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Jean Baptiste Paul Chappé de Léonval
Part 1

The grave of Jean Baptiste Paul Chappé de Léonval

[with ref to Chappé family History - geneanet]

Jean Baptiste Paul Chappé de Léonval was living in Prestwich when he died in 1858, at the age of 75 (b:1783)

Léonval is a small village that lies to the northwest of Nancy, in Lorraine France, and the family surname is actually recorded as Chappé in official records. A Chappé was a piece of leather that protected the cross guard of a sword. When a family adds a location to its name, or its grave stone, they are usually trying to tell us how important they were.

Lorraine, France

Far from rural France, in the UK electoral register of 1837, Jean had been recorded as living at Birch Cottage, which stood along Old Hall Lane in Rusholme, South Manchester. But still a semi-rural location.

Old Hall Lane, Rusholme (1845)

The cottage had a thatched roof and was recorded as the oldest property in Rusholme as of 1910. It was demolished by the 1930s. The electoral register shows that Jean owned land near Albion St. near Knott Mill, Manchester.

Birch Cottage, Rusholme (~1910)

Jean's wife Mary died in 1839 and in the census of 1841 Jean, now aged 50, was still living at Birch Cottage with his 6 children. Also in the same property were his in-laws, John Fletcher, aged 50, and his wife Alice.

The Fletcher families of Birch A Thomas Fletcher was recorded in 1640 as renting a seat in the Birch Chapel nearby (demolished and replaced in 1846). A Samuel Fletcher was agent to the Birch Estate, and lived and had his office at the cottage at the back of Birch Hall in Rusholme. The replacement church (St James - closed in 1981) contains a window dedicated to Samuel by his widow Mary, after he had died in 1858. She went on to marry the Rev. Wm. Hutton of Beltham. A bell in the church was funded by Alice Fletcher.

By the census of 1851 Jean had moved from Rusholme and was living at Four Lanes Cottage, Pinfold Lane, in Pilkington (Whitefield today).

Four Lanes End (1845)

Four Lanes End was a hamlet at the meeting of the lane between Prestwich and Bury ( which became Bury New Road), and the lane between Unsworth and Lilly Hill on the Roman Road (Moss Lane/Pinfold Lane).

Pinfold The pinfold, from Saxon Pundfald and pund, which both mean an enclosure, was a common feature of English medieval villages. It was a pound or place in the hamlet where all stray cattle were kept until claimed. The person in charge of the pinfold was the pinder, which gave rise to the surname of Pinder.

Whitefield was born As the hamlets of Four Lanes End, Lilly Hill and Besses had expanded they became one, and merged with Whitefield to their north,and the whole area took on the name of Whitefield.

Moss lane was named after the wetlands that prevailed in the area - both Higher Lane and Bury New Road were raised so they sat above the moss, and a weigh machine was installed between Besses and Four Lanes End to ensure vehicles weren't too heavy, and also that the owner had paid the correct toll.

Jean Baptiste had married Mary Fletcher, daughter of George, in Hulme in 1809. For some reason he was recorded as Paul Chappé on their marriage register. In order to own property, as was recorded in the electoral register of 1837, Jean had applied for naturalisation in 1829.

Jean Chappe's affidavit (1829)

As part of his application for naturalisation the records show that he was in partnership with Peter Fletcher, brother of his wife to be, and they had purchased a cotton mill with other buildings at Gaythorn, near Knott Mill, Manchester for £3000 (£421,000 today). Mr Fletcher had died earlier that year, with installments on the purchase still outstanding and the inheritance and freehold of the property could not pass to Jean as he was classed as an alien - though he had become classed as a citizen in 1825, he could not own property in Britain.

Gaythorn Cotton Mill - built 1788.

Signatories on his application included Samuel Brooks (Cunliffe Brooks & Co. and brother of John Brooks of the Anti Corn Law League) as well as Oswald Milne (Solicitor and clerk to the Magistrates and land owner in Prestwich.

Jean's affidavit also states that he had lived in Britain for about 25 years, being born in the city of Nancy in 1785, and had come to England in 1803, spending all but 3 years in London. His father was Vicompte (Viscount) Antoine-André Chappé de Léonval.

Antoine-André's motto was "qui s'y frotte s'y pique" - "Gather thistles, expect prickles" or "if you go looking for trouble you'll find it", or alternatively "celui qui me touche se pique" - "whoever touches me gets pricked", with a family crest of a thistle.

He had served as Master of Horse and Counsellor & Secretary to King Louis XVI, who reigned from 1774 until he (and his wife & sons) met the guillotine in 1793. Antoine-André served the King at Chancellery of Metz, had used his money to buy the barony of Bioncourt, Lorraine, in 1780, and then purchased the Fief of Léonval, also in Lorraine, France in 1783.

