monsr. Hervieu Du Clos for sheepskins, and Monsr. Paisant, the Elder, a couturier. At La Flèche, in the Loire valley, Monsr. L. Thoré, the Younger, met many of his requests for cloth, coffee and sugar, among other goods! At Valognes, in Normandy, was Mons. Piedagnel Desmenils, a friend as well as associate, whilst at Coutances, there was Madlle Marie Le Mière. Manufactured goods came from Tours and Lyon, in which last city associates were Messrs. Jn. and Ch. Vial, Neveux. In Tours, was Messrs. Cremiere Juiffrain, manufacturers. De Gruchy`s connection with the manufacturer arose from a meeting he had in France, in late 1814, with one of the firm`s representatives. He had evidently advanced a sum towards the expense of goods to be sent to him, when back in Jersey. In a letter dated the 19th December 1814, de Gruchy enquired regarding the missing goods. Having had no reply by 19th January 1815, he wrote [translated]: "If you doubt me, I will not be annoyed that you say so, because you do not know me, but at least do me the honour of a Yes or No. I would be obliged by a prompt response. If you ask Monsr. Charles St Jore or Monsr. Hervieu Du Clos of Caen, Monsr. Le Chapponier of Treguier [Brittany] and Monsr. Conard Chauvet of Granville, they will recommend me". The goods arrived shortly afterwards and there followed a fruitful association.

La Foire de Guibray was one of Normandy's most important annual events. This is an engraving from 1841

Guibray Fair

La Foire de Guibray, which took place annually on or about August 15th, was an event scarcely ever missed by de Gruchy. Guibray is situated about 30 miles south of Avranches, in the south of Normandy. Its church had been built by William, Duke of Normandy, later to become "The Conqueror", and the fair had been held since then on the open paved area surrounding it. The most important fair in Western France, it specialized in selling sheets, skins, cloth and silks and was the place for merchants to meet. In fact, it was almost certainly where de Gruchy first met, in 1814, the above representative of Messrs. Cremiere Juiffrain. De Gruchy missed the Fair in 1818, however, as he wrote to his Guernsey agents, Messrs. Le Mesurier & Co. that "I will not go to the Guibray Fair as I am extremely busy now, building a New House and Shop". This refers to the newly purchased plot of land, Le Jardin de Seale, on which he was then building what is now called the "Sir George Carteret" public house, restaurant and outhouses. The reference to the new shop is of significance, as it establishes that there was, at what is now called Andover Lodge, a previous shop, rather than a business selling from the adjoining outhouse alone. The eastern extension to that property, now painted white, which was absent from the Duke of Richmond`s Map of Jersey (1795) and present on Hugh Godfray`s Map (1849), had clearly been built before 1818, probably in 1810-1811.


Abraham de Gruchy`s agents in Southampton, which had become since the 17th century the Island`s principal English port of trade, had been Messrs. Ph. Le Feuvre & Co., being expatriate Jerseymen. Despite the surname being that of de Gruchy`s mother-in-law, they were not related. At the end of 1814, it seems that de Gruchy and his agents were at loggerheads. That year`s copy letters suggest the cause as having been the agents` late shipments, high charges and omitted discounts. In 1815, he changed agents, using instead Messrs. Nicolas Priaulx and Bienvenu of Southampton, who were Merchants, as well as Factors and Agents. To his annoyance, at least one supplier seems to have still shipped goods to him, by force of habit, through Le Feuvre & Co., who then took pleasure in charging him exorbitantly. Channel Islanders could be most intransigent. His letter of the 10th September 1815 to Messrs. Le Feuvre & Co., when this first occurred, read: "Gentlemen, I have read your impertinent message, by the Hero, with a Bale of Shipped cottons--with your customary...charges. I once more order you never to touch any of my goods, on no account whatsoever, or I will not receive them, nor your message, nor your...charges." When this next occurred, he wrote on the 4th May 1816 to the suppliers, Messrs. Watts & Williams of Watling Street, London: "I see you sent them to Messrs. Le Feuvre & Co. Messrs. Priaulx & Bienvenu are my agents...I am extremely sorry for your sake, but I have sworn by a most solemn oath that I would not take the said goods, on the day they arrived and the day following....Therefore, Gentlemen, you may dispose of it and I beg, in future, you will never send any of my goods to the care of Messrs. Le Feuvre & Co."

London and Rotterdam

Most of the non-French goods ordered by de Gruchy, were shipped to Jersey either from Southampton or "the River," being the Thames in London, whilst certain goods were shipped from Rotterdam, in which last port, his agent was Madam Widow Peter Roche & Co. For reasons that will become apparent, Rotterdam shipped a disproportionate amount of de Gruchy`s goods. Some of these began their journey to Jersey in Wigton, near Carlisle, being ordered from Messrs. Ferguson, Irwin & Co., Calico printers, whilst others came from Stockport, Lancashire, from the factory of Mr Samuel Harding, Check manufacturer. London warehouses, however, provided much of the goods sold by de Gruchy. In that city, he did business with several houses, viz. Messrs. Cowper and Whitelock of 43, St Paul`s Churchyard; Messrs. Wetherill and Fayle, Woollen Warehousemen of 16, Aldermanbury; Messrs. Alcock, Watkins and Careless of 73, Aldermanbury; Messrs. Browne and Hunter of 104, Wood Street, Cheapside; Messrs. James and John Poingdestre of 65, Old Broad Street, Merchants and also expatriate Jerseymen, and Messrs. Robinson, Holmes and Kendra of 23, Clement Lane, Silk mercers. Another expatriate Jerseyman, living in London twenty years later, who was a close friend of the de Gruchys and almost certainly their agent, was Lawrence Daniel Dolbel (1807- ), the son of Jean Dolbel of St Helier, a former Wine Merchant and militia captain. Pigot & Co., in their Directory of London and Its Suburbs (1839), 128, has this entry: "Dolbell, Lawrence D., Foreign Print Agent, 14, Coleman Street". He was in 1843 a "French and Swiss Agent" at 149, Cheapside (Post Office Directory). In the 1841 U.K. Census, he and his wife are shown as living at the Priory, Peckham, where he was still living in 1871 (Census). "Mr Lawrence Dolbel of Peckham Grove" features in the de Gruchy family Bible in 1838 as being a godfather, with Mr Abraham de Gruchy, of William Laurence de Gruchy, who thereby received his middle name, being the name, if not the spelling, that he used.

