Place de l'église, Champagny-sous-Uxelles, Southern Burgundy, France.

Some history of 3, Place de l'église.

So this is what we know.

It is probable that parts of the house date to the period before the French Revolution (1789).

The document relating to our purchase of the property in October 2006 suggests that it is difficult to obtain any official record of ownership before the Second World War. Apparently this is not unusual in France as many official archives were lost or destroyed (some perhaps deliberately) during the occupation.

Fortunately Odile Berthelon, who still lives in the village, remembers the one room house of her uncle CHARLES GRESSARD and she has been able to give further background information as well as confirming the later facts. 

The GRESSARD family were living in Champagny before the First World War. The name of ANTONIN GRESSARD is among those of the village listed on the 1914-1918 war memorial and there are GRESSARD family graves in the local cemetery.  It is likely that the GRESSARD FAMILY owned and inhabited all or parts of the row of buildings to the west of the church. It is just possible to see these on the photograph which was taken around 1910. (see photograph on our VILLAGE & HISTORY page).

According to Odile three dwellings were owned by CHARLES GRESSARD and JEANNE MARIE FRANCOISE JAILLET. Our documents confirm their title. They had two sons FERNAND CLAUDE and GERARD ALFRED born between 1921 and 1923 probably in what is now our living room. There was no internal access to the first floor at that time which may have only been used for storage and accessed from the adjoining buildings.

By 1939 two of the dwellings, with some outbuildings were demolished and the large barn had been built in their place. To own the largest barn appears to have been a status symbol.

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Our main kitchen and front sitting area.

After the construction of the barn CHARLES and JEANNE extensively remodelled the remaining part of the house with the addition of the kitchen and access to new bedrooms on the upper floor and to the loft with the installation of the oak staircase. We believe that much of this work took place during or just after the war. We have dated the five front windows to a standard of around 1945 and a date of 1949 is etched into the mortar of the gate latch. The motif in the centre of the gate contained the initials G J (Gressard and Jaillet) but we have changed this to B J!

JEANNE (probably known as Marie) JAILLET (born in 1897) died in Màcon on 16 December 1974 and CHARLES GRESSARD (born in 1889) died in Saint-Gengoux-Le-National on 16th August 1986 having relinquished his share in the property during 1985. The property passed to their sons FERNAND CLAUDE GRESSARD and GERARD ALFRED GRESSARD who sold to WALTER HUGH WRIGHT and ELLEEN YOUNG on 12th September 1990.

During the ownership of WALTER WRIGHT some land at the rear including the pig sties and bake house were sold to the neighbour. WALTER was responsible for extending the first floor accommodation further into the barn to create a third bedroom and bathroom. Most of the material including electrical wiring and some plumbing being brought from England.

On 27th July  2001 WALTER AND ELLEEN sold to IAN KIRK and PATRICIA SMITH. The Kirk's installed the central heating and the enclosed fire and attempted to “tidy up” the house with a view to renting it out for holidays. They sold to the ANSELLS October 2006 and we moved in during January 2007

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Above - seccond bedroom with adjoining sitting/dressing room

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In many ways we continued the restoration and development of the building which had been begun by the Wrights and the Kirks.

One big reason for buying the house was the need to have some living accommodation in good order for immediate occupation. The second bedroom is today as it was when we arrived and we have since removed the 1990’s glass and timber partition in the adjoining bedroom so that we now have family suit with its own sitting, dressing or children’s room.

Initially in the house only basic redecoration was needed with some updating of the master bedroom and shower. All this was done while we were talking with our Mayor and the authorities who were all very helpful in guiding us through the necessary permission to create the new apartment in the former stables for Barbara’s mother.

We started this work at the end of June 2007 and with a lot of help from friends and neighbours managed have the apartment ready for occupation at Easter 2008.

The creation of a utility area and the refurbishment of the kitchen followed in the autumn of 2008 and was completed in 2010.

We had the main roof renovated with new insulated underlining in 2010 which allowed us to create another family guest suit on the second floor which was completed in 2012.

Apart from replacing the five windows on the front elevation, no other projects were planned. We have continued to maintain and improve the house and garden. However, when Barbara’s mother was transferred to a nursing home in January 2015, we decided that her former apartment could be renovated and offered as a gite.

Recently we have focused on improvements to environmental and security aspects. Between 2013 and 2014 we replaced all the 1940’s front windows with double-glazed oak windows of a traditional style. Other measures included upgrading the insulation generally and repointing the external stone walls.

Of course during most of 2015 our time was spent creating and improving our gîte while we tested it with visits from friends and family.

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Left and above - Living room. Apart from a coat of paint very much as it was in 2006

Far Left - first floor landing.

Left - Undercroft and cave.

Right - Second floor family guest room with shower etc.

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