The story starts with a memory of my grandfather
saying that the family were supposed to be descended from Huguenots.
I remember him then trying to pronouce his surname in a bad French accent,
which retained most of the cockney twang of his birthplace in Bethnal
Green, in London's East End. Fake accent aside, the name did not
sound at all French. Years later, after some time researching of my
mother's family history, I came across an ancestor named Amelia Marmoy -
"now, that's got to be a French name" I said to myself, and so it proved.
Our Huguenot ancestors are in the female line, so it was no wonder that my
grandfather's fake accent didn't make the name he bore sound
convincingly French. Here the amazing and moving story of those
Huguenot ancestors - their persecution, immigration, and assimilation.
|Job Jacob Marmoy
||b. c1655, Sedan, Ardennes
||m. 1678: Elizabeth Rondeau in Paris
||d. 1733, London
||b. 1648, Lintot,
Marthe Baudouin in Criquetot l'Esneval, Normandy
||d. bef. 1721, London
||b. c1655, Lintot, Normandy
||m. 1677: Marie Auger in Lintot,
||d. aft. 1710, London
|Isaac Le Doux
||b. c1630, Trassy,
||m. 1660: Marie
Le Blanc in Trassy, Picardy
||d. bef. 1705, London
||b. c1617, Bulles, Picardy
||m. c1650 Josias Du Moutier in
||d. aft. 1681, London
The First Wave of French Protestant
Huguenot was the name given to French Protestants in the 16th century.
probably a corruption of the German word eidgenossen, meaning
"confederates". Persecution of the Huguenots began during the Wars of
Religion that raged throughout France between 1562 and 1598.
The first wave of Huguenot refugees fled France following the infamous
Massacre of St Bartholomew in 1572. Ordered by Catherine de Medici, the
mother of the French king, these attacks on Protestants lasted three days in Paris and
six weeks in the Provinces. When they were over, nearly 100,000 people had
been murdered. Pope Gregory XIII ordered a medal to be struck to celebrate
turbulence continued until the Protestant Henry of Navarre succeeded to the
French throne, in the process converting back to Catholicism.
In 1598, Henry conceded tolerance of the protestant religion by
issuing the Edict of Nantes. This gave
the Huguenots some respite from the
persecution they had suffered over the previous forty
years. Another pope, Clement VIII, wrote the French
king complaining that "a decree which gave liberty of conscience to all was
the most accursed that ever had been made". However, the protections
granted by the Edict lasted for nearly a hundred years.
Henry's grandson, Louis XIV, assumed personal rule following the death of
his regent, Cardinal Marazin, in
1661. During the twenty years that followed, the Sun King
resumed persecution of the Protestants, progressively
increasing the repressive measures
the singing of psalms in private dwellings. He encouraged children to
declare themselves against the religion of their parents. He authorized
priests to intrude on sick Protestants and try to convert them lest they die
"in heresy". He forbade communities from collecting
tythes to support Protestant ministers. He forced Protestants to only
bury their dead at daybreak or nightfall.
He barred Protestants from holding public office, from serving
as judges, advocates, or notaries, and from practicing as physicians,
apothecaries, librarians, book-sellers, printers, or mail-handlers. Protestant women were
forbidden to be midwives (in case they did not give Catholic baptism to
children who might die soon after birth). By 1680, even mixed marriages
between Catholics and Protestants were made illegal.
As these restrictions grew more oppressive, Protestant families started leaving
France. Public opinion in England persuaded Louis' cousin, Charles II, to
issue a proclamation at Hampton Court in July 1681 welcoming these refugees
from France. The English king stated that he held "himself obliged in honor
and conscience to comfort and support all afflicted Protestants who, by
reason of the rigors and severities which are used towards them upon account
of their religion, shall be forced to quit their native country."
One who escaped was Job Jacob Marmoy, aged 26,
who fled to London from Paris
early in March of 1681, with his wife Elizabeth Rondeau and two young
children. Job was a native of Sedan,
a Protestant center in eastern France. He had practiced
his trade as a narrow weaver - a weaver of silk ribbons - in Metz,
another Protestant stronghold. Job had moved to Paris
sometime around 1677, where he met and married
Elizabeth Rondeau, a Parisian, most probably at the great
Protestant temple of Charenton outside Paris.
the ship that brought the family to London docked at Tower Wharf, the
Impartial Protestant Mercury reported that it carried 322 of those
"distressed, poor Protestants who fled from Popish cruelty in France".
Another pamphlet recorded that refugees from France "come hither in troops almost
every day, the greatest part of them with no other goods but their
Sara Du Moutier, widow of Josias Du Moutier of Bulles, Picardy, also arrived in London
at the end of
June 1681. She came over with her two unmarried daughters,
Elisabett and Esther; son Abraham, with his wife Marie Le Gay and young
child; and son Etienne, with his wife Anne Butoi. Both sons were silk
Another who came that way was Isaac Le Doux, who arrived
in London from Compiegne in July of 1681, with his wife Marie LeBlanc and
their seven children, aged from 20 to 2 years old. He was a linen weaver
from Trassy, a town in Picardy, east of Paris.
Louis' reaction to this exodus was to enact further repressive measures, in a vain
attempt to prevent further emigration. In 1682, Protestants were forbidden
to sell their furniture, or to leave the country with any child older than 7
years, or to travel with their domestic servants. Guards were placed at
town gates, bridges, ports, and highways leading to the frontier, and
peasants came out to help them in the hope of earning a reward.
Thousands of Protestant refugees died from cold or hunger, were shipwrecked or captured.
But many more still escaped: by buying off the sentinels, fighting their way
through, passing in disguise or, like the majority, just dragging their
possessions at night along remote, un-patrolled paths to the border.
restrictions on the livelihoods and movements of Protestants did little to
stop the outflow of refugees - and it certainly did not result in them to
converting to Catholicism. Neither had financial incentives
- such as
delaying payment on any debts for three years - attracted many converts (or
any driven by the right motive). So starting
in March 1685, initially in the region of Bearn, near the Spanish border,
and later all across France, large numbers of rowdy troops, usually
dragoons, started to be billeted in Protestant households - in numbers
deliberately double the fair allocation the Catholic households might see.
infamous dragonnades, anywhere between four and ten dragoons were
billeted in a single household. Moreover, they were instructed to wreak
whatever havoc took their fancy, and do anything short of killing their
unwilling hosts to get them to abjure their religion.
Dragoons fastened crosses to the barrels of their muskets and compelled
Protestants to kiss them. They used the butts of those muskets and the
flats of their swords to beat those who resisted, many of whom were crippled
for life. They beat women with whips, struck them in the face with canes to
disfigure them, dragged them through the mud by their hair, and much worse.
The sound of drums and the breaking of their furniture were used to deprive
people of sleep. Tobacco smoke was blown in their faces so that their
resistance might break and they might convert just to be rid of their
contemporary account of the dragonnades was written by Thomas Bureau of
Poitou to his brother, a bookseller in London, on 30 Aug 1685:
of the dragoons, coming to our house last night, called my mother and said
to her "What, you bitch, you have not yet changed your religion?", to which
my mother answered that she hoped by the grace of god never to deny him.
"Well then", he said, "damned bitch, you shall soon be hanged."
Mr Perot Snr, and Messrs Merchau and Valvod are imprisoned in
dungeons, with irons on their feet, for having said merely that they were
good and faithful subjects of the king, but they would never change their
Louis' chief minister, the marquis de Louvois, gave a decidedly upbeat
assessment to the king: "60,000 conversions have been made in the district
of Bordeaux; so rapid is the progress that before the end of the month
10,000 Protestants will not be left in that district, where there were
150,000 last month". Louis referred to the dragoons who were accomplishing
these remarkable results as "my booted missionaries".
