Huguenots of Spitalfields

August 2015 Newsletter - Issue 9

The Huguenot Summer Festival is well underway with over 3,600 people attending walks, talks and events to date. With the Huguenot Exhibition at Boughton House, the Huguenot Museum welcoming visitors in Rochester and the excellent editorial about the Huguenots in the media, interest in these remarkable people who transformed this country is growing.

We loved reading your comments on your Festival highlights – here are a few we have received: handling Princess Diana’s wedding dress material, playing skittles with Will Palin at the Old Naval College in Greenwich, meeting the new Bishop of Kensington,

Stephen Walters Sudbury

seeing Spitalfields silk close-up, meeting the Gentle Author, being taken around the silk factory in Sudbury with Julius Walters, walking in Mount Nod Huguenot cemetery in Wandsworth, paying my first visit to a Livery Hall (Apothecaries), being captivated by Mary Shoester’s talk, travelling to Norwich to hear about the inspirational Harriet Martineau, finding out that Devil’s Point in Plymouth was once called Duval’s Point, praying in the Huguenot Chapel, Canterbury, where once my ancestors worshipped, gaining an understanding of Louis XlV’s health and mindset, being mesmerised by so many stunning fabrics that emerged out of Richard Humphries’ bottomless bag, meeting Alex Sainsbury and seeing the glorious plaster work at Raven Row, recognising my ancestors’ names on the Spitalfields map in Townhouse, travelling back through time and gazing at the Spitalfields Lady – just some of the experiences we shared together.


We are preparing a Festival Scrapbook for the archives and website, so if you have any photographs you have taken at the events and would like to share them with us, please email

Remembering the Huguenots of Spitalfields

Way back in 2013 at the first Huguenot Festival we raised monies for a memorial to the Huguenots of Spitalfields. An artist, Paul Bommer, was commissioned to create a ceramic plaque in the style of Delft tiles featuring aspects of Huguenot heritage.

It is beautiful! Revd. Andy Rider has kindly agreed for the plaque to be installed on the wall of La Patente and this should be in place by mid-September.


Dates for your Diary

The Spitalfields Traders’ Market has advised us that Huguenot Day on Saturday 12th September has been cancelled.


Open Day at Sandy’s Row Synagogue from 12 – 3pm Sunday 6th September. There will be regular talks during the day, cost £4. This building was once a Huguenot Chapel built in 1766 and known as L'Eglise de l'Artillerie (more usually called L'Artillerie) as it was built on open land once used for the exercise of artillery in the sixteenth century.


Festival Soirée Thursday 17th September at 6pm-8.30pm

The Gentle Author of Spitalfields Life introduces his new project, a book of ‘The Cries of London’ and talks about Marcellus Laroon, the Huguenot artist who was the first to create realistic portraits of London street traders in the seventeenth century. Hosted by Rodney Archer, music will be provided by Alice Baxter playing 17th and 18th century pieces and Dr. Robin Gwynn, the authority on Huguenots in England, hopes to be able to join us.

Location: Townhouse 5 Fournier Street.

Tickets £20 via or EventBrite


‘The Cries of London’ will also feature in Spitalfields Winter Festival. For information and dates visit Spitalfields Music.


Talk at St Alfege in Greenwich on Thursday 24th September at 2.30pm

‘Faith near the City: The History of the French congregation in Greenwich’ Revd. Chris Moody will look at some of the local issues around the rebuilding of Hawksmoor’s St Alfege's Greenwich and the theological idea influencing the template for these unique structures. Free event. Click here for more information.


'Meet the Huguenots'

'A presentation reflecting the courage, skills, and legacy of the Huguenots'. Wandsworth Historical Society Friday 25th September 8pm Quaker Meeting House, Wandsworth High Street, Wandsworth.

Boughton House There is still time to visit the superb Huguenot Exhibition curated by Paul Boucher at the Duke of Buccleuch’s house near Kettering, known as the English Versailles. As this exhibition shows, Boughton and its contents remain one of the most complete testimonies to Huguenot skills and artistic genius. Boughton House is open to visitors every day in August and to coach parties until the end of September.

Paul Boucher, Montagu Music Collection, 07815861740

Huguenot Museum

We have heard some excellent comments from visitors who have inundated the new Museum; for some it was their first introduction to the Huguenots and it has encouraged many to embark on tracing their Huguenot ancestors. Have you planned your visit yet? Click here for opening hours and ticket prices.


A glass of wine and Johnny Depp for £10 - a Festival bargain! Join us at the Water Poet in Folgate Street to see Chocolat, the film selected for the 2015 Festival, on 12th September at 6.30pm. Pay at the door. In addition to Johnny, we have been told that other Huguenot actors include Robert Redford, Judy Garland, Laurence Olivier, David Garrick, Jon Pertwee, John le Mesurier, Charlize Theron, and Julia Sawalha. The latest Huguenot to be outed is actor Derek Jacobi, who is the personality to be featured on the BBC’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ on 27th August.

Do you know of others actors that we can add to this impressive list?


There are a few tickets left for the International Conference ‘Huguenot Networks in Europe 1550 – 1600: the impact of a minority’ on 10th -11th September being held at Europa House, 32 Smith Square, SW1P 3EU. Details from


Wednesday 16th September at 1.30pm

Is religious toleration the best we can achieve?’ Part of the Festival of Freedoms, in partnership with Parliament in the Making, this forum will take place at Portcullis House, SW1A 0AA, with Revd. Rose Hudson–Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, in the Chair, with speakers to include Dominic Grieve MP, Stephen Pound MP, and Dr. Tessa Murdoch, curator at the V&A. For tickets and further information click here. A full program of events can be viewed here


Huguenots sailed into Southampton and some then made their way to Winchester. There are two events: Huguenot Silver at Winchester Cathedral at 11am on Tuesday 22nd September with curator Jo Bartholomew and Huguenot Hero, Henri Portal at the Hampshire Records Office on Thursday 24th September at 1.15pm. For tickets and details click the above links.


Norwich has embraced Huguenot Summer brilliantly with walks, talks and events highlighting their skills, homes and culture. There is one event left in the Festival Stories of Refugees told through their letters read by historian Dr. Alistair Duke on Friday 4th September at 10.30am at Strangers’ Hall, Norwich. Book via or call 01603 495897 or 493625.


The Forgotten Huguenots of Colchester with Andrew Philipps and Charlie de Wet, Tuesday 8th September at 7.30pm, Lion Walk United Reformed Church, Lion Walk, Colchester CO1 1LX. Tickets £4, no booking necessary. 


As it was their faith that brought the Huguenots to our country, it seems fitting that the last event on our festival schedule is to take place at Christ Church, Spitalfields, where so many of them would have worshipped. The Revd. Andy Rider invites you to join our regular Sunday family service here on 27th September at 10.30am.



The City of London: with guide Tim Kidd on Saturday 15th August at 11am. Meet by the Duke of Wellingtons’ statue outside the Royal Exchange. Nearest underground station is Bank on the Central Line. Click here for tickets and information.


The Huguenots in Wandsworth: with guide Tim Kidd on Saturday 22nd August at 11am. Meet outside the Huguenot Rendezvous Café, 10 Huguenot Place SW18 2EN. Click here for tickets and information.


The Huguenots in Greenwich: with guide Kate Boyle on Saturday 19th September at 10.30am. Meet outside Discover Greenwich Visitor Centre, Cutty Sark Gardens SE10 9LW. We will end the tour at the Fan Museum. Entry is free as it is Open House Weekend. Click here for tickets and information.


The Huguenots in Clerkenwell: with guide David Evans on Wednesday 16th and Saturday 26th September at 11am. Meet outside Farringdon Station. Click here for tickets and information.


For all Festival Walks it is possible to just turn up and pay £10 on the day – or to reserve a place visit EventBrite.


Historian Jo Kirkham has created and printed a map of a Huguenot walk in Rye highlighting locations of special interest. The Huguenot Walking Map costs £1 and can be obtained from the East Street Museum in Rye via their email


We were told… that the width of cloth was the span of three hands, that silk was woven with the reverse side facing the weaver, that it took weeks for the weaver, with the help of a Drawboy, to set up the loom with a new pattern and four months to weave, that weavers were only allowed to make four dresses of the same pattern, that weavers hired their loom which cost around 3 or 4pence a week or 20 shillings to purchase. If you have any other interesting snippets to add do let us know.


Dutch Registers

We have been told of a useful website if you are searching Huguenot ancestors who came via Holland. Click here for the registers around Haarlem and Amsterdam.


Guided Huguenot Walks in France

Have you heard about Vercors Escapade? An organisation that provides guided one week walks from Poët Laval to Die – part of the Huguenot Path in Drôme, South Eastern France. Visit their website here for further information.

Christ Church Concerts

This year Christ Church will be hosting inaugural concerts on their newly restored Richard Bridge organ (pictured). In 1736 Peter Prelleur was the church’s first organist, click here for their website where dates will be announced soon. The Friends of Christ Church were responsible for this superb restoration and had the hard task of raising funds to do so.

Many of the Festival events are free but speakers and venues need to be paid for. If you enjoyed any of the many free events, please consider making a donation via Virgin Money Giving on our website or by clicking here. We have an educational resource project ready to be launched in primary schools but we need funds to pay for an education officer to implement the programme.


Thank you to:

David Evans for providing fascinating facts about the poor inmates at the French Hospital; Peter Dunn who not only arranged for the wonderful Water Poet team to serve the wine at events but also gave the charity a generous donation; Rosemary Harradine and Hugh Norton at the Huguenot Chapel in Canterbury for making our party so welcome; Julius Walters for giving us a truly memorable time at his factory; David Burnett for revealing the Huguenot history in Sudbury; Sue Molineux for demonstrating her skill at silk printing, Pastor Joost Röselaers at Austin Friars who took the trouble to translate his sermon into English for us and to you, dear supporters, for attending the events.

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.

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