Welcome to the Huguenot Society Blog

Huguenot history, sites, archives, art, and institutions.

Spotlight on the Huguenot ivory carver David Le Marchand

18 Nov, 2021 by Huguenot Society
With the recent addition of a new piece by ivory carver David Le Marchand to the V&A's sculpture collection, guest writer Dr Kira d'Alburquerque (Curator, Sculpture 1600 - 1800), shines a spotlight on the life and work of this virtuoso Huguenot artist.

Three Mills Island, Bromley-by-Bow, a Huguenot industrial enterprise

13 Oct, 2021 by Huguenot Society
This post by Huguenot Society Activities Chairman Tony Wilson looks at a lesser-known example of Huguenot heritage in these islands - the surviving examples of Huguenot industrial enterprise in the south of England; in particular the Three Mills site in east London, a popular tourist attraction.

Relief for ‘Poor Protestants’: Public Appeals for Refugees before 1685

03 Sep, 2021 by Huguenot Society
Well before the setting up of various relief funds to assist Huguenot refugees fleeing France in the 1680s, English parishioners were being exhorted to contribute towards Church appeals in favour of groups of persecuted Protestants abroad, notably the Waldensians. This proto-Protestant community, driven into the Italian Piedmont valleys by Louis XIV's cousin, the Duke of Savoy, suffered a cruel martyrdom, but their cause was championed by England's Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell....

L’Assemblée du Désert, 1911 - 2021.

04 Aug, 2021 by Huguenot Society
After a rare omission in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, the Assemblée du Désert, French Protestantism's iconic annual gathering, will be taking place again this September in the evocative setting of Mialet in the Cévennes where the Musée du Désert is also proposing a full programme for its visitors.

The Huguenot settlement at Portarlington, Ireland

23 Jun, 2021 by Huguenot Society
In 2010 the Huguenot Society organised a visit to Portarlington for its members during the conference at Londonderry. Here we look at the history of the town's foundation by Henri de Ruvigny, Earl of Galway as a settlement for war-weary Huguenot veterans and their families, and consider the political repercussions of this undertaking....

A Huguenot Haunt: A Shell House in Hatfield Forest

03 May, 2021 by Huguenot Society
In the Georgian period, an unusual lake side cottage in Hatfield Forest, decorated with shells by a young member of the Houblon family, became the setting for convivial picnics on the Hallingbury Place estate in rural Essex....

The Huguenot Society in Denmark

05 Apr, 2021 by Huguenot Society
The Society's visit to Denmark in 1999 explored Huguenot colonies in rural Fredericia and in Copenhagen and its region, where fortunes and architectural landmarks were built by 18th-century Huguenot entrepreneurs, active in the financial and shipping sectors....

The early years of the Huguenot Society of London and its international connections

04 Mar, 2021 by Huguenot Society
Created in the bicentenary year of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes by directors of the French Hospital, the Huguenot Society of London, now of Great Britain and Ireland, would become well known internationally for its publications, its research collections at the Huguenot Library, and its links with similar societies worldwide....

A Red Admiral butterfly leads to the identification of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues (c.1533-1588)

01 Feb, 2021 by Huguenot Society
The life and art of 16th century Huguenot artist Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues are equally intriguing. A fine set of his naturalistic watercolours forms part of a forthcoming exhibition showing Renaissance watercolours from the V&A's collection, aspects of which can be previewed online now....

The Royal Bounty Archive unveiled

05 Jan, 2021 by Huguenot Society
Following a previous post, in which the details of how the Royal Bounty collection has been made available online, we look at the history of these manuscripts and how the fund was set up and organised. The Royal Bounty was a forward thinking project aimed at lifting Huguenot refugees and their descendants out of abject poverty. Indeed, the majority of them were left with nothing after having had to flee France without their possessions….

Karlshafen, a Huguenot Town in Germany

26 Nov, 2020 by Huguenot Society
Well known in the 19th century as a spa resort, Karlshafen, along with its surrounding villages, was initially founded in the late 17th century by Landgrave Karl of Hessen-Kassel as a settlement for Huguenot and Waldensian refugees. Fleeing religious persecution in France and in the Piedmont, the settlers left their mark on local customs and architecture; their heritage is kept alive by their descendants and in museum displays at Karlshafen and Hofgeismar….