The above-mentioned James Poingdestre (1758-1841), was the second son of John, of Grainville in St Saviour, and Elizabeth Pipon, his wife. He had also business interests in Honduras and Guatemala, the latter being mentioned in his PCC Will, dated 26th November 1833. He abandoned, though, his primary commercial interest in Jersey when he sold, on the 25th December 1824 to de Gruchy, his "grande maison", land, shops and stables in La Rue de Derrière, now called King Street, St Helier. His nephew and one-time partner, John, attempted to reclaim the property on the 12th May 1825, through Jersey`s legal right of `retraite` but, having failed to appear in court, was overruled.

De Gruchy visited these firms, as he did those in France, as he wrote on the 27th November 1818 to Mr Joseph Taylor of Leeds: "Sir, When I had the pleasure to visit your Town, I did myself the honour to call on you but I was very sorry to find you not at home, but I found your Mr Mason, to whom I gave a few orders for Duffels and blue Cloths the which I have had to my satisfaction, except..."

A firm, with which de Gruchy was associated was that of Messrs. Thomas and Maingy of London, to whom he wrote in July 1815: "Gentlemen, I have received your much esteemed favour [correspondence] of the 1st Inst. by which it appears you do not know whether the Custom House in Holland will receive the 2 Cases of Silks. By what I have learned, there is no objection there; it is in the Islands that the Custom House would not receive them as Silks. Therefore, if your friends in Holland could clear them as Linen or Cloths to Jersey or Guernsey there would be no difficulty, but Messrs De Lisle, Janvrin and De Lisle [his Bankers] would tell you all the particulars as they have sent some by same channel (sic) to Guernsey....The address, if shipped for Jersey--to the name of Mr Francis Balleine [his wife`s cousin, who therefore risked being implicated], St Helier". He adds: "As to a Certificate that they are to be reshipped, [it] could not do, as they must go in the same ship, therefore they must be cleared off as Linen or Cloths.." Mr John Thomas of this firm was, in 1818, one of the co-owners, with Abraham de Gruchy, of the above-mentioned brig, Tom and Mary.

Closest associates

Regardless of his British nationality, Abraham de Gruchy`s closest associates were clearly among those in France. He wrote on the 4th October 1815 to Monsr. Piedagnel Desmenils, at Valognes: "Mon Cousin, Mr Clt. Le Feuvre d`Angleterre, part pour passer quelque[s] semaines à Valognes et je vous prie de vouloir bien lui faire voir votre Ville.." He continued with a message to a Monsr. Barbancon that he had found his nephew a place in Jersey, with Monsr. Du Heaume. In June 1818, de Gruchy wrote to the same, at Valognes, that [translated]: "the bearer of this letter, Monsr. Philippe Godfray and his wife, my great friends, wish to pass some time in your neighbourhood for his health. I ask you to give them your help and instructions..." It is hard to imagine an English agent or associate being asked to show a correspondent`s relative and friends around his Town. Lastly, Madlle Marie Le Mière, at Coutances, was asked in a letter dated the 6th November 1815 whether she could assist de Gruchy`s brother Matthieu, who was visiting Coutances with a view to buying marble! He adds that should Matthieu require extra funds, would she please help in this regard, and he, himself, would reimburse her. This was the same Matthieu de Gruchy who founded in 1817 his own "Banque de la Campagne", which became insolvent in 1822.

He did, though, have family and friends in Southampton. On the 23rd June 1817, he wrote to "Lieut. Clt. Le Feuvre", being Clement Fall Le Fevre, a half-pay officer of the Royal Marines, who was his wife`s first cousin: "Dear Clement, Enclosed you will find 6 Pounds in Bank of England Notes-which make up the balance due to you. I hope my Uncle and yourself are well, as well as my dear Henry; all our good friends are all well, God be thanked for it. My best wishes to your good Father, I am, with esteem, Yours very Truly, Abm de Gruchy". The uncle, Clement`s father, was the Revd. George Le Feuvre, formerly of Southampton, while Henry was Henry Belfield Le Feuvre, Clement`s brother, a physician.

A calendar produced by the business in the 1880s

Fair businessman

De Gruchy was an extremely fair businessman. He wrote on the 19th September 1817 to Messrs. Robin and King [Merchants, of Manesty`s Lane, Liverpool] that he had heard that the 800lbs. of Cloverseed which he had sent them by the Betsy, remained unsold. "As there is a Vessel ready to sail for Liverpool from this Island, I have to beg of you, if you cannot obtain 6d p[er] lb. for the whole or the remainder of it (should you have sold any part of it since you wrote to Mr Godfray) to send it back again by that Vessel. You will advise me of the costs, which I will remit". Admittedly, de Gruchy may have retained an interest in the cloverseed, the final price, in payment of which, would have been adversely affected, had the seed been sold off at a discount.

A letter in 1817 to Madam Widow Peter Roche & Co. of Rotterdam requested no less than a ton of Currants, whilst one to Messrs. Forder and Channel, of the High Street, Southampton, Grocers, requested "1/4 of Hundred best Gloster Cheese and 3/4 Hundred Second Quality".

De Gruchy was frequently away, either in France or England and now and then in Holland. His wife stood in for him at home, as did also her first cousin, Philippe Le Feuvre junior, who was running the business, in this capacity, in February 1818, when de Gruchy was in London. De Gruchy`s Jersey banker, at this time, was Elie Durell, of Messrs. Janvrin, Durell & Co., whose bank was later called the Commercial Bank.

It is interesting to note that Channel Island businessmen kept an eye on what the others were doing and to where their ships were bound. Messrs. Le Mesurier, Le Maitre & Co. had evidently written to de Gruchy requesting just such information. He replied on the 10th January 1818: "As to Capt. Le Bas, I could not ascertain his destination till yesterday I was told of his arrival at Naples, but could not yet ascertain whether he goes to St Thomas or St Croix [United States Virgin Islands] as our Jersey owners seem to wish to keep secret the destination of their vessels". Later that year, he joined the ranks of Jersey owners.

