Le Marinel is a Grade 1 Listed farm complex, one of only 9 private houses in Jersey with this highest grade of listing. The historic farmstead has buildings, fittings and furnishings ranging from between the 15th and 19th centuries and is an exceptional range of buildings of the utmost importance to the history, culture and architecture of Jersey’s rural heritage.
The original medieval house and outbuildings were abandoned in 1870, when a new residential property was constructed in front of the old ones. As a result, the buildings have lain dormant and untouched for 150 years. Sadly the farm complex is in a dilapidated condition and at serious risk of collapse and decay if substantial renovations are not undertaken imminently.
Over the last six years or so the Trust has been in talks with the owner as to how we might be able to undertake a restoration project for this extraordinary set of buildings and how such a project might be funded with a number of interested parties. As a result, we were offered a 125-year lease on the farm complex and we engaged the highly regarded conservation architect Ptolemy Dean – the Surveyor of the Fabric of Westminster Abbey – to develop a master plan for the works. As part of this plan, the Trust also acquired the Chapelles des Freres, a Grade 3 Listed complex which includes a pair of Methodist Chapels dating from the early 19th and early 20th centuries, the older Chapel with a manse attached. The Chapels are directly opposite Le Marinel, and the master plan envisaged that these would be restored and turned into a retail space, restaurant and studio as a means of generating income to support Le Marinel when opened to the public as a museum/visitor attraction. The Chapels were in relatively poor condition when the Trust acquired them in 2017 and some urgent remedial works have been undertaken to stabilise their condition but there remains considerable work to be done.
The Trust was fortunate to work with a local charitable trust to facilitate the project which included an interest free loan to acquire the Chapels as well as a willingness to consider funding the main restoration project. However, the resulting offer of a long lease and the inevitable delays which underlie such heritage projects proved un-attractive for the charitable trust and in October 2020 they withdrew their support for the renovation project. We then applied to the States’ Fiscal Stimulus programme for support but this was rejected in early 2021. Again, there was reluctance to fund a project which was not able to meet strict timescales. The Trust was subsequently very grateful to obtain Fiscal Stimulus funding for the Morel Farm restoration project, which has taken up a large amount of our team’s time until its completion in April 2023.
In the light of these factors, and as a result of the charitable trust’s request for repayment of its loan, the Trust concluded that the future of the Chapels should be viewed separately from the main project. We have been in tentative discussions with a number of organisations, including charities, parochial and government bodies, to try to find a mutually beneficial alternative use for the chapels. So far, no acceptable plans have been put forward and, mindful of the need to repay the loan, the Trust has decided to put the Chapels on the market.
Agents were appointed to commence the process for a sale by private informal tender, and a buyer has been found and the sale is expected to complete this week.
We continue to develop proposals for the Le Marinel historic farm complex and have continued discussions with the owner and potential funding partners and prospective users, including Government departments. We passionately believe that Le Marinel must be saved from further decay and will use all of our efforts to come up with a scheme which can achieve this. We look forward to updating this report once the sale of the Chapels has completed later this year.
Please do not hesitate to contact either of the undersigned if you have any questions or require any further information.
Charles Malet de Carteret – President charlieMDC@nationaltrust.je
Charles Alluto – CEO email@example.com