huguenots of spitalfields
huguenots of spitalfields
huguenots of spitalfields
huguenots of spitalfields
huguenots of spitalfields
huguenots of spitalfields

Pierre Allix (1641-1717)  

Pierre Allix was a renowned theological writer, an advocate of religious toleration and the most celebrated Huguenot preacher of the 1680s in England. He was born at Alencon and came to England in 1685.

Allix studied at the Huguenot Academy at Saumur and then became  minister of the  church at Charenton, near Paris. He fled to England in 1685, took Anglican orders and was licenced by James II to set up a church in Jewin Street without Aldersgate using the Anglican ritual in French language. He dedicated one of his books to King James, in gratitude for the treatment he and his fellow refugees had received. 

Louis XIV was troubled by his flight, and in 1686 he dispatched a special envoy offering Allix a pension of 4,000 livres if he would convert to Catholicism and return to France, which he of course refused.

Allix was a gifted linguist, distinguished in the study of Hebrew and Syriac,  fluent in English and also spoke Latin.  In 1686 the diarist John Evelyn writes, " I waited on the Archbishop at Lambeth, where I dined, and met the famous preacher and writer, Monsieur Allix, doubtless a most excellent and learned person ; the Archbishop and he spoke Latin together, and that very readily."

Allix was the author of many theological books and was created Doctor of Divinity by Emmanuel College, Cambridge, later became canon and treasurer to the Cathedral of Salisbury.

Allix made a very important discovery, that  the ‘Codex Ephraemi Syri’ was a palimpsest. The Codex was a fifth-century Greek manuscript of the Bible  written on parchment. The original script was removed by washing and the parchment was re-used and overwritten in the twelfth century. Allix was the first person to notice that the original writing which was just visible was Biblical, and many years later when advanced technology became available it was deciphered and translated. 


Peter ALLIX (1641-1717). Brief Life and Works:. Martyn Thompson

Studies on the Text of the New Testament and Early Christianity: edited by Daniel Gurtner, Juan Hernández, Jr., Paul Foster

The Huguenots: History and Memory in Transnational Context: edited by David J.B. Trim

Protestant exiles from France, chiefly in the reign of Louis XIV; or, The Huguenot refugees and their descendants in Great Britain and Ireland" 

John Locke, Toleration and Early Enlightenment Culture:  John Marshall

Isaac Basire 1704-1768

Isaac Basire was known for his work as a map engraver and was the first in a family of four generations of well-known engravers. His family came originally from Rouen in Normandy.

Basire was born in Wardour Street, Soho, the son of Jacques Basire from Rouen. He was apprenticed to a silversmith and then to a metal engraver/letterpress printer. He lived and worked in a house in St John’s Lane, Clerkenwell  from about 1739, working mainly on maps and book illustrations. His sons John and Isaac carried on the business there after his death.

His son James Basire 1 (1730- 1802) became known as an engraver of architecture and was Engraver to the Royal Society and the  Society of Antiquaries, his grandson James Basire 2  (1769 - 1822) also became  Engraver to the Royal Society and to the Antiquaries, and his great-grandson James Basire 3 (1796-1869) was also a line engraver.

 Inns of Court


The Quiet Conquest: The Huguenots 1685-1985 by Tessa Murdoch


Christopher Baudouin (1662-1724) 

Christopher Baudouin was a renowned silk pattern designer. He used flowers, leaves and natural forms, beloved by the Huguenots, in his designs. James Leman, the silk designer and Master Weaver who was his protégé, wove Christopher's patterns into silk for Matthew Vernon, a Silk Mercer by Royal Appointment. Anna Maria Garthwaite, one of the most famous textile designers of the period, collected some of his designs. The V&A has a collection of some of his hand drawn patterns.

Christopher Baudouin was born in Tours in 1662, where he was baptised in the Protestant Temple. Since King Louis XI set up the silk industry there in 1466, Tours was one of the most important silk weaving areas in France. Over half the population of the town was involved in silk manufacture. Christopher's uncle and godfather, Claude Baudouin, was a Master Silk Weaver in the town. The Huguenots who left Tours and settled in Spitalfields brought their skills to an already established silk industry. 

The first record of Christopher Baudouin in England is of his marriage in 1683 when he married Françoise Prevost, at St James' Church, Duke's Place, Aldgate, in the City of London, which was notorious for clandestine marriages, without licence or banns. The young couple were reprimanded for this which is noted in the records of the French Huguenot church in Threadneedle Street. Christopher and Françoise had seven children, five of whom survived infancy. On the baptism record of his son, Gabriel Salomon, in 1700, Christopher's occupation is given as “pattern drawer". 

Christopher Baudouin was granted denization in 1699/1700. The act of denization granted certain rights to immigrants residing in England. In 1709, Christopher, Françoise and their two daughters,   Françoise and Margueritte, became naturalized subjects. In 1714 he signed a petition from “the gentlemen and principal inhabitants of the Hamlet of Spitalfields”, where he lived in Paternoster Row. This was for creating a new parish of Spitalfields, separate from Stepney, with a new church, Christ Church, designed by Nicholas Hawksmoor. 

He died in 1724, aged 62, and was buried at St Dunstan’s, Stepney on 14 September. 


The Early Silk Weavers of London and Spitalfields (1520-1720) by Richard Edmunds 

Huguenot Heritage by Robin Gwynn 

Spitalfields by Dan Cruickshank 


Samuel Beckett (1906-1989)
Samuel Beckett was a poet, critic, novelist and playwright, born in Dublin in Ireland. He lived mainly in Paris and wrote both in French and English. His plays explore the human condition in the tragi-comic tradition of The Theatre of the Absurd. Samuel Beckett’s father William Frank Beckett was of Huguenot descent. Living in Paris at the time, Beckett fought in the resistance movement during World War ll and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. In 1969 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature; he decided not to accept the award in person as he wished to avoid making a speech. The play Waiting for Godot is widely considered to be his most important work.  


Samuel Beckett


Jessie Boucherett (1825-1905)
Jessie Boucherett campaigned for equal rights and dedicated much of her life to the emancipation of women. She was the author of a book called Hints for Self-Help: a Book for Young Women, published in 1863. She was born near Market Rasen, the daughter of Ayscoghe Boucherett, who had been High Sheriff of Lincolnshire in 1820. Boucherett attended a school run by the Byerley sisters in Stratford upon Avon where Elizabeth Gaskell had once been a pupil. After meeting Bessie Rayner Parkes and Barbara Bodichon, fellow campaigners, they set up a charitable organisation SPEW, Society for Promoting the Employment of Women in 1858. In 1926 the name changed to the Society for Promoting the Training of Women or SPTW. In 2014 it again changed to Futures for Women or FfW. SPEW allowed young women to became apprentices in jobs such as watch making, hairdressing and photography as well training in careers in accountancy and book-keeping. Today Futures for Women continues helping women improve their career prospects through training and education.

Jessie Boucherett

Dion Boucicault (1820-1890) was an Irish playwright who wrote over 200 plays including The Shaughraun and London Assurance; his plays are considered to be the forerunners of modern social drama. He was born Dionysius Lardner Boursiquot, in Dublin in 1820, the son of Anna Darley and a wine merchant Samuel Boursiquot who came from a Huguenot family. However, there is a theory that in reality Boucicault was Anna's son by Dr Dionysius Lardner, the Irish science writer and lecturer. Boucicault was famed for his skill in characterization and timing as an actor, for being an inventive director and innovative theatre manager. He was instrumental in getting the first dramatic copyright law passed in 1856. He helped to establish the royalty system for playwrights. Boucicault died in New York in America in 1890.



Abel Boyer c.1667-1729 was a journalist, historical and political writer, lexicographer, and theatrical producer. He was born at Castres, in Upper Languedoc, southern France and came to England in 1689.

He wrote numerous books including histories of the reign of Queen Anne and of William III. He also French-English dictionaries and. one of the best English-French dictionaries of its time. He also wrote a newspaper called ‘The Post-boy’ Boyer’s writing shows a special interest in Parliament. He published The Political State of Great Britain, a monthly journal giving, for the first time, regular details of the debates in the Houses of Parliament. He was a zealous Whig and supporter of the Hanoverian succession.

Theatrical Records: Or, An Account of English Dramatic Authors, and Their Works - Robert Dodsley

Abel Boyer

Jean Carré c.1520-1572  is credited with revitalising the English glassmaking industry. He came originally from Lorraine and fled to England in 1567. 

Carré learned his trade in Antwerp, Belgium. In 1567, he was issued a 21-year  monopoly from Queen Elizabeth to make "glass for glazing such as is made in France, Burgundy, and Lorraine." on the proviso that they trained Englishmen in this skill.  The English glass industry was less well developed than that of the Continent and was unable to keep up with the growing demand for good quality glass. There was an existing glass industry in the Weald of Surrey  which originated in the 13th century and this was where Carré established his works.Carré built two glass furnaces in Fernfold, on the Sussex-Surrey border, and one in Sidney Wood near Alfold in Surrey. 

Another furnace was built in London and focussed on Venetian-influenced glassware. Carré  brought to England glassmakers from Italy and the French regions of Burgundy and Lorraine, where the skill was well established. He introduced improved techniques which had  a lasting effect and improvement on Wealden glass, and his enterprise was carried on by the French refugee glassmakers he introduced.

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John Castaing   (birth and death dates unknown) 

John Castaing was a broker and founder of the newspaper ‘Course of the Exchange’   

Castaign arrived from France in the 1680s and by the 1690s was a rising broker in the City Exchange. He spent a lot of time at the famous Jonathan’s Coffee House in Change Alley, which was the main meeting place of City stockbrokers, and began listing the prices of stocks and commodities on the walls of the Coffee House. There was a rapidly developing market for all kinds of business and Government securities, and he took advantage of this by establishing in 1697  a twice weekly newspaper  ‘Course of the Exchange’   a list of European cities and the price for which bills of exchange on those cities sold on the Royal Exchange. There was also information on prices and conditions of sale of numerous forms of investments; shares, bonds, annuities and securities. Castaing’s prices were relied upon by many of the coffee houses in the City and his exchange rate was commonly used. This paper is now known as The Stock Exchange Daily Official List, and is the  third oldest continuously published newspaper in the world.

