7: The Years in France

14th Century

Posted on April 26, 2019

That the deQuetteville family somehow survived with titles and possessions intact in Normandy after 1204 is difficult to establish. No more deQuettevilles appear in the Normandy Rolls during the 13th century, at least in La Manche. It is not until the 14thcentury that we meet deQuettevilles again, but now they appear to be centered in the village of Quetteville in Calvados.

In the Nobilaire universal de France, Nicholas Vitton de St Allais writes an entry for Le Grant that includes some information on these deQuettevilles. The Le Grant family was trying to have its legitimacy confirmed in the 17th century under King Louis XIV when it had its genealogy written, so there may be some doubt cast on the validity of its observations (it is claimed that the Scottish Grants, derived from the MacGregors, fought at the side of William Wallace, Robert of Bruce, King David and Mac Alpin). Having said that, some aspects are well documented.

Jean Grant was the Scottish ambassador at the court of the French King in 1359, not long after the beginning of the 100 Year War and well into the Franco-Scottish Alliance that had been forged in 1292. Jean’s cousins, Tassain and Guillaume, preceded Jean some years before. In 1372, Guillaume was made viscount of Caen for his loyal service against England and was killed there in the siege of Caen in 1417.  In the year 1363, his brother, Tassain, married Jorette de Quetteville, daughter of Nicole de Quetteville, “chevalier, seigneur de Quetteville, de Bonnnebos and d’Aubigny » (p. 353). (Note: if Jorette is 25 eyars old when she marries in 1363, it means she was born in about 1338 – this would mean that her father was born maybe 25 years earlier, in about 1313).

At one point, the writer confirms the location of Quetteville by placing it in proximity of Moyaux in the Calvados, for which a Jacques le Grant will be the seigneur in 1704. In addition, a Bonnebos, or Bonnebosq, is nearby, as is Aubigny (near Falaise). How this branch of the deQuettevilles arrived in this vicinity and rose to prominence remains a mystery. Quetteville in Calvados has a church that dates to the late 11thcentury — perhaps even dating to the earliest period of the building of stone churches built in Jersey — but documentary evidence for its seigneurs is scarce.

It is possible that the earliest deQuetteville inhabitants in Calvados were Vikings settlers under the direction of the clan of Ketel. They may have followed a parallel trajectory to that of the deQuettevilles in La Manche, with two separate families developing out of each locality. On the other hand, it may be that all the places so-named arose from a single family and are distantly related. (That the two fiefs may have been related by or grown out of land acquired through marriage presupposes that the fiefs were named after their new owner. This is unlikely, however; place-names do not change as the result of a differently named person assuming control of the property. Rather, it is the other way around. More often than not, newly married men of lesser means took the names of their more illustrious or land-rich wives.) In the case of Nicole de Quetteville, his four daughters, Jorette, Jehanette, Perette and Colette, all marry but it is to the husband of the eldest, Toussaint le Grant, that the title of seigneur de Quetteville passes. Subsequent generations of Grants will carry this title among the many others they acquire over 300 years. 

It is perhaps to the Nicole deQuetteville mentioned above that the family coat of arms was assigned in the Nobilaire. Though we saw one instance of the coat of arms being attributed to a Nicole deQuetteville from 1160, this may be the result of the later Grants’ efforts to ascribe an ancient nobility to their more recent ancestors. (This requires more research).