The Early Years: Author’s Note

Mont Orgueil Castle, St Martin parish, Jersey, Channel Islands: Gorey Harbour at low tide in the foreground

The purpose of the following pages has been to write a presumptive history of the DeQuetteville family, ranging from the years 750 to 1300. The result has been to offer a potential re-writing of the history of the Viking settlement of Normandy and the Channel Islands. Essentially, I believe there is enough evidence to make the claim that a clan of Hebridean-based Vikings, led by Ketil ‘Flatnefr’ Bjarnarson (a.k.a. Caitil Find), formed settlements in La Manche, Normandy, as early as the 860s. 

I first became interested in family history when I was 15. Over the past 40 years, I’ve been digging up leads and reading around the history. I’ve assembled a detailed tree in Ancestry that draws a solid line to 1500. But it is only in the last 15 years, after I had completed doctoral studies in modern literature, that I discovered the Scandinavian origins of the DeQuetteville name. Since then I have been trying to account for any distant connections. 

At the outset, I’d like to make clear that there are some gaps arising from the difficulty of relying on primary and secondary texts mostly through open-source material. I wish to remedy that shortcoming. In the meantime, I heartily invite all interested parties to help fill in those gaps by providing commentary on the assertions presented here.

Each of the pages to be found here are updated regularly, so please follow or check in periodically.

I believe that in any good history imagination has a role to play. Yet imagination is only helpful insofar as it is supported by facts.


The Jersey DeQuettevilles: 13th and 14th Centuries

The first time a deQuetteville appears in the documentary records of Jersey is in the 1274 Extente. A Raoul, or Radulphus, deQuetteville has tenure over the fief de Houndeuoys in St Lawrence parish, along with Pierre Malet: “Raoul de Keytivel and Pierre Malet & leurs parchonniers tiennent 7 quartiers de froment qui sont d’échètes & sont dûs au Roi du fief de Hondeuoys de surcroit.” (A few lines further we see that a Laurent Payn and Raoul de Hundeweys also owe rents to the fief of Houndeouys on behalf of Ada de Sotuward, whose fee has been forfeited to the King for having taken the part of the Normans.)

By 1331 the fief de Houndois, which may have comprised a carucate of land (ca. 50 acres), including a mill, will have become a fief de Roi, escheated to the crown like that of Anneville, Everat and Lemprière in St Martin parish[i]. We do not see a connection at this point between Raoul or any other deQuetteville and the parish of St Martin, where the family will come to reside for centuries. Likewise, a reference to a fief es quetiveauls in St Martin does not yet exist, which does not necessarily mean that the fief did not yet exist. However, there is mention of a ‘caruéé de Faldouet’, which would have existed alongside the carucate of Anneville and Everat. Did the carucate of Faldouet, or a portion of it, escheat to the crown? Perhaps it is out of this land that the fief es quetiveauls was created and named after the deQuetteville to whom it was granted. For it seems that from the 1331 Extente the fief es quetiveauls is a fief du Roi. What also bears notice is the role of the Quetivel Mills in the life of the island at this time.   

Two sets of documents from the period help to understand the position of the deQuetteville family in Jersey; the Extentes and the Assize Rolls. The Extentes of 1274 and 1331 record the rents due to the King by tenants of his crown possessions on Jersey. While originally all of jersey was a crown possession, several fiefs haubert were carved out and apportioned to senior families, such as the de Carterets, the Lemprières, the Soulemonts, the de Martins and the de Barantyns, in return for certain special services to the King. Military service abroad was not required by Islanders, a privilege obtained under the old Dukes of Normandy. In lieu of that, they were required to pay rents and taxes for the upkeep of the island’s defences and for the nine mills belonging to the crown. The Assize Roll of 1309 records Crown Pleas heard by the circuit court of eyre that involved any infraction by an Islander against the crown, including the failure to pay rents or taxes, as well as the resolution of certain civil and criminal disputes between Islanders. A third set of documents are letters to the crown from Islanders wishing to plead for royal intervention in judicial proceedings that are considered to be unjust by the island’s residents.

In the 1274 Extente of the 2nd regnal year of King Edward I, there is no mention of a deQuetteville in relation to St Martin parish. This fact is noteworthy, as the deQuettevilles will otherwise come to be associated with St Martin parish for the next 650 years. (In about 1977 and again in 1986, I was able to see at the house of my great-uncle George deQuetteville and his wife Jean in Canada, a type-script history of the deQuetteville family – author unknown — in which it was stated that a deQuetteville (name forgotten) received from the King in 1311 ‘all the land an ox could plow in a day’. (Note: whether the reference to oxen is an anachronism for that time is an open question: were farmers not using horses to plow in Jersey in 1311?) There seem to be more reasons to doubt this claim rather than accept it. For example, the king – who would have been Edward II at the time — would not have directly issued a grant of what amounts to one acre of land to a man on Jersey. And there is no documentary evidence from this time for such a grant. However, it is perhaps worth mentioning as indirect evidence of land acquisition around this time; at least for possible further investigation. For example, the carucate of land in St Martin stipulated in the 1309 Assize as being owned by Richard deQuetteville would amount to all the land a team of eight oxen could plow in a season. Otherwise it is difficult to see any connections)