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The Quiet Conquest: The Huguenots 1685-1985 by Tessa Murdoch

Essays in the Economic History of the Atlantic World:  John McCusker

Philip Cazenove (1798 – 1880) was the founder of Cazenove & Co

The Cazenove family were Huguenot financiers who fled from France to Geneva in the late 17th century and later came to London. Philip Cazenove was educated at Charterhouse and in 1819 he  joined the business of his brother-in-law John Francis Menet. 

In 1854 Cazenove formed a new partnership with his son and nephew. The partnership quickly rose to prominence partly because of its involvement in the financial side of the rail industry. Part of his success was also attributed to his relationship with the  Rothschild banking family, which became a financial partner in some of his transactions. The company acted as broker for the formation of the Bank of Hindustan, helped raise funding for the Atlantic Telegraph Company and the Great Eastern Railway Company and was involved in the creation of the Metropolitan District Railway Company, which built the London Underground. 

In later life he devoted himself to charitable works in the fields of church, education and medicine. His obituary described him as a businessman of great capacity and a philanthropist of large sympathies. 

The company became one of the leading stockbroking partnerships in London and gained a reputation as a preeminent investment banker, reputedly the appointed stockbroker to Her Majesty The Queen. The last Cazenove to work for the company was Bernard Cazenove who retired in 2004 and was Philip Cazenove's great-great-great-grandson. 


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The Quiet Conquest: The Huguenots 1685-1985:  Tessa Murdoch

The Chamberlen family were French Huguenots who had been forced to flee France after the decree of Catherine de Medici that ordered the slaughter of Huguenots in France during the wars of religion (1562-1598). Many of the male members of the family pursued medical careers, focusing on midwifery. William Chamberlen (c. 1640-96), the patriarch, together with his family, settled in Southampton in 1569. He his, eldest son Peter(1560-1631), and his second son, also called Peter (1572-1626), became barber-surgeons and midwifery practitioners.

Peter the Elder became surgeon and midwife to Queen Anne, wife of James I, and is believed to have invented the first forceps, which initiated the family’s success in difficult deliveries. He and his younger brother fought to keep the creation a secret in order to protect their trade, and the family’s secret was kept for over 100 years.

Peter the Younger’s son, another Peter, who went by the name ‘Dr Peter’ (1601-83), carried on this subterfuge, however his grandson, Hugh (1664-1728), was believed to have revealed the secret to the family’s success.


Chamberlen forceps 2



Sir John Chardin (1643-1713) 

Sir John Chardin was a French-born jeweller and traveller to the Middle East and India, who later fled to England to avoid Huguenot persecution and became court jeweller to King Charles II. He is best known for his scholarly account of his travels in Persia (present day Iran).

Jean-Baptiste Chardin was born in Paris in 1643, the son of a wealthy Protestant merchant and jeweller. After receiving an excellent education he was apprenticed into his father’s business. As European jewellery was highly prized in India, Jean’s father decided to seek business opportunities there and in 1664 sent his son, together with a merchant from Lyon, overland to the East Indies. By 1666 they reached Persia.

In Persia Jean won the confidence of the Shah, Abbas II, who appointed him as a royal merchant and also commissioned some jewellery of his own design. Jean continued on to India but within a year he came back to Persia, later returning to Paris in 1670.

Having made the jewellery commissioned by the Shah (even though he probably knew that the Shah had by then died), his passion for Persia soon called him back and he set out in 1671. His journey was harrowing and most of his goods were stolen en route but he eventually arrived in mid 1673. He remained in Persia for four years, amassing a considerable fortune, finally returning to Europe by sea in 1677.

Back in France, Jean set about writing a major account of his travels in Persia and the East Indies. He continued his business interests, which included a visit to London, until 1681 when growing anti-Huguenot persecution persuaded him to move to England permanently.

Changing his name to John Chardin, his jewellery business flourished in England, and having been well received at court, he was appointed court jeweller. He was knighted by King Charles II in late 1681, on the same day that he married Esther, the daughter of another Protestant refugee in London. In 1682 he was elected as a fellow of the Royal Society.

After two years spent in Holland as King Charles’ agent to the East India Company, he retired back to England where he pursued his oriental studies and preparing his travel account for publication in 1686. He died at Chiswick in London at the end of 1713. A monument to him was placed in Westminster Abbey and a portrait of Sir John by an unknown artist hangs in the National Gallery, showing him pointing to Persia on a map of the Middle East.

Sources: Britannica Online, Encyclopaedia Iranica, Westminster Abbey website, National Portrait Gallery website

Georges Clemenceau (1841-1929)
The statesman and journalist Georges Clemenceau was Prime Minister of France from 1906-1909 and again from the end of World War 1 from 1917-1920. He was nicknamed Le Tigre or The Tiger for his skill in debating and tenacious journalism. Clemenceau was an important contributor to the French Third Republic. He was a major contributor to the Allied victory in World War I and was integral to the implementation of the Treaty of Versailles to establish peace after the end of World 1. Clemenceau’s mother, Sophie Eucharie Gautreau was of Huguenot descent.


Georges Clemenceau

One of the skills that Huguenots brought to Spitalfields was clockmaking. Many came from Rouen or Dieppe in the latter part of the seventeenth century and set themselves up in the streets around the Artillery Ground. 


Mechanical clocks may have been around for several hundred years before and in England these were mainly in church towers. The skills required for table or indoor clocks were very different and the Huguenots were one European group that had developed them. However, clock and watchmaking skills were spread wide in the western world, across Europe as well as in the North American colonies. The inventions which improved the accuracy of timepieces were made by many different nationalities, although Germany was one of the main centres of innovation. While the Huguenot clockmakers were not noted for particular technological innovations, their craftmanship in faces, cases and mechanisms is clear.

Some of the more famous Huguenot clockmakers in Spitalfields around the beginning of the eighteenth century were David Lestourgeon, Guillaume Jourdain, Guillaum Prevost, the Lormier family, and Giradel dit Constantin. Their clocks can today sell for thousands of pounds. Later in the eighteenth century, the Le Blond family and Robert Bertrand were master Huguenot craftsmen. Many of these were interlinked, for example, Robert Le Blond (1702-1765) was indented as an apprentice to Peter Lormier in 1717 and then married Madeleine Lormier in 1729, and Robert Bertrand was the godson of Robert Le Blond.

Many of the Huguenot clockmakers joined the Clockmakers Guild but others, including the Le Blonds, joined the Blacksmiths’ Company. The Worshipful Company of Blacksmiths was chartered in 1571 whereas the Clockmakers is a relative newcomer being chartered in 1631 and is lower in Order of Precedence. Tower clocks are made from larger pieces of metal and so the Blacksmiths’ Company was originally suitable but, as clockmakers worked with smaller pieces and required different skills, they broke away to form a separate guild, to the considerable distress of the Blacksmiths.

References and further information:

Edmunds, R., 2020, The Huguenot Clockmakers of Spitalfields, AR Heritage Publishing, Berkshire, UK.

The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers website, including links to the Clockmakers’ Museum in the Science Museum in London.

Samuel Courtauld (1876- 1947) was an English industrialist and art collector who founded the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1932.

His ancestors were Huguenot refugee silk weavers who left France in the late sixteenth century. They settled in Essex and continued their silk weaving trade. The family business grew over time and eventually became a major local and international company in the early twentieth century.

Although the family appeared to have no interest in art or art collecting, Courtauld’s interest developed late in his life. He had a passion for modern art, such as the works of Gaugin, and bequeathed his wonderful collection to the Courtauld Institute upon his death in 1947.



Joan Crawford 2Joan Crawford (c. 1904-1977) was an American film and television actress. In 1999, she was ranked on the American Film Institute’s list of the greatest actresses of Classic Hollywood Cinema.

Born Lucille Fay LeSueur, she was the third child of Thomas LeSueur and Anna Bell Johnson, who was of French Huguenot descent. She began her career as a dancer, and in 1925 she started her onscreen career with MGM.

The actress gained recognition in 1928, with the smash hit Our Dancing Daughters, and a prolific and enduring career followed. After a lull in her career, Crawford left MGM and signed with Warner Brothers in the early 1940s. In 1945, Crawford won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role as Mildred Pierce in the film of the same name.

Source: &



David ‘Davy’ Crockett (1786-1836) was an American folk hero, soldier, frontiersman and politician. Davy was the fifth of nine children born into the rough world of the American frontier. Many European immigrants changed or altered their surnames, and this is also true for the Crockett family. The name was originally Crocketagne, and the family were descendants of Huguenots that fled to England, Ireland and America.

In 1812, Crockett volunteered as part of a group of militia against the Creek Indians. His duties included reconaissance and fighting both the Creek nation and the Red Coats (the British). Following the war with the Creek nation, Crokett became one of the principle commissioners of peace in Lawrence County, Tennessee, and was chosen by his contemporaries to be the Lieutenant Colonel of the 57th Regiment of Militia.

He ran for Congress in 1826, and was victorious. In 1827 he won the congressional seat in the election, but he was not reelected in the 1833 election due to his distaste of Andrew Jackson. Crockett had ambitions to liberate Texas from Mexico, but died at the hands of the Mexican army at the Alamo in 1836.


