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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 vermeil.

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 parish.

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original Fief Au Cannely (granted to the Cherbourg family and, of course, in the territory of the Fief du Cotentin) has been replaced by several sub-fiefs of marriages and settlements: Fief Guillot Justice, Fief Janin Besnard, Private Fief of Thomas Blondel , Fief Bouvée Duquemin, Fief Robert de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 and others.

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.

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 Cotentin. 
  • 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 daughters. 
  • 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.