St Peter La Rocque - Grouville Parish Church

Pictures of St Peter La Rocque

Present Day Situation

St Peter La Rocque's renovation has reached a standstill as the problems over the fitting of the new wainscoting and the source of continuing damp in the bell tower and west wall remain to be resolved. In the immediate future there is a proposal to make more ventilation holes in the base of all walls, both to improve overall air flow in the chapel and to provide continuing ventilation behind the new wainscoting. A trial of a new form of construction for the wainscoting , carried out on the north wall, seems to be successful.

The orchard field has had a further 6 trees planted in it, 2 to replace ones from the original planting that did not take and the remainder as new memorial trees. Thanks to the sale of these 4 trees the replanting has been cost neutral.

To fund the continuing work at the chapel, Field 552, a picachon next to the entrance to Happy Hens, has received planning permission and is currently up for sale, an action that should be complete within the next two months from writing (April 2011).

Services continue to be well supported and there are plans for a family fun day on Saturday 25th June 2011 and for a Blessing of the Boats service, either in early June or in late August.

How It All began

St. Peter La Rocque is the daughter chapel of the Parish Church of St. Martin de Grouville and is situated in the vingtaine of La Rocque, just a few yards north of the harbour of the same name. It is the most southerly Anglican place of worship in the British Isles.

It was built between 1852 and 1853 on a small triangular piece of land known as La Buttieres, where two roads converge; Rue du Pont to the South and La Rue du Puits Mahaut to the east.

A Man With a Vision

St Pierre La Rocque, as it was originally known, was constructed to serve the fishing and farming community of La Rocque on the southeast corner of the Island. Originally the site had been used as a school, but the Rector, the Reverend Abraham Le Sueur, who was Rector of Grouville from 1851 until 1885, recognised the need for a chapel of ease to serve the fishing community of La Rocque.


The Parish Church being inland from the little harbour made it difficult for the fishermen, who had to work with the tide, to attend church regularly. However, a Methodist Chapel had also been recently built at La Rocque and the Rector wished to ‘protect’ his flock!

In 1851 the recently arrived Rector began to address these twin problems. First he approached Thomas Filleul, the owner of the land on which a school was built. Thomas was a 32 year-old sailor who was well aware of the difficulties of having the Parish Church so far away. He lived at Seaview, La Rocque with his wife Elizabeth and their three daughters, Elizabeth, Jane and Mary Anne. Also living with them were Elizabeth’s brother and sister, Francis and Jane de Faye.

The Reverend Le Sueur explained his plans for a Chapel to Thomas and together they struck a bargain. Although the land was not officially acquired until 1852, Thomas Filleul and Abraham Le Sueur must have shaken hands on 27th October 1851, as this date is mentioned in the contract of sale as the date on which the Trustees took possession of the land.

The gift refers back to the 1852 conveyance and describes the donees as having succeeded and "presently replaced them" [the trustees in the 1852 contract] as Trustees.

The purpose of the trust was to create a Fund to assure permanent revenue to be applied to the repairs maintenance and upkeep of "certain chapel called ‘Chapel of St Peter La Rocque’", as well as for the general needs of the chapel.

Raising the Funds

A committee of the Trustees of the chapel was formed and charged with overseeing the purchase of land from Mr Filleul and the construction of the Chapelle de St. Pierre de la Rocque. The first deed of sale by Thomas Filleul to Revd Abraham Le Sueur, Charles Bertram and Hugh Godfray, Trustees was passed in court on 26th June 1852. Hugh Godfray was a denonciateur and a solicitor of the Royal Court and churchwarden in Grouville together with Mr Bertram.

The sale was of a piece of land called Les Buttieres on which a building had already been erected and the purchasers were described as trustees, taking the land for themselves and their successors as such. The contract noted that the Rector could "consecrate the building for all purposes for the exclusive use for divine service according to the rites of the Anglican Church once another convenient place had been found for a school".

The price was for two quarters of Froment of Rente. Hugh Godfray also made a donation equal to the sum of two quarters of rente, which was assigned to Mr. Thomas Filleul; the rente contract was agreed on 4th September 1852, was to be paid each year on Michaelmas Day, starting in 1852.