1789 Bastille.

When Revolution broke out in 1789, the French troops in the barracks at Metz mutinied. Dr Jean Baptiste Laffitte, the doctor at the barracks, and god father of Jean Baptiste Paul Chappe, had been out at the time and escaped, riding his carriage during the night to the Léonval family home.

He quietly woke up Antoine's wife Catherine, her son Jean Baptiste Paul and daughter Eulalie who all then left the family home without packing much. While they were dressing, he unscrewed the family coat of arms that was hanging over the fireplace - something that is reported to be still with the family today...

Update: the family crest has been passed down from father to son and a photo has been kindly provided...

The Chappe Family Crest rescued along with Catherine & her two children.

The Doctor along with Catherine and the two children then rode through the remainder of the night for the Luxembourg border, which they were able to cross. They travelled to Lancashire as refugees.

Antoine escaped to Jacquemel, Saint Dominique in the West Indies, where he had been Counsellor to the King on the Superior Council at Port-au-Prince. He took his eldest son, André and eldest daughter Marguerite, and her husband Louis Marie Ausanne - who had been the Royal Surveyor at Cayes. Jean Baptiste Paul, as we know, remained in England and he later would name one of his sons Paul Laffitte Chappe, in 1817, in recognition of the role Dr Laffitte had played.

Saint Dominique had also undergone years of violence and disruption since the start of the French Revolution, and Antoine travelled to reclaim a coffee plantation that he owned near Jacquemel.

On the night of the 18th February 1792, "black insurgents" caught the family at Jacquemel and all were stripped and killed.

Jean Baptiste Chappé d'Auteroche - The Astronomer Auteroche was a place in central France. Jean was appointed a Royal Astronomer under Louis XV, around 1759.

He is best known for observing the Transit of Venus from Siberia in 1761 & Mexico, 1769. More closer to Prestwich, William Crabtree of Broughton in Salford, along with his scientific partner Jeremiah Horrocks, had made the first scientific observations of Venus during the previous transit in 1639. They had worked together to refine the work of Johannes Kepler, and thus made the future predictions more accurate. Kepler had predicted a transit in 1631, but through lack of accuracy, had failed to predict that it would not be visible from Europe.

Jean Baptiste Chappé d'Auteroche in Siberia

The only link I can find sofar is that this astronomer undertook surveys between 1756 and 1759, in Lorraine performing latitude & longitude determinations derived from measurements of the moon, of selected stars and of our very own star, the sun.

Sadly Jean Baptiste Chappé d'Auteroche died of yellow fever shortly after his observation in Mexico.

Another Chappé - The visual Telegraph “télégraphe” – meaning “far writing”. Claude Chappe, was born in Brûlon in 1763, and aspired to be a member of the clergy however the French Revolution disrupted his plans and instead sought a way to communicate over great distances. With his brother René, he first used sounds that corresponded to numbers that could be coded/decoded to send messages. However he realised that visual methods would allow for communications over even longer distances.

Visual Telegraph.

The telegraph was such a success that Napoleon ordered one to be constructed across the Channel to send information during his planned invasion of Britain.

[Ref: French Fields

Claude Chappe had "Rue Chappe" on the Montmartre hill in Paris named after him.

1st Coalition War (1792-1797) and the St Dominique Slave Revolt (1791-1793) Britain saw an opportunity in the Caribbean as a result of the French Revolution, and came in on the side of the slaves to fight against the French in St Dominique. The island produced 40% of the worlds sugar and 50% of the worlds coffee and the revolt froze that trade over night. In all about 15,000 British Soldiers died on St Dominique, present day Haiti, and it is considered one of the greatest disasters of British Imperial History. Britain expelled the French ambassador following the execution of Louis XVI in 1793, and France responded by declaring war on Great Britain and the Dutch Republic, a war that lasted until 1797.

The Second Coalition War (1798-1802) Austria handed Belgium, parts of the Rhineland and Italy to France in 1797, thus ending the War of the 1st Coalition, although Britain remained at War with Spain, France and The Netherlands. In 1798 a second coalition was formed between Naples, The Ottoman Empire, Austria and Russia, which Britain then joined. The war ended with the Treaty of Amiens in 1802, however Napoleon still had grand ideas and war broke out again in 1803.

The Caribbean campaign of 1803–1810 The Caribbean campaign of 1803–1810 was a series of military contests mainly in the West Indies spanning the Napoleonic Wars involving European powers Napoleonic France, the Batavian Republic, Spain, the Kingdom of Portugal and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Read more about the Chappé family of Manchester and South Africa in Part 2...

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