Louis' mistress, Madame de Maintenon, immediately wrote her brother
with inside information on new opportunities for enrichment:
I beg you to carefully use the money you are about to receive
[a gratuity of 800,000 francs she had obtained for him from the king]. Estates in Poitou may be got for nothing;
the desolation of the Huguenots will drive them to sell more. You may easily acquire extensive possessions
the dragonnades were viewed with horror; as an entry from John
Evelyn's diary for 3 March 1685 records:
The French persecution of
the Protestants, raging with the utmost barbarity, exceeded even what the
very heathens used. The French tyrant demolishing all their churches,
banishing, imprisoning, and sending to the galleys all the ministers;
plundering the common people, and exposing them to all sorts of barbarous
usage by soldiers sent to ruin and prey on them; taking away their children;
forcing people to the Mass, and then executing them as relapsers.
Fear of such
methods being brought to England by the autocratic Catholic king, James II,
contributed to his ouster in the Glorious Revolution of 1688. A satirical
poem, entitled Hounslow Heath, after the site west of London where
his standing army was garrisoned, gave voice to those fears:
Now pause, and view the Army Royal,
Composed of valiant souls and loyal;
Not raised (as ill men say) to hurt ye,
But to defend, or to convert ye…
The first occurrence of the dragonnades in Normandy was at Rouen, on 25
October 1685. Twelve companies of cuirassiers entered the town with drawn
swords to force the heads of families to renounce their religion.
Dieppe, eight companies of dragoons entered the town in November 1685
with swords drawn. Over fifteen days of terror they forced over 4,000
Protestants to convert. 140 families escaped to Holland and England. Fifty
citizens who refused to abjure their faith were imprisoned.
After securing conversions in Dieppe, the dragoons dispersed into the
surrounding country of the Pays de Caux.
25 dragoons were ordered to the estate of Isaac Dumont de Bostaquet,
he records in his memoirs that, like many Protestant landowners, he signed
an insincere aburation for: "fear of seeing so many women and girls exposed
to the insolence of troopers to whom anything was permitted". [De
Bostaquet later escaped to Holland, came to England with William III, fought
in Ireland at the battle of the Boyne, and died there later at Portarlington.]
Others refused to sign and were imprisoned.
Jean Perigal records in his memoirs how he was arrested on 6 Dec 1685
in Dieppe and taken to the prison at Aumale, where he was regularly
interrogated and beaten over the weeks and months that followed:
One of the soldiers took hold of my feet and dragged me as if to make me
fall down on my back and head, which I apprehended greatly.
They then shook me, knocked me
roughly against the ground and, when they had buffeted me about thoroughly in this manner, they suspended me
in the air, some kicking me and others striking me with their fists, treating me just as they would have
Then one of them took me by the
feet and dragged me along the floor on my back and head the whole
length of the guard-room; after which he laid me across his shoulders head downwards, holding me while all
the thers struck me on the back with all their might.
I was again violently shaken, after which they laid
me down and left me half-dead.
Some time afterwards, when I raised myself up, they all surrounded
me and tried to induce me to sign, so as to avoid the further
torturing to which they would otherwise
Revocation of the Edict of Nantes
Three days before the dragoons entered Rouen, on 22 October
1685, Louis XIV had signed the Edict of Fontainebleau, which formally revoked
the Edict of Nantes. Louis acted under the influence of his Jesuit
confessor, Father La Chaise, and his mistress, Madame de Maintenon (to whom
he was secretly married later that year).
woman of renowned insinuation and herself a convert from Protestantism,
helped convince Louis that all his previous sins and public adulteries,
including that with his former mistress Madame de Montespan, would be
forgiven if he were to purge Protestantism from the kingdom. She wrote that
the Revocation would: " will cover him in glory before god and man."
Louis had been accustomed to acting upon his desires without check but, as he grow old,
suffered remorse for the scandals his adulteries had caused.
kingdom of Protestants now appeared to be the perfect penance to restore his
record in the eyes of his own god. And for the king who infamously claimed
"L'etat c'est moi" ("The state is me") and had come to see himself as the
living impersonation of the state, the consciences of 2 million Protestant
subjects were no barrier.
As the marquis de Louvois wrote: "his majesty
wishes the most severe rigors to be inflicted on those who will not follow
The Edict of
Fontainebleau comprised twelve articles:
- Revocation of Edict of Nantes and Nimes; demolition of all remaining Protestant temples.
- Prohibition of any exercise of Protestantism.
- Prohibition on the aristocracy to allow Protestant worship in their houses and lands.
- Banishment in 15 days, under penalty of the galleys, for pastors who did not convert.
- Finanical incentives for pastors who converted, including a life pension.
- Reduced fees and exemptions for converting pastors becoming lawyers.
- Prohibition of Protestant schools.
- Obligation of Protestants to baptize and educate their children in the Catholic religion.
- Confiscation of goods of Protestants already abroad unless they return within 4 months.
- Prohibition of Protestants to emigrate under penalty of galleys for men, prison for women.
- Punishment of "new converts" if they return to Protestantism.
- Authorization for those not yet converted to stay in France, subject to preceding articles.
Among other measures decreed under the edict were that no Protestant
services were permitted in public or private, and that every
Protestant church was to be destroyed. Protestant ministers had fifteen
days to abjure their faith or leave the country; those who refused to
conform were to be transported to slavery in the French West Indies.
Children of Protestants were to be taken from their parents and educated in
Catholic convents. Protestants who did not accept the last rites risked
having their bodies flung into the public sewer as soon as they were dead.
Persecution and Imprisonment of Huguenots
Not long after the dragoons arrested Jean Perigal in Dieppe,
Jean Malandain and his wife, Marthe Baudouin, were arrested together at Doullens, Picardy, on 14 January 1686. They came from Goderville
in the Pays de Caux region of Normandy, where Jean was a ploughman. It is recorded that his income was
14 livres. He was 41 years old and his wife was 28. They had two sons,
one named Pierre, who
were not arrested because of their young age.
Doullens is over
100 miles from Goderville, and is where Isaac Dumont de Bostaquet records
that he forded the river Somme during his flight to Holland a couple
of years later. So it open to speculation that Jean and Marthe were
while caught trying to escape with their family from France.
The Protestant temple where
they were married eight years before, at Criquetot Esneval, had
suffered the fate of all the Protestant churches in that
part of Normandy. It had been closed
the previous June by order of the King's Council, and the
building torn down. Likewise, the temple
that served Bolbec was destroyed, even though it served nearly 3000
communicants (a third of the town's population).
The church at Lintot
was closed after the parliament of Rouen banned Protestant worship there.
Although ordered to be torn down, the building survived with its doors
walled up to prevent further use. It had been a place of worship for
over 100 years, and was built on land donated by the grandfather of Isaac
Dumont de Bostaquet. It had been the church where Jean Malandain's
father, Pierre, had married his mother, Anne Fichet, in 1634. It was also where Marthe
Baudouin's father, Jean, had married his wife, Judith Lemarie, in 1652.
On 24 January, Jean
and Marthe were taken to the chateau of Dieppe. From there,
Jean Malandain was sent to the prison at Aumale, where Jean Perigal was
already imprisoned. According to Perigal's account:
In the prison at Dieppe, I met other prisoners who had been
arrested for their religion like me, but within a few days we were told it
was the will of the King for us to be sent to the dungeons of the chateau of
Aumale. We were taken there in a cart of men, women and girls; some of whom
were put in the rooms of the chateau and others in the cellars. The cellars
were made of brick, all equally deprived of light, where we were fed only
with bread and water. One of our brothers, named Jean Malandain, a strong
and robust man, was led to an underground cellar which was more than one
hundred steps underground.
Later, Jean Malandain was moved to a cell above ground. He had
been held there alone for five weeks when other prisoners, including
Perigal, were brought to join him:
When he heard us, he was very happy. Our presence was a
reinforcement to his body and spirit, and he greatly rejoiced in our
company. We could speak easily from one dungeon to the other, as three of
them were very close to each other, only having a door separating us. When
we made our devotions, one among the three of us would say a prayer that the
others could hear; this was for us a great consolation. That we did not
expect to be long in these dungeons meant little - we did not think of
leaving, although we could have done so extremely easily by forsaking our
The prisoners at Aumale left behind the following inscriptions,
written on a beam supporting a chimney in their jail:
Do not worry for tomorrow; each day's sorrow is sufficient.