Goods advertised by de Gruchy in 1826 included “a quantity of quilts and duvets from Russia” and in 1828 wines from Spain and various sherries for sale by the cask, or half-cask. On 4 October 1828 the Rose, with Philippe Alexandre now as master, arrived at Liverpool from Montevideo and apparently then sailed to La Rochelle, as de Gruchy advertised on 6 December, 52 pipes Eau de Vie, 35 barriques Eau de Vie, 100 barriques vin rouge, 20 vin blanc, 120 vinaigre de vin blanc…de la Rochelle”. The vessel`s next voyage was to Bilbao, Spain, although she was obliged to put into port at Plymouth, having shipped water in a storm on 10 December. [16]

Customs House Officers

De Gruchy wrote on the 9th May 1818 to Messrs. Browne & Hunter of London that "I find you have not yet shipped the goods to Holland, for which I am very happy as there is now a ship of 180 tons, the Leicester, Capt. Bishop, belonging to Messrs. Janvrin of this place, going to London to take her cargo, and from thence, here, which will take the E.I. Goods [the East India goods that interested de Gruchy were silks] on to the French. I beg you will lose no time in sending of them to Rotterdam. I also find you have Cat[alogued] the goods at the Custom House, Rochester [these were illegal goods seized and held by Customs, who auctioned them every few months], but you do not say what they are, whether french or india. If any part of them is french, I will thank you to have them packed with the other french [goods] and send them immediately to Holland, as that part that is Indian will come by the Leicester with the others. I have enclosed Bills [of Exchange] to the amount of £194-5-3d. I have also written to Messrs. Le Mesurier & Co. to inform them of the vessel and if they choose to have the half of the last goods; as well that I have ordered you to ship the french goods to Rotterdam, for which I will thank you to lose no time, as there is a vessel for this Island there now...there will be great difficulties in landing any such goods now as every vessel now unloading has a Custom House officer on board to see everything correct." Those unskilled in such matters will find difficulties identifying the exact meaning behind these words. Messrs. Browne & Hunter clearly understood exactly what was being said. It should be noted that merchants in `the know` had discovered that Indian silks and other fabrics could be bought much more cheaply in Rotterdam from the Dutch East India Company than in London from the Hon. E.I. Company. However, there remained the matter of Customs charges, also seizure of undeclared goods. Why cargoes were rushed off to Holland is, as yet, unclear. The matter of Customs charges, which engendered so much ill-feeling, could, however, be avoided:

In a letter to Messrs. Le Mesurier & Co., dated April 1818, Abraham de Gruchy wrote: "I have to thank you for the information which you sent me...which I received this morning. It is for us a very unpleasant piece of news. In answer to the enquiries contained therein, I have to inform you that there is now a vessel of our Island in Rotterdam and probably ready to sail but it is not certain whether the Capt. will take my goods on board. At all events, I must await their arrival with patience and trust fortune for their happy result. Mr Bailhache will deliver unto you the goods in proper condition. P.S. The cargo of the vessel now loading at Rotterdam will partly consist of Starch and I have written to my agents to get them to pack my goods in Starch barrels, which will I hope prevent any discovery, should any such measures be taken here as you inform will be had recourse to in Guernsey."

A letter to Madam Widow Peter Roche & Co., Rotterdam, dated 21/07/1818: "Madam, I have received your much esteemed favour [letter] dated 18th but I am sorry to find out my goods sent to your care by Messrs. B & H [Browne & Hunter] were not yet arrived when the Edward sailed. I will thank you to send them by the Charles, Capt. Clement or by the Pultney, Capt. Peal. The enclosed is for Capt. Clement, which I will thank you to deliver. The Content is merely to ask him to bring my 2 Bales if he thinks he can do it without trouble."

The same day, the letter to Capt. Clement, Ship Charles: "Sir, I may have two or three small bales at Madam Widow Peter Roche & Co. which I would esteem as a particular favour if you would bring them for me, but as they are contraband goods you must keep them secret and unknown to any one on board. I am, respectfully Yours, Abraham de Gruchy." [Italics and bold print are those of the author].

It has been said that Abraham de Gruchy resembled a benign rural clergyman. The resemblance was true, benign perhaps, but judging from his correspondence above, and in 1815 with Messrs. Thomas and Maingy of London, requesting cases of silk be labelled as Linen or Cloth, he is shown to have had, unlike most clergymen, but in common with most contemporary Islanders, a hearty dislike of any duties levied on goods.

Insurance of cargoes

Among the 1814-1820 Copy Letter Book entries of Abraham de Gruchy, insurance of cargoes does not feature as often as one might expect. An instance of a cargo specifically insured is that mentioned in a letter to de Gruchy`s London bankers, Messrs. De Lisle, Janvrin & De Lisle, dated the 6th December 1814: "I thank you to have the said goods insured for me at as low a Premium as possible. The ship is La Société, Captne. Geffrey, from Cetto to Jersey. Being a French bottom [hold] the premium should be lower. He was said to sail on the 7th or 8th to Jersey." De Gruchy may have had an annual insurance that covered not only his premises and current stock in trade but goods in transit.

The arcade which became the centrepiece of the King Street store

St Helier property

De Gruchy extended his business in 1820 to St Helier. Francis Le Sueur, coal merchant and property owner, advertised that year that his house and shop at the top of Broad Street, (Grande Rue), in St Helier, were to let. The house and shop was 33 Broad Street. In September that year, Le Sueur advertised that he had by then only the upper part, which was the house, still to let. That the new tenant for the shop, the lower part, which is now a part of Barclays Bank, was Abraham de Gruchy, will be seen from Le Sueur`s advertisement shortly before the end of the lease, on 24 December 1824, for a new tenant for the house currently “occupied by Abraham de Gruchy”.

He will have initially continued to live in St Peter but, in 1822 he advertised that half of his house there, with a good walled garden and 1½ vergées of land were to let. [17] This will have been his own private part of the premises, reserved for his own use. Furthermore, this will be when de Gruchy moved to Le Sueur`s “house”, which he was quoted as occupying in 1824.

The St Peter`s branch of the business had as managers, from this time until the end of April 1824, Jean Simon and Edouard Collas, the latter being formerly of La Frontière, St Mary. [18] An advertisement placed in the Chronique on 1 May that year, notified the public that Simon and Collas had been replaced by Vautier, Blampied and Miss H. de Gruchy, the former being Mr Philippe Vautier and the latter being de Gruchy`s cousin, Henrietta, daughter of his uncle, Noé. [19]

On 25 December 1824 de Gruchy purchased from the above James Poingdestre, La Grande Maison in Rue de Derrière, now known as 52 King Street, St Helier, moving there in the summer of 1825. [20] The sale of de Gruchy`s remaining property in St Peter to his erstwhile employee, Jean Simon, on 23 June 1832, [21] completed the move.


De Gruchy was an innovator. The future, Victorian, idea of a department store, that so revolutionized the English retail sector from the mid-19th century, [22] was to de Gruchy, living in the reign of George IV, neither new, nor mid-19th century. As early as 1825, for example, he had added upholstery to his drapery and haberdashery business. In this, he was at least 25 years ahead of his time. A carpet department followed in 1845. Gas lighting was still regarded as very much a novelty when de Gruchy, in 1831, had it installed throughout his premises. Innovation evidently ran in the family as another novelty, in 1883, was electric lighting, which his grandson, Philip Henry de Gruchy, installed throughout the premises. [23] By way of contrast, in the United States, the White House was in 1883 still lit by gas lamps. [24] In 1851, de Gruchy was among those who foresaw that British sterling would, in the future, be the sole currency used in Jersey, rather than the Island`s dwindling number of French coins. However, the plan to therefore "sell exclusively in British sterling", which he said would make for simpler book-keeping, [25] caused an outcry, being described as "arrogance", and had to be withdrawn. His foresight was later vindicated.

