Chambres d’Hôtes & Gites
The valleys around Chez Jallot indicate that huge rivers once flowed here, perhaps glaciers too, leaving massive rounded boulders scattered in the fields and woodlands. There is a mound close to the property that is thought to be Roman, so habitation could go back a very long way. Boulders mark ancient roadways through the area and simple stone bridges cross the many streams that gurgle merrily through the valleys.
It has been told that there might have been a house here since the 16th-century. Apparently, records exist of a wooden house, possibly called La Salle. The present granite building was erected on that site.
Local rumour tells a tale that a wealthy entrepreneur built the manor, probably around 1870. His name is lost in time, but it is said that a 'gentleman' called Jallot played a rather dirty trick on him. Monsieur Jallot disguised himself as the elderly entrepreneur, and in front of a lawyer, signed a will leaving the manor house and its land to his own sons. Hence, on the death of the legal owner, the property was inherited by the Jallot family, despite endless protestations from the rightful owners' family.
The grand daughter of a local lady related this story to Doug & Deni, but they were assured by the Jallot family that this was not the case. Hopefully, the following notes will put the records straight.
The daughter of Monsieur Augé sent this information, originally in French, so hopefully the translation is correct.
"The house was constructed after Monsieur Jallot returned from Paris where, under Napoleon III, he participated in the re-construction of Paris during the period when Haussmann was the architect. Monsieur and Madame Jallot had three daughters, one of whom inherited the manor. She married Monsieur Bonnetblanc and had one daughter before the premature death of her husband who was the premier pharmacist in the nearby town. Their daughter, Marie Louise Bonnetblanc, married a doctor/pharmacist, Monsieur Octave Augé, who took over the pharmacy after the death of Monsieur Bonnetblanc."
Chez Jallot is still referred to by local people as "The Chateau". Its interior decor is said by some to have been very lavish although the descendants say that it was just a working farmhouse. Doug and Deni, when carrying out the restoration discovered broken pieces of marble and porcelain, along with numerous oddments of cast iron ranging from fragments to farm machinery. There is the iron frame of a horse-drawn carriage, which in living memory was used by Madam Bonnetblanc on market days. She would travel into Bourganeuf (some 22 km away) to help in the family pharmacy.
A stone tunnel leads from the house, under the lane, into a lower garden where a well and a lavoir are situated. The granite lavoir is apparently very old and is in remarkably good condition. The roof collapsed around 30 years ago, and Doug and Deni needed to dig out several tons of sludge, but now the water runs clear. It is around 5 meters long, 2 meters wide, and 1 meter deep and looks like a Roman bath. It is fed by spring water flowing through the field and which has been channeled in stone gullies, much overgrown now.
The manor's servants used the lavoir for the laundry, especially the very dirty farm clothing. The ladies would kneel on a wooden board beside large granite slabs set at an angle into the water, to scrub clothes clean. Often, they were washing clothes that were covered in everything you would expect from a rural farm worker. When water ran short in the summer, the clothes could have been worn for a month at a time, cow muck and all. In the frozen winter, it wouldn't have been much fun either!
The last known resident of Chez Jallot was Madame Bonnetblanc, also a pharmacist running the family business. Her husband was many years older, and she was widowed at the age of 40. This elegant, petite lady was said by everyone to be very kind and benevolent. For example, when she got a telephone installed, she kept it outside the house so that local people could use it whenever they wished.
Apparently, records are held in the archives in a nearby town, but the older reports are in Latin, so researching this will be difficult. Village records do not exist, save by word of mouth, as the next chapter explains.