Do not accumulate treasure on Earth, but seek it in Heaven,
because where your treasure is, there too will be your heart.
Bless those who curse you,
Love those who hate you, and
Pray for those who chase and persecute you.
Love friendship, fear God, and honor the King.
Caesar the things which are Caesar's,
and to God those that are God's.
Jean Malandain was incarcerated in the prison at Aumale for over two years,
until early in 1688. By then, with all his prisons full and overflowing,
Louis XIV decided to clear his jails in Normandy of the remaining
Protestants who had held to their beliefs and refused to renounce their
faith. In February of that year, he wrote from the palace of Versailles to
monsieur Freydeau de Brous, his superintendent in Rouen:
Having estimates in connection with
making leave my kingdom the small number of my subjects who have persisted
to now in their obstinacy not to abjure the Protestant religion, I write you
this letter to tell you to withdraw from the chateaux and prisons of your
Department, those Protestants that they contain, to take them to Dieppe, and
there embark them in a vessel which shall carry out them out of my state.
On this I request God that he has you, Mr Freydeau, in his holy guard.
Written at Versailles on 24 February 1688.
Signed Louis. Counter-signed
John Evelyn described Louis XIV's decision thus in his diary
entry for 23 March 1688:
The French Tyrant now finding he could make no proselytes amongst
those Protestants of quality, and others, whom he had caused to be shut up
in dungeons, and confined to nunneries and monasteries, gave them, after so
long trial, a general releasement, and leave to go out of the kingdom, but
utterly taking their estates and their children; so that great numbers came
daily into England and other places, where they were received and relieved
with very considerate Christian charity.
On 27 March 1688, Jean Malandain was brought back to the chateau of
Dieppe to join his wife,
Baudouin, who had been held there ever since their arrest
two years earlier. Exactly a month later, on 27 April, they embarked for England in
a 40-ton sailing ship, together with the other 92 prisoners being expelled
from the jails of Dieppe, Rouen, Le Havre, Caen and the surrounding towns.
After a calm 20-hour voyage, they landed at Dover, and then travelled across
Kent, via Canterbury and Rochester, to Gravesend. From there, they went by
boat up the river Thames to London, where they finally arrived on 1 May
The Huguenot Exodus from
At the end of the seventeenth century, it is estimated there were around one
million Protestants among a total French population of 20 million. In many
towns they constituted the most industrious and wealthiest communities. For
example, at Dieppe, only about 20% of the population was Protestant, but
this minority was richer and dominated civic affairs through skillful use of
their economic power. At Nimes, a center of silk and woolen manufacturing
(and original source of denim cloth), the Protestants were likewise
the most influential citizens, described as "skillful in trade, daring in
enterprise, and more active and industrious than regular Catholics".
Louis XIV believed that the oppression he had launched would cause French
Protestants to convert to his religion, and everything his courtiers told
him reinforced this belief. The duc de Saint Simon wrote in his memoirs
king received news of the conversions from all sides.
It was by thousands
that those who had abjured and taken the communion were counted; 10,000 in
one place, 6,000 in another - all at once and instantly. The king
congratulated himself on his power and his piety. The bishops wrote
panegyrics of him, and the Jesuits made the pulpit resound with his
praises. He had never yet believed himself so great in the eyes of man, or
so advanced in the eyes of God, in the reparation of his sins and of the
scandals of his life.
reality was that, instead of converting, huge numbers of people fled.
Although forbidden to leave France under threat of forced labor or
imprisonment for life, about 250,000 people escaped. A similar number of
Huguenots probably also died as a result of the oppression over same the
Protestant population of Picardy, Île-de-France, Champagne, Brittany and
Burgundy fled the country rather than convert; as did over a quarter of
those in the regions of Normandy and Bordeaux. The emigrants were mainly
town-dwellers - craftsmen and artisans with trades that did not tie them to
the land, who could leave their homeland taking their skills with them.
Some French cities, like Rouen and Nantes, lost over half their population.
9,000 of the 12,000 silk workers at Lyon left, and Tours suffered an even
Saint Simon noted that the persecution affected
"nobles, rich old men, people much esteemed for their piety, learning, and
virtue, people well off, weak, delicate, and solely on account of
religion". The subsequent exodus actually "depopulated a quarter of the
realm, ruined its commerce, weakened it in every direction, and banished our
manufactures to foreign lands". Whole villages were abandoned, many towns
half-deserted, certain branches of industry disappeared entirely, and a vast
extent of land went out of cultivation. The writer and philosopher
recorded that 50,000 families quit the kingdom in the space of just three
years, followed by hosts of others.
Marshal Vauban, the great military engineer, wrote that - in addition to
losing 100,000 artisans and its most flourishing manufactures - France also
lost 9,000 sailors, 12,000 tried soldiers, and 600 officers. This was
despite soldiers being offered pensions, varying from 24 to 600 livres
depending on rank, if they converted to Catholicism. Further, many
landowners, who were not allowed to liquidate their property before they
fled, with no other calling open to them once in exile, then took up arms
and served in Holland in the wars against Louis XIV. Many of them
subsequently came to England with William III in 1688, and later served in
his campaign in Ireland.
The Huguenots migrated to Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany,
Scandinavia, and America. Many French intellectuals fled to Holland.
Geneva, the home of John Calvin, became so crowded with refugees that they
had to camp out at night in the public squares. Huguenot refugees emigrated
to Virginia, the Carolinas, New York, and Massachusetts (Faneuil Hall in
Boston was the gift of the son of a refugee).
and 1710, over 50,000 people reached England and another 10,000 made it to
Ireland. Of those who came to England, many were natives of North-Western
France - in particular Poitou (37%), Normandy (25%), and Picardy (10%).
Roughly half settled in London, in an area which is usually referred to as
Spitalfields, but which included large parts of Shoreditch, Bethnal Green,
and Mile End New Town.
were not to be safe in France until after the Revolution of 1792, when the
Convention abolished Christianity itself - and when the Catholic clergy
suffered many of the same persecutions earlier imposed on the Huguenots.
persecution of Protestants in France was appalling, it must be noted that
Catholics suffered discrimination in England over much of the same period.
Catholic services were outlawed in 1559, and remained illegal even after
Nonconformist Protestants achieved freedom of worship in England in the
seventeenth century. It was not until Parliament passed the Emancipation
Act of 1778 that laws restricting worship, education and inheritance for
Catholics started to be repealed.
Denization, and Naturalization
The official English policy of welcoming Protestant refugees from France,
and further encouraging and supporting their immigration to England, had
been set out by Charles II in 1681. Lest this policy be confused with
toleration of non-conformist Protestantism in general, the king's chaplain,
George Hickes, provided the rationale for why the acceptance of French
dissenting Protestants into the kingdom did not extend to dissenting
Protestants already living in England: the Huguenots had "no quarrel at the
Church because it is Episcopal, but because it is Popish".
As news of
the persecution of the Huguenots reached England, it generated support for
their defiance from fellow Protestants, but also genuine sympathy for their
plight, and helped prepare the ground for the arrival of the large numbers
of Huguenot refugees. In 1686, Lady Rachel Russell, niece of
the marquis de
Ruvigny, wrote in a letter:
enough to sink the strongest heart to read the accounts sent over: how the
children are torn from their
mothers and sent into monasteries, their mothers to another, the husband to
prison or the galleys.
of the arriving refugees were numerous, moving, and well known. One Mary
Perreau, living in Spitalfields, told that her husband was condemned to the
galleys for 101 years. Martha Guisard, living in Frith Street, told that
she fled France because her father was burned at the stake for his beliefs.