Davy Crockett 2



dollandAitchesonBrandJohn Dollond was the son of a Huguenot refugee, who was a silk weaver. He was born in Spitalfields in November 1706 and died in November 1761 aged 55. Initially he followed his father’s trade, but also found time to study Latin, Greek, mathematics and physics, and later became an optician, joining his eldest son, Peter who had started in business as a maker of optical instruments.

glassesJohn Dollond became known for his successful optics business and for patenting and selling achromatic lenses. His reputation grew rapidly and he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, publishing accounts of his various experiments. In 1761, he was appointed optician to the King, George III and the Duke of York and Albany.

After his death, his son Peter carried on the business and in 1781 he made bifocal spectacles. At the Great Exhibition in 1851 in London, the Dollonds were awarded a medal for the excellence of their optical instruments.

Today, Dollond & Aitchison is still a well-known name in the field of optics. However, the company was absorbed into Boots opticians in 2009 and most of its stores are now branded under the Boots Opticians name.

Faberge egg 2Gustav Fabergé founded the jewellery firm of Fabergé in 1842. The Fabergé family was originally from north eastern France and were Huguenots. The family first fled to eastern Germany, then settled in the Russian province of Lovinia, now part of Estonia.

Gustav’s father Peter enjoyed the patronage of Catherine the Great. Gustav was apprenticed to Andreas Spiegel and after his apprenticeship joined the firm Keibel, and is recorded as ‘Master Goldsmith’ in 1841.

He opened his first shop in St Petersburg. His son, Carl, took over the family business in 1870. The production of the famous imperial Fabergé eggs started with Carl, and they became a favourite of the Russian Tsars Alexander III and Nicholas II. The Fabergé company continued to prosper both locally and internationally throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.




Paul Fourdrinier

Paul Fourdrinier was born in Amsterdam, the son of French Huguenots, who later moved to England. Paul became a well known copper engraver and printmaker but he has largely been forgotten by history.

Born at the end of 1698 in Amsterdam, he was the son of French Protestant parents who had been deported to England and later moved to the Netherlands. It is believed that the teenage Paul was apprenticed for six years to Bernard Picart, one of the greatest engravers of his time, who as a convert to Protestantism had fled Huguenot persecution and moved to Amsterdam in 1711.

In 1720 the Fourdrinier family returned to London where Paul was able to find employment with Jacob Tonson, a prominent publisher. His first job was to produce around a hundred engravings for John Dryden’s translation of “The Works of Virgil”. His work was well received and he went on to work on engravings for Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. He was also commissioned to provide illustrations on books about Palladian Neoclassical architecture published by the 3rd Earl of Burlington.

Paul married Susanna Grolleau, herself the daughter of a Huguenot cloth dealer, and together they had a large family. In 1731, now well established in London, he set up a studio at the corner of Craig’s Court and Whitehall, producing engravings ranging from portraits to astronomical maps for leading figures in London society. He was frequently employed on architectural works as his engraving style was very accurate and detailed. His career involved him in many well known projects such as the first Westminster Bridge and the Georgian City of Bath. 

He died in 1758 at the young age of 60 and is buried in the Grolleau family grave in the Huguenot Cemetery in Wandsworth, London.

Sources include:; British Library website; 

William Frend De Morgan (1839 – 1917)
William Frend De Morgan was an innovative ceramic designer and part of the Arts & Crafts Movement with William Morris. He was born in London to a celebrated mathematician Augustus de Morgan, and Sophia Frend, a campaigner for women’s rights and prison reform. Having such forward thinking parents, De Morgan was encouraged in his pursuit of all things intellectual and artistic. In 1859 he attended The Royal Academy but soon realised that his interests lay in ceramic design, specifically tiles and stained glass. He began experimenting with new techniques in glazing and firing, as well as decorative skills and inventive use of colour. In the 1870s he revived and refined the technique of lustreware using a metal deposit in the glaze to create a shimmering, luminous effect. However De Morgan was not a brilliant business man and that along with changing tastes in design meant that his ceramics business folded. He re-invented himself as a novelist but it is his beautiful and unique ceramic ware for which he is greatly celebrated.

William Frend De Morgan

David Garrick (1717-79) was an English actor, playwright and theatre manager. He was the third child of Peter and Arabella Garrick and was born in Hereford. David’s grandfather, David de la Garrique, was a Huguenot who fled Bordeaux, France, when the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685. His son Peter was brought to England two years later.

David travelled to London, alongside Samuel Johnson, in order to seek fame as an actor. He made his legendary debut as Richard III in east London in 1741. In January 1742 William Pitt described Garrick as ‘the best actor the English stage has ever produced.’ From then on, his reputation and fame soared.

He became the manager of Drury Lane Theatre in 1747 and directed its productions for 29 years, before giving it up in 1776. He died in 1779 and is buried in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey.


David Garrick 2





Albert Arnold Gore, better known as Al Gore, was born on the 31st March 1948.  He was the son of Al Gore Senior and his second wife Pauline LaFon. Al Gore Senior was a Democratic congressman and senator from Tennessee and the third child of Alan Arnold Gore and Margaret Denny.  The Gore line came from Scottish-Irish immigrants who first settled in Virginia, and  later moved to Tennessee in the mid 1700’s after the American Revolutionary War.

Al Gore junior graduated from Harvard University in 1969 and enlisted in the army, serving in the Vietnam War as a military reporter from 1969 through 1971. He then became a reporter for The Tennessean, a newspaper based in Nashville, Tennessee. While working (1971–76) for that paper, Gore also studied philosophy and law at Vanderbilt University.  Following his father into politics Gore was an unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and in 1991 he was one of only 10 Democratic senators who voted to authorize the use of American military force against Iraq in the Persian Gulf War. In 1992 he was chosen by Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, to be his running mate, and Gore became vice president when Clinton defeated Republican incumbent George Bush in the 1992 presidential election.

Let’s look at his second wife Pauline LaFon who was also a native of Tennessee.  The name is a French variant of Lafont and this might lead one to consider a French Huguenot connection. The LaFon family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most LaFon families were found in the USA in 1880 when there were 55 LaFon families living in Virginia. This was about 30% of all the recorded LaFon's in the USA. 

Pauline’s father Walter Lewis LaFon (1887-1950) born in Tennessee was a state highway employee. He married a girl called Julia Ann Müller, probably from a German Lutheran background.  Pauline’s grandfather Simpson Washington LaFon (1855-1910) also born in Tennessee was a carpenter by trade and then a farmer; her great grandfather Emmanuel LaFon although born in North Carolina, by the age of 53 was farming in Tennessee where he died in 1891. His father William LaFon (1791-1871) was born in North Carolina, but died in Texas. His father Isaac LaFon (1754-1850), however, was born in Hessen, Germany and came to Pennsylvania in 1773 as an indentured servant to a Mr Byers. Within two years he had run away from his Master possibly joining the army, but probably just moving around although he did serve in the American Revolution in the Lincoln County Regiment, North Carolina.  In the 1790 census  he was  listed as Isaac Levaun, head of a family  of 4 females and 3 males under 16.  Nine years later on 5 February 1789, he married Mary (Molly) Rosemond, his neighbour's daughter. This is assumed  to have been his second marriage. William, Isaac's son, would probably have been by his first marriage. Sadly, by the 1850 census he is listed in a town called Catawba, North Carolina, aged 96, a Pauper, living in the household of an Elijah Cline, Keeper of the Poor and apparently froze to death in January 1850. He was buried in the St. John's Lutheran Church Cemetery in Conover, North Carolina. The founders of the church were largely Pennsylvania Germans.

 Why did Isaac leave Germany? In the 17th C, the lands of Germany were constantly being divided into sub territories although still under the power of the Catholic

Alexander Hamilton is regarded as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. He was one of the signatories of the Constitution of the United States of America and was a delegate from New York.

Hamilton was born about 1755, apparently on the island of Nevis, British West Indies. He was the illegitimate son of a Scottish merchant, James Hamilton, and Rachel Faucette, an English-French Huguenot.

After his father abandoned the family in 1765, and his mother’s untimely death three years later, Hamilton became a ward of his mother’s family and moved to America to attend King’s College (now Columbia University, New York). In his twenties he became George Washington’s aide-de-camp in the Revolutionary War. After the war he became the first Secretary of the Treasury from 1789 and was the creator of the US central banking system. He died in 1804, after being shot in a duel.

Source: &

Alexander Hamilton 2 

Pierre Harache (c.1639-c.1712)  

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Pierre Harache was the the first Huguenot goldsmith to be admitted to the Goldsmiths Companyand the best known Huguenot maker of candlesticks. He was born in Rouen in 1639 and arrived in England in 1681.

Whereas in England a young man would learn his craft from a master, and then either remain  working for him as a journeyman or set himself up nearby, in France, when a goldsmith had completed his apprenticeship he would travel about and pick up new ideas and skills. Thus a French goldsmith had a much wider repertoire than his 'English counterpart.

In 1682 Harache was admitted to the Goldsmiths Company. Foreign craftsmen had never been welcomed by English silversmiths and in 1574  Freedom of the Goldsmiths’ Company was denied to  all foreigners. Harache  was obviously highly thought of as he was granted the Livery in 1687 and granted the Freedom of the City, which  was only granted under very special circumstances.

He made some of the  earliest  cast candlesticks with faceted, cast baluster stems. His work was of such high quality that it is referred to today as having heralded a new era in the  production of English silver. Among his patrons were the Duke of Devonshire, the  Duke of Somerset, and the Duke of Marlborough. 

The First Huguenot Silversmiths of London :  David McKinley

Sir John Houblon was the first Governor of the Bank of England from 1694 to 1697.

He was born in March 1632 and died in January 1712 aged 79. He was the third son in a family of ten sons and three daughters. He became more eminent than any of his nine brothers, four of whom were also prosperous merchants and two of whom served on the Board of the Bank of England.

fiftyNoteThe Houblons were descendants of a Protestant family from Lille, and Sir John had close ties with the French Protestant church in Threadneedle Street where he was an elder. He was a successful merchant, trading with Portugal, Spain and the Mediterranean.