In 1830, Payne speculated that the deQuettevilles had “settled from a very early time in the eastern parish of St Martin”. Payne goes on to say that the “family has continued to reside in its old ancestral house, and is now represented there by Francis deQuetteville. Another branch also residing in St Martin is represented by Joshua-Dumaresq (deQuetteville)”. From the Godfray map of 1849, we see that Francis’ old, ancestral house was the one called La Bachauderie and is part of a large property that extends across the borders of St Martin, St Saviour and Grouville parishes. (Note: La Bachauderie is located at the southeast corner of rue de la Bachauderie and rue Saint-Julien; the house is said to be in St Martin parish, while the barns are in St. Saviour, which has led to some confusion in the past; there is relatively close proximity to the old chapel of St Agathe near Archirondel, to La Hougue Bie, to Queen’s Valley, to Faldouet, to Gorey and to Mont Orguil; J.F. Le Cornu’s 1940 article on “Jersey Placenames”[ii] lists La Bachauderie as one of the names whose origin remains unknown; ‘Bachaud’ is a family name today mainly in SW France, perhaps now extinct in Jersey, though the etymology of the word is difficult to discern; there are at least two possibilities that I have found in relation to it – 1) a bachaud is a Jersey word that was once common in St Ouen and St John (see a La Bachauderie in St John) for a type of cart used to haul the sea-weed for fertilizer, known as vraic[iii]; so, a ‘bachauderie’ may have been a site where these carts were manufactured or developed, or simply the seat of the family who first built this type of cart; it is not clear, however, how far back in time we can trace the name of the property or the name of the cart? – 2) there is an area with a farm named ‘Bachaud’ in the commune of Dordogne, in the Perigord region of what is now Nouvelle-Aquitaine; there is a farm and road name La Bachaudière in the commune of La Bussière in the region of Poitou, now Nouvelle-Aquitaine, near the river Gartempe; any association between Jersey and the Poitou region most probably derives from the Angevin epoch between 1154 and 1204; there is a tangential possibility that the etymology of bachaud[iv]is related to viniculture – like bachelier — meaning there was a family involved in Jersey in the trading of wine, which was common in the era, or the growing of grapes on Jersey (it is known that some wine was being made in the south of England during the warm period).)

The entire line of Francis’ forbearers are baptized and buried in St Martin’s parish church. Joshua-Dumaresq, on the other hand, resided at La Hauteur (named so in the Godfray map), a manor house and farm located on the south-west fringe of Faldouet village. Joshua’s forbearers are baptized in St Saviour’s parish church, though they are all buried at St Martin’s. As far as I can tell at this point, the deQuetteville association with La Hauteur extends only to the 17th century, when it was probably purchased or obtained by marriage.

That the 1274 Extente does not mention a deQuetteville in St Martin parish is not proof that there were no deQuettevilles owning property or living there at that time, only that there were none who were tenants of the crown. In the 1309 Assize Roll, we see the first appearance of a deQuetteville in St Martin.  In a list of the Rents and Farm of the lord the King, which details many fiefs that have escheated to the crown (several in the aftermath of war with France and treason against England), the jury says “also that Richard de Quetteville holds of the lord the King 1 carucate of land of the fee of Quetteville (Lat. ‘feodo de Ketevill’) and pays 15 s. by the year to the aforesaid farm & owes full relief when it shall occur” (p. 312)[v]. What is not so clear is when this fief was acquired or for how long it had been in the possession of a deQuetteville.

Is Richard the first of his name to own property in St Martin, or could he be one in a line of deQuettevilles that stretches back to a grant of land that precedes 1204? If the fief of Quetteville, a caruée (12 bovées = 60 acres) in size, which equals that of Anneville and Evart, exists as a fief of the King before 1309, why is it not mentioned in the 1274 Extente? A fief of Faldouet is mentioned there, but it is referred to again in 1309 as well, so it cannot be that the fief of Quetteville was created from that, though they are in proximity (and the fief of Quetteville might have been carved out of the fief of Faldouet). (Likewise, the fief of Quetteville is not mentioned in the 1331 Extente.)(Could a deQuetteville have come from England along with Drogo de Barantyn, who was granted Rozel in about 1220?).