There was a
brief hiatus in the official policy of welcoming refugees during the short
reign of Charles' successor, James II. As a Catholic, James took an
equivocal stance towards Protestants, all of whom he considered potential
republicans, particularly those fleeing from France. However, lacking the
power to reverse popular English sympathy for the Huguenots, many of his
actions were motivated by a clumsy desire to minimize the impact of their
oppression on public opinion. In 1686, he ordered an English translation of
an Account of the Persecutions and Oppression of the Protestants in
France to be burned as soon as it was published. John Evelyn recorded
the event in his diary:
This day was burnt in the old Exchange, by the common hangman, a
translation of a book written by the famous Monsieur Claude, relating only matters of fact concerning the
horrid massacres and barbarous proceedings of the French King against his Protestant subjects,
without any refutation of any facts therein; so mighty a power and ascendant here had the French Ambassador.
the French ambassador that he wished the Huguenots could be treated more
gently because "the rumors which are put abroad here about the violence used
against them have a harmful effect, and give people cause to say that I
might one day treat my subjects in the same way".
He was not
given the chance. After the Glorious Revolution of 1688 - in which James II
was replaced by William III at the invitation of Parliament - the welcome of
Protestant refugees was assured. In 1689, the theoretical basis of the
English policy of religious toleration towards all (except Catholics and
atheists) was articulated in John Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration,
and was put into law the same year by the Act of Toleration.
restated the policy of welcoming Huguenots in a declaration: For the
Encouraging of French Protestants to Transport themselves into this Kingdom.
This started by drawing a comparison of the plight of the Huguenots with the
recent "deliverance of the English people from the persecution threatening
them for their religion" - that is, from the reign of James II. Having
found in his subjects a "true and just sense for the miseries and
oppressions" of the French Protestants, the Calvinist king William offered
his protection to any who sought refuge in England. Further, he offered
government assistance for their respective trades, so that "living and being
in this realm may be comfortable and easy to them".
basis for allowing Huguenot immigration was provided by granting
denization - a right of legal residence in the kingdom, granted by the
Crown rather than Parliament. Denization provided many of the privileges of
citizenship, including the right to buy property and convey it to children
born in England, but it still left denizens liable to some customs duties
and unable to vote. The first Denization Order was signed by Charles II in
On the Patent
Rolls for 8 March 1682, which recorded the new denizens, are
included listed: Job
Jacob Marmoy, his sons Jean Jacob and Jean Maximilian; Isaac Le Doux,
his wife Marie, and children Isaac, Jacob, Louis, and Madeline; as well as
Isaac's brother Elias Le Doux, wife Marthe, and son Elias;
the sons of Sara Du Moutier,
Abraham Du Moutier, his wife Marie, and son Abraham, and Etienne
Du Moutier and his wife Anne.
step of progressing Huguenots from denizens to citizens was later sanctioned
by the Foreign and Protestants Naturalization Act of 1708. Applicants had
to swear before a judge that they did not believe in transubstantiation of
the sacrament, that adoration of the Virgin Mary was superstitious and
idolatrous, and reject any Papal jurisdiction over Great Britain. Further,
they had to take an oath of allegiance to queen Anne, reject any claim of
James Francis Edward Stuart (the Old Pretender) to the throne of Great
Britain, and promise to support the provisions of the Act of Settlement of
1701, which made Sophia, electoress of Hanover, and her Protestant
descendents heir to the British crown. Finally, they had to pay a fee of
was repealed a few years later, due to pressure from Tories who were afraid
it was allowing too many Non-Conformist Protestants to gain citizenship,
many Huguenots officially became British citizens under its auspices,
including Job Jacob Marmoy
and Jean Le Doux (his father Isaac was
dead by this time) in 1709, and Jean Malandain
Daniel Defoe published a verse entitled The True-Born Englishman,
which described the melting-pot that England had been from the time of the
Romans onwards. Defoe initially wrote the poem to rebut attacks on the
Dutch-born king, William III, but it was so in tune with the public mood
that it sold more copies than any printed work to date (many in illicit
editions, as Defoe complained bitterly):
blame the King that he relies too much,
strangers, Germans, Huguenots, and Dutch.
speech an irony, in fact a fiction,
metaphor invented to express,
A Man akin to all the Universe.
Assistance for Huguenot Refugees
Huguenots arrived in England in a destitute condition, and were in desperate
need of the generous assistance that was provided by the Huguenot community
and by general public subscription. Most refugees
brought with them a temoignage. This was a testimonial of their
"firm adherence to the Protestant Religion" from their home church in
France. They presented this to one of the French Reformed churches in
London, for admission and to get access to charitable assistance.
The most important of these French churches was in Threadneedle Street,
between Broad Street and Bishopsgate. It had been given a charter by Edward
VI to serve as a center where European Protestant refugees could worship
according to their own beliefs, and was established in 1550 by John Laski, a
Polish disciple of John Calvin. There is reason to believe it was being
considered as a model for a reformed, bishop-less Church of England; an
outcome doomed by the early death of the king.
newly-arrived Job Jacob Marmoy and his family went quickly to the
French Church in Threadneedle Street and presented their temoignage.
Impartial Protestant Mercury reported that Job and
the others arriving on his boat from France:
"repaired to the French Reformed Church here and, having entered their names
with the several places of their late residence in that Kingdom, gave
Testimonials of their firm adherence to the Protestant Religion".
In August 1681, the family was given 15 shillings from the Charitable
Collection of the church, and in October received further assistance in the
form of a pair of sheets.
and his wife, Marie Auger, presented their temoignage on 30 March 1701.
It is not known when they arrived in London.
Sara Du Moutier presented her temoignage
on 29 June 1681; shortly after arriving from Paris. Her sons, Abraham and Etienne,
presented their temoignages on 31 July 1681, about six weeks
received 10 shillings from the church on 12 August, and another 15
shillings on 19 August "to get a bed". Abraham and Marie Du Moutier
on 12 August 1681 to get a bed, for the register recorded "they lie upon
straw". They received 5 shillings the following week, and 2 shirts and
a pair of pants in September.
Etienne and Anne Du Moutier received 5 shillings on 12 August 1681, and 1
pound and 15 shillings on 19 August after Etienne promised to be wholly out
of charge if he was given that amount.
and September of 1681, Isaac Le Doux was given assistance: amounting
to ₤5: first 18 shillings because he was sick, then ₤1 for two of his
children who "lie upon boards", and later ₤2 to get a bed.
Huguenot immigrants were hard-working and soon supporting themselves.
Isaac Le Doux had repaid the whole amount of the charity he had received
three years later. Job Jacob Marmoy also prospered, because within
two years he was able to pay five pounds for admission to the Weavers'
Company as a foreign master. Stow's Survey of London noted that, for
their neighborhoods, "these strangers may serve for patterns of thrift,
honesty, industry and sobriety".
and active Huguenot community referred to themselves as "the Refuge" - in
fact, the English word "refugee" derives from the Huguenots use of it to
describe themselves. A sermon preached at the Savoy French Church in 1682
described the Refuge as a "colony of French Protestants whom the tempest
casts ashore every day in our harbors. They are Israelites crossing
the sea to retire into Canaan; they are merchants of the gospel who have
come to seek in our kingdom, the kingdom of Heaven."
French Church in Threadneedle Street, the community continued to provide a
safety-net of poor relief to its members that was unmatched until modern
times. For example, Job Jacob Marmoy was granted special assistance
while he and his large family were ill, amounting to 4 shillings a week from
Christmas 1698 to the late spring of 1699, and 2 shillings and 6 pence a
week thereafter until March 1700.
churches also supported Maisons de Charite that distributed food to
members of the community who had fallen upon hard times, the one in
Spitalfields being colloquially known as "La Soupe". Job Jacob's son,
Jean Jacob Marmoy, is recorded as receiving assistance in February 1741,
when he was 60 years old. He received "4 portions la semaine" - a portion
consisting of 8 ounces of dry bread, 4 ounces of bread in the soup, and half
a pound of meat.
was also made available to the arriving Huguenots from public
subscriptions. Shortly before he died, in 1685, Charles II made a
Declaration "for the further relief and encouragement of the necessitous
Protestants", which organized a brief for collecting the charity of all
well-disposed persons, which was sent to all churches, mayors, and
justices. John Evelyn records (25 April 1686):
was read in our church the Brief for a collection for relief of the
Protestant French so cruelly
barbarously, and inhumanly oppressed without any thing being laid
to their charge. It had been long expected, and at last with difficulty procured to be published, the
interest of the French Ambassador obstructing it.