He was a member of the Grocers livery company of which he was Master in 1690/91 and was elected Lord Mayor of London in 1695.

He married Mary Jurin in 1660, who came from a Flemish Protestant family and they had five sons and six daughters, but only two sons survived their father.

He had a magnificent house just off Threadneedle Street on the site later occupied by the Bank of England and also acquired a country house at High Ongar in Essex.

In 1994, to mark the tercentenary (300 years) of the foundation of the Bank of England, Sir Johnʼs portrait was included on a new £50 note, which was withdrawn ten years later.

Esther Inglis (1571-1624) was one of the finest calligraphers of the Tudor and Stuart period. She produced over sixty exquisitely illuminated documents and little books, illustrated with flowers and with embroidered covers. Most of her books were Protestant religious texts including psalms from the Geneva Bible and verses from the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Inglis presented many of her books to members of the English court including Queen Elizabeth I, the Earl of Essex, and James VI, and to French and Dutch officials who were working for the Protestant cause.Inglis was born to Nicholas Langlois and Marie Pressot in 1571. Her father was a schoolteacher who later became Master of the French School in Edinburgh, and her mother was also a calligrapher. The family fled to England around 1570.

J D Rockefeller Snr

John Davison Rockefeller Snr was an American business magnate and philanthropist. It is widely considered that he was the wealthiest American of all time, and was once the richest person in modern history (Amazon and Facebook probably outstrip him now!). In the 1850s a new industry emerged when refiners discovered that refined petroleum (which up until that point had been bought chiefly for its supposed medicinal properties) made an ideal fuel for lamps. Rockefeller foresaw the potential of refining Pennsylvania crude oil, which would revolutionize the way people lit their homes, fuelled their vehicles and powered their industries. He founded, with 2 others, the Standard Oil Company in 1863 in ClevelandOhio.  By 1899 Standard Oil controlled 90 to 95 percent of the oil refined in the United States. By 1911 this was considered a monopoly and the company was broken up, later becoming Esso, BP, Mobil and Amoco amongst others.

Standard Oil Building

Standard Oil Company Building, Lower Manhattan, New York 1956

John Davison Rockefeller was born on July 8, 1839 in Richford, New York and died on May 23rd 1937 in Florida. He was the second of six children of William Avery Rockefeller and Eliza Davison.  William  (1810- 1906) was the kind of man they called a scoundrel in the 1800s. He was a peddler, a quack, an itinerant and generally a ne'er-do-well who had several wives and many children. He spent much time away (some with a bigamous second wife) so JD had to help his mother look after the first family until aged 16, he found a job which set him on the road to success.  Surprisingly William “snake oil pedlar” Rockefeller’s  own father - Godfrey Lewis Rockefeller (1783 – 1857), was an American farmer and businessman who was an early settler in Richford, New York. His parents were William and Christina Rockefeller who were third cousins; William's grandfather was Johann Peter Rockefeller, a miller who migrated from Rhineland, Germany to Philadelphia where he was a plantation owner and landholder in Somerville and Amwell, New Jersey. Christina's grandfather was Johann Peter's cousin, Diell Rockefeller, who immigrated to Germantown, Columbia, New York. In 1806 Godfrey married former schoolteacher, Lucy Avery (1786 – 1867) despite opposition from her parents. This was because  the Rockefellers were German Evangelicals and Lucy Avery’s ancestors were Puritans who had emigrated from Devon to Salem, Massachusetts, in about 1630. 

Rockefeller, John D.      Rockefeller, John D.

         John D Rockefeller Snr and with his son John D Rockefeller Jn 1915

From the 12th C the name Avery can be found many times in the south west of England  and in St Stephens Church in Saltash, Devon there is a plaque placed in memory of the Avery family and their long-standing association with the area.

In the 17th C many Averys emmigrated to the New World and four branches developed – the Groton branch, the Dedham line, the Portsmouth line and the Ipswitch branch. Lucy’s parents descended from the Groton branch in Conneticut.  Samuel Avery (1731-1806) her grandfather, married a Sybil Noyes who was descended from William Bradford who came over on the Mayflower. William Bradford was born in the village of Austerfield, Doncaster in 1589. Despite being a long-standing member of the Separatist group and playing a huge part in their plans to sail across the Atlantic, Bradford was yet to assume any leadership role for the Pilgrims - but that was to change very quickly. Against all the odds, he overcame the terrible sickness that swept through the Mayflower during the first winter and accounted for more than half the lives of the people on board. Then, while grieving the sudden death of his wife - who passed away while the ship was anchored off Cape Cod - Bradford was chosen to lead the group after the first Governor John Carver collapsed and died less than six months after the Mayflower landed. He served as Governor for many years, gaining re-election time and time again, and played a huge part in gaining the trust of the Native Americans - which led to what became the first Thanksgiving in 1623.

So, returning to J D Rockefeller Sn. Does he descend from Huguenots?.  The answer is, sadly, apparently not! His paternal side were German evangelical protestants and his maternal side descended from English Puritans.

Hablot Knight Browne, who went by the pseudonym ‘Phiz’, was a famous book illustrator who worked with Charles Lever,Harrison Ainsworth and, most notably, Charles Dickens. Browne was of Huguenot descent, was born in Lambeth in 1815, and he was the fourteenth of Catherine and William Loder Browne’s fifteen children.

At a young age Browne was apprenticed to the skilled engraver William Finden. However, he soon found that he was unsuited for engraving. In 1833, he was awarded an important prize from the Society of Arts for a drawing he made of John Gilpin, which led him to abandon engraving altogether, in order to develop his skills in other mediums, such as etching and drawing.

Browne met Charles Dickens in early 1836, when Dickens was looking for someone to illustrate The Pickwick Papers.Thus began an important friendship and working relationship for both men, with Browne illustrating ten books, including David Copperfield and Bleak House.


Hablot Knight Browne

Sir Robert Ladbroke (1713-1773) was a prominent member of the Huguenot community in East London. He was a merchant banker in the City, Lord Mayor of London in 1747 and, from 1754, a Member of Parliament. Ladbroke was married to the daughter of John Peck, an influential dyer in the Spitalfield’s silk industry.

A monument to Ladbroke, sculpted by John Flaxman RA and erected in 1794, sits on the north side of Christ Church in Spitalfields. He is displayed in his Lord Mayor’s robes.

Sources: Dan Cruickshank, Spitalfields: Two Thousand Years of English History in One Neighbourhood (London: Windmill, 2017) and

Robert Ladbroke

silverCupPaul Lamerie was born in the Netherlands in April 1688 and died in August 1751 aged 63.

He was the son of a Huguenot French nobleman who had left France following the issue of the Edict of Nantes, which forbade the Protestant religion in France. His father moved to London in 1689.

silverShieldIn August 1703 Paul de Lamerie became apprenticed to a London goldsmith of Huguenot origin, Pierre Platel. Ten years later, de Lamerie opened his own workshop and was appointed goldsmith to George I in 1716.

His early work is in the simple Queen Anne styles, following classical French models, but later de Lamerie is particularly noted for his elaborate Rococo style which was fashionable in the 1730’s.

Among his customers were Tsarinas Catherine and Anna, Sir Robert Walpole, the Duke of Bedford and other members of the English aristocracy. He served on the Goldsmiths’ Company committees, and also served in the Westminster Volunteers.

A two-handled silver cup and cover by Paul de Lamerie, dated 1720, was among the wedding gifts of Queen Elizabeth II.

Paul de Lamerie died in London and was buried in St. Anne’s Church, Soho. There is a memorial plaque at the site of his workshop, 40 Gerrard Street, which was unveiled in January 1992.

Nicholas Lanier (1588-1666) was a composer, the court musician to King Charles I and Charles II. He was the first to hold the title of ‘Master of the King's Music’, an honour given to musicians of great distinction; the musical equivalent to the title of Poet Laureate.

He was a singer in the King's Consorte, played the lute in the King’s Orchestra, and played the viola da gamba.

Lanier was a descendant of a French Huguenot family of royal musicians, the Lanière family. His family fled France to escape persecution and arrived in England in 1561.

The Le Blond Family

My father, Robert (Bob) Le Blond (1916-1998) began our genealogy research, starting with a family bible. 

There were many Roberts in our family, including the first to arrive in England, settling in Spitalfields with his son, also Robert. I am not sure where in France they were from, with some evidence pointing to Dieppe and other suggestions including La Tremblade in the South West. The second Robert married Elizabeth Mahjou (or Mahieu) in 1695 at St Botolph, Aldgate, but this was his second marriage as he is described as a widower on the marriage certificate. He became a denizen in 1699-1700. His will sheds more light, with indications of children with his first wife. His third child with his second wife, another Robert, is my six times great grandfather.

Robert, born 1702, was baptized at the Huguenot Chapel at the Artillery. He was indentured to watchmaker Peter Lormier in 1717 and married Madeleine Lormier (his master’s daughter). In 1748, he is described as a ‘watchmaker to Edward Welch, Blacksmiths’ Company’. Robert and Madeleine had four children, of which the first, another Robert, was my direct ancestor.

This next Robert was born in 1732 and was an apprentice in the Blacksmiths’ Company. He married Elizabeth Chausac (or Chansat) in 1754. The Huguenot Museum found an interesting document, which is a marriage bond in the sum of £200 to the Bishop of London should there be a legal reason why the marriage could not take place. This Robert is the first to have evidence of residence in Spitalfields, at Elder Street, in 1768. He was a Director of the French Hospital in 1785.

The marriage bond dated 1754

My ancestor was the fourth child, Abraham, baptized in 1767 at the French Huguenot Church in Spitalfields. He was indentured as a blacksmith in 1782 and married Catherine Merzeau in 1788. He died young in 1801 and is buried in Christ Church Spitalfields.