De Gruchy was on the committee appointed to prepare for the visit of Queen Victoria in 1846 and his business contributed furniture for the pavilion erected on the Harbour for her arrival

In 1833 de Gruchy suffered considerable embarrassment, being hooted in the street and his shop boycotted. A customer had requested his signature to a petition "to speed up the administration of justice". Unwisely and no doubt in haste, he had signed it without having first read it. He had signed the Petition of the Fifty-Seven for the abolition of the Royal Court! [26]

The adjoining property, 50 King Street, was purchased by 1826, in which year de Gruchy was joined in his business by his eldest son, William Philippe, who had previously been at school in Hampshire. The firm now became “A de Gruchy et Fils”. Further neighbouring properties were purchased in the ensuing years and incorporated into the business. Dumaresq`s Tourist Handbook to Jersey, (1854), describes the firm at that date:

“Among many improvements due to private enterprise none reflects so much credit on the Town as the handsome shop of Mr Abraham de Gruchy. It will not be saying too much to compare it to the best in London. This immense block of buildings is accessible from three streets, King Street, Dumaresq Street and New Street”.

Queen's visit

De Gruchy was in 1846 on the committee formed to prepare for the young Queen Victoria`s visit to the Island. Balleine cites a contemporary source:

“A pavilion had been erected on the harbour, the materials `furnished gratis`, by those old and respected firms, Messrs Gray, Godfray, Falle and Co. and Messrs Abraham de Gruchy and Sons; the furniture, made by Mr Richard Le Gallais, the work executed by him in a masterly manner". [27] In 1863, the adjoining property in King Street was purchased, as a result of which, the entire frontage was rebuilt, as were the interiors. [28]

Collecting on unpaid bills

De Gruchy`s expansion and success in business owed much to his meticulous refusal to accept from manufacturers or suppliers any goods whatsoever, in which the least fault could be found. He also expected prompt payment of all accounts and frequently instigated legal proceedings, both in Jersey and in English courts, in the event of non-payment. In the case of indebted soldiers posted away from the Island, he wrote in the first instance to the offending party`s regimental Paymaster or Commanding officer. If that was unsuccessful, he wrote directly to the Duke of York, as Commander-in Chief of the Army, playing on the army`s sense of honour, in describing himself as a small shopkeeper whose account had not been settled. In comparison with those in business in regency London or Westminster, this was no doubt a fair description, as he was a `mere provincial`. However, his substantial dwelling-house, business premises and involvement in international trade, scarcely suggested it. Nonetheless, it was apparently effective, as these accounts were mostly settled. A man of tact and evident personal charm, a letter dated the 6th December 1814 is an example of an alternative approach to collecting on unpaid bills: "To George Murton Esqre., Paymaster, 2nd Battn., 7th Royal Fusiliers, Winchester: "Dear Sir, I have shipped on board the Rose, Capt. de Gruchy, one box for you containing Apples and Pears which I beg you will accept. I have also packed in said box 2lbs Gunpowder Tea and 2lbs Suchong ditto which I hope will come to hand safe (sic). I am sorry to have to trouble you again for that Bill of Lt. Kerwan. My friend has never been paid yet of that Bill... I would wish him to pay you the amount of it with the Interest on £15-10. Interest and Charges make it to £16-5. Therefore if you will have the goodness to take that trouble, I will be much obliged to you. I hope you and Mrs Murton and the little one are all well. I remain, with Esteem, Dear Sir, Your obliged servt., Abm. de Gruchy." This and other letters in his Copy Letter Book in the early 1800s, written in fluent French and English, well illustrate the advantage of a good all-round education, which was evidently then available in Jersey.

Cod fishing off Gaspé in a shallop, a boat used close to the shoreline

Gaspé Fisheries

De Gruchy researched thoroughly the history, political background and commerce of countries with which he traded. His manuscript notes on Brazil, dated 1836, survive within the family. The extent of his shipping interest during these years also expanded, although the investment was mostly in Canada. From the early 19th century, Jerseymen had been fast to exploit the market for salted cod. Canada had become British territory in 1763, but two long and major wars prior to 1815 had hindered development by Jerseymen of the Canadian fisheries. After 1815, however, Jersey merchants made up for time lost. The name of Abraham de Gruchy appears in the index to the Gaspé Land Registry, linked to that of Boyd, amongst others, between the years 1820 and 1844. In his study Le Site de Pointe Saint-Pierre, Municipalité de Percé, Comté de Gaspé-Est, [29] Pierre Rascoul writes: “In 1854 there was registered at New Carlisle the contract between John Fauvel and a certain Abraham de Gruchy, by which Fauvel entered into possession of “the large fishing establishment” of de Gruchy, situated on Lots 6 and 7 of the point, [Pointe Saint-Pierre]. De Gruchy, a native of St Helier, Jersey, [was] the owner, (at least from 1846), of other Lots, situated..at Malbaie, on the south coast of the point.” [30]

De Gruchy`s Lots at Malbaie are shown by Rascoul to have been Lots 8 and 13. [31] The above “large fishing establishment” was mentioned by the contributing authors of Acadiensis: Volume 25, as being owned in 1836 by the firm of Abraham de Gruchy, which was described by them as being among the early Jersey firms in business at Pointe Saint-Pierre. [32]

Rascoul, after studying the index of the Percé Land Registry, concluded that de Gruchy will have purchased the above Lot 6 from Gaspé`s Bond family and Lot 7 from a fellow Jerseyman, William Alexander [of St Ouen, Jersey]. This latter purchase was probably in 1835. [33] Although de Gruchy lived, at this date, in St Helier, he employed two St Peter`s men to build the manager`s house at Pointe Saint-Pierre, the words "C. Powell and Philip J. Carrel of St Peter, Jersey", being inscribed on a wooden beam in the entrance hall. [34] The furnishings and decor of the house were also Jersey. In an example of the tendency of Channel Islanders to form colonies in these remote coastal areas of Canada, a neighbouring fishery at Pointe Saint-Pierre, Rascoul observed, was that of fellow-Jerseymen John and Francis Perrée of St Mary who, at about the time de Gruchy sold his fishing establishment to John Fauvel, sold theirs to their agents, fellow St Mary parishioners, J. and E. Collas. By 1842, the sheltered, east-facing, bay at Pointe Saint-Pierre, where the fisheries were located, was described as being "thickly covered with the white houses of the fishermen". [35]