By 1688, a
report to Parliament found that £65,000 had been collected, and proposed
future needs be met from taxes, amounting to £17,200 per year, from a fund
that became known as the Royal Bounty. By 1695, £125,000 had been
distributed. Distributions continued throughout the reign of queen Anne, at
the rate of £12,000 per year, and until the death of George I at the rate of
£8,500. Even as late as 1760, Archbishop Secker was still lobbying the
prime minister for continued funding,
and lay committee oversaw the distributions from the fund, which were
carefully vetted, although some accusations of inequality did find their way
into the press. Funds from the Royal Bounty would be used for the
foundation of the French Hospital in London in 1718.
and his wife Elizabeth received a number of payments from this fund to help
support their disabled ("imbecile") son, Isaac. The
first payment was for 5 pounds and 17 shillings in 1722, followed by
payments of 11 pounds and 14 shillings for each year from 1723 to 1725, 3
pounds and 6 shillings in 1726, and 3 pounds and 18 shillings in 1727.
After that time, Isaac became an inmate of the French Hospital (q.v.),
supported by the French Church. Job Jacob himself received 1 pounds
and 13 shillings from the Royal Bounty in 1731, when he would have been
about 76 - followed by the same amount the following year. After
Job died in January 1733, Elizabeth received a similar
payment in 1734, made out to "the widow Marmoi".
Jean Malandain and Marthe Baudouin received
from the Royal Bounty in 1705, when he was 63, she was 51, and they were
residing in Spitalfields. Two years later, they received another
£8. In 1721, Marthe received $9 in her name
Jean was listed in the published accounts of the Royal Bounty as a
"confesser", which was defined thus:
denomination of Confessers of Truth may be in
general extended to all those, who for the Cause of the Gospel have
forsaken their Estates and quitted the Advantages they were possessed of
in their Country, yet that Title
has been restrained here to those who have suffered
on board the Gallies, in Prisons, or undergone
some extraordinary Vexations,
and whom God has been pleased to bring
out of their tribulations & supported them that
they never complied in any
thing that may prejudice their
Huguenot Colony at Portarlington, Ireland
II initially fled from England to the court of Louis XIV, but later returned
to Ireland with a French army. This led to the Williamite War in Ireland,
after his defeat at the battle of the Boyne in
1691. Huguenot soldiers were prominent in William III's
army in Ireland.
After peace was concluded, their most senior officer,
Henri de Massue,
marquis de Ruvigny (and
later earl of Galway), was made
commander-in-chief in Ireland. Many Huguenot soldiers
were pensioned off and settled
in Ireland - in an ironic reversal - on the forfeit estates of Irish
In 1693, Ruvigny was made custodian of one such estate at
Portarlington in central Ireland, which was immediately
a large number of
pensioned French officers. A second
wave of settlers arrived in 1699, after the Peace of Ryswick ended
the War of the Grand Alliance (aka King William's
War), when the five
Huguenot regiments in William
III's army were finally disbanded.
Retired officers were offered leases
in Portarlington at the cheap rent of 2
shillings and 6 pence per acre.
William III had already been accused of favoritism
for leasing these Irish
estates "under rates" to the foreigners who had
served in his army, in June 1696 he
converted Ruvigny's custody of
the land at Portarlington into a free grant. This
caused a storm in Parliament, which needed the confiscated Irish land as
collateral to pay the king's soaring war debts. In
1699, Parliament appended an Act of Resumption to
the budget, forcing William to restore the land at
Portarlington to the Crown and put it up for auction.
This reversal caused great uncertainty for the tenants
that lasted until 1703, when the
land was sold off to a group of
London-based investors incorporated as the Hollow Sword Blade Company.
By 1703 there were 170 families and 450
French settlers at
Over half of these were military pensioners, including several aristocratic
natives of the Pays de Caux:
Dumont de Bostaquet, who had served as a captain in Ruvigny's Horse
regiment, retired there in 1698 on a pension of 5 shillings a day. He
arrived from Dublin, where he had completed his Memoirs, and leased
a 40-acre farm (holding #1 on map). Bostaquet's father-in-law was
the lord of Lintot in Normandy.
Daniel Le Grand du Petit Bosc, a native of Fecamp in Normandy. Retired
from Le Meloniere's Foot regiment as a lt-colonel in 1692, on a pension of
10 shillings a day. He owned 50 acres and a house (#4 on map), and sublet
other holdings (#8 on map).
Charles de Bures de Bethencourt, another native of the Pays de Caux, who had
served as a captain in one of the Huguenot Foot regiments, retired on a
pension of 5 shillings a day and came to Portarlington in 1694. He bought
plot #29 on the map.
the settlers were mainly military, and nearly all
aristocratic, they brought with them to the colony
almost as many trade and laboring refugees.
Jean Malandain first appears in the registers of
the French church at Portarlington, shortly after they commence, on 11
October 1694, listed as an ancien (elder).
From then up until 24 June 1697, he is regularly listed, witnessing over
forty baptisms, marriages, and burials; along with church other elders such
as de Bostaquet, du Petit Bosc, and de Bethencourt.
On 29 July 1696, the register records the baptism of Daniel, Jean Malandain
and Marthe Baudouin's own son. Daniel's godparents were colonel du Petit
Bosc and Angelique Daunis, daughter of Pierre Daunis du Caillaud (a retired
captain of Cambon's Foot regiment and tenant of #5 on the map). The church
elders who witnessed the baptism were de Bethencourt and David Proisy d'Eppe (a
retired captain of Ruvigny's regiment).
It is not clear
what brought the Malandain family to Portarlington, or when they arrived
- although they were there in the settlement's early days. Once
there, Jean was in the company of many retired officers from his native Pays
de Caux, both as a church elder and neighbor. He may have been one of the
tenants of colonel du Petit Bosc. Perhaps he chose the godparents for
his son because he had also served under du Petit
Bosc or Daunis in the Williamite army.
All five officers mentioned here had escaped to Holland by 1687 from France
(including three from the Pays de Caux). All came over to England with
William III in November 1688, arriving in London six months after Jean and
Marthe. Unlike many Huguenot emigrants, Jean was a farmer not a
craftsman or weaver, and life in the city would have been very alien to him.
When all those officers from his homeland left to fight in the campaign in
Ireland in July 1689, the likelihood may be that Jean went with them,
despite lacking previous military experience. Although the Malandains
had a son born in London, around 1690, Marthe would have stayed behind.
Since the regimental lists only record officers, we may never know for sure.
By 23 April 1699, Jean Malandain was back in London, where he presented his
temoignage at the French Church
in Threadneedle Street, and is
recorded as being of "Wansor [Windsor] et d'Irlande".
Pays de Caux. Jean Malandain and Marthe Baudouin are recorded as
"of Goderville", they married at Criquetot l'Esneval,
and Marthe was baptized at Sausseuzemare. Both couple's parents
married at Lintot. Jean's father, Pierre, was born at St Maclou.
Jean's son, Pierre, gave his birthplace as Fecamp. Jean and Marthe
were imprisoned at Dieppe, from where they also sailed to England.
Huguenot Silk Weavers
Huguenots contributed to many areas of English life. They were instrumental
in the founding of the Bank of England: over one hundred recently-arrived
Huguenots contributed 10% of the bank's founding deposits in 1694, and the
bank's first governor, John Houblon, was of Huguenot descent. Other notable
Huguenots were David Garrick the actor, John Rocque the mapmaker; and John
Dollond the optician. Huguenots were also schoolmasters, makers of
precision instruments like guns, telescopes, and watches, jewelers, gold and
silversmiths, glass-makers, clothiers, wig-makers, and cabinet-makers.
