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

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Canterbury

The Huguenot settlement in Canterbury in Kent, South England, started when the authorities considered the community in Sandwich, Kent, to have grown too large. 100 families were accepted in 1575. Its numbers continued to swell in the years following the Massacre of St. Bartholomew in France and the second revolt in the Netherlands, and it came to represent the largest foreign population outside London.

The welcome extended to Huguenot refugees in part reflected the perceived benefit to the English economy, particularly the potential for developing the textile industry. Using the textile processing and weaving techniques learnt on the continent, New Draperies were established in textile towns such as Canterbury. They produced lighter fabrics, made from a mix of fibres, suitable for export to Europe, rather than making traditional woollen fabrics. The benefits led the Privy Council to protect Huguenot weavers in Canterbury when they were attacked by locals. Many successful Spitalfields weavers established the viability of their businesses in Canterbury. As Spitalfields weaving flourished in the 18th century, the Canterbury industry went into decline, ceasing entirely in 1837 as a result of mechanisation.

The Huguenot congregation in Canterbury was first allowed to worship at St. Alphege Church, but as their numbers grew, they were invited to use the Western Crypt of Canterbury Cathedral. Movement towards Spitalfields and assimilation saw numbers fall, and they moved to the smaller Black Prince Chantry in the Cathedral, where the Eglise Protestante Française de Cantorbéry [The French Protestant Church of Canterbury] still meets today.

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