The method used by many Jersey merchants for payment of those of the fishermen who were resident Acadians, as opposed to Jersey employees, left much to be desired. The merchants established stores behind their shore facilities. Goods would be shipped in, such as clothing, groceries, various chandlery items and mariners` boots; production of the latter having then been a major cottage-industry in Jersey. As there were still no nearby towns, fishermen would be advanced whatever they required, by way of goods, against the cost of fish likely to be caught in the forthcoming season. The merchants thus had `captive customers`, who struggled to pay their debts throughout the summer. Attempts were made at justififying the system by observing that payment in cash would be of small benefit to people far removed from shops and banks. Many merchants, though, will have been paying for fish in cash by the 1830s; on the other hand, they would not have welcomed this money being spent in any but their own store, so the matter of captive customers will have remained an issue. Whether Abraham de Gruchy engaged in this customary practice is unknown. However, John Fauvel, to whom he sold his Pointe Saint-Pierre fishery in 1854, definitely had a store "for the benefit" of the fishermen and shore staff, as did de Gruchy`s former agent, James Alexander, when later running his own business.

Gaspé fisheries, such as those at Malbaie and Pointe Saint-Pierre, operated on the many inshore banks. In contrast to those of Newfoundland, on the Grand Banks, which were mostly fished from boats lowered into the sea from schooners, the fish at Gaspé were caught from locally-built "fishing barges" and shallops. The cod was then dried on flakes, or wooden staging, on the beaches and salted and packed for transport to market by trading vessel. Before 1863, most of de Gruchy`s fish was sold in South American countries, with cargoes of coffee being brought back to the United Kingdom. Trade with Mediterranean countries, with cargoes of wine for the return voyage, was the principal feature, for the de Gruchys and their then partners, of the later years.

The last leg of the above journey, especially at the close of the fishing season, could be varied. Abraham de Gruchy`s brig Canada, the second of that name, in the last months of his life, sailed from Gaspé to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She then left Rio at the end of January 1865, presumably with the usual cargo of coffee, bound for England. Despatched from there to Hamburg to discharge her cargo, she then sailed for Newcastle, to load coal for Jersey. [36]

The Malbaie fishery was probably founded in 1827, [37] as the schooner Rose, bought by de Gruchy in that year, traded within Jersey`s cod triangle from early 1828 until 1833, transporting cod between the fisheries and South America, before returning to Jersey. In 1833, the Rose sailed from Pernambuco, Brazil, for Newfoundland, never to be seen again. She was declared lost in 1835, together with Captain Philippe Alexandre and her crew. [38] Her intended destination suggests that de Gruchy had by this date, if not before, a fishery in Newfoundland. The only fishery there in this name and date was at Little St Lawrence in the Burin Peninsula of the south coast, where Messrs. De Gruchy & Nicolle were situated. [39] The partner, Nicolle, on the south coast and elsewhere in Newfoundland in the "early 1800s" was the well-known Philippe Nicolle junr.

The 1854 sale to John Fauvel did not, however, indicate de Gruchy`s intention to “concentrate his efforts in Jersey,” [40] as his fishery at Malbaie was not included in the sale. Furthermore, he and his sons` investment in the fisheries would more than double in the coming decade.

The brigantine Gem (1848), with de Gruchy`s royal blue and white flag at the main-mast. The white stone houses, seen on the coast in the background, may indicate South America, with which Gem primarily traded

Later Shipping

One of Abraham de Gruchy`s ships, the 114 ton brig, aptly named Canada, owned in conjunction with Philippe Pellier, [41] was, in 1835, recorded as returning from the Gaspé fisheries to Jersey, [42] so will have been sailing in connection with one of de Gruchy`s fisheries, perhaps that of Pointe Saint-Pierre.

De Gruchy`s name was, from 1837 to 1847, absent from the Jersey Shipping Register. In the early 1830s, he had increasingly used the above mentioned Philippe Alexandre to carry his catches to market. Alexandre traded as "Alexandre & Co.". On his untimely death in 1833, his younger brother and fellow master mariner, Charles Alexandre (1803-1894), also traded in this name, so had presumably stepped into his brother`s shoes with regard to marketing their uncle`s fish. The firm, shortly afterwards, became "Carré & Alexandre" and further expanded. This arrangement, however, was not going to last, as certain aspects of the younger Alexandre`s character left much to be desired. Boasting to his sister`s family, Blampied of Cambrai, Trinity, of his sales technique, he was proud of having sold in Brazil, for cash, the same cargo to two different buyers. He had then, during the night, offloaded the cargo onto the pier and sailed before dawn.

De Gruchy returned, in 1847, to marketing his own catches, placing an order with an English shipyard for the 114 ton brigantine Gem, to which was added, shortly afterwards, the Malbaie-built schooner, Mary, of 35 tons. [43] The Alexandre firm survived only a few years. [44]

It is notable that Abraham de Gruchy, from 1835, purchased vessels that were either newly-launched, such as the above Gem or launched less than three years previously, such as the two brigs named Canada and the brig Friends. There survives, in the archives of A. de Gruchy and Company, a Manifest of the cargo of the latter ship, dated "February 1854". Described as the "British brig Friends," of which Nicholas Richards was Master, being then at St Helier, she was bound for Pernambuco, Brazil, "sailing direct for the Brazils," with a cargo aboard "shipped by Messrs. Malzard and de Gruchy" [45] De Gruchy, unlike some owners, retained these ships for no longer than eight years before selling them.

Newfoundland Fisheries

Evidence of a Newfoundland fishery at Little St Lawrence, in the Burin peninsula, run in 1833 by Messrs. de Gruchy & Nicolle, has been mentioned above. The sale in 1854 of Abraham de Gruchy`s long-established Pointe Saint-Pierre fishery, in the Gaspé peninsula, marked a new phase in his and his successors` involvement in the Newfoundland fisheries.

De Gruchy`s eldest son, William Philippe, who took on the running of his father`s shipping business from this time, was primarily interested in expanding the family`s Newfoundland presence to the west coast, where herring and salmon were, in their season, plentiful, as were lobsters. Mackerel were also abundant between the west coast and Gaspé, in the Gulf of St Lawrence. Most Jersey firms in the region were satisfied with fishing merely for cod. In this final decade of Abraham de Gruchy`s life, his son, William Philippe de Gruchy, showed his father`s flair for recognising an opportunity and acting upon it. Innovation was still a feature of their businesses. The expansion will have initially been financed by the 1854 sale. Whilst the Malbaie cod fishery was unaffected, the de Gruchys` change of emphasis in the ensuing years, from Gaspé to Newfoundland, led to the successful establishment there of an increasing number of fisheries.