Abraham and Catherine had three children and my ancestor was the third, Pierre, born in 1790. Pierre married Ann Pettit in 1819 in the parish of St George Hanover Square and the family moved to the St Pancras/Euston area, where the various censuses in the nineteenth century record their residences. However, his death was recorded at 20 Church Street (now Fournier Street). Peter and Ann’s eldest child was my great great grandfather, Peter Merzeau and he had ownership of a number of properties, including 20 Church Street. In his will he left these to his second wife but my ancestors are from his first marriage, so the link to Spitalfields with my direct ancestors ended.

I noted that my father was a Robert and so is my elder brother. My son is Peter Robert, so the tradition of our male ancestors’ given names continues.

Paul Le Blond

November 2020

Captain Peter Lekeux (1684-1743) was one of most prominent master weavers in the English silk industry and one of the ten most wealthy Huguenots in Britain.

IMG 6534

Peter Lekeux was born in London. The Le Keux family were Walloons who were living in Sandwich and Canterbury in the 1560s, some of them were Pastors at the French Church in Canterbury. The Lekeux family were  among the most important in the English silk industry; Peter Lekeux’s uncle Colonel Peter Lekeux was Founder of the Royal Lustring Company and helped to formulate policy in the Weavers’ Company. His son, also named Peter, was also a weaver of Flowered silks and rose to become Upper Bailiff, the highest rank in the Weavers’ Company

Lekeux and James Leman were the first Huguenots to serve on the Court of the Weavers’ Company and he soon became a trusted member, representing the Company on committees and giving evidence to Parliament and the Commissioners for Trade. Lekeux bought at least 18 designs from Anna Maria Garthwaite, for very expensive and fashionable designs woven with silver thread. He became very prosperous (he would have been a millionaire many times over by today's standards) and owned a  large house in the new quarter of Spitalfields, the Old Artillery Ground. He left £7,400 in his will which would be over £1 million today. 

His title of Captain refers to his rank in the local militia. The militia  (sometimes called Trained Bands) were an important part of defence and served as a reserve force. They were made up of small groups of local men,usually of moderate wealth, who purchased their own weapons and trained together for the purpose of providing local defence.

Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century: Natalie Rothstein 

Huguenots in Britain and France: Irene Scouloudi

The Early Silk weavers of London and Spitalfields: Richard Edmunds

Captain Peter Lekeux (1684-1743) was one of most prominent master weavers in the English silk industry and one of the ten most wealthy Huguenots in Britain.

Peter Lekeux was born in London. The Le Keux family were Walloons who were living in Sandwich and Canterbury in the 1560s, some of them were Pastors at the French Church in Canterbury. The Lekeux family were  among the most important in the English silk industry; Peter Lekeux’s uncle Colonel Peter Lekeux was Founder of the Royal Lustring Company and helped to formulate policy in the Weavers’ Company. His son, also named Peter, was also a weaver of Flowered silks and rose to become Upper Bailiff, the highest rank in the Weavers’ Company

Lekeux and James Leman were the first Huguenots to serve on the Court of the Weavers’ Company and he soon became a trusted member, representing the Company on committees and giving evidence to Parliament and the Commissioners for Trade. Lekeux bought at least 18 designs from Anna Maria Garthwaite, for very expensive and fashionable designs woven with silver thread. He became very prosperous (he would have been a millionaire many times over by today's standards) and owned a  large house in the new quarter of Spitalfields, the Old Artillery Ground. He left £7,400 in his will which would be over £1 million today. 

His title of Captain refers to his rank in the local militia. The militia  (sometimes called Trained Bands) were an important part of defence and served as a reserve force. They were made up of small groups of local men,usually of moderate wealth, who purchased their own weapons and trained together for the purpose of providing local defence.

Silk Designs of the Eighteenth Century: Natalie Rothstein 

Huguenots in Britain and France: Irene  Scouloudi

The Early Silk weavers of London and Spitalfields: Richard Edmunds

James Leman (1688-1745)

James Leman was a celebrated silk designer and master weaver and one of the the first Huguenots to serve on the Court of the Weavers’ Company. The family came to London from Canterbury and possibly came originally from Tourcoing.

IMG 6531

At the age of fourteen he was apprenticed to his father, Peter, and lived in Stewart Street, Spitalfields. James Leman trained as a designer as well as a manufacturer, which was unusual for weavers at that time.The Victoria and Albert Museum's earliest designs by him are dated 1706, just four years into his apprenticeship. In 1711 he was admitted as 'Foreign’ Master' to the Weavers' Company, and on his father's death in 1712 he took over the family business.

Leman rose to high office in the Weavers' Company, becoming a Liveryman. This was exceptional; the Company was reluctant to make the ‘foreign masters’ liveryman men. In 1731 he was elected Renter Bailiff, second-in-command in the Company. 

James Leman’s album is held in the V&A and is the oldest surviving set of silk designs in the world.  It contains ninety patterns created when he was a young man. The designs are most striking, mixing bold colours and natural and invented flowers, geometric patterns and architectural elements. On the back are explanations of how to translate the design into the woven cloth. They used metal threads which came alive by candlelight.

IMG 6530


The silk industry in London, 1702-1766, Thesis (MA), University of London 1961:  Rothstein, Natalie

David Lestourgeon (1660-1731) was a watchmaker who seems to have specialised in commemorative watches. In the Museum of London there is an example of a watch commemorating the death of William III, and another adorned with a bust of Queen Anne in the British Museum.

Lestourgeon was born in Rouen and moved to London in 1681. He was made a Member of the London Clockmakers’ Company (1698 -1731).

Lestourgeon was one of many Huguenots who brought with them to London important knowledge and skills from the major French clock and watch making centres.

Lestourgeon is mentioned in The Huguenot Clockmakers of Spitalfields, will be republished Spring 2019. ​
The Quiet Conquest

David Lestourgeon

The son of Huguenot refugees in Geneva, Liotard (1702-1789) is best known for his pastel paintings and portraits. His work is characterised by his careful craftsmanship and attention to detail, which contrasted the more common use of pastel as a loose, light medium, and highlighted the realism of Liotard’s approach.

Pastels were also easily transportable, allowing Liotard to travel widely in search of new subjects and commissions. He studied in Paris and then moved all over Europe including to Rome, Amsterdam, Constantinople, Vienna, and London. His explorations led him to paint some of the most famous individuals of his era, such as Marie Antoinette, the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the actor (and Huguenot) David Garrick.

He met his wife, Marie Fargues, the daughter of a Huguenot merchant living in Amsterdam, on his travels and went on to create studies and portraits of her and their children together.

Sources: and

Jean Etienne Liotard 10







lunnBunsallyLunnPlaqueA Sally Lunn is a large bun or teacake made with yeast dough including cream, eggs, and spice, similar to the sweet brioche breads of France.

It is served warm and sliced, with butter.  It was first recorded in 1780 in Bath in south west England.

There are many myths about the origins of the Sally Lunn.

It is said that the recipe was brought to Bath in the 1680s by a Huguenot refugee called Solange Luyon, who became known as Sally Lunn.

Walter John de la Mare (1873-1956)
This award winning poet, novelist and short story writer is renowned for his rich imagination and spiritual romanticism. He wrote prolifically for both children and adults including psychological horror stories such as Seaton's Aunt and All Hallows and his famous poem for children The Listeners, which has stood the test of time. De La Mare was born in Charlton, Kent and went to school at St. Paul's Cathedral Choir School in London. At sixteen he started work in the statistics department of Anglo-American Oil where he worked for many years. Having four children, he found it difficult to balance family life with writing but in 1908 he received a Civil List pension and was then able to concentrate solely on his creative work. His awards included The James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction and the 1947 Carnegie Medal for British children's books.

Source http//

Walter de la Mare

Daniel Marot (1661-1752) was was best known as an architect, decorative designer and engraver, but his talents also included furniture and fabric design, interior and garden design, theatre sets, and tapestries. He was born in Paris and left France in 1685, emigrated to Holland where he entered the service of the Prince of Orange. In 1694 he followed the Prince, by that time William III of England, to London.

Marot was appointed one of William III’s architects and Master of Works and designed the parterres and the Great Fountain garden at Hampton Palace, the Marble Hall at Petworth House, and William’s gilded state coach which today is the ceremonial coach of the Speaker of the House of Commons. He published engravings of his designs, which enabled his work to be disseminated widely, and gained popularity by craftsmen and artists all over Europe. Daniel Marot can truly be called an ambassador of the Louis Quatorze style.

In 1698 he returned to Holland in 1698 where he continued to work until his death.

Huguenots in Britain and their French Background, 1550–1800 pp 113-124 | Huguenot Upholsterers and Cabinet-makers in the Circle of Daniel Marot by Gervase Jackson-Stops
Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain by Robert Winder

Daniël Marot 1661 1752

Harriet Martineau (1802 – 1876)
Harriet Martineau was a Victorian sociologist, writer and social reformer. She was born in Norwich to wealthy parents of French Huguenot descent. Her father Thomas Martineau was the owner of a textile mill; her mother Elizabeth Rankin was the daughter of a sugar refiner. They believed in equality for all of their eight children. Harriet was one of the first female journalists, championing important social reform and women’s rights. She wrote over 50 books in her lifetime, becoming very wealthy in the meantime, but had become a novelist to make a living. In her time she was renowned and celebrated for her clear style and the way in which her ideals and opinions were shown through the form of narrative in her stories. She argued vociferously against slavery and inequality. For most of her life Harriet was deaf but travelled widely and leaves a vast legacy of intellectual analysis which has inspired modern sociologists.

Harriet Martineau


Henri de Massue was a French Huguenot soldier and diplomat who served on behalf of the British Crown in the Nine Years’ War and the War of the Spanish Succession, being later rewarded by appointment as the Earl of Galway in Ireland.

