This post is focused on roads and road names in St Clement.
We immediately encounter a difference. In Grouville the design of parish road names is all the same, red lettering on a white ground edged in red and bearing the parish crest and the parish name “Grouville”. That you are in Grouville is clear.
In St Clement I photographed 23 road names, not all the roads in the Parish. 17 out of the 23 road names do not have any St Clement iconography. They have black lettering on a white ground edged in black, the former standard throughout Jersey and in much of England. Only six out of 23 road names, presumably later in date, bear St Clement iconography in three different designs.
Set out below are pictures of some roads and road names in St Clement and something of what the names tell us.
Rue Graut I really like. It has the traditional black and white road name without parish iconography. Graut or Grault is a family name. This seems to be a parish road, but it wouldn’t be considered much of a road elsewhere, quite unsuitable for vehicles. The road is shown on the 1795 Richmond Map looping back to the St Clement’s Inner Road. It no longer does, but just seems to fade away before you cross into Grouville, linking into the newish network of paths crossing fields in St Clement.
La Rue Crèvecoeur (broken heart) runs steeply downhill. Presumably driving a cart either up or down could have been heart breaking. The road name is set close to the road surface and difficult to read. Leading off La Rue Crèvecoeur is Ruelle des Tours. You imagine it has this name as you can see the coastal towers. However there is a tight U bend on the hill and Giles Bois suggests the name comes from Tours meaning a turn.
Rue de la Lourderie. Lourderie means heaviness. Presumably the road got this name as the land is low lying and prone to flooding. Adjoining fields were flooded this winter.
Rue Genestet. The road name is an example of a design bearing St Cement iconography. It has black lettering on a white ground edged in black, with the parish crest, but not the parish name. The parish crest is a golden or yellow anchor on a blue ground, St Clement allegedly martyred by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the Black Sea.
Rue Genestet is called after broom or a place where broom grows. The house of Plantagenet may also have been called after Genest. It seems unlikely the connection with the Plantagenets explains the frequency of Genest place names in Jersey. More likely it is just that broom grows widely here.
Another design appears above bearing Parish iconography. It has black lettering on a white ground edged in black, with both the parish crest and parish name, St Clement.
Pignon means gable-end. There are two possibilities for the source of the name. The first is that together with the roads it joined, it forms the pattern of a gable end. The second is that there was a house with a gable end, which viewed from the sea served as a landmark.
The design of the above road name, presumably the newest, bears parish iconography in bright colours. It has blue lettering on a yellow ground edged in blue, with the parish crest, but not the parish name.
The origin of the name Pontliétaut is described in Jersey Place Names as confused. Liétaut is a surname. The Pont may simply have been a gap in the dunes. An alternative form of the name apparently derived from Pontliétaut is Pontorson, hence Pontorson Lane. It led to a small harbour on the Fief of Samarès which itself means saltmarsh, hence Rue de Samarès so indications of the typical landscape in Jersey of dunes with behind them, drainage blocked by the dunes, marsh.