Strangers in the House: immigrant business in Parliament in the mid-17th century

17 Oct, 2020 by Huguenot Society
Following a previous blog on a mid-seventeenth century Southwark MP of immigrant stock, we look at how Protestant 'strangers' were viewed in Parliament during that period. While some incomers could be perceived as a threat to vested interests or to the peace of the realm, others might be welcomed and given assistance. The parliamentary Journals yield a variety of interesting insights....

The French Protestant Church of London, Soho Square

16 Sep, 2020 by Huguenot Society
With the French Protestant Church of London preparing to reopen this Sunday after its impressive renovation, and the Covid-19 closure, we take a look at the Church's history and influence from its foundation in 1550 to the present day....

Uckermark, Huguenot Refuge in Germany

26 Aug, 2020 by Huguenot Society
With group trips impossible this year due to the pandemic, and our September visit to Guernsey postponed, we look back at a fascinating tour we made in 2003 to the Huguenot refuge of Uckermark in Germany. There, Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, settled on his lands many of those fleeing oppression in France under Louis XIV....

Medical curiosities and disease in Bouhéreau’s diary

08 Aug, 2020 by Huguenot Society
The previous post explored the various career paths followed by Élie Bouhéreau as he sought to earn a living as a Huguenot refugee. Having trained as a medical doctor before the Revocation, he regularly recorded in his diary medical curiosities and incidences of disease encountered during his eventful life ....

Élie Bouhéreau's rich and varied life: a triumph over adversity

16 Jul, 2020 by Huguenot Society
After the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, Huguenot refugee Élie Bouhéreau from La Rochelle led a life of unsettled exile, including travel on the Continent as secretary to British diplomats for nearly a decade, before putting down roots in Dublin, Ireland. His career too, was manifold: a medical doctor, tutor, administrator, clergyman and librarian, he was also a committed husband and father ....

The Royal Bounty microfiche digitization project

02 Jul, 2020 by Huguenot Society
The Royal Bounty archive is one of the main collections housed in the Huguenot Library. It consists of the papers of the successive French Committees, whose responsibility was to administer and distribute the funds given by the Crown to help poor Huguenot refugees and their descendants, from 1685 to 1876. The digitization project aimed to make the microfiches of this invaluable collection available online to Fellows of the Society ....

Peter de Lannoy: a Southwark Huguenot in Parliament

17 Jun, 2020 by Huguenot Society
MPs of immigrant heritage are now prominent in the House of Commons, but this is not simply a recent development. Peter de Lannoy, who was elected in 1656 by inhabitants of the large and diverse borough of Southwark, was descended from Walloon refugees and baptised in a French-speaking church. A local dyer, engaged in a trade enriched by immigrants, he exemplifies both the gradual process of assimilation and a temporary widening of participation in Parliament in the mid-17th century ....

Huguenot Gardens and Gardeners at the French Protestant Hospital

07 Jun, 2020 by Huguenot Society
Occupying several sites over its 300-year history, The French Protestant Hospital has always been set in impressive grounds, designed and tended by Huguenot gardeners and planted with specimens evoking the Huguenot origins of the residents who made it their home ....

Spitalfields' Huguenots

22 May, 2020 by Huguenot Society
Spitalfields, formerly part of the large parish of Stepney, became a parish in its own right with the consecration of Christ Church, in 1729. By this date, the Huguenot refugees who had settled there in the 1680s, in search of religious freedom, had made their name as expert silk weavers, and successful businessmen, and had their own chapels.The poorer members of this tight-knit community were assisted by Huguenot relief agencies, and a charity school operated under the auspices of the French Church of London ....

The Westminster French Protestant School Archives

20 May, 2020 by Huguenot Society
The archives of the Westminster French Protestant School have survived from its foundation in 1747 until its closure in 1924. Housed at the Huguenot Library, these records are a valuable source of genealogical information, but minutes of Directors' meetings also provide a lively picture of the school's organization, its staff and pupils ....