Henri de Massue was born in April 1648 in Paris, the son of the Huguenot army general and French diplomat, Henri de Massue, 1st Marquis de Ruvigny who served as French ambassador to England from 1674 to 1677. Young Henri became a soldier and served in the French army with great distinction. This brought him to the attention of King Louis XIV who chose him to carry out secret negotiations with the English King Charles II in 1678. 

Henri succeeded his father as a general of the Huguenots but after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1690 he decided to flee to England, settling in Greenwich. After the death of his brother at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland, he offered his services to the English King William III, who appointed him major-general. Although King Louis XIV had allowed the de Ruvigny family to keep their estates in France after they fled to England, he subsequently confiscated them when he heard Henri had joined William III.

Having distinguished himself in 1691 at the Battle of Aughrim in Ireland against the Irish Jacobite army loyal to James II, he became commander-in-chief in Ireland and then Viscount Galway, receiving from William III estates seized from Jacobites. One estate was in Queen’s County where de Massue founded the colony of Portarlington and persuaded Huguenot refugees to settle there.

He proceeded to fight against the French during the Nine Years’ War but was wounded in 1693. He withdrew to Ireland and having been elevated to Earl of Galway he served as Lord Justice of Ireland from 1697 to 1701, when he retired, feeling unsuited to politics.

But by 1704 he had returned to military duty during the War of the Spanish Succession and fought with success until the Battle of Almansa in Portugal in 1707. Here the English, fighting as part of the Habsburg force, were led by a Frenchman, de Massue, but were beaten by an Englishman, the Duke of Berwick, head of the French Bourbon army!

Having suffered a further defeat against the French in 1709, he retired from military service. After a short period of further service as a lord justice in Ireland in 1715, he retired completely, though by then the estates granted to him in Ireland had been restored to their former owners. He was given a pension by the English Parliament and in 1718 was appointed governor of the original French Hospital (La Providence) in Finsbury, London when it was first founded. Henri de Massue finally retired to Rookley, near Southampton where he died unmarried in September 1720.

Sources include:;;;

Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer and maker of haute couture clothing. He was born in Lewisham, London, to Ronald and Joyce McQueen and was of Huguenot descent on his father’s side.

His ancestors, who were stonemakers, settled in East London in the late eighteenth century. In 1806, one ancestor, also called Alexander, married a woman of Huguenot descent named Sarah Vallas, whose heritage greatly appealed to McQueen.

McQueen knew that he wanted to be a fashion designer from an early age, and served an apprenticeship in Savile Row and attended the Rossetta Studio Workshops. McQueen received his Masters degree in fashion design from Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design in 1992, which kickstarted his career as a fashion designer.

Abraham de Moivre (1667-1754) was a French mathematician who pioneered the development of analytic trigonometry and the theory of probability. He was known for ‘de Moivre's formula’, a formula that links complex numbers and trigonometry. He first discovered Binet's formula, the expression for Fibonacci numbers linking the nth power of the golden ratio φ to the nth Fibonacci number. He was imprisoned for his faith after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, but was released and fled to London. There he became a close friend of Sir Isaac Newton and the astronomer Edmund Halley. De Moivre was elected to the Royal Society of London in 1697 and later to the Paris and Berlin Academies.

Peter/ Pierre Monlong (1664-1702)

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Peter / Pierre Monlong was one of the leading Paris gunmakers and was appointed Arquebusier de la Maison Roi and Gentleman Armourer in Ordinary to William III

Monlong left Paris and emigrated to London in 1684 and settled in Soho, outside the control of the Worshipful Company of Gunmakers. He made a pair of finely wrought and highly decorated flintlock pistols inlaid with silver filigree, considered to be some of the best guns ever made in England, now owned by H.M Armouries at the Tower of London. One of his flintlocks is also held in the V & A Museum.

His pistols were some of the mose elaborately decorated ever made  inlaid with scrolls, birds, animals and figures, including Diana and her hounds, Apollo driving the chariot of the sun on the trigger guard. The decorative motifs are derived from pattern books published in Paris in 1685 and 1693, which shows that he kept abreast of the latest developments in French taste even after moving to London.


Quiet Conquest, the Huguenots 1685 – 1985. Museum of London



Jacques Le Moyne (1533-1588) was a Huguenot cartographer and draughtsman of flowers and natural history who joined Laudonniere’s expedition to Florida in 1564. Le Moyne was the first artist to travel to the New World and documented Florida’s coastline, local flora and fauna, along with the Timucua Indians. When the Spanish attacked the French settlement of Fort Caroline, Le Moyne was lucky enough to escape, but sadly almost all of his illustrations were destroyed. He sailed back to France and redrew his pictures from memory. As a Huguenot, Le Moyne had to flee France and settled in England in around 1581 and lived there until his death in 1588. Whilst living in London he was patronised by Sir Walter Raleigh and courtier Mary Sidney to name a few. In 1584 he published the book ‘La Clef des Champs’ (The Key to the Meadow), a pattern book to serve as inspiration for artists and craftsmen.

Florida worship french column 1591



Peter Nouaille was the son of a Huguenot refugee who came to Spitalfields after 1785.

He was born in 1723 and in 1763 married Elizabeth De La Mare whose Huguenot father lived at and owned property called Greatness, near Sevenoaks, Kent, 23 miles from London.

It included a water-powered corn mill which Peter inherited and in 1760 he turned this into a silk mill.

In 1733, the Spitalfields’ weavers got Parliament to give them a monopoly of all weaving within 20 miles of London. The mill at Greatness was just outside the statutory limits so Peter escaped the monopoly. He specialised in silk crepe which was becoming a fashionable product.

In 1816 the mill was 140 feet long and 40 feet wide with at least two storeys – one of the biggest in Kent. It used an improved undershot water-wheel which he patented in 1812 and new methods of spinning (‘throwing’) silk.

Here he employed over 100 people, mainly women and children for whom he ran evening classes, and hired a local doctor to provide health care. He also built a row of cottages for senior staff.

In 1793, he briefly joined forces with another Huguenot friend, George Courtauld, but they did not get on and Peter later said that ‘he would not continue such a man in business for 500 a year’.

He also had much wider interests. ‘His house was constantly frequented by the most distinguished literary characters of the time’ wrote a friend later.

When the first Peter died, his son took over but after the end of the Napoleonic War in 1815, and the removal of protective tarrifs in 1823, the silk industry ran into problems, so the second Peter decided to close the business and sell the mill which was demolished not long after.

Isaac Olivier (c.1565-1617)  

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Isaac Olivier was born in Rouen, and his family moved to London in 1568.  He became a notable miniature painter

Olivier was the son of  a goldsmith. He studied miniature painting under the great Tudor miniaturist Nicholas Hilliard and developed a naturalistic style which was influenced by Italian and Flemish art. His works reflect the courtly elegance of the Late Renaissance world of masquest and revels.

He became a painter of James I's court, was appointed Royal Limner (an illuminator of manuscripts or a painter of ornamental decoration such as miniature portraits) to James 1’s wife Queen Anne. He  painted numerous portraits of the Queen Anne of Denmark and Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales. Some of his work is housed in Windsor Castle, and some  of his pen drawings are in the British Museum.


Quiet Conquest, the Huguenots 1685 – 1985. Museum of London 

National Heritage Memorial Fund





Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) is widely considered to be one of the most iconic actors of the twentieth century, dominating the British stage and appearing in over fifty films.

His great-great-grandfather was of French Huguenot descent and, in fact, Olivier came from a long line of Protestant clergymen; his father was ordained a Reverend in the Church of England. Olivier supposedly imitated the forceful sermons he saw his father give while his mother steered him towards dramatic speeches from plays.

Olivier, encouraged by his parents, acted in school productions and embarked on a career on stage and behind the scenes. He played a variety of Shakespearean roles and was made the first Artistic Director of the National Theatre in 1970. His film roles include Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights (1939) and Maxim de Winter in Rebecca (1940). Olivier won two Academy Awards, three BAFTAS and was the first actor to be made a Lord.


 laurence olivier quim abella










Bernard Palissy c.1510-c.1589 was best known for his pottery, although he was also a glass painter and land surveyor, writer, scientist and lecturer.

Persecuted as a Protestant, he was imprisoned until the constable of Montmorency employed him in the decoration of the Château d’Ecouen. He was then appointed as “inventor of rustic pottery to the king and the queen mother” which gave him protection from persecution.

In 1572, Palissy was warned to flee Paris. He escaped the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre and took refuge in eastern France.

He returned to Paris in 1575, Palissy gave public lectures on natural history, which became extremely popular, revealing him as a writer and scientist who contributed many ideas to modern agronomy.

Palissy’s pottery was ‘decorated rustic ware’ , a type of earthenware covered with coloured lead glazes. He made mostly oval or circular dishes, and jugs, decorated with plants and animals and mythological scenes.

Imprisoned for religious reasons in 1588, he died in the dungeons of the Bastille, at the age of 80, a martyr for his faith.
In 19th century, his style was revived and contemporary pottery was made under the name of ‘Palissy Ware’ using coloured glazes motifs of sea creatures.

Palissy Street in East London is named after him.

The Quiet Conquest,

Denis Papin (1647-1712) was an inventor, physicist and mathematician,

Papin was born in Blois and graduated with a medical degree in 1669, originally intending to become a doctor. However he was much more interested in mathematics and mechanics than he was in medicine. He became assistant to Christiaan Huygens, one of the leading scientists of his day.

Papin came to England in 1675 to work with the English physicist Robert Boyle. In 1679 Papin invented his ‘steam digester’ (pressure cooker), a vessel with a tightly fitting lid that compresses the steam, generating a high pressure and raising the boiling point of the water considerably. He also invented a safety valve to prevent the vessel exploding. Papin observed that the enclosed steam in his cooker tended to raise the lid, which led him to conceive of the use of steam to drive a piston in a cylinder, the basic design for early steam engines. His design led to the development of the steam engine, a major contribution to the Industrial Revolution.

