TITLES OF GUERNESEY - Fief Blondel Est. 1179-1248 AD
In 1020 AD, Duke Richard II divides Guernsey diagonally from two halves, granting south-east to Néel,
Viscount Cotentin and west to Anchetel, Vicomte du Bessin. The Clos du Valle was apparently wasteland. The two
initial fiefs had some vicissitudes, but at the time of the conquest of England both returned to the families of
the original holders.
Evolution of the Fief of Cotentin:
After the Battle of Val Dunes (1047), Duke William II created and granted several ecclesiastical fiefs. From
1144 to 1150 the whole island belonged to Geoffrey d'Anjou. The wasteland of the Fief du Cotentin as part of the
possessions of Geoffrey became under his son Fief Le Roi. New sub-fiefs arose during the 11th and 12th centuries as
Fief Aux Fay and Fief Burons. The Fief Au Fay took place by paying a pair of silver spurs and the Burons Fief by
paying a pair of golden ears. Both were combined as the Fief of Spurs with the obligation to pay a pair of spurs
After 1204 the Crown obtains certain territories holders of Norman form previous that decided to pay homage to
France, thus losing their island territories. It is at the origin of some fiefs as the stronghold of Bruniaux, Fief
Au Marchantet Fief Hailla. Stronghold of Sausmarez originated in the Barneville stronghold. From St. Martin s and
related to the defense of the church originates Fief de la Velleresse (velleresse to ensure = keep a watch on the
coast, having this obligation)
Fief le King/Roi were originally from Fief de Rozel formerly owned by the Cotentin family of Rosel, who passed
to the Crown in 1204 with the fief granted by Duke William II to the Abbey of Marmoutiers. Geoffrey d'Anjou created
in 1150 when he was developing his plans for the invasion of two military fiefs De Vaugrat of England and Bruniaux
in the parish of St. Sampson. Fief Anneville granted by Henry III to Sir William de Cheny in 1248 is also from this
The evolution of the lands in the parish of Torteval is complicated, because although initially in the Fief of
the Cotentin, many of its fiefs cover St. Pierre-du-Bois, which is part of the Fief du Bessin.
The original Fief Au Cannely (granted to the Cherbourg family and, of course, in the territory of
the Fief du Cotentin) has been replaced by several sub-fiefs of marriages and settlements: Fief
Guillot Justice, Fief Janin Besnard, Private Fief of Thomas Blondel , Fief Bouvée Duquemin, Fief Robert de Va (or
Worm), Fief Jean du Gaillard (who passes to the Crown in the early sixteenth century), etc. .. A perplexing overlap
of territories thus emerges. Since 1248, the number and boundaries of fiefs was much as at present.
Evolution of the Fief of Bessin:
The Fief du Bessin consisting of the Vintaine de L'Epine and the parishes of Castel, Saint-Sauveur and Saint
Pierre-du-Bois, became Fief Le Comte in 1120 when Ranulf the "Vicomte du Bessin" was created Count of Chester. 12th
century, the fief was divided into sub-fiefs: Fiez Rozel, Fief Longues, Fief Suart and Fief Sotuas.Fief San Michel
was from a donation of fallow uncultivable monastery of the name After 1204 the stronghold that Suart divided into
two parts, one to the Crown while the rest was named fief Reveaux.Four half of the Suart Fief retained by the Crown
while the other half given to the Revel family led to the emergence of the Fief de Gohiers, stronghold of Pomare
Agricultural Developments and Sales in the Fief The Account originates from new sub-fiefs such as Fief Groignet,
Fief Carteret, Fief Grantez or Fief Videclin. In the same way, the cession of lands of St. Michel represented the
Fief Saumarez and the Fief Jean du Galliard.
The number of Guernsey fiefs has remained unchanged since the 14th century. The titles were kept in some cases,
the same families ans (Sausamez). All 75 Lordships are perfectly documented; This is not the case with the other
titles of the Channel Islands. In January 2004, 24 Private Lords or "Free Lords" held a total of 46 Lordships which
included lands or feudal rights to the land which means that some Lords stall more than one title. Two more
Seigneures (Riviere and Beuval) are held by more than one person and the fiefs of 27 others belong to the Crown.