A de Gruchy banknote


A part of de Gruchy`s business was banking. In 1825 he was a paying agent for the bank of Jean Lemprière of Mont au Prêtre, a son-in-law of the above Noé de Gruchy, and in 1838-1841 he was agent for that of de Carteret. [46] In April 1863, Abraham de Gruchy`s son, William Philippe, entered into a partnership with Philip Gosset as “Gosset, de Gruchy and Co.”, taking over the Jersey Banking Company, (Est. 1828). He had, at this time, power of attorney for his elderly father, who was likely to have been the bank`s principal depositor. This will perhaps explain the National Probate Calendar`s entry at the time of his father`s death, in which he is described as “Abraham de Gruchy, Banker”.

Other properties

Abraham de Gruchy purchased a number of properties that were either not used, or seldom used, in conjunction with his businesses. Langley House, St Saviour, in 1836, was one of these, where de Gruchy, himself, lived intermittently for some years, before moving firstly to St Lawrence and back and then in the 1850s to 7, Windsor Crescent. It was at Langley House that de Gruchy entertained visiting French officials in October, 1850. [47] It was next used in 1881, as a residence for the Chief Cashier of Abraham de Gruchy and Sons, Bankers. Another property was The Grove, St Lawrence, bought in 1841, [48] for the construction of which he had previously granted a mortgage. Here, also, de Gruchy lived for some years. The Trinity farm, La Commune, in the Vingtaine de La Croiserie, was another, bought in 1856, [49] as were properties in St Helier, near Charing Cross. 16 New Street, a fine Georgian town house, now owned by the National Trust for Jersey, was a further purchase of de Gruchy`s in the 1860s, as was the Alliance Livery Stable behind it. This livery stable, immediately adjoining the department store, was a great asset both to the de Gruchys and their customers. A Pièce de Mielle, prise à Luzerne or sand dune covered with flowering Lucern grass, opposite Kempt Tower in St Ouen, was purchased in 1853. This was intended to be the site of an asparagus farm, although this did not materialize. It was retained by his descendants into the mid-20th century

Death of Abraham de Gruchy

De Gruchy had been a good horseman in his youth, appearing in the 1815 Militia census as a `cavalier`, or galloper. A mild man, who has been described, as mentioned, as resembling more closely a country clergyman than a businessman, he was nonetheless possessed of a very keen mind, high intelligence and considerable energy. He was also a man of some compassion. In March 1828, he was probably aware of the identity of the woman seen stealing a parcel of banknotes from his doorstep but preferred to warn her, in the newspaper, that she had been seen, rather than to have her arrested. [50] From Abraham de Gruchy`s Letter Book, 1814-1820, it is evident that he had formed many a friendship outside the Island, particularly in France. An unexpected visitor, however, in 1836, was the Marquis de Grouchy, (the former spelling of de Gruchy), who had been a Marshal of France under Bonaparte. His Norman family was then in danger of becoming extinct, so he was keen to investigate his family`s tradition that a son of theirs had migrated in the reign of King John, to Jersey. Deeds at La Chasse, in the Vingtaine of Rozel, Trinity, the home of the then head of the Jersey family, who was, by an inter-cousin marriage, a first cousin-once-removed of Abraham de Gruchy, confirmed this branch`s pedigree back to the early 14th century. They had lived throughout the period upon the Fief de La Gruchetterie, in the former seigneurial house, bearing the same Arms as the Norman family. The Jersey de Gruchys were thus formally recognised by the marquis as kinsmen. [51] Abraham de Gruchy was perhaps too busy to consider holding public office but was, between 1814 and 1817, Churchwarden of St Peter.

At the time of his death, as a result of old age, Abraham de Gruchy was living at The White Lodge, Grosvenor Street, having moved from Windsor Terrace some years previously. He died on 9 October 1864, aged 84 years. His widow survived him by two years. They were buried in Green Street Cemetery, St Helier.

