Huguenots of Spitalfields

June 2105 Newsletter - Issue 8

The Huguenot Summer Festival is well under way. We had a great turn out at RAMM in Exeter for Dr. Jameson Tucker’s talk, the Mount Nod Huguenot cemetery event captivated all of us who listened to Trisha Jean-Marie as she revealed the plans Wandsworth Borough Council is working on to renovate this hidden Huguenot gem – and later took us to visit the cemetery. We were made so welcome by the team at Dr Johnson’s House, where Beatrice Behlen talked about the stages involved in weaving silk.


In addition to the walks in Spitalfields, bookings are coming in for walks in Wandsworth (27th June and 22nd August), Soho (13th June, 4th & 25th July), City of London (11th & 18th July and 15th August), Greenwich (21st July & 12th and 19th September), Norwich 13th June and 5th July), Canterbury (2nd August) and Clerkenwell (16th and 26th September). We will be supporting Refugee Week with daily walks in Spitalfields (15th – 21st June)


Many thanks to the wonderful people at MoSoho and Soho Create who supported Dan Cruickshank’s talk at Blacks Club on Saturday, where a member of the audience leapt at the chance to try on the beautiful red dress of Spitalfields silk, that Dan brought with him.

In the first of our Before the Huguenots events, held at the Geffrye Museum, we learnt about herbalist Nicholas Culpepper’s relationship to Spitalfields, and made hand creams and other herbal potions as part of the workshop.


The first two of the five festival lectures (9th and 22nd June), supported by the Huguenot Society, will take place in Christ Church, Spitalfields, rather than Hanbury Hall.

The Festival continues to grow as four more events have been added to the programme in Norwich, and an additional day visit to Canterbury to see the weavers’ houses and attend a service (in French) at the Cathedral.


The full list of scheduled events can be seen on the Huguenot Summer page of our website.


Huguenot Map

Thank you to over three hundred of you who have made it possible to create the Huguenot Map of Spitalfields. Fiona Atkins, the originator, will be unveiling the finished design on 17th June at 7pm in the Townhouse – if you would like to attend please email her at


ACE Cultural Tours

To mark the 330th anniversary of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, the Huguenots of Spitalfields asked ACE Cultural Tours to produce a special tour, Huguenots of the Cévennes: Remembering The French Wars of Religion (from August 31 - September 7, 2015) which will be led by Dr Lionel Laborie, an expert on the religious history of early modern Europe. We asked Lionel what makes this tour so special:


This is a fascinating subject to explore in a beautiful region. Can you tell us some more about the itinerary?

The first half of the tour will be in based in Orange, a Dutch Protestant enclave within Catholic France in the seventeenth century, where we will make a broad overview of the lives of French Protestants – the Huguenots – in the early modern period. From there, we will explore sites of historical interest such as the dungeon of Crest (a former prison for Huguenots) and Nîmes, the economic capital of the region and a Protestant stronghold. The second part of the tour will take place in the Cévennes, where the last French war of religion took place between 1702 and 1710.


What makes the Cévennes mountains so special?

The rugged landscape of the Cévennes has played a fundamental role in the history of the region, making it a hotspot of resistance and rebellion. For centuries its people maintained a distinctive identity as religious dissenters who did not speak French, but only their own dialect. Languedoc saw the crusades against the Cathars in the Middle Ages, and the first French Quakers and Methodists also emerged here in the 18th and 19th centuries. Although isolated, the Cévennes maintained ties with Protestant countries through a network of exiled relatives. Its culture of clandestine worship also influenced the evangelical revival in 18th century Europe and America.


In many ways, this was where freedom of religion was earned in France. As a specialist in the Camisard rebellion and its religious legacy abroad, I am looking forward to introducing travellers to remote battlefields, castles, and sites of clandestine worship in the Cévennes mountains as we explore this unique, yet little known part of France and its amazing history.


Our journey culminates as we join thousands of others for the atmospheric Assemblée du Désert in Mialet, the annual gathering marking the long years during which Protestantism was illegal in France yet survived in clandestine assemblies.


Full tour details can be found by calling the ACE office on +44(0)1223 841055.

Louis XIV of France

The British Museum

The time of the ‘The Medals of the Sun King’ talk at the British Museum, is at 1.30pm on Saturday 27th June.  Sir Mark Jones, Master of St Cross College, University of Oxford, will talk about this, the most extraordinary medallic project ever undertaken. At the exhibition you can see about 100 of these medals including the one featuring the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Unmissable!

Free, booking essential at

Upcoming Events

If you missed Dan Cruickshank’s talk on Silver in Soho you might be interested in ‘Three Generations of Courtauld Silver’ a talk and gallery tour led by Dr. Alexandra Gerstein on Monday 15th June at 11.00am at the Courtauld Institute.

Admission £10 book via or call 020 7247 0367


If you are interested in finding out more about immigration around Spitalfields come to Christ Church Spitalfields to hear Professor Anne Kershen’s talk 'There was a Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam…' on Monday 22nd June at 1.00pm where she will explore the importance of religion in the lives of immigrants during the period of their arrival and early settlement.

Admission £8 (concs £6) book via our Eventbrite page or pay at the door.


The first of our scheduled day visits is to Faversham on the 29th June. Join Charlie to see the Chart Gunpowder Mills, which are the oldest of their kind in the world, hear the stories of the local Huguenots and see where they lived. Contact us via or 020 7247 0367 for details.

Tickets are £20, which includes entrance to the Mills as well as the Fleur de Lis Museum, but does not include travel or lunch.

Thank you.

We warmly appreciate all the support and help that you give to the Huguenots of Spitalfields Charity.

The views and opinions expressed in these article are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Huguenots of Spitalfields charity.

Please contact with your comments, views and contributions or requests for previous issues of the Strangers' Newsletter.  The charity is currently led by volunteers so do bear with us if there is a delay in the reply to your message.

Visit the Huguenots of Spitalfields website at

Modify your subscription    |    View online