Nicolle Tower

St Clement, Jersey - Sleeps 2

About this Landmark

Nicolle Tower was built as a folly in 1821 with a pretty sitting room on the first floor. The third floor was added in 1943 during the German occupation of Jersey and served as an observation point due to the views that the tower enjoys over the sea and islands in every direction. 

Beds 1 Double

  • Sleeps2
  • 4 nights from from£129
  • equivalent to £16.13 per person per night

19th-century lookout

Originally built by Philippe Nicolle in 1821, activity on this site predates this by some 200 years. The first recorded reference to such a structure on the hill was January 1792, but there is evidence that supports the idea that the site has been used far longer than that. Most noticeably so is one of the large blocks of granite used in the towers foundation, which has been beautifully inscribed with a rose compass, dated 1644. Since it was built this Landmark has gone through at least three separate phases of construction; most recently in 1943 when the Germans raised the roof by one storey. During this period the tower served as an important lookout and further battlements and bunkers were built nearby to augment this role during the German occupation. These modifications have been kept and can still be seen today as they represent the historical fabric of the building.

Panoramic views

Situated on Jersey, this tiny building is a muddle of styles; Regency elegance in the sitting-room and military simplicity in the bedroom. Set back from the coast, the tower stands 160 feet up, with panoramic views of the sea and the surrounding islands in every direction. It sits just above the parish of St Clement, one of Jersey's twelve parishes, and this light-hearted Gothick tower is the perfect place to start exploring this lovely island.

Floor Plan

‘Peace, lovely walks, our own tower to live in – what more could you want?’

From the logbook

Map & local info

Long quiet lanes lead you to Nicolle Tower, which stands alone on a hill in the parish of St Clement. This a perfect location from which to start your exploration of this interesting and beautiful island.

Nicolle Tower
St Clement, Jersey - Sleeps 2
Clear directions

Places to visit nearby

Jersey Museum

La Hogue Bie

Corbiere Lighthouse

Jersey War Tunnels

Mount Orgueil Castle

‘Peace, lovely walks, our own tower to live in – what more could you want?’

From the logbook

Your questions answered

    What you need to know about this building

  • Does the property allow dogs?

    No.
  • How is the property accessed?

    Via a track from the main road.
  • What is the nearest railway station and how far away is it?

    Jersey – 8 miles.
  • Is there car parking specifically for Landmark guests?

    Yes – there is a parking space adjacent to the tower.
  • What type of heating does the property have?

    There are electric radiators.
  • What are the kitchen facilities?

    The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also an electric cooker.
  • What are the bathroom facilities?

    There is one bathroom with a bath.
  • Does this Landmark have steep, narrow or spiral stairs?

    Yes, the stairs are steep and narrow.
  • Is there a garden or outside space?

    There is a garden (not enclosed).

    Booking and Payment

  • Can I pay a deposit?

    If your stay starts more than three months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • How can I pay?

    We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • How do I pick up the key?

    There are various arrangements for picking up keys. To arrange to get into the Landmark, please contact the housekeeper at least two days before your stay
  • How can I cancel or change my booking?

    If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • What if I arrive late?

    Please let the housekeeper know if you are going to arrive late and s/he will leave a key for you in a suitable place.
  • Do you accept payment in other currencies?

    At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • How far in advance do I need to book?

    It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • Do you have to be a member to book a Landmark?

    No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • Do I need a Handbook to be able to book?

    No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
  • What happens if I can’t get to the Landmark due to bad weather?

    If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will advise you as to whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to carry out the changeover then we consider that it is open and available. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, which may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking.

    Staying at a Landmark

  • Are Landmarks only available as self-catering accommodation?

    Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Do you provide catering?

    Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • Do you allow dogs?

    You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Can I bring a pet?

    Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Insured if I break something?

    We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Are Landmarks suitable for children?

    Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Are Landmarks accessible for people with disabilities or limited mobility?

    Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.
  • Can I get married in a Landmark?

    Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • Can I hold a big party in a Landmark?

    All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • Is it true there are no televisions in the buildings?

    We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • Why are your access tracks sometimes difficult?

    One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Will there be sockets for my electrical appliances?

    Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s).

    Facilities

  • Are the kitchens and bathrooms restored to a modern standard?

    Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Is linen provided?

    Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Are the kitchens fully equipped?

    Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Do you provide logs for the open fire/stove?

    Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Will there be a mobile signal in the Landmark I book?

    Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • Is there Wi-Fi in your buildings?

    No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • What should I bring with me? Are there lavatory rolls, soap, shampoo, milk, teabags, coffee, hairdryer?

    A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide lavatory rolls and a bar of soap, per basin but no other toiletries. We do not provide hairdryers.

Three phases of construction

Nicolle Tower owes its current form to at least three separate phases of construction. It began life as a single cell: a single room, single storey signal box – the ground storey of the rectangular projection. The first reference to such a structure on the hill is in January 1792, when a report to the States from the Defence Committee included ‘Herket (Mont Urbé)’ as part of a planned chain of signal boxes around the island (Herket referring to ‘Her quantin’, a man-shaped stone in the field). However, there is evidence that the promontory had been used for this purpose since much earlier.