Most famously, the Huguenots were associated with the silk weaving industry,
centered in Spitalfields. They brought to London skills in weaving broad
silks, which had hitherto been closely-guarded secrets of French silk
manufacturers and had all been imported into England. Broad silks were
materials such as satins (glazed silks), brocades (silks patterned with
raised figures), velvets, damasks (rich figured silks), gauzes (thin silks),
lustrings (glossy silks), and ribbons. These highly-patterned fabrics were
made into ladies' dresses and men's waistcoats.
combination of these new skills and a ready market for French fashions was
such that, by 1700, it was said "the English have now so great an esteem for
the workmanship of the French refugees that hardly anything vends without a
Gallic name". Of the numerous Huguenot silk masters, the most famous were
the Courtauld family (whose company survives today as part of Akzo Nobel).
In London, Spitalfields was already a center both of religious
non-conformity and of the silk weaving industry, so it was a natural
destination for refugee Huguenot artisans. By 1700, the population of
Spitalfields was almost exclusively French, and Londoners complained that it
was difficult to hear English spoken in the streets. Around 75% of those
named in the records of Spitalfields' nine French churches were involved in
the weaving industry. In fact, there were so many Huguenot weavers that the
Weavers' Company had to appoint a French-speaking clerk.
the street names in Spitalfields - such Fournier, Leman, Princelet and
Fleur-de-lys - record the French influence. Fournier Street, which is still
lined with tall Huguenot weavers' houses, was built in the 1730s, with
Hawksmoor's tall-spired Christ Church at one end and a Huguenot chapel at
The Fournier Street chapel exemplifies how Spitalfields continued to be a
melting-pot for immigrants to England. In the 19th century it became a
Methodist chapel; during most of the 20th century it was an Ashkenazi
synagogue; and it is now a mosque serving the Bangladeshi community. At 18
Folgate Street, an old silk master's house has been restored as a
time-capsule museum, where you can experience each room as if you had just
intruded on the life of the mythical family of a silk-master during the
early 18th century (www.dennissevershouse.co.uk).
trade became one of London's most important industries, serving the growing
metropolis and exporting to America. It prospered through various technical
innovations, stimulating new fashions and, in turn suffering, as fashions
changed. In a petition to Parliament of 1713, the Weavers' Company claimed
that the value of English silk manufacturing was twenty times what it had
been in 1664 and that the silks, brocades, and ribbons produced in England
were as good as those produced in France.
remained the trade of the Marmoy family
in Spitalfields for many generations:
- Job Jacob
practiced his trade as a narrow silk weaver after
arriving in London from Paris, from 1682 onwards
in Phoenix Street,
- Job's eldest son, Jean Jacob Marmoy, married at St
Dunstan, Stepney, and is recorded as living in 1741 in Coverlys Fields
"beyond the Cock and Hoop".
son, Jean Marmoy, was also a weaver, who lived "west of the High
Street" in Shoreditch, and later in Mile End New Town.
Jean's son, John
Marmoy, was a broad silk weaver who lived in Mile End New Town.
John's son, another John Marmoy, also a
broad silk weaver, lived in Hunt
Street, Mile End New Town, and married Ann Howard in 1799
at St John, Hackney.
Ann Howard was the
daughter of Thomas Howard, a weaver of Cock Lane, Shoreditch, and Susanna
had been baptized at the
Threadneedle Street French Church in 1746.
She was the daughter of Jean
Ledoux, a weaver, and Susanne Malandain, who
were married at St Dunstan,
Stepney in 1730.
Jean Ledoux' father and grandfather, both also named
Ledoux, had both lived in Cork Lane, Stepney. The elder Jean Ledoux'
father, Isaac Le Doux was
the linen weaver who had come to London
from Trassy, France, in 1681.
was the grand-daughter of Jean Malandain and Marthe Baudouin
who were released from imprisonment in Dieppe and expelled from France in
At the turn
of the 19th century, when the population of the Spitalfields area
was over 100,000 people, it was estimated that 50,000 were still entirely
dependent on the silk trade, and the majority of the remainder indirectly
of the Silk Industry
eighteenth century progressed, there was increasing competition from other
textiles, particularly cotton. In 1719, a mob of 4,000 silk weavers
rampaged through the city, attacking women who were wearing
newly-fashionable Indian calicoes or printed linens, and literally tearing
the fabric from their backs.
Company was active in trying to protect the industry. In 1744, John
Marmoy was one of a group of weavers who were sued by the Company for
practicing their trade without being members. The Company even engaged
Daniel Defoe to present their case for Parliament to enact further
regulation against foreign imports:
The Trade of these poor men is taken from them and they are
reduced to a starving miserable condition. The universal Female Fancy pushes us upon such a
great consumption of Callicoes so that India Chints and Dutch printed Callicoes are almost as frequent
and familiar in England now as if there was no prohibition, to the ruin not of our woolen manufactures
only but even the printing trade itself
Despite excise duties and even outright bans on the importation of silks,
there was prevalent smuggling, and in 1766 it was estimated that over 7,000
looms were out of employment.
Violent disturbances caused by disputes between the silk masters and their
journeymen (workers) over wages, led to the passage of the so-called
"Spitalfield Acts" of 1773 and 1792, which fixed the wages of silk workers
in the Spitalfields area. However in the long term, the effect of these
Acts was to distort the market against the interests of the weavers. Silk
masters were no longer able to reward superior weaving skills, and they were
forced to throw weavers out of work when they could not be paid the fixed
wage. A strong incentive was also created to move their work elsewhere: to
Essex, Derby, and Macclesfield - where silk was increasingly manufactured in
mechanized factories rather than by cottage-based craft workers.
conditions of Spitalfields silk weavers in the eighteenth century anticipate
those of the semi-employed proletarian outworkers of the nineteenth century,
because the industrialization of the silk industry preceded that in the
cotton and wool industries. This verse included in Samuel Sholl's account
of silk manufacture from 1811 gives a sense of the desperation of many silk
My loom's entirely out of square
My rolls now worm-eaten are;
My clamps and treadles they are broke
My battons, they won't strike a stroke;
My porry's covered with the dust
My shears and pickers eat with rust;
My reed and harness are worn out
My wheel won't turn a quill about;
My shuttle's broke, my glass is run
My droplee's shot - my cane is done!"
In 1816, it
was estimated that two-thirds of the Spitalfields weavers were without
employment, and in 1823 the Acts were repealed. The introduction of the
Jacquard loom enabled the most elaborate materials to be produced by weavers
with only basic skills, which depressed wages further and threw many weavers
Marmoy died in 1847, at the age of 74, he was living in New Nichol
Street, Bethnal Green. In a survey of Bethnal Green written that year, Dr
Hector Gavin described that street as having a "roadway in a most
dilapidated condition, and most disgusting, from the surface being covered
with refuse, garbage, and mud".
grand-daughter, Amelia Marmoy, a broad silk weaver married Joseph
Cannon, silk shein dyer and at times - presumably when the silk trade
was depressed - a shoe maker. They lived from 1846 to 1860 in Camden
Street, Bethnal Green, which was described by Hector Gavin as a weavers'
A treaty with France in 1860 that removed duties on imported silks caused
thousands of weavers to be thrown out of work, and by 1901 there were only
about 500 people still employed in the whole of London. Today, almost no
silk is manufactured in Britain.
industry declined, so did their distinct community. By 1881, it was noted
that while descendents of the Huguenots still lived in Spitalfields and
Bethnal Green, they were now so English that they could not "speak a word of
French or even pronounce their own names in the French fashion".
there were only three French churches left in the whole of Greater London,
and today there is just one (in Soho Square).
The Life of
the Silk Weaver
Silk weaving in the 18th century was a cottage industry. Weavers
originally worked at the house of their silk masters, but later took their
work home and worked in the well-lit upper rooms of their cottages. These
distinctive "weavers' lights", reaching almost the width of the house, were
constructed so that light would fall on the whole loom while the weaver was
Areas like Bethnal Green were essentially still rural in character until the
end of the turn of the 19th century, and the Huguenot weavers
were renowned for cultivating gardens and training singing birds. By
mid-century, these had been replaced with whole streets of weavers' houses;
generally consisting of two rooms on the ground floor and a workroom above
A report to the Poor Law Commissioners in 1837, stated that a weaver
generally had two looms; one for himself and one for his wife. Children
were put to work at six or seven to quill silk, at nine or ten years of age
to pick silk and, at around twelve, to weave plain silk fabrics at the loom.
