BlondelCoatArmsGuernseyFiefFlad EagleCrossCrownBlondelSmallHammer  Branden  Normandy OldGuernseyFlag CoinGuernsey


Noble Fief Columbier - Dovecote

A  dovecote  or  dovecot  [COMMENTedText now]dʌvkɒt/  or  doocot  (Scots :  doocot ) is a structure intended to house pigeons or doves . [1]  Dovecotes may be free-standing structures in a variety of shapes, or built into the end of a house or barn. They generally contain pigeonholes for the birds to nest. [2]  Pigeons and doves were an important food source historically in the Middle East and Europe and were kept for their eggs and dung. [3]


This accounts for the immense dovecotes or colombiers to be found in the groundsof the noble fief only. A dovecote could not be erected without permission from the King. A curious instance of this law having been disregraded is mentioned in the Assize Roll of 1309, which states that Ralph Lemprière had erected a dovecote (in the neighbourhood of what is now Rouge Bouillon), and he was ordered by the Justices Itinerant to pull it down. At the next Assizes Ralph came forward and offered a rent of one pound of pepper perannum for ever so that his heirs might enjoy thedovecote. The justices allowed it because it was not to the É.". of the King, and the rent is still paid to the ing's Receiver. Theannéedesuccessionis one of the few seigneurial rights which remains, and consists, briefly, of a claim on the part of the lord to hold for a year and a day, for his own benefit, the lands in his fief of a tenant dying without lineal heirs when the property goes to a collateral branch of the family. If the land is on lease, the lord is entitled to the rent reserved, but not o the possession of the land. The first manor house of importance is that of St. Ouen." It stands in the parish of that name in a tiny valley called LeValde la Mare.It existed in the first decades of the twelfth century and has been added to and altered, but even now after much modernisation it presents a remarkable appearance. It lies completely hidden from the road, the main entrance being under a rather pretentious archway of comparatively recent date, and the winding avenue leads through two rows of fine old oak-trees. Citation

Our colombier belonged to the earlier circular forn). 
According to Mr. J. J. Carey's measurement (see Report 
Archaeo. Sec. : Proceedings Guernsey Natural Science Soc. 
1895) ; it is 58ft. in circumference, with Avails 2ft. lOin. 
thick and a doorway 3ft. Sin. wide. At present the ruins are 
from 12 to 14 feet in height. Its history can be traced for 

356 LE eOLUMlJl lOK, T()UTE\'AL. 

about six centuries. It stands on the fief Janin Bernard 
which we learn from an old document of 1463 Avas originally 
a part (with the fiefs of liobert de Vic, John du Gaillard, 
Thomas Blondel, Cantereine, and Guillot Justice) of the 
fief of " Sir Henry Le Canally Chevalier," one of the 
most important in the island in the 13th century, its lands 
extending over a considerable portion of the parishes of 
Torteval, St. Peter's-in-the-Wood and St. Saviour's. This 
fief au Canelly derived its name from a very ancient family who 
held it in the 13th century and probably earlier. In the 
Norman Rolls of the 2nd John, in the year 1200, a William 
Le Canelly pays the king 60 livres Angevin, that a suit 
he had against Matilda de Langetot and her son Henry, 
concerning lands at " Sumeresville," in Guernsey, might 
be tried before the " Curia Regis."

A few years later, in 1227, we find the king ordering the Warden of the Isles, 
William de St. John, to give Henry Le Canelly possession of 
the lands in Guernsey formerly belonging to his father, 
William Le Canelly, lately deceased. He was probably the 
same man as Sir Henry Le Canelly, one of the Jurats at the 
assizes held in Guernsey in 1254, who, according to the above 
mentioned document of 1463, seems to have been the last of 
his name to hold the entire manor.

He was succeeded by two  heiresses, probably his daughters,

the elder of whom married 
Thomas de Vic, and the younger named Guillemotte, Drouet 
de St. Martin, Seigneur of Trinity, Jersey, who held the 
manor in 1274. In 1309 their heirs, namely Avice de Vic, and 
Henry de St. Martin and his brothers, the sons of Drouet, 
were summoned at the assizes to show by what right they 
claimed certain aids from their tenants in the parishes of St. 
Peter's-in-the-Wood, Torteval and St. Saviour's, also the right 
of court, and of chase, which belonged to the king. They 
replied that the inheritance of Le Canelly was divided between 
Avice and Henry, and that their ancestors had enjoyed these 
privileges from time immemorial. Previous to 1320, the date 
of the next assizes, the de St. Martin's portion of the manor 
had passed by some family arrangement to Symon de St. 
Martin, Henry's younger brother, who was called upon to 
answer to a very similar inquiry to that above mentioned. It 
is necessary to trace the pedigree of this family thus far as it 
gives the clue to the following entry in the accounts of John 
des Roches, Warden of the Isles, from 1328 to 1330, which is 
the first evidence of the existence of our dove-cote. 

" ii*arochia de Torteval " 
" Item et tient Symon de Seynt Martin un coulumbier levey."