One of the large blocks of granite built into the tower’s foundations at the south-west corner of the hexagonal projection has been beautifully inscribed with a rose compass, with the date 1644.

In 1809, J. Stead described the signal box as ‘a neat convenient dwelling, with a good garden: a small but excellent retreat for a weather-beaten seaman: his Yards and Rigging remain and he is still able to show his Colours: his Birth [berth] is amply furnished, his supply of Fresh Provision and Grog is certain; he may enjoy all the Conveniences of the shore and all the Amusements of the Sea, without the Dangers attending on the profession’ – an engaging if probably idealised description.

The Nicolle family, who gave the tower its current name, join the story in 1821, when Philippe Nicolle acquired the field in which the signal box stood. They were a local family: a Philippe Nicolle had been Constable of the parish of St Clement’s from 1763-1770, and it is likely that it was his son who bought the plot in 1821. The sale deeds also refer to Philippe’s intention ‘de bâtir un édifice’ (construct a building). Certainly, Godfrey’s map of 1849 shows a ‘Look-out’ with today’s double footprint and it seems safe to assume that Philippe carried out his intention to build soon after 1821, converting the signal box into an elegant folly and prospect tower, by adding a hexagonal projection and an extra storey to both parts, with pointed windows in the very latest Gothick Revival style. The signal box area was used to insert a staircase. It has been suggested that the tower was inspired by La Tour d’Auvergne or Prince’s Tower, built on the mound of La Hougue Bie in the 1780s (but demolished in 1924). Its architect is unknown, although polygonal buildings were very popular and the design may equally have borrowed features from the pattern books that were by now in wide circulation, as architects such as Batty Langley published their designs so that other could copy them. Even so, considerable skill was required to execute such elaborate designs successfully and a likely candidate for the builder of the tower is one R.E. Norman, a ‘Mâitre Carpentier’ active in Jersey in the early 19th century and described one of the best architects the island had produced.

During restoration, it was found that crenellations (or battlements) had been added to the roof. The tower passed to Philippe’s daughter after his death, who married Philippe Anley from whom the tower derived its alternative name of La Folie Anley. Perhaps it was this Philippe who added the crenellations.

The final phase of the tower’s construction came during the German Occupation of Jersey (1940-5) when the third storey was added, infilling the battlements and adding a pitched roof and characteristic observation slits. It was regarded as an important lookout and there is a dug-out just to the south of the tower. In 2001, a Landmarker left the following entry in the Logbook in the tower:

'For military buffs and as a retired gunner, I can confirm that the bedroom was used as an Observation Point for Coastal Batteries. The ceiling is marked Nord, Sud, Ost, West and the wall marks are bearings in miles in groups of 400, starting at the left hand side at 2000 miles and progressing round to 6400 miles (i.e. North) and then starting again at 400 miles. Once they understand the sequence the marks are easy to identify. The purpose of the marks would have been that the observer could have immediately given a rough bearing to a target without recourse to a compass. He would probably have had a range finder up there also, allowing him to give a bearing and range to the coastal batteries, on a radio, without delay. What is of interest to us who now sleep in the Observation Point is that it was never used for offensive purposes, as no targets were ever engaged by the coastal batteries during the German Occupation.’

The last of these towers

The Landmark Trust acquired Nicolle Tower in 1982, after becoming specially incorporated in Jersey to allow it, as a company, to own property on the island (a privilege denied non-resident individuals by Channel Island law). Its owner, Mr Vincent Obbard had recently inherited the tower from his father, Jurat Commander E. C. Obbard, and could see no other way of preserving this, the last of such towers which once dotted the island.

The tower had stood empty since the war and was derelict and vandalised; the windows were boarded up, the first floor partly burned. No early photos or sketches survived of the building and nothing remained of the interior decoration to guide the restoration, which therefore tried to emulate the manner of a good provincial architect such as might have directed its original construction, while at the same time retaining the evidence of its differing uses.

First the render was stripped away to reveal the brick core. The south-east wall was found to be unstable and had to be rebuilt and window arches were strengthened. A new window was created on the ground floor in the staircase wing, where there had been a false door. The crenellations of the original two-storey building were clearly apparent below the Germans’ additional storey, before the whole was re-covered in a lime-based render (lime allows the building to breath better than more modern equivalents). The roof had been covered in imitation tiles of rubberised felt which were beginning to perish and so these were stripped and replaced with new Portmadoc slates. The finial is of hardwood covered in protective lead.

Inside, crumbling plaster and damaged or rotten timber was removed. New pine floorboards were laid on the first two storeys and the walls were waterproofed and replastered. On the first floor, where the sitting room was to be, decorative architraves to the window embrasures and a dado rail were added. The fanlight over the door from the hall to the kitchen was based on a surviving fragment of the original. All the doors were renewed. The top floor presented particular difficulties. Special planning permission allowed the windows to remain unchanged (as this was not to be a permanent residence) but the wooden floor had to be removed to allow sufficient headroom, leaving the bare concrete beneath. The doorway, only two feet wide, was widened. The new staircase was extended to the third floor (previously reached only by a ladder) and there was just space to insert a bathroom on the top floor landing. In this way, Nicolle Tower has been returned to the purpose for which it was originally intended, the pursuit of pleasure on this island hilltop.

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

QuestionWhat's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.