The following year, Papin was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society where he was appointed as temporary curator of experiments.

He worked on other inventions including the construction of a submarine, an air gun and a grenade launcher. He also experimented with preserving food with chemicals and using a vacuum. In 1709 he built a man-powered paddle-wheel boat that demonstrated the practicability of using apaddle wheel in place of oars on steam-driven ships.

Papin received little in the way of honours in his lifetime, mainly because the importance of his work was not understood until 100 years after his death.

In 2016, however, a record came to light in the London Metropolitan Archives which showed that a 'Denys Papin' had been buried in the cemetery of St Bride's Church in Fleet Street in 1713. There is a campaign to raise funds to erect a memorial plaque in St Bride's Church to commemorate him.

The Quiet Conquest by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

Denis Papin

Jean Pelletier (d.1704) and his sons were the leading carvers and gilders in London.  He was originally from Paris and came to London in 1682.

Pelletier had  two sons, René  and Thomas, who also worked in the family business.  Pelletier was a prominent framemaker and gilder who made and gilded a huge set of picture frames for  Ralph, 1st Duke of Montagu’s home at Montagu House. Montagu had served as Charles II's ambassador in Paris and had a taste for French Baroque, and on his return he patronised many Huguenot refugee craftsmen. Pelletier also worked at Queen Mary’s apartments at Kensington Palace and many of his frames are  now at Boughton House, Northamptonshire.The frames were of elaborately carved wood, gilded with gold leaf. They interpreted the new style being introduced by Daniel Marot and  used the technique of ‘verre églomisé’ introduced from France. The mirror glass was decorated on the back by applying gold leaf, engraving a pattern in the gold and then applying a layer of blue paint to fill the pattern. This was called 'mosaic work', later given the name verre églomisé after the Parisian picture framer Jean-Baptiste Glomy.

During William III's reign he supplied the Crown with carved and gilded table frames, stands, screens and mirrors. He also  supplied over £600 worth of furnishings for the State Apartments at Hampton Court and three pairs of carved and gilded side tables at Windsor Castle.


 Tessa Murdoch, “Jean, René and Thomas Pelletier, a Huguenot family of carvers and gilders in England 1682-1726.

Jon Pertwee (1919 – 1996)
Most famous for playing the third incarnation of the eccentric Dr Who on television, actor Jon Pertwee was descended from an aristocratic French family. The original Huguenot family name, Perthuis de Laillevault was changed to Pertwee. Jon was born in London to Avice and Roland Pertwee, a respected actor and writer. After making 24 stories as Dr Who, Jon Pertwee found great fame and acclaim as the grumpy scarecrow Worzel Gummidge in a televised series for children, adapted from Barbara Todd’s books. It is said that actress Joan Collins asked him to visit and speak in his Worzel Gummidge voice to her daughter as she lay in a coma. Jon Pertwee died in 1996 leaving a son Sean and daughter Dariel, both of whom are actors.

Source /news/people/obituary-jon-pertwee

Jon Pertwee

DSC00528R0104056.JPGThe Derby Porcelain Factory began as a very small business around 1748. It was probably set up by a Londoner called Andrew Planché. Planché was the son of Huguenot refugees and had briefly been an apprentice jeweller. No-one knows how Planché learned to make porcelain but it is possible that it was something that he was taught by members of the French exile community in London, some of whom worked in the factories at Bow and Chelsea. It is unclear why he left London but Planché is known to have arrived in Derby between 1748 and 1751.

An unsigned agreement in 1756 between Planché, William Duesbury, an enameller, and John Heath, an investor, established a business partnership for the ‘art of making English China’. Planché seems to have left Derby and the porcelain industry not long after this date, leaving Duesbury and Heath in charge of the Nottingham Road factory.

Many of the details of his life remain a mystery but Planché is thought to have modelled a number of the figures seen during early 1750s. Although we can’t prove conclusively exactly who made the figures, the early period of porcelain figure making in Derby is often referred to as the Planché period.

Henri de Portal (1690 –1747) was a papermaker who made the first  watermarked paper for the Bank of England notes. The Portal family came from Poitiers and took refuge in Southampton

IMG 6535

Henri and his brother Guillaume escaped from France with their father Jean Francois. It is said that the children’s old nurse hid the children in an oven so that the soldiers would not find them and that they were hidden in wine casks and were smuggled on a small fishing boat to   Southampton.

Before the Huguenots arrived, most white paper had to be imported from the Continent but in 1686 James II granted a patent to the White Paper Makers Company which consisted of 15 men, 9 of whom were Huguenots. One of their papermills was at South Stonham, which was where the young Henri Portal  found work. He then took the lease of  Bere Mill in 1710 which was so successful that he leased another mill at Laverstoke to expand the business.  Portal was friendly with William Heathcote whose uncle was Governor of the Bank of England. The Bank needed protective paper for their banknotes and he agreed to manufacture a better kind of paper than they had been using previously. It was stronger with better definition and clarity, which greatly reduced the risk of forgery, and in  1727 Henry Portal obtained the privilege of making the notes of the Bank of England. His company also invented the metallic thread incorporated into the paper and the same company has been providing paper for English banknotes right up to the current day, although the firm was sold to De La Rue in 1995. For nearly 200 years the business was handed down from father to son, almost unique in the history of English manufacturers.

Quiet Conquest, the Huguenots 1685 – 1985. Museum of London

Highways and Byways in Hampshire:  D H Moutray Read

Hampshire and the Company of White paper makers:  J. H. Thoma, B.A.


Anne Pratt (1806-1893) was one of the best known English botanical illustrators of the Victorian age. Her mother, Sara Bundock, was of Huguenot descent. Anne Pratt wrote and illustrated more than 20 books. Her works were written in a popular style, and helped to popularise botany in her day.

She is best known for her collection of six volumes: The Flowering Plants, Grasses, Sedges, and Ferns of Great Britain and Their Allies the Club Mosses, Pepperworts, and Horsetails, containing 1500 species, with 300 illustrations. This work had a remarkably long life as a reference work: the illustrations of ferns continued to be used into the second half of the twentieth century, appearing in the Observer's Book of [British] Ferns .

Peter Prelleur 1705 - 1741
The first organist who played Richard Bridge’s magnificent organ (built in 1735) at Christ Church Spitalfields was Huguenot Peter Prelleur, who led an extraordinary double life. He lived in Rose Lane and, as well as playing the organ at Christ Church and composing religious music, he often played in pubs including the Angel & Crown Tavern in Whitechapel. Prelleur’s major legacy is a guide for musicians entitled The Modern Musick-Master published in 1731 and described as “an introduction to singing, after so easy a method that persons of the meanest capacities may (in a short time) learn to sing (in tune) any song that is set to musick”. For three hundred years this was considered the most important singing manual.


prelleur peter 1


Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869)

Roget the lexicographer was born in London in 1779 to a Swiss clergyman. In 1798 he graduated from Edinburgh University with a degree in medicine and began to practice. Roget had an extremely varied career; he worked in London, Manchester and Bristol as a doctor and then travelled through Europe working as a private tutor. In London he gave medical lectures and published essays on the anaesthetic effects of nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” as it became known. From 1827 to 1848 Roget was secretary of The Royal Society. As an inventor, Roget created the first slide rule, a tool to calculate the roots and powers of numbers, a precursor to modern methods and widely used in the teaching of mathematics until the calculator was invented.

Roget always had a fascination for words and for a long time had compiled lists of words to help his writing. This became Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases and was his main body of work after he retired in 1840. The thesaurus was finally published in 1852. Today the use of the word “Roget’s” is seen as a generic term for a dictionary of words with similar meanings. It is widely used as a dictionary of synonyms and is regularly updated.

Rogets Thesauras


Samuel Romilly (1757- 1818) was a British legal reformer. He was born in Frith Street, Soho, to Peter Romilly, a watchmaker and jeweller. His grandfather had fled Montpelier after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and married Margaret Garnault, a fellow Huguenot refugee.

Samuel was well educated and became a good classical scholar with a particular interest in French literature. Romilly was determined to go to the bar, and entered himself at Gray’s Inn, Chancery Lane, in 1778. Romilly was a staunch supporter of the abolition of the slave trade, and gave his support to William Wilberforce’s abolition campaign.

With his law reforms he abolished and repealed many draconian statutes, including hanging, drawing and quartering, and the Elizabethan statutes of stealing and soldiers begging without permission from their commanding officer being capital offences.


Samuel Romilly 2







R.L. Roumieu designed the French Hospital in Victoria Park, Hackney in 1857. It was built by 1865, requisitioned in 1941 and moved to Rochester in 1960 where there is a portrait of Roumieu. His design was described at the time as 'a French chateau of the age Francis 1'. Roumieu supervised the building of the hospital himself as the surveyor fell out with him.
His practise was continued by his son Reginald St Aubyn Roumieu ARIBA who worked with two partners, firstly Thomas Kesteven and then Alfred Aitchison. He seems not to have been as productive as his father, but was better known for his philanthropy. His obit in The Builder (7 July 1877) lists many of the charities he was involved in, and for which he was made a Knight of Grace of the Order of St John of Jerusalem. He was governor of the Foundling Hospital, London; Honorary Architect and Director of the French Hospital, Hackney, which was designed by his father; and he helped to found the Huguenot Society of which he was Treasurer and later President.

Julia Sawalha (1968-)
Julia Sawalha was born in South London and is a highly successful actress appearing in many popular television programmes. She is particularly well known for her role as the sensible daughter Saffie, the perfect foil to Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders in the long running sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. Her family tree stretches back over several generations of silk weavers living around Spitalfields. Julia’s ancestors on her mother’s side had the name Dubock; they originated from the small village of Luneray in Normandy and were forced into exile after the decree of Louis XIV in 1685 stripped French protestants of their rights. Her maternal relative William Dubock, listed as a silk weaver in the 1861 census. William changed career to become a cheesemonger and grocer after the ban on French silk imports was lifted in 1861, forcing many East End weavers out of business.