The purchasers were formally described as "trustees for the acquisition of a piece of land and the construction of a certain building thereon". The existing building, was described in the contract as "a certain building for use as a school which school will always be conducted according to the principles and in the advancement of the objectives of the National Society for the Education of Children according to the principles of the established church." It went on to say: "The building will also serve for the celebration of divine worship, a licence for that purpose having first been obtained from the Bishop of Winchester" - who, at that time, was the Right Reverend Charles Richard Sumner. It was acknowledged that the building could be turned into a church and consecrated for that purpose provided another suitable place could be found to provide a school for the education of the children of the Parish. This subsequently happened in 1855 when the Ecole Central de Grouville opened (now the Parish Hall).

The Reverend Le Sueur already had plans for this and e new school, ‘the Grouville Central School for the Education of the Poor and Needy’, which is now the Parish Hall, opened in 1855. This development allowed his plans for the construction of the chapel of St Peter La Rocque to go ahead.

A year of fundraising began in earnest; one well-supported event was on September 3rd 1852 when a grand bazaar was held at Le Chateau de Mont Orgueil. On this occasion the monies raised totalled £83 15s 7½d. However, a month before, on 23rd August, the ‘Fête Paroissale’ only raised £6 11s 10 ½d. Fortunately for the fund raising committee, the grand sum of £211 8s 10½d was raised by public donations. The States of Jersey £50 and the National Society of London a further £35. This brought the total amount raised during a year of fund raising to a magnificent sum of £416 16s 4 ½d. (The account is set out at Annex A.)

Building the Chapel

Now that the trustees had the money in hand, they could begin to plan the building and, once having agreed on the size and design, began to build. Mr Philippe Bree, an architect and joiner, had married a Miss Mary Le Boulanger; they had a son born 27th April 1845 whom they named Philippe Le Boulanger Bree. By the time Philippe was asked to draw up the plans for the Chapelle, he was a widower and lived with his wife’s sister and her husband, Richard and Jane Le Lievre at No 17 Chevalier Road, St Helier. He charged £17 for the set of plans of St Peter La Rocque.

Once these plans had been presented to and approved by the Committee, they were then taken to Mr Richard Gosset, Master Printer of 20, Queen Street St. Helier, who printed them at a cost of £1. Richard Gosset was a 40 year-old bachelor who lived at No 20 Queen Street with his mother Mary, a widowed pensioner and his 32 year-old sister Ann, also unmarried and a bonnet maker. They were looked after by Ann Holloway, their servant; a young girl of 20 from England.

The plans, once, agreed and paid for, the building of St. Pierre de la Rocque could begin. This must have been a very exciting time, not just for the Committee, but for the whole community of La Rocque.

The largest outlay, of £310, was paid to Mr Joseph Le Rossignol, who at 51 years of age was a very prosperous businessman. He lived at 36 Sand Street, St Helier with his wife Susan, son John and his two daughters, Harriet aged 23 and 19 year old Elizabeth, who both helped their mother at home with domestic duties. Mr Le Rossignol was a brass and iron founder and a contractor who employed 55 men including his 16 year-old son. His employees would have been responsible for roofing the Chapelle as well as the gates and any other ironwork.

A stonemason from Trinity, named Philippe le Breton was commissioned to build the exterior walls of the Chapelle, at a cost of £15 18s 7d, a bargain by today’s standards and probably all built without the aid of proper scaffolding. Mr. Le Breton’s neighbour in La Verte Rue, Trinity, was a French labourer named Pierre Omont and he charged £13 17s for delivering the stone for the walls. This, however, was not enough to complete the building, so Mr Helier Le Clercq, a Grouvillais by birth, who now lived across the border in Samares Lane, St. Clement, was asked to deliver a further quantity of stone at a cost of £5 2s.

Wood for the interior, costing £6 10s was bought from Mr M Hichens, a Timber Merchant from England who lived at 2, Portsea Place St. Helier with his Spanish wife Ramona. With this wood, Mr John Grandin, a well-known Grouville carpenter, who lived near Ville es Reynaud’s, built the pews and carried out all other woodwork in the building. John Grandin had a good family business. He and his wife Mary had 5 children; John 26 the eldest was a carpenter and 2 other brothers were carpenter’s apprentices. Their daughter Sophie, aged 27, was a dressmaker, while the baby of the family 10 year-old Francis was still at school.