Notes and references

  1. Letter Book, 17 November 1814 to 8 October 1820, Jersey Archive, L/A/25/H1/1.
  2. Thomas Le Vavasseur dit Durell, (1759- ), Southampton merchant and shipowner, son of Thomas Durell snr., Vicomte of Jersey. Durell snr. was in 1768 one of the local representatives in the Jersey Chamber of Commerce of Messrs. De Gruchy, Le Breton and Co., the Island`s leading firm of London merchants and shipowners. In 1770, Durell snr. and his wife, Elisabeth Bandinel, became the godparents of Elisabeth, later Alexandre, sister of Abraham de Gruchy. Furthermore, Durell senior`s daughter, Marguerite, and her husband, Newfoundland merchant, Matthieu Gosset, became in 1783, the godparents of Matthieu de Gruchy, brother of Abraham. De Gruchy may, therefore, have started work in the Durells` Jersey office, before gaining further experience in Southampton. It is perhaps worthy of note that the minister of the French Church in Southampton, from 1802 to 1824, which was attended by most of the port`s expatriate Jersey community, was the Reverend George Le Feuvre (1771-1848), who was afterwards Chaplain to the British Embassy in Paris. He was also the maternal uncle of de Gruchy`s future wife, Marie Le Brocq, and may have been instrumental in introducing Maufant-born de Gruchy to his St Peter wife.
  3. Letter Book, 15th August 1818, to Messrs. Browne & Hunter, London, writing that "You must give orders that the vessel...come to St Aubin`s, as most of the potatoes we have bought are the neighbouring parishes`". Further cargoes followed, included one of 3,000 cabots, (54.43 tonnes), shipped on the cutters Friends and Rachel, which was invoiced on the 16th September that year, in the sum of £448-10-4d. This amount is the equivalent of £25,147.09 in the money of 2017, see www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/currency-converter.
  4. De Gruchy, W. L., Jersey, My Reminiscences, (Jersey Society in London Occasional Publications, No 5), 47. Note: Louis Bonaparte`s Kingdom of Holland, as with other French satellite states, was subject to Napoleon`s Continental System. Established by the Berlin Decree, dated 21st Nov. 1806, the system was a continental embargo on British trade. However, this inflicted the greater damage to the economies of the satellite states. There arose, as a result, an unlawful trade with British merchants, often with the collusion of local authorities, whereby goods were smuggled either into or out of the various countries.
  5. Dixon, Guy, A Brief History of The Yews, St Peter, in Ann. Bull. Soc. Jersiaise, 2014, 272-284.
  6. [Anon.], A Summer Stroll through the Islands of Jersey and Guernsey, (Jersey: De Fries, 1809), 110.
  7. Registre Public, 109/161, 1810.
  8. The business having been able to start two days prior to the purchase of Andover Lodge, suggests that de Gruchy and his wife already lived there and had, perhaps, done so from the date of their marriage, as uncontracted tenants of the absentee owner, Daniel Janvrin. The latter had been a merchant residing in Arichat, Nova Scotia, from at least October 1806: Coutanche, Henry, Procurations from the Americas, in The Journal, (Jersey: Channel Islands Family History Society, Number 134, IX, 2012), 212.
  9. Abraham de Gruchy advertised principally in the Chroniques de Jersey but some advertisements were also placed in the Constitutionel.
  10. Registre Public, 124/181, 1818.
  11. Registre Public, 126/18, 1818. Godfray`s Map of the Island of Jersey (1849), shows E. Le Grand as owner at this date of Andover Lodge. He was Edouard Le Grand, fils Simon, who had bought it from Nicolas Le Brocq, Mrs de Gruchy`s uncle, on 12 December 1846, [Registre Public 191/119].
  12. This was the third, in a series of ships named Rose, owned by Captain de Gruchy. One of these, at least, (the first), was armed with four cannon. All were exempt, by reason of their speed, from the requirement to sail in convoy. They should not be confused with the ship of the same name built in Yarmouth and purchased by Abraham de Gruchy in 1827, which had previously belonged to Philip Dolbel: Jersey Shipping Register, 1827.
  13. Captain Thomas de Gruchy, (1769-1853), who first became a shipowner in 1793, was born at Le Clos Durell, Trinity, and was baptised on 30 April 1769, the son of Philippe de Gruchy and of Jeanne Alexandre, his wife. Jeanne`s sister, Marie Alexandre, had married another Philippe de Gruchy, who was the grandfather of Abraham. Their brother, Captain Charles Alexandre, (1720-1758), of Beaulieu, Trinity, was, in the early years of the Seven Years War, (1757-1763), a successful privateer captain and shipowner. Captain de Gruchy followed in their uncle`s footsteps, becoming in 1798, together with Thomas Mallet of St Helier, owner of the privateer Robert and Jane, 38 tons, (Capt. Samuel Gasnier): This note re Captain de Gruchy amends former confusion between this man and his namesake, an uncle of Abraham de Gruchy: Le Quesne, Walter J. and Dixon, Guy M., The de Gruchys of Jersey, Second Edition, (Jersey: The Channel Islands Family History Society, 2000), 67. For Captain de Gruchy: see manuscript genealogy of Alexandre of Trinity, Jersey, by Guy Dixon; manuscript notes, maritime subjects, by John Jean, (the latter at The Jersey Archives Service).
  14. Copy Letter Book, as in 1 above. In addition, Philip Godfray became in 1819 one of the partners in the newly-formed Peter Du Val and Company of Nova Scotia, engaged in the Canadian fisheries. Despite rapid initial expansion--Godfray is listed in the 1821 almanach of the Constitutionel as owning or part-owning six vessels--the new company did not long prosper, leaving Godfray, by 1832, in straightened circumstances, his firm having borrowed heavily from Messrs Gray, Godfray, Falle and Company of St Helier: see Queen`s Visit above, and Aldo Brochet, DU VAL, PETER, in EN:UNDEF: public_citation_publication, vol.8, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003-, accessed March 20, 2015, http://du_val_peter_8E.html. In 1833, Godfray was to be found in partnership at Wharf Street, St Helier, with his first cousin, Philippe Pellier, as corn merchants and millers: The Strangers` Guide to the Islands of Guernsey and Jersey, (1833). The last vessel in which Godfray had an interest was the 158 ton brig Abeona, owned by him jointly until 1838 with Philippe Pellier, (see below). Godfray`s wife, née Jane Le Brocq, was a widow by 1851: Census, St Helier, Jersey, 1851: HO107/2527.
  15. The sale of the brig Tom and Mary in 1826 ended de Gruchy`s interest in the vessel, which was previously thought to have extended to 1836: Dixon, Guy, De Gruchy, Abraham, (1780-1864), Merchant in Corbet, Francis L.M., A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey, Volume 2, (Jersey: Société Jersiaise, 1998), 397.
  16. La Chronique de Jersey, 1828.
  17. Lloyd, Beth, De Gruchy`s, The History of Jersey`s Department Store of Distinction, (London: Robert Hale, 1982), 24.
  18. The Collas Chronicles: Jersey to Australia,(published privately, 1995). The authoress has, however, muddled her forbear, Edouard Collas of Gorey with his namesake of St Mary and then of St Peter, who is mentioned above.
  19. Noé de Gruchy, (1764-1845), was a prosperous farmer of Mont au Prêtre, St Helier, who had prior to 1787, as "Noel Gruchy", been a sailor in the Royal Navy. He was among the many Islanders who resented the imposition of English customs dues upon certain goods in Jersey, preferring instead the age-old system of free trade. He was, in 1827, discovered with no less than twelve chests of contraband tea in his farm wagon and fined £100.00 sterling, (the equivalent of £4,722 in today`s money), with conviscation of the tea, wagon and two horses! The severity of the fine suggests that this was not a first offence. Gazette de L`Ile de Jersey, 24 November 1787; Chronique de Jersey, Saturday 27 October 1827, respectively.