The deQuetteville who is mentioned in the 1274 Extente is Radulphus (Raoul in French; Rauf in English). An entry for the chancery records for the parish of St Lawrence reads that Rauf shared possession of a portion of the fief of Hondois, which had escheated to the crown in the same manner as that of Anneville and Everat in St Martin: “Item dissent que Raoul de Keytivel & Pierre Malet & leurs parchonniers tiennent 7 quartiers de froment qui sont d’échète & sont dûs au Roi du fief de Hondeuoys de surcroit” (p.19). (Farther down we see another entry that reads “Item dissent que Laurent Payn & ses parchonniers tiennent 8 quartiers de froment & que Raoul de Hundeweys tient 10 quartiers de froment qui sont une échète du sire le Roi pour la forfaiture d’Ada de Sotuward qui tint le partie des Normands, & sont dûs de fief du Hundeweys, & sont en la main du sire le Roi parce que les avant-dits Laurent et Raoul n’ont rien montré pour eux-mêmes, mais ont allègué la longue possession seulement »).

This entry could lead one to believe that Rauf de Quetteville and Pierre Malet, like Laurent Payn and Raoul de Hundeweys had long been tenants of the fief of Hundeweys, which had escheated to the crown in the decades after 1204. (The 1274 Extente refers to a mill in St. Lawrence that is not the Tesson Mill. Could this unnamed mill be what was later referred to as the Keytivel Mill in the parish of St. Lawrence? And that one is not to be confused with the Keytivel Mill in St Peter.) For Rauf to have been of legal age to own property in 1274, he would have had to have been born in at least 1255, and most likely some years sooner. In the 1309 Assize Rolls that list the Crown Pleas for the parish of St Helier, a Rauf deQuetteville is listed among the bakers who have amerced on account of unlawfully selling bread made from wheat that has been milled in a mill other than the King’s mill.

Also on this list of bakers is another deQuetteville, named William, who is possibly a brother or a son of Rauf. In around 1312, during the reign of King Edward II, Rauf and William deQuetteville lead the bakers of the island in a complaint to the King demanding their rights against the unjust treatment by Otto de Grandison, Lord of the Isles of Jersey, Guernsey, Sark and Alderney: “To the King and his Council show & complain Rauf de Keytivel and William de Keytivel with many other bakers of the island of Jersey, & William le Segersteyn and William Columbe & many other taverners of the said island that the bailiffs & attorneys of the said Otto de Graunson have imposed grave fines upon them at their will without the 12 jurats, which is contrary to the custom, the which custom is that no fine can be made until it be judged by the 12 jurats assigned by the King in the said island to guard the rights of the King; wherefore the said bakers & taverners pray for remedy & that they may be treated by the custom; (Endorsed) Let them go the Chancery & show the wrongs done to them, & let them have a writ to the justices when they shall come into those parts” (p. 23). All of the entries for the Extentes and Assize Rolls in relation to Jersey and Guernsey must be scrutinized in the context of Otto de Grandison’s rule and the many complaints against it. It is not certain that this Rauf is the same one from the 1274 Extente. Rauf would have been 60 years old or more.

However, another Rauf deQuetteville appears in the 1331 Extente for the parish of St. Lawrence. This time Rauf is seigneur of the fief of es quetiveauls, which is the first time this fief is mentioned in relation to St Lawrence parish: “Les tenants du fief Esqeutiveauls que Raoul de Quetivel tient avec parchonniers doivent de relief après la mort du tenant, qu’il y en ait plus ou moins, pour chaque acre 6 deniers tournois. Et ledit fief contient une bouvée et deux acres avec appartenances; et de ce fief apparaîtra plus pleinement au rental des froments » (p. 79 – Le Feuvre, 1876). This must certainly be a son or nephew of the Rauf we find in the 1274 Extente; otherwise, he is a very old man of 81. What is interesting is the development of land that, if the same as in 1274, was once part of the fief of Hondois and is now a separate fief Es qeutiveauls. Was this fief named after Rauf sometime after 1312, perhaps in recompense for his leadership on the complaint against Otto de Grandison? And can this fief be located somewhere between the town of Hondois and the Le Chemin des moulins? As it is in this Extente that we see for the first time a Quetivel Mill mentioned in the parish of St Lawrence, it raises the question whether that mill is one of the appurtenances of the fief.

In a broader sense, it should be mentioned that the Channel Island customs and laws as enshrined in the so-called constitutions of King John, which first appear in writing in 1248, are almost identical in structure as those imposed by King John on his domains in Ireland in 1199. Though there is no evidence that Regnaud de Ketevil is in Ireland or Jersey at that time, it is a happy coincidence. That the Channel Islanders claimed customary rights that extended back in time to as far as the reign of William the Conqueror does not contradict the reality of King John’s legal reforms. Administrators conversant in the principles of King John’s administrative system would have been able to move between jurisdictions easily. (Note: A seigneurial farmer in France, and by extension Jersey, was considered to be part of the petty nobility and deserving of the title, écuyer, or (e)squire. However, the same person in England was not deemed to be of the same status. One can see why Channel Island land-holders preferred to maintain their French distinctions and to think of themselves as such, despite being English subjects.)


[ii]; see entry for La Bachauderie


[iv] See bac, bachot, bachotte, bachelier in Le Grand Robert

[v] (