Julia Sawalha

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (1814-1873) was an Irish journalist and writer of supernatural Victorian ghost stories. Related to the Irish playwright Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Le Fanu was the son of Huguenot parents Thomas Philip Le Fanu, who was a clergyman, and Emma Lucretia Dobbin Le Fanu. He studied law but became a journalist and started to write short stories which were first published anonymously. His work combined Gothic horror with inner psychological insight. After giving birth to four children and suffering with poor mental health, his wife Susanna died. It is thought that Le Fanu blamed himself. He became reclusive, producing his most successful work. He is probably best known for his novel Uncle Silas in 1864. However, it is the vampire novella Carmilla in 1872 which has had the biggest effect on the horror genre. It is thought that Bram Stoker was greatly influenced by Le Fanu in his writing of Dracula.


J S Fanu

Anne Tanqueray (1691-1733

Subordinate goldsmith to George 1st and probably the best woman silversmith of all time.[1] As the eldest daughter of David Willaume, a prominent Huguenot silversmith/goldsmith, who had come to London from Metz, north east France in 1685, it was probably not surprising that she became involved in the craft of her father.  On 19 October 1690 David had married Marie Mettayer at the French Protestant chapel in Brown’s Lane, Spitalfields where Marie’s father - Samuel Mettayer was the Minister. Ann was their first child, born a year later on the 19th July 1691. Three more children arrived, but sadly two died in infancy. The other surviving child David II also became a silversmith. The Manor of Tingrith in Bedfordshire was either bought by David II as a family home, or David Willaume Senior for retirement purposes.

Ann must have watched her father working on a regular basis and it would seem that she, too, trained in the art of silversmithing although not undertaking a formal apprenticeship as such. Incidentally, becoming a journeyman silversmith required young women of better than average physique, for the tools whereby silver was formed into such things as tankards, dishes, trays, kettles, teapots, and the like were neither light nor easily handled. There was the heavy sledge hammer weighing eight or more pounds with which the silver was beaten on the specially shaped anvils many times in the course of making a piece. Perhaps Ann was not of such muscular form as she seems to have concentrated on small items!

On the 16th September 1708 David Willaume, her father, formally contracted with David Tanqueray (originally from St Lo in Normandy) to ‘teach him the skills of  goldsmithing’ as an indentured apprentice for seven years. Nine years later Ann and ‘the apprentice’ were married in 1717 although he did not finish his apprenticeship until 1722. There is some doubt about this last date as he appears to have his own apprentice by May 1718 when he calls himself a citizen and goldsmith.[2] David and Anne had two surviving sons, but also 2 daughters (Ann b1718, MaryAnn b1723). 

Her husband established his own workshop probably in Green Street, Leicester Fields and later in Pall Mall[3], entering  his first mark as a largeworker in 1713 and it is likely that Ann created some of the items bearing her husband's markHis second mark (Stirling) was in 1720.

On David’s death (which, strangely, does not seem to be recorded) and the fact that he was still paying for his apprentice in July 1723 (although this may have been Anne using his name), he appears to have died at the end of 1723.  Anne, being resourceful and obviously skilled in her own right and despite being a working mother of young children, took over his business and entered two marks of her own (Sterling and New Standard) in the Goldsmiths Touch Register. 

To be a woman silversmith in the 17/18th centuries was apparently not that unusual. There were, between 1697 and the Victorian era, a total of 63 women silversmiths in London, each possessed of her own registered touch mark.[4] Ann Tanqueray would have had the opportunity to produce her own work (mostly small silver items) and oversee skilled journeymen making larger pieces. Tanqueray's workshop was noted for its high level of excellence and in 1729 -1732 it became Subordinate Goldsmith to King George 1st.

Ann Tanqueray died on 21 November 1733, aged  just 42 and was buried 4 days later in Tingrith Church, near the family home in Bedfordshire. In her will she left her tools to her two sons (David and Thomas)[5] who were not yet 21 years old.

Examples of  Ann Tanqueray’s work can be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum Wales, and at Welbeck Abbey. 


[1]  Waxantiques description:

[2] Ancestry Apprentice records

[3] British Museum Collectors online for David Tanqueray

[4] Collector’s Weekly article Thomas Hamilton Ormsbee — April 3rd, 2009 This article originally appeared in American Collector magazine, a publication which ran from 1933-1948 and served antique collectors and dealers.

[5] wills 

James Tillard (1754-1828) was born in London. The Tillard family was originally of Huguenot descent and had settled in Devon in the sixteenth century. A number of the family members became mayors of Totnes in the early seventeenth century.

James' wealth, it would appear, was due to an inheritance of a good deal of property in east London around Norton Folgate, Bishopsgate and Spitalfields. By 1827 all the Tillard estate in Norton Folgate was owned by James Tillard.

On his death in Ramsgate in 1828 James Tillard bequeathed not only £2,000 to rebuild St Mary's Church in Lower Hardres/Petham but also contributed to the erection, enlargement and repair of other neighbouring churches. He bequeathed substantial sums of money to local hospitals and asylums, parishes and other institutions. He was also a member of The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts and bequeathed £30,000 towards work of the Society in Calcutta.

James Tillard's memory is "ever honoured and regarded as a pattern to the wealthy; as a friend to the distressed".

Tillard Estate

The St John and Tillard Estate

georgeWashingtonGeorge Washington was the very first President of the United States (1789–1797) and one of its ‘Founding Fathers’. He helped to write the United States Constitution, which is still the law in America today.

He was known as the ‘Father of his country’. He was an effective President who was good at organising things and who discussed problems with other people before making decisions

George Washington was born in 1732. His father died when he was 11 years old. He had a very basic education and his mother could not afford to send him to college, so he left school at the age of 15.

He joined the US Army and was a Major by the time he was 20, rising to become a Lieutenant Colonel, then Colonel and finally a Major General

He led the US Army; he was brave in battle and a good leader.

He played an important part in the American Revolution, when the American colonists won their independence from British rule.

George Washington was the great–great–great–grandson of a Huguenot named Nicholas Martiau (1591–1657). Martiau was born near the Huguenot stronghold of La Rochelle in France. He left France to come to England and he was mentioned in the register of the famous Huguenot church of Threadneedle Street, London in 1615.

In 1619, Nicholas was naturalised English. A year later he left England on a ship called the Francis Bonaventure and arrived in Virginia. He built a fence around the Jamestown Fort and this helped the settlers to survive a Native American uprising in 1622.

When George Washington married, his wife wore a dress of yellow brocade, silver bodice & silver petticoat. The dress was made in Spitalfields by the Huguenot silkweavers.

There have been 43 US Presidents, and 21 of them have Huguenot ancestors!

David Willaume 1 - goldsmith/metalworker; banker/financier

Born on 7 June 1658 on the Pont des Morts (the Bridge of the Dead), in Metz France, he was the third of six children of Adam Willaume and Anne Phillipe who had married in 1651. This somewhat unglamourous sounding birthplace – The Bridge of the Dead – allegedly owes its name to the origin of its construction. The bridge was built in 1282 by the hospital  of St. Nicholas who took and sold the best piece of clothes of every dead person in Metz in order to pay for it.  The Willaume family presumably lived nearby. Today there still exits a Street of the Bridge of the Dead in Metz.

David, having been born into a family of goldsmiths was probably apprenticed to his father and became a Master Goldsmith on 18 April 1680. There is no record of him having established a hallmark in Metz and his name is not in the list of goldsmiths in Metz for 1684.  At this point in time, three events  contributed to David’s decision to leave Metz, a Protestant stronghold.  Firstly, punitive taxes had been introduced on the sale of plate, the Edict of Nantes was revoked in 1685 and the manufacture of gold items and large pieces of silver were prohibited. It is not certain when he arrived in London, but he was endenizened on the 16 December 1687. He married Maria Mettayer in the French Chapel in Spitalfields on the 9th October 1688 and they had four children of whom only two survived – Anne and David II.

David Willaume I was a successful man setting up business at the sign of Windsor Castle near Charing Cross and selling jewellery as well. His first registered hallmark was not until November 1698, but with a different address – the sign of the Golden Ball, Pall Mall. By 1714 he had moved again to premises on the west side of St James Street, Mayfair where the business remained with the same sign until 1746 (although he retired in 1728 when his son David Willaume II succeeded him). He enjoyed the patronage of the wealthiest clients in England probably attracted by his grand designs in the French fashion and his use of heavy metal and fine casting techniques.   

Some goldsmiths at this time, including David Willaume I, also started a form of banking and the phrase ‘running-cashes’ came into place. They were in effect providing banking facilities prior to the establishment of banks at the beginning of the 18th century.  These merchants had enough assets to issue cash loans, bills of exchange (similar to cheques) and to exchange cash for plate taken from customers who wished to liquidate or borrow money against their plate. 

During his 30 years of working life, David trained 17 apprentices, 12 of whom went on to have their own marks, including David Tanqueray who married his master’s daughter Anne Willaume.

David Willaume I does not seem to have been hugely fond of his son-in-law David Tanqueray as in his will drawn up in 1720, he leaves only £20 to David, £5 to the poor of the parish of St Martin’s in the Fields (where he was living), his goods and chattels and remaining estate to his beloved son David II, and £80 to his daughter Ann with the clear instruction that the money be given directly to her for her own use and implying that Tanqueray should not get his hands on it!

David Willaume’s precise date of death is not certain, but his will was proved on 26 January 1741 and he was buried at St Nicholas Church, in Tingrith, Bedfordshire on the 27 April 1741, some 2 months after probate was granted.  Perhaps the weather had been bad that year and travelling to Bedfordshire with a coffin in mid-winter may have been difficult. 

David Willaume’s work can be seen in the V&A and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

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