Jacques de Gastigny bequeathed £1000 for the building of a hospice for
distressed French Protestants and their descendents. Gastigny was a
Huguenot who had first fled to Holland, and later come over to England with
William III. £500 of Gastigny's bequest was for the building of the
hospice; the remainder was to be invested for its maintenance. His
executor, Phillipe Menard, built the hospital for 80 inmates on a piece of
ground "contiguous to the Pest Houses on the south side by St Luke's
parish", in a lane leading from Old Street, Finnsbury.
In 1718, a royal charter was obtained for the charity from George I. The
French community continued to make donations to the charity, including in
1720 the famous St Leger necklace of oriental pearls. And in 1760 a larger
building was able to be completed. The enlarged French Hospital or "La
Providence", as it was also known, fronted onto Bath Street, and housed 230
inmates, and had at least one physician on staff.
Three children of
Job Jacob Marmoy became inmates
of the French Hospital. Isaac Marrmoy, Job Jacob's
youngest son, a weaver who had been apprenticed to his
father, and had earlier received assistance from the Royal Bounty due to him
being an "imbecile" (q.v.), was recorded entering the hospital
on 1 October 1729, at the age of 33. The French Church undertook
to pay his keep, according to the cognisance of Mr Jean Faure Diacre.
He was placed in one of "les petites maisons", the cells for the deranged,
where he remained until his death in 1757.
The same month Isaac died, his brother, Jean Maximillian Marmoy, was admitted
to La Providence on 30 April 1757, aged 78. His petition records he
had been living in Brick Lane, Spitalfields, but was now in a very weak condition and
unable to earn his living as a weaver. His application was supported
by Mr Jacques Lardant, of 10 Fournier Street, Spitalfields, a
prosperous silk weaver who employed a large number of journeymen.
Unfortunately Jean Maximillian died just two
days after his admission. (His son, also called Jean Maximillian,
later became an inmate from 1786 until his death in 1792 at the age of 87.)
Jean Maximillian's younger brother, who lived in Austin Street, Shoreditch,
first applied to enter the Hospital in 1758, also on the recommendation of
Mr Lardant. Though offered admission in 1761, he declined at that
time, but applied again in 1766. He was then admitted that 25
January, at the age of 84, suffering from great infirmity, poverty, and
reduced to the worst destitution.
His recommenders on that occasion were messieurs Salomon
Hesses, Jean Guillemard, and Paul Abraham. His application (see left)
records him as the son of Job Jacob Marmois: "natif de Sedan, refugie pour
cause de Religion". Pierre died three
years later, when the Hospital paid 15 shillings and 4 pence for a coffin
and wool shroud for his funeral.
Elizabeth Gaskell wrote that by 1853 the French Hospital
had lost much of its distinctive
national character. Whereas, as late as the turn of the 19th
century, the inmates could have been heard speaking in antiquated French; by
the 1850s most of them were but third or fourth generation Huguenot
descendents who could not speak a word of the language. However, the French
style remained: a Mrs Stephens, who was admitted much later, became known as
Madame St Etienne as soon as she entered the hospital.
In June 1865,
a new building was completed at the edge of Victoria Park, Hackney, on three
acres in Wick Lane, near to the public drinking fountain donated a few years
earlier by the philanthropist, Angela Burdett Coutts. It was designed in
the style of 17th century French chateaux by Robert Louis
Roumieu, an architect of Huguenot descent. This new French Hospital was
designed to house 60 inmates: 40 women and 20 men.
Inmates were admitted after successfully petitioning to establish their
descent from French ancestors or, if they had been born in France, having
their Protestant faith confirmed. Each inmate had a comfortable bedroom,
their own bath and ventilation, and was provided with a small annuity for
clothes, etc. They ate together in a communal dining room, and shared
public day rooms, a library, and a chapel that could seat 100 people. All
the inmates were expected, if able, to "help towards the general economy" of
the Hospital on a daily basis. Hot and cold water was also piped throughout the building, providing winter
heating via hot-water radiators.
The Victoria Park building was designed to be light and airy, and was much
praised - as was the quality of care, which was way beyond anything most
Britons could expect until the introduction of the Welfare State in 1945.
However, the Charity Commissioners, in an 1875 inspector's report, thought
such provision excessive:
A handsome building, too handsome indeed for the purpose for
which it was designed viz: the board and lodging of aged weavers and weaveresses, ordinary labourers and
domestic servants … This Institution is eminently adapted to [people who] have been accustomed to more
care, better accommodation, and greater consideration than were ever dreamt of in the wretched
hovels of Spitalfields.
In 1872, a
year after her husband died, Amelia Cannon petitioned to enter the
French Hospital, as a widow "now supported by her children who can ill
afford her maintenance through their large families". Additionally she was
suffering from "bodily infermity and defective sight arising from old age".
She was not admitted as an inmate, but appears to have been given a pension
of two shillings and sixpence a week, and was employed in the Hospital as a
men's nurse. In 1876 she applied for some "further help than that usually
allowed to registered petitioners" (ie for her pension to be increased to 7s
6d), but was informed by the Managing Committee that her application could
not be complied with.
unmarried sister, Ruth Marmoy, was a skilled silk weaver. For the
last ten years of her life, until 1891, she enjoyed the shelter of the French Hospital,
to which she was admitted on the recommendation of her probable employer,
Robert Senecal, a silk manufacturer, of Spital Square. In the Hospital she
was known as "Mrs Marmoy". When she died, she left behind a sample of her
weaving - satin tissue in royal blue, with a large gold design - said to be
among the best now in the Hospital's collection. Among her personal
possessions were "clothing, six books, a looking-glass, and six shillings in
still exists today as 39 sheltered-living apartments at
Rochester in Kent.)
Amelia Cannon was my great, great, great-grandmother.
Ruth Marmoy had been dead less than twenty years when my grandfather was a
child. So it is not surprising that he heard
stories of the family's Huguenot heritage, even though it had by then faded
away as a distinct identity.
of the Huguenot Society:
- Story of John Perigal of Dieppe, Frederick Perigal, vol. II
Early Huguenot Friendly Societies, William Chapman Waller, vol.
- La Providence: the French Hospital during two and a half centuries, Charles F
A Marmoy, vol. XXI
- More Pages from the History of the French Hospital, Charles F A
Marmoy, vol. XXII
- La Soupe: La Maison de Charite de Spittlefields, Charles F A
Marmoy, vol. XXIII
- The Pest House, 1681-1717: predecessor of the French Hospital, Charles F A
Marmoy, vol. XXV
Irish Pensioners of William III's Huguenot Regiments, 1702,
W A Shaw, vol. VI
of the Huguenot Society: Quarto Series
- Registers of the French Church of Threadneedle Street, London, ed. William
Moens, vol. IX
- Registers of
the French Church of Threadneedle Street, London, ed. William
Moens, vol. XIII
- Registers of the French Church of Threadneedle Street, London, ed. T C
Colyer-Fergusson, vol. XVI
- Registers of the French Church of Threadneedle Street, London, ed. T C
Colyer-Fergusson, vol. XXIII
- Registers of the Churches of La Patente de Soho, Wheeler Street, etc, ed. Susan Minet, vol. XLV
- Livre des Tesmoignages de l'Eglise de Threadneedle Street, 1669-1789, ed.