Added to all these costs were Sundry expenses, which amounted to £1 10s 5 ½d.

The entire building was constructed for the princely sum of £416 16s 4 ½d.

Early Use

One of the first people to be married at St. Peter La Rocque was Philippe Jean Venement, son of Philippe. He was born in Grouville and baptised on 27th July 1828. He followed in his father’s footsteps and became a fishermen, living on the Coast Road (La Grande Route des Sablons) in a house between Hurel House and Syria Lodge, with his mother Jane, a widow and his younger sister Julia Jane.

Philippe was a devout young man, making time for religious studies and he became when not fishing a became a Licensed Lay Reader in the Diocese of Winchester with this little chapel as his inspiration. On May 9th 1855 Philippe, aged 27, married 30 year-old Mary Anne Le Masurier, whose father Edouard was a farmer. Sadly Philippe died of consumption on 16th September 1873 aged only 45. At the time of his death Philippe and Mary Anne were still living in the same house on the coast road. His mother had died by this time, but his sister Julia Jane, had married Richard Bertram, a sailor, on 28th November 1861.

On 18th February 1861, the Reverend Abraham Le Sueur wrote a letter to the inhabitants of Grouville at the beginning of Lent. He began by calling them "His very dear Brothers in Jesus Christ". In his letter he told the Grouvillais, amongst other things, that he intended, with God’s help to hold Religious Services in the Parish Church and at other places in the parish during the season of Lent, in addition to those normally held on Sunday. Amongst the extra services, a prayer service was to be held at La Rocque in the Chapelle de St. Pierre on Monday evenings a seven thirty. He ended his letter by saying: "I am, dear brothers in Christ, your devoted servant" With this beautiful and humble end to his letter it is easy to see why he was held in such high esteem by all who knew him.

Securing the Future

In the last Will and Testament of the Reverend Abraham Le Sueur, dated 1st July 1885, was a bequest of £50, which was to be added to Judge Lerrier’s legacy in favour of the Sunday Schools. This was to be used to purchase prizes for the children who attended these schools. He also bequeathed to the Trustees of St. Peter La Rocque £300 to be held in trust and used towards the reconstruction of the nave of the Parish Church according to the plan of the ecclesiastical Architect. It was to have a South porch according to the original construction and on the same site as the ancient one, the removal of the porch at the West and the lengthening of the new North Aisle in line with the present North Eastern Aisle or Chapel. If, in the course of 10 years, this work was not executed, the said sum of (£300) was to be given to the endowment fund of La Rocque Church of England Chapel known as St. Pierre La Rocque.

In this will was a deed of gift, dated 22nd April 1885 by Abraham Le Sueur, who "wishing to create a fund to ensure a permanent income for the purposes of funding the repairs, maintenance and upkeep of certain chapel called ‘Chapelle de Saint Pierre de la Rocque’ and for the general deeds of said chapel", given to himself, Revd Thomas Le Neveu (The Dean of jersey), Revd Edouard Luce and Jean Touzel as trustees. The gift was of 2 pieces of land (Field 587 and the Picachon Field 522), which the Reverend Le Sueur owned and some rentes anciennes, a form of old Jersey mortgage and was witnessed by Messrs. Clement L Aubin Jersey Solicitor, of 23 Hill Street, St Helier; Thomas Mayo, Grouville Central Schools Schoolmaster and James Le Couteur, Greffier.

A meeting of the Trustees of La Rocque Church of England Chapel was held at 14 Library Place St. Helier on Wednesday 23rd December 1885 to attend to this will. In attendance were The Rev. Edward Le Feuvre, Rev. Thomas Le Neveu, Rev. Edward Luce and Mr John Touzel.

The Rector of Grouville was authorised to let the land given to the Chapel by the late Reverend Abraham Le Sueur by act dated 22nd April 1885. La Butiere du Perron was to be let to Mr (no name) at the rate of 10 shillings per annum. Le Clos de Pallot was to be let to Mr Jean Vicq Junior for 7 years from Christmas 1885 at the rate of £4 per vergée, per annum. He was authorised to sign the leases to that effect on behalf of the Trustees and to receive the rentes of the land and the annual wheat rentes remaining to the Trustees from the will of Abraham Le Sueur. He was to use the monies in accordance with the deed of gift and required to submit his accounts to the Trustees annually.

On another piece of undated paper, the Trustees authorised the Rector of Grouville to rectify a mistake regarding the field let to Mr Jean Vicq. This was to replace the words "at £4 per vergée" by "£16 for the whole". Signed: The Reverend E Le Feuvre Rector of Grouville; The Reverend Thos Le Neveu Rector of St. Martin; The Reverend Edward Luce; John Touzel.

An account from Messrs. Bois and Bois from 16th July 1909 to 3rd January 1910 was sent to the Trustees of St Peter La Rocque. On 6th December 1909 Messrs Bois and Bois sent a copy of the Trust deed, together with the contract of 22nd April 1885. In the accompanying letter Reverend Le Sueur and Canon Luce had given instructions regarding the new Trustees of St Pierre La Rocque and to call at Parr’s Bank to arrange matters for the Trust. Messrs Bois and Bois ended the letter by stating that they would hand them the last contract as soon as it had been sealed.

On 20th November 1909, the Reverend Edouard Le Feuvre, Rector of Grouville, and the Reverend Edouard Luce transferred the Chapelle de Saint Pierre de la Rocque and the lands acquired in 1885, to Dean Falle, Reverend Edouard LE Feuvre, Rector, and Herbert Augustus Bertram and Vivian Bailhache, Surveillants of the Parish, for themselves and their respective Dean and Surveillants in their capacity as Trustees. Thus, for the first time, was the Trust established by appointment rather than by name.

(On 5th February 1988 is the only other record of the Trust being referred to by appointment, in a wayleave granted to the Jersey Electricity Company, where the Trustees are described as "authorised for and in the name of the said Chapelle de Saint Pierre de la Rocque and acting by virtue of an Act of Assembly of Principals and Officers of the Parish, dated 20th May 1987".)

A letter written on 23rd February 1910 by Peter (?) provided the answers to an earlier query from Rev. A. Le Feuvre regarding the consecration of the Chapel of St Pierre La Rocque. Rev Le Feuvre was instructed to address a petition to the Bishop signed by himself and some of the people living near the chapel. Peter (?) then had to draw up an "Acte" of conservation and register it in the Rolls of the Ecclesiastical Court. His fees would amount to about £2.

On January 18th 1921, Mr C. Bailhache, who lived opposite St Pierre La Rocque at Les Champs, presented the Reverend E Le Feuvre with a bill for the care of the Chapel. This amounted to £2 12s and included paraffin for heating and candles. On October 10th 1921 the Trustees of St. Peter La Rocque asked the Rector of Grouville to let, to the best advantage, the Clos de Pallot from next Christmas. He was also asked to sign the lease on their behalf. Samuel Falle, Dean of Jersey, E Le Feuvre Rector and Churchwardens Charles Hamon and A W Falle also signed the lease.


In 1948 Mabel Julia Filleul of Fauvic House, La Rocque left £250 in her will to renovate the Chapel and she also donated an old bible and the lectern; the carved eagle on the lectern was donated by Mr C R Renouf and was carved by Raymono Brothers of Yeovil, Somerset.

The stained glass window on the south window of the church was donated by the Renouf family in memory of Cyril Renouf in 1962; the stained glass window on the north window was donated the Amy family (Frank Amy was Connétable from 1992 to2003) in 1996. In that same year, Advocate Valpy donated the oak doors in memory of his wife, Peggy

In 2008 the Payn family donated the west window.

The origins of the east window remain a mystery.

Modern Times

A Quinquennial Report was presented to the church on 8th September 1993 following an inspection made on 14th July by Michael Carden of Radley House Partnership Winchester. As a result of this report a meeting was held at St. Peter La Rocque on 1st February 1994 to discuss the work to be carried out on the fabric of the building. Connétable F.H. Amy presided and the others present were the Reverend Terry Hampton, Recteur. Mr C.A. Le Maistre Surveillant Trésor, Messrs R. Jeanne and T Le Quesne, Procureurs and Mr M. Bouillard Parish Foreman.

After some discussion it was agreed that a gravel path 2 feet wide would be made around the perimeter of the building to prevent the ingress of ground water, together with the removal of hydrangeas and other shrubs in this area.

For more details of the work carried out at this time it is necessary to refer to the minutes of the meeting and to the estimates for work carried out. The Quinquennial Report, dated July 1998, asked the church to keep a Log Book with the date, contractor and approximate costs of all works to the fabric of the building.

The next Quinquennial Report, again by Mr Carden, in July 1998 stated: "it is gratifying to find that my previous report has received such close attention. The result has been a marked improvement in the condition of the interior, which is drier and appears well cared for in comparison with its condition in 1993". He then listed several matters for attention and once again recommended that the church should keep a Log Book with the date, contractor and approximate cost of all works to the fabric of the building. Nothing appears to have done regarding this report.

A New Era

Our new Rector, Mike Lange-Smith and his family arrived in September 2005. Early in 2006 Surveillant Trésor, Brigadier Bruce Willing addressed the congregation on the need to carry out the necessary repairs or close down. Since that day, we, the congregation of St Peter La Rocque, have gone from strength to strength. We have taken care of the exterior of the chapel and are about to begin restoring the interior. We have increased our numbers and have begun a programme of events, which will not only raise funds for refurbishments but also continue the work of Abraham Le Sueur. St Peter La Rocque was built in 1852 to serve the needs of the community and this is what we hope to continue to do today

In 2007 a new group of Trustees was formed to oversee the restoration and conservation of St Peter La Rocque, with the further aim of taking St Peter La Rocque out into the community and growing as a church and spiritual family. They are, by appointment (current appointees shown in brackets): The Dean of Jersey, (The Right Reverend Bob Key), Rector of Grouville, (Reverend Mike Lange-Smith), a Churchwarden (Brigadier Bruce Willing) and a member elected by the congregation (Attorney General William Bailhache).

In addition a decision has been taken to turn one of the original pieces of ground donated to the chapel, Field 584, into an apple orchard for the benefit of the chapel and the community it services. Part of it will be a "meadow" on which we anticipate many different events will take place, for example summer "Songs of Praise", open air services, Church Picnics and other Parish events too numerous to mention. Work on this starts in the summer of 2009 with completion by 2011.

Thus the work of the chapel goes on, fulfilling the dream and vision of the Reverend Abraham Le Sueur, so long ago, in 1851 on his arrival in the Parish of Grouville.

Annex A

Building Costs of the Chapelle de "St. Pierre de la Rocque"

The Committee charged with the construction of the chapel of "St. Pierre de la Rocque" wishes to present the accounts of the receipts and payments for the purchase of the land, and for the erection of the aforementioned chapel; situated in the parish of Grouville.

The Friends of the Church of Jesus Christ who, in the midst of their work and their fundraising, hope to succeed with their Godly work, and look forward to its completion when all the costs incurred are settled.

The Committee, in presenting the account of the administration, desires to give thanks to the One "without whom we have no strength or goodness", for a favourable outcome; and for His blessing on the work which we leave in His hands.

The Purchase of the Land

The Land was bought from Mr. Thomas Filleul in the most central and convenient place in the vingtaine of "La Rocque," for the price of two quarters of wheat rente. Hugh Godfray Esq., has made a generous donation equal to the sum of two quarters of wheat rente, this sum has been allocated to the said Mr. Thomas Filleul so that the land will remain free of all rental.





£ s d

£ s d

States of Jersey

50 0 0


National Society of London

35 0 0


Profit for the Parish Fête 25th Aug 1852

6 11 10½


Profit from Bazaar held at Mont Orgueil

83 15 7½


Specific Donations

211 8 10½


Paid to P. Omont transporting stone


13 17 0

Paid to Mr J. Le Rossignol


310 0 0

Paid to Mr. Ph Le Breton for the erection of exterior walls

15 18 7

Paid to H Le Clercq for transportation of stone

5 2 0

Paid to Mr Hichens wood for interior


6 10 10

Paid to Mr J Grandin for making seats.


14 0 0

Paid to Mr Le Rossignol for iron work


11 8 0

Paid to Mr Ph H Bree for plans etc.


7 0 0

Paid to Mr R Gosset, Printer


1 0 0

Sundry expenses


1 10 5½


English Money

£416. 16. 4½

£416. 16. 4½

Signed on behalf of the committee


Grouville, Jersey

5th October 1853