The title is transferred by means of conveyance or transport in Guernsey Records and Her Majesty's Records. The
transfer must be consistent with Guernsey's ancient practices. This means that the will or the means of transport
must be made in accordance with the Guernsey Law. The document is registered in the HM Registry
Fiefs and their Seigneurs. From Guerin's Almanack, 1890, in the Library's News Cuttings on
Guernsey IV, p. 79, Staff. http://www.priaulxlibrary.co.uk/articles/article/lords-manors
THE FEODAL SYSTEM
Without any political or judicial power for several decades, the feudal
system of Guernsey has remained to this day. There are officially 75 fiefs, headed by a "lord" or "lady". The
British Crown in the person of the Duke of Normandy , Queen Elizabeth II actually owns 29 of its strongholds, most
of which belonged to abbeys or priory Lower Normandy, before the sixteenth century. This fact, in 2004, there were
24 private lords totaling 46 lordships inherited from this feudal system , except that two of these 46
seigneuries are indivision between several owners. These fiefs belong to very old local lineages having given many
officers, bailiffs, jurats and lawyers. These few families gather in their hands, as a result of endogamous
marriages, many of the small rural fiefdoms, resulting from sharing throughout history, according to the precepts
of Norman customary law, still in force.
As in England and according to a centuries-old system, fiefs can be sold by lords to other individuals. Each
lord is bound, according to custom, to make faith and homage to the duke or his representative. This tribute is
sometimes staged during Queen's state visits to the Channel Islands.
Unlike the Lord of Sark, the lords of Ceuresi have retained only the feudal rights, but have lost all their
rights seigneuriaux since the nineteenth century and in the following. The lords played a social role until the
first half of the 20th century. The feudal courts have also practically disappeared, with the exception of the
courts of the feud Le Comte (family Lenfestey) or the fief of Blanchelande (the bailiff of Guernsey, ex officio ,
Saint-Martin). The seneschal of a fief, and his officers were usually chosen from the inhabitants of the fief, as
required by feudal custom. In the example of the stronghold of Blanchelande, which formerly belonged to a priory of
the former abbey of Blanchelande (in Neufmesnil, France, Manche), the court of fief is still composed today of the
seneschal, four vavasseurs, and officers are the clerk and his clerk, the provost, a sergeant and a grenetier
. In the fiefs, this court was held either in a special room or plaids room, or on a stone bench
located on a main axis of the lordship. Some of these benches have been preserved.
The 1980 Feudal Laws Act permanently extinguished the private character of the remaining seigneurial royalties
by transferring them to the Crown. In 2002, a complementary law provided for the abolition in 2003 of the
"thirteenth" right (transfer tax) for the benefit of private lords, because of the exemption enjoyed by the farms
held in strongholds and the fiefs (seigneuries) . This tax is now returned to the Crown .
The lords and ladies of the most important fiefs Guernesiais traditionally sit in the Court of Chief pleas ,
with the lawyers practicing on the island and the constables elected parishes, during his solemn sessions "in body"
(or full court ) three times per year. To sit, the lords and ladies must have paid tribute to their fief to the
Crown or his representative, the Lieutenant Governor of Guernsey. However, even if the presence of lords and ladies
is mandatory at these three sessions, they no longer participate in the debate but answer only to their name. This
survival however indicates that the seigneuries guernesiaises preserved their moral and legal personalities
Having become owners of several seigneuries (English: baronnies or manors ), a number of stately homes have been
converted into a luxury hotel (La Barbarie hotel, for the Blanchelande stronghold, or the Longueville manor, in
Saint-Sauveur), or simply sold, which allows customary law. Some lords have maintained the area rich in rare
botanicals, and open to visit, like the manor of Sausmarez ( Sausmarez Manor ) . It still belongs to
the family Sausmarez, one of the oldest on the island with that of De Carteret.
- The Fief de Thomas Blondel came about through the medieval fragmentation of Fief Au Canelly and
consequently, of the initial half of Guernsey given by Duke Richard II in 1020 to Neel, Vicomte of the
- The Canelly family owned land near Cherbourg in Normandy in addition to the Guernsey territory (There is no
existing record of the grant of the fief). It may be granted to the Canely family but there is a gap of at
least 100 years before any record of that family’s connection with the fief).
- In 1270, on the death of Sir Henry Le Canelly, the Guernsey fief was divided between his
- Guilemette, the wife of Henry de Saint Martin obtained a considerable part of the island originating later
the fiefs of Janin Besnard, Jean du Gaillard, Guillot Justice and Thomas Blondel.
- This was confirmed by the tenants and officers of the Fief in letters patent issued by Guernsey's Royal
Court under the Bailiwick Seal in 1463.
- The region of The Fief de Thomas Blondel lies in both St Peter-in-the-Wood and Torteval Parishes of the
Island of Guernsey
- A Thomas Blondel was a jurat of Guernsey’s Royal Court from 1421-45. The Blondel family has given several
jurats to the island.