  20. Registre Public, 138/145, 1824.
  21. Contract of sale, Jersey Archive, L/A/25/C1/G/10.
  22. Masset, Claire, Department Stores, (Great Britain: Shire Publications, 2010), 8 et seq.
  23. Lloyd, De Gruchy`s, 30, 34.
  24. Parker, Philip, The Presidents, (DK London: Penguin Random House, 2017), 60
  25. Balleine, G.R., A Biographical Dictionary of Jersey, (London: Staples Press, 1948), 197.
  26. Idem.
  27. Syvret, Marguerite and Stevens, Joan, Balleine`s History of Jersey, (Chichester: Phillimore, 1981), 235.
  28. Lloyd, De Gruchy`s, 32.
  29. Rascoul, Pierre, Le Site de Pointe Saint-Pierre, Municipalité de Percé, Comté de Gaspé-Est, (Gaspé: Musée Regionale de Gaspé, 1981),76.
  30. Idem.
  31. Ibid., 63, 70.
  32. Acadiensis: Volume 25 , (University of New Brunswick, Department of History, 1995), 36.
  33. Rascoul, Le Site de Pointe Saint-Pierre..., 86, 182. William Alexander, or Alexandre, was in 1833 master and co-owner of the brig Canada, which was sold in November 1834 to John Mauger, who likewise had interests in Gaspé. He, in turn, sold it on the 6 February 1835 to Abraham de Gruchy and Philippe Pellier. Alexander had evidently decided by 1834 to abandon his interest in the Pointe Saint-Pierre fishery. De Gruchy`s purchase of Lot 7 may thus have been in 1835. Lot 6, on the other hand, may have been purchased by de Gruchy at the same time as his lots at Malbaie: Jean, John, Jersey Sailing Ships, (Chichester: Phillimore, 1982), 126; Jersey Shipping Register, Feb. 1835: Ship: Canada. It is notable that Abraham de Gruchy`s agent at Pointe Saint-Pierre was Alexander`s kinsman, James Alexander: Acadiensis: Volume 25, 40.
  34. Rascoul, Le Site de Pointe Saint-Pierre.., 191. Note: Rascoul mistakenly assumed the manager`s house was built by Fauvel. However, the latter bought from de Gruchy a long-established and large fishery, which had for years had an on-the-site agent, who was the `site manager`. He will therefore have lived in situ in provided accommodation. Furthermore, Fauvel had no reason to employ carpenters from St Peter, Jersey, as he was not from the parish. De Gruchy, though, had been, and his wife was, from the parish; also Ford, Doug, Chasing the Cod, (Jersey Heritage Trust, 2007), 14.
  35. Bayfield, Capt. H.W. and Blachford, M., Sailing Directions for the Gulf and River of St Lawrence, (London: Blachford & Imray, 1842), 6, cited in Rascoul, Le Site de Pointe Saint-Pierre, 136.
  36. Jamieson, A.G., (ed.), A People of the Sea, The Maritime History of the Channel Islands, (London and New York: Methuen, 1986), 393-4. This vessel was in the summer of 1866 docked in Bristol, when Abraham de Gruchy`s grandson, W.L. de Gruchy, who was then on holiday with his wife in England, wrote: "I had to go at short notice to Bristol, in consequence of Captain Peter Horman, of our brig Canada, having been physically and mentally disabled through sunstroke in the port. We went to the Clifton Down Hotel for some days till a new captain came from Jersey, to take charge." De Gruchy, W. L., Summaries of the Events in our...Lives, (unpublished manuscript, (1893), in the possession of the author of these notes).
  37. De Gruchy`s brother-in-law, William Le Brocq junr., (1786-1871), was already engaged as a merchant in the Canadian fisheries. Having been sent in about 1800 by his family to Nova Scotia, probably into the offices of the Janvrins, to learn the trade, he was living in 1805, at the time of his marriage, in Arichat, Cape Breton Island. It might be noted that Charles Robin, a possible alternative to the Janvrins as employer in Nova Scotia of Le Brocq, did not permit employees to marry at so tender an age. Moreover, de Gruchy, who had purchased his property in 1810 from Daniel Janvrin, had as London bankers in 1814, Messrs De Lisle, Janvrin and De Lisle, and was banking in 1817 with that family`s Jersey bank, Messrs. Janvrin, Durell and Company. In 1822, Le Brocq purchased the brig Olive Branch and founded his own business, trading in cod and wine. Le Brocq`s house flag was a white cross on a blue field. The following year Le Brocq, in a move reminiscent of his brother-in-law`s early career, also established himself in St Helier as a Woollen and Linen Draper: as in 5.
  38. Jersey Shipping Register, 1827, with entries made in 1833 and 1836, (at The Jersey Archives Service), Ship: Rose.
  39. Hammond, Revd. and Shortis-Munn, cited in Turk, Marion G., The Quiet Adventurers in Canada, (Detroit, U.S.A.: Harlo, 1979), 209; also Lloyd, De Gruchy`s, 42.
  40. Op. cit., Ford,Chasing the Cod, 14.
  41. Philippe Pellier (1793-1863), was, like de Gruchy, a good example of the Jersey entrepreneur of the 19th century. A Corn Merchant and mill owner, he also owned a livery stable. On marrying the daughter of a ship-builder, Matthieu Le Boeuf, he became in 1824 a shipowner, building up in the ensuing decades a fine fleet, amongst which were vessels trading with Australia and the Far East. As Le Boeuf had retired by 1847, Pellier placed an order for the construction of the 472 ton barque Indian with Abraham de Gruchy`s second cousin, Thomas de Gruchy of Patriotic Place, St Helier. The barque was completed by May 1848 and was described by a surveyor: "I have very seldom seen a vessel more carefully built or in every respect turned out," cited in A.G. Jamieson (ed.) A People of the Sea, (London: Methuen, 1986), 309. For Pellier`s reaction, on hearing the news that Captain Walter Alexandre had brought their ship Lucknow back from Bombay in ballast, see Jean, John, Jersey Ships and Railways, (Jersey: La Haule Books, 1989), 126-7. In 1837, he built in St Helier a hotel, which still flourishes, which he called La Pomme d`Or, named after a local cider, manufactured nearby: Jean, J., Stories of Jersey`s Ships, (Jersey: La Haule Books, 1987), 4,5.
  42. Jersey Merchant Seamen`s Benefit Society Ledger, (at La Société Jersiaise), Ship: Canada.
  43. The schooner Mary, built in 1847 in Gaspé, was purchased on the 21st August 1851: Jersey Shipping Register: Vessel: Mary.
  44. Charles Alexandre became, in his early retirement, an officer in the Royal Jersey Militia, rising to the rank of captain. He became, on his death, a major benefactor of the Jersey Merchant Seamen`s Benefit Society, to the chagrin of his sister`s family, who had looked after him in his old age. He was also a benefactor of La Société Jersiaise, the gift comprising four inscribed marble columns from Egypt. How they had been acquired was a matter of some speculation within the family: Family information; Will of Charles Alexandre, dated 24th Sept. 1891: D/Y/A/53/49, at the Jersey Archives Service.
  45. L/A/25/C1/L/15, at the Jersey Archive. This vessel was owned jointly with Isaac Malzard (1797-1885) of Mont à L`Abbé and Charles Le Quesne, (1819-1899), whose niece later married Philip Henry de Gruchy. Le Quesne, a member of the shipping family that owned the Town Mills, had a formidable reputation in business matters; see Le Quesne, Walter J., The Le Quesnes of Jersey, (Jersey: The Channel Islands Family History Society, 1996), 22-23, 44-45.
  46. McCammon, A. L. T. , Currencies of the Anglo-Norman Isles, (London: Spink and Son Ltd, 1984), 221, 235, 251.
  47. Ann. Bull. Soc. Jers., 1965, 55.
  48. Registre Public, 176/222, 1841.
  49. Registre Public, 229/230, 1856.
  50. Chronique de Jersey, 8th March 1828.
  51. Letter written in 1855 by Général de Division Comte de Grouchy, son of the celebrated marshal, to the Comte de Malortie: cited in Payne, J.B., An Armorial of Jersey, (1859), 120; Family information: correspondence and visits between the French and Jersey branches, 1836-2015.
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