William & Susan Minet, vol. XXI
- Letters of Denization & Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in England...1603-1700,
ed. William A Shaw, vol. XVIII
- Letters of Denization & Acts of Naturalization for Aliens in England...1701-1800,
ed. William A Shaw, vol. XXVII
- Registers of the French Church of Portarlington, Ireland, ed. Thomas Philip Le Fanu, vol. XIX
- Dublin & Portarlington Veterans, King William III's Huguenot Army, ed. T P Le Fanu & W H Manchee, vol. XLI
- French Protestant Refugees Relieved through the Threadneedle St Church,
AP Hands & I Scouloudi, vol. XLIX
- The French Protestant Hospital: extracts from the archives of La Providence, Charles F
A Marmoy, vols. LII, LIII
- The Case Book of La Maison de Charite de Spitalfields: 1739-41, ed Charles F A Marmoy, vol. LV
of the Huguenot Society: New Series
- Memoirs of Isaac Dumont de Bostaquet, a gentleman of Normandy, trans. Dianne W Ressinger, No. 4, 2005
- A Huguenot Family and their Descendants, and other unpublished research by Charles F A Marmoy
- The Diary of John Evelyn, 1665-1700, John Evelyn
- The Memoirs of Louis XIV, his Court and the Regency, the Duc de Saint-Simon, 1675-1755 [Project
- The Piece of String, Guy de
Maupassant, Paris, 1883. Set in Goderville & features a M.
- History of the Huguenots from 1598 to 1838, W S Browning, London, 1839
- History of the Protestants of France, G de Felice, trans. Philip Barnes, London, 1853
Protestant Exiles from France; or the Huguenot refugees and their
descendants, David C A Agnew, London, 1874
- The Huguenots: their settlements, churches and industries in England & Ireland, Samuel Smiles, London, 1884
- Protestants from France in their English Home, S W Kershaw, London, 1885
- The Persecution of Huguenots and French Economic Development, 1680-1720, W C Scoville, Berkeley, 1960
- The Quiet Conquest: the Huguenots, 1685-1985, ed. Tessa Murdoch, The Museum of London, 1985
- Huguenot Heritage: the history and contribution of the Huguenots in England, Robin Gwynn, Brighton, 1985
- Huguenots in Britain and their French Background, 1550-1800, ed. Irene Scouloudi, Totowa, NJ, 1987
- The Huguenots in England: immigration and settlement, 1550-1700, Bernard Cottret, trans. Cambridge, 1991
- The Huguenots of London, Robin Gwynn, Brighton, 1998
- From Strangers to Citizens: the integration of immigrant communities...ed.R Vigne & C Littleton, Brighton, 2001
- The London Weavers' Company, 1600-1970, Alfred Plummer, London, 1972
- Daniel Defoe: His Life and Recently Discovered Writings, William Lee, London, 1869
- London; being an Accurate History and Description of the British Metropolis, David Hughson, London, 1807
- Sanitary Ramblings: being sketches and illustrations of Bethnal Green, Hector Gavin, London, 1848
- The Victoria History of the County of Middlesex: Volume II, ed. William Page, London, 1911
- The Making of the English Working Class, E P Thompson, London, 1963
- 18 Folgate Street: the tale of a house in Spitalfields, Dennis Severs, London 2001
of London: vol. 27 - Spitalfields and Mile End New Town, ed. F H
W Sheppard, London 1957 [British
- The Huguenot Soldiers of William of Orange & the Glorious Revolution…Mathew Glozier, Brighton, 2002
- French Veterans at Portarlington, T P Le Fanu, Journal of the County Kildare Archeological Society,
vol. XI, pt. 4, 1933
- The Huguenot Settlements in Ireland, Grace Lawless Lee, London 1936
- Portarlington,John Stocks Powell, York, 1994
- Your Humble Servant: notes and letters from
Portarlington, 1692-1768, John S Powell, York, 1999
- Sir Erasmus Borrowes: the Huguenot Colony of
Portarlington, comp. John S Powell, York, 1999
- L'Histoire de L'Eglise Reformee de Dieppe, 1660-1685, part II, Raphael Garreta, Rouen, 1903 [Bibliotheque
Nationale de France]
- New French Hospital in Victoria Park, The Illustrated London News, Jul 1865 [San Francisco Public Library]
- Traits and Stories of the Huguenots, Elizabeth Gaskell
in Household Words, Dec 1853 [San Francisco Library]
- The Graphic, Oct 1885 [San Francisco Public Library]
- Spitalfields, The Copartnership Herald, Jan-Apr 1932 [Tower Hamlets History Online]
- Taking French Leave, Kathy Chater, Ancestors
magazine, May 2005
- Keepers of the Old Faith, Michael Gandy,
magazine, Nov 2005
- The Huguenot Society of Great Britain & Ireland
- The French Hospital
- London Metropolitan Archives
- Dennis Severs' House
Huguenots de France et d'Ailleurs
- Genealogie et Caux
- Musee Virtuel du Protestantisme Francais
- Societe de l'Histoire de Prostestantisme Francais
- Le Musee du Deser
- Charles F A Marmoy (4th cousin twice removed), late Honorary Librarian of the Huguenot Society & primary researcher
of the Marmoy family.
- Laurie Lineer of Sacramento, California (4th cousin twice removed), for sharing her correspondence
with the late Charles FA Marmoy.
Barltrop of Brisbane, Australia (5th cousin), for putting me in
contact with her cousin Laurie Lineer.
- Ruth French of London, England (5th cousin), ...
- Maureen Edwards of Beaconsfield, England (5th cousin
for research on the Ledoux, Malandain, Du Montier,
- Lynwen Clark
of Vancouver, Canada (9th cousin once removed), for sharing
Malandain family research & connecting me with Ruth
- Migration from France, from Robert Janvier's map, published in Lattre & Herrisant's Atlas Moderne ou Collection de Cartes,
- Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701 [Louvre]
Le Temple de Charenton, proche de Paris,
Early Huguenot Friendly Societies]
Proceedings of the Huguenot Society of London, vol. VI (1898-1901)
- The New Missionnaries, litho by G Engelmann, based on a drawing of 1686 [Bibliotheque Nationale
- The Dragonnades, Societe de l'Histoire de
- The Edict of Nantes, by Jules Girardet, 1885
- The Protestant Temple at Linot (as it is today, La Ferme du Temple, Lintot) [from the Memoirs of Isaac Dumont de Bostaquet]
- The Chateau of Dieppe, engraving from The Graphic, 7 Jan 1871
- Huguenots Arriving in England, drawn by S Durand, engraving from The Graphic, 24
- Huguenot Migration, map from
The Huguenot Society website
- Declaration for the Encouraging of French Protestants..., William III, 1689
- The Threadneedle Street French Church, engraving from The Graphic,
24 October 1885
- St Dunstan, Stepney, engraving
by Hobson, drawing by J P Neale, for The Beauties of England & Wales,
Henri de Massue, marquis de Ruvigny, mezzotint by John Simon,
after P de Graves, 1704 [from
Protestant Exiles from France]
- Portarlington Map, from the Journal of the County Kildare Archeological Society,
vol. XI, pt. 4, 193
The Malandain Pays de Caux,
from Guillaume de Lisle's map, published in his Carte de Normandie...,
- Noon, L'Eglise des Greces, Hog Lane, Soho, painting by William Hogarth, c1736 [The Grimsthorpe & Drummond Castle Trustees]
- Fournier Street, Spitalfields (own photo)
- A Silk Weaver at Work with the Loom: Samuel Higgins, Gauber St, Spitalfields, drawing by D
MacPherson, Daily Graphic, 7 April 1899
- Silk Weaver's House, Derbyshire Street, Bethnal Green: built c1825, drawing by D MacPherson, Daily Graphic, 7 April 189
The French Hospital, Bath Street,
c1740, from La Providence... by CFA Marmoy, Proceedings of
the Huguenot Society, vol. XXI
Pierre Marmoy's entry in the French
Hospital register, from La Providence...by CFA Marmoy, Proceedings of
the Huguenot Society, vol. XXI
- The French Hospital, Victoria Park engraving from the Illustrated London News,
15 July 1865
- An Inmate of the French Hospital, 1881: Susannah Ames, widow, pencil sketch, Huguenot Library
- Map of Spitalfields (from John Rocque's 1746 map, published in An Exact Survey of the Cities of London, Westminster and Borough of
Southwark with the Country near 10 miles round, reprinted by Harry Margary and Phillimore & Co Ltd, Chichester)
Copyright © 2010 Roger Williams. All Rights Reserved.