Find out about Peterborough House’s 400 year history
Many of the houses on Rue du Croquet were built during the first half of the 17th century and this was due to the mercantile growth and shipbuilding during this time.
Peterborough House was built around 1690 and was used as a merchant house. Some of the original features can be found in the building to this day, such as the main staircase to the upper floors, fire places in some of the rooms and exposed oak beams in the dining room and some of the bedrooms. If you’re lucky, you may be sleeping in a bedroom which has an original ship’s mast or railway sleepers from the Jersey Eastern Railway used as beams. Jersey has quarried granite for hundreds of years and the house is built from at least two feet thick local granite with rendering on the outside. You’ll see granite walls remain exposed in the dining rooms downstairs. Also in the dining room, you can find a large wooden Union Jack flag, mounted on the wall. Written on it is ‘Relic of St Aubin’s fete 1930′. When refurbishing the guest house in early 2021, this was discovered, hidden in the rafters of the roof. The rear of Peterborough House would have backed directly onto the seafront, allowing ships to unload cargo, depending on the tide. In fact the front and back doors of the property were the opposite way around to as they are today.
There was no road between St Aubin and St Helier until 1844, with the first part of the road between La Haule and St Helier being built in 1810. Prior to road construction, ships would have needed to unload cargo directly into the properties, depending on the tide. During these times, the main route to St Helier from St Aubin would have been up the Rue du Crocquet or the Rue St Aubin as it was originally called. The road has been recobbled in recent years but you can find the original cobbles in the seafront car parks in St Aubin.
Peterborough house was the birth place of François Jeune in 1806, who later became Dean of Jersey and Bishop of Peterborough; the Jeunes were a French Huguenot family and settled in Jersey during Elizabeth I’s reign. They were early supporters of the Methodist movement and Francois’s grandfather Francois provided a shed in his yard as a meeting place. Leaving their son in Jersey working as a miller, his grandfather and grandmother went as missionaries to the West Indies. The young Francois went on to graduate from Saumur, and was then persuaded by the Bailiff, Sir Jean de Veulle to continue his education at Oxford. In 1822 he attended Pembroke College, became tutor of the College and was elected a Fellow. He left in 1832 and went to Canada as Secretary to the Governor-General Sir John Colburn. In 1835, Francois returned to England to become headmaster of King Edward’s School, Birmingham, where he married Margaret Symons, daughter of Henry Symons of Axbridge; his career then included becoming the Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University from 1858 to 1862, the Dean of Lincoln in 1864, and Bishop of Peterborough a few months later. He visited Jersey in 1865 to lay the foundation stones of St Simon’s church (Great Union Road, St Helier) and St James’ school (Chapel Lane, St Helier) which is now used as a youth centre. Francois later died three years later in 1868.