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17th century property renovations 'flag' up historic discoveries

17th century property renovations 'flag' up historic discoveries

Sunday 01 January 2023

17th century property renovations 'flag' up historic discoveries

Sunday 01 January 2023

A couple renovating a 17th century merchant's house in St. Aubin have made some surprising discoveries in their attic.

Named Peterborough House, the property is currently used by students of English language school St. Brelade’s College.

The school, run by couple Sid and Julia Brown, closed during the pandemic and the opportunity was taken to make the most of the hiatus and renovate the house.

With the lockdown days dragging on, the couple decided to "get hands on with the renovation...we thought we'd get our hands dirty" and got stuck into the renovation themselves.

Whilst renovating the roof, they accidentally uncovered a little piece of local history: a wooden Union Jack.


Pictured: The wooden flag.

"We had taken off the plaster boards when we saw something covering the rafters, so we pulled it down," Sid told Express.

"At first is was completely covered in dust, so we cleaned it up and we were really surprised

At first glance, the object seems unremarkable.

However, a closer inspection of the artefact revealed more detail - a marking saying, 'Relic of St. Aubin's Fete 1930'.


Pictured: 'Relic of St Aubin's Fete, 1930'.

The pair are unclear to the object’s use.

They pointed out that what they have is only part of a much wider object as the rest of the Union Jack is conspicuously missing. One theory is the large Union Jack formed a patriotic backdrop for one of the many stalls plying its trade at the St. Aubin's Fete.  

Now, the couple have decided to put the article to good use and have mounted it in their dining room. As St. Brelede's College is an English language school, the students find it an oddly fitting backdrop to their lessons.  


Pictured: Sid and Julia Brown.

Dating back to the 1600s, Peterborough House itself is a historic home, and was given its name as it was once home to the Bishop of Peterborough.

Given its long life, a number of peculiar curiosities have accumulated in the house.

Sid notes that the house also has a piece of old train tracks display from the Jersey Railway, which opened in 1870 and closed in 1936. 


Pictured: Peterborough House viewed from outside.

Eerlily, they also found a lone child’s shoe in the attic, which they think to dates from the 19th century.

According to Sid, this is something people used to do "for good luck".

Indeed, the 'concealed shoe' phenomenon has being going on since at least the 14th century, and was extremely popular during the 19th century, with people concealing a single shoe, mostly belonging to children, above ceilings or under doors to protect against ghosts evil presence's. Unsurprisingly, the practice all but died out in the 20th century.


Pictured: The mysterious shoe at Peterborough House.

It seems them that Peterborough house is filled to the rafters with history, of which the most recent find is just another example.

Shoe-talismans, railway tracks and fete relics - it's all there. Unfortunately, Sid commented: “We haven’t found any treasure yet, but we